Hoof Beats Magazine

DEC 2017

Official magazine of the U.S. Trotting Association, covering harness racing and the Standardbred horse.

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Cross made it, and has carved out a career in the sport that allowed him to support not only himself, but later his wife, Pam, and son, Jeremy, now 18. In 36 years as a catch-driver, the veteran has driven champion racehorses, bottom- level claimers, and everything in between. One of the first horses to gain him prominence as a driver was the Ohio product Justabit Of Magic. As a sopho- more, the son of Chairmanoftheboard finished first or second in 14 of 15 starts and earned $121,713. Racing in the Little Brown Jug undercard, Justabit Of Magic and Cross paced to a 1:53.1 victory in the final of the Ohio Breeders Champion- ship, while Fake Left captured the 1992 edition of the Jug in 1:54.4 in a raceoff. Justabit Of Magic would be named Ohio Horse of the Year at season's end. "He set the record for 3-year- old geldings on a half-mile track," Cross said of the pacer. "That was my first world record." This summer the reinsman reached a personal milestone when he earned his 3,000th career win. The victory came with soph- omore trotting gelding Sweetascantab at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair in Goshen, Ind. It was fitting he achieved the mile- stone at his home track where family and friends could join in the celebration. As a trainer, Cross has sent out 384 winners that have earned purses of some $2.3 million. He enjoys the challenge of working with young horses, which is what makes him a man that is in demand at Indiana fair stops. Cross is quick to credit his wife for a lot of his success, not- ing that he couldn't have accomplished what he has without her support, which often includes working side-by-side with him in the barn or at the fairs. The 62-year-old is known as an "old school" horseman. He shoes his own horses, a practice he has maintained for the last 40-plus years. "When a new horse comes in the barn, 28 HOOF BEATS DECEMBER 2017 '' When a new horse comes in the barn, I'm chomping at the bit to shoe them. I'm always looking at horses' feet. If I think I can try to help the horse, that's what I try to do." Jay Cross PROFILE Jay Cross PHOTOS BY DEAN GILLETTE MILESTONE: Sporting his ever-present toothpick, Cross notched his 3,000th driving win this summer behind Sweetascantab at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair in Goshen, Ind., his home track. Inset: His son, Jeremy, was among those congratulating him in the winner's circle afterward.

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