Jack Jack Jack, the horse born and raised in Santa Rosa, was the most popular winner Friday at the Sonoma County Fair, but the victory didn't come easy.
After surrendering the lead on the final turn, the 3-year-old rallied under jockey Frank Alvarado and at the finish line was a half-length in front of Red Charger and Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze.
Jack Jack Jack is a Santa Rosa product through and through. He was born on Mr. and Mrs. Jack DeMeo's farm on Occidental Road and races in their maroon-and-gold silks. He's trained by Steve Specht, who lives in Santa Rosa.
The biggest crowd of the afternoon accompanied the DeMeos to the winner's circle.
“It's a great feeling to win a race at the fair,” Jack DeMeo said. “I've been coming here all my life and raced my first horse here 60 years ago.”
During the race, Judy DeMeo's emotions went from disappointment to elation in a matter of seconds.
“From where we were sitting I couldn't see the race very well,” she said. “My granddaughter, Tiana, had a better view and she was telling me what was happening.
“When she said the horse got passed turning into the stretch, I put my head down and thought we'd lost. Then she started screaming that he was back in front and I started watching again. It's such a thrill to win here.”
Jack Jack Jack won for the first time after disappointing in his first four starts.
The gelding added blinkers for Friday's race.
“The blinkers helped keep his mind on business,” Jack said. “The way he finished going six furlongs, I think he'll like the longer distances.”
He completed the six furlongs in 1:10.76, an excellent time for maiden claimers. He paid $7.80 to win. If he comes out of his race in good order, Jack Jack Jack might run once more before closing day on Aug. 11.
- The DeMeos almost had a second winner on Friday. However, Candy Can Do settled for second-place money in a race at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.