“Coming into her own,” Just Talkin looks for win in Penn Ladies Dash
Daylight Ahead is 12-1 on the morning line for the Penn Ladies Dash. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
by Doug McCoy
Trainer Jason Servis has spent as much time checking the Weather Channel as he has looking at past performances the past few weeks while trying to get his speedy grass specialist Just Talkin in a race. Servis had Just Talkin set to run in the $100,000 The Very One at Pimlico on the Preakness Day undercard, but several days of heavy rain leading up to Preakness prompted officials to move The Very One to the main track and Servis was forced to scratched Just Talkin.
Now he’s entered the Midshipman mare in Penn National’s $100,000 Penn Ladies Dash going five furlongs over the turf course on Saturday night. But with unsettled weather forecast for the rest of the week, Servis is again forced to again wait to see what Mother Nature will do.
“That’s part of training a turf horse,” Servis chuckled from his Monmouth Park headquarters. “All you can do is check the forecast when you enter and hope you catch a break.”
Just Talkin, now five, enters off a six-length win in a Gulfstream allowance and is in the best form of her career – as long as Servis can get a turf race in which to run her.
“You know sometimes these mares, it just takes some time for them to sorta blossom and fully mature and I think that’s the case with this horse,” the horseman observed. “After we gave her some time from August to October, and I was able to watch her train and watch her around the barn it just seemed like she started coming into her own. After we shipped to Florida she ran a good race against a tough horse in Everything Lovely then came back in a crackerjack field to be second, beat less than a length by Eddie (Kenneally’s) horse[Girls Know Best], and that horse just won an allowance sprint at Keeneland pretty easy.”
Girls Know Best also switched effectively to the main track to win The Very One, a race which Servis had Just Talkin sit out.
“Then the last time we ran her at Gulfstream she won impressively,” Servis continued, “After that race there wasn’t any races for her, and after three starts over the course down there, which can be on the hard side at times, we had the chance to give her a little break. She’s been training great since we got back to Monmouth and like I said before, I think she’s really just now coming into her own. Now we just have to see what the weather does.”
Just Talkin is 7-2 on the morning line and the second choice in the field of 12. Morticia, a Grade 3 winner trained by George Arnold, is the 5-2 morning line favorite.
The Penn Ladies Dash goes off as race six on the 11-race card and kicks off an All Stakes Pick 4 that concludes with the Grade 2 Penn Mile. It also is one of two MATCH Series races on the card, along with the Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, a turf sprint in the open division.
Servis comes off his best season ever in 2017, a year that saw his stable earn almost $5 million in earnings ($4,967,662). He also sent out 112 winners from 391 starters for a 29 percent strike, with 60 percent of his starters finishing in the money.
A banner season and the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding sports betting has the trainer “pumped” about the future of racing in New Jersey, his home base.
“Everyone’s excited,” Servis exclaimed. ”I mean we (thoroughbred racing in the Garden State) have been self-sustaining with no outside revenue from other types of gaming like slots or table games, so with sports betting in the state it will be a huge shot in the arm not only to our industry but other industries in the state as well. It’s a whole new day for racing in the Garden State!”