Jazzy Idea was always quick, maybe too quick this time. The 4-year-old filly, a winner of eight races and $449,00, a track-record holder, a Maryland-bred champion, has been retired.
Owner/trainer/breeder Edwin Merryman pinned the blame on a breathing issue, halting the daughter of Great Notion's career after 18 starts. She joins Merryman's small broodmare band at Anchor and Hope Farm in Port Deposit, though she was not bred in 2013.
"She's turned out with the mares, and couldn't be happier," said Merryman. "She hit the lottery. She looks like a million dollars and gets to be a mother."
Jazzy Idea had minor surgery to repair a leg fracture late last year and spent the winter recuperating. Put back in work this spring, she stepped through early training on the farm and then at Fair Hill Training Center with no problems. Jazzy Idea has always been a noisy breather, but scoped clean throughout her career and trained through any problems. Her race record obviously showed no ill effects.
As her training increased this spring, however, Jazzy Idea struggled with the issue and an endoscopic examination revealed paralyzed vocal chords (80 percent, according to her trainer).
"The first month here we were low key and it really wasn't an issue," Merryman said. "I finally made myself scope her, put her on some medication, thought she might train through it. It didn't really get any better."
Tie-back surgery was an option, but Merryman declined. He didn't want to see his filly regress in form or put herself at risk.
"As hard as she runs, the last thing in the world I want to happen is for her to get tired, get trying too hard, not be able to breathe the way she needs to and then take a bad step," Merryman said. "I don't think I would forgive myself if something happened to her."
After three losses to start her career, Jazzy Idea won twice as a 2-year-old in 2011. She returned the next season and went on a tear - winning six times including five stakes. She even tackled Grade 1 company twice at Saratoga, finishing fourth in the Prioress and fifth in the Test. She capped the year with two strong wins, a Maryland Million Oaks triumph going a mile on the dirt and then an upset of Ben's Cat in the 6-furlong Laurel Dash on the turf at Laurel Park. She stopped the clock in 1:07.29 in the latter, breaking the mark she set in winning the Jameela Stakes the previous month.
Merryman will remember such performances fondly.
"She spoiled me," he said. "I get quite a bit more joy looking out over my broodmare band than I do looking over my racing string right now. It's a pretty unexciting racing string without her."