After dominating the Kentucky fair and sire stakes harness racing circuits, Ohmybelle is taking her show on the road.
Ohmybelle, trained and driven by Randal Jerrell, is heading to Indiana Downs, where on Saturday she will compete in the second of two Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes divisions for 2-year-old filly pacers. Among her foes will be Nikki Beach, who missed winning the Sweetheart Pace by a neck in August, and Arden Downs division winner Donna Lee.
Ohmybelle, owned by Janet Lee Banks, has won nine of 11 races, finished second twice, and earned $162,625 this season. She is coming off a 1-3/4 length victory over Diligent Prospect in the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes championship last Sunday at Lexington's Red Mile.
"It's definitely more competitive than what she's been in," Jerrell said of Ohmybelle's task against six rivals in the $117,250 Kentuckiana Stallion Management. "But I'm satisfied with the draw and I like the smaller field. I hope we'll get a good trip and everything will work out well."
Although Ohmybelle's best win time of 1:54.2 is fifth best in the field, Jerrell is hopeful the filly can step up against the competition. She finished second, timed in 1:52.4, on August 30 in a leg of the Kentucky Sire Stakes after leading the field to the half-mile point in :55 and three-quarters in 1:23.4.
"I wound up on the front end and got pushed a little bit more than what I really wanted to go," Jerrell said. "I'm hoping with a better trip, with her not on the front end, if they go those same kinds of fractions that she can hang on a little better."
Ohmybelle won her first seven starts on the fair stakes circuit, which helped boost her confidence and gave Jerrell additional insight.
"I kind of found out in racing her around the fairs that I could drive her any way I wanted to," Jerrell said. "She's not real bad off the gate; you can leave with her or back her off, either one. She can come from behind if she needs to, although she's never been further back than fourth."
A daughter of-My Best Girl, Ohmybelle was purchased for $11,000 under the name Addie Leigh at the Lexington Selected Sale.
"We were looking for a Kentucky-sired (horse) and kept waiting for something we could afford," Jerrell said. "I looked at every Kentucky-sired that was in the sale and she was a nice sized filly. Some others that we looked at were way out of our (price) range and when she came through we just hung with her until we got her."
Ohmybelle will return to Kentucky for the Grand Circuit at Lexington's Red Mile, where she is staked to the Bluegrass and International Stallion Stakes. She also has the American-National Stakes on her schedule.
"I would like to see her keep improving," Jerrell said. "She's always had a good stride on her. About the middle of the spring she started coming around and showing us she had a good lick to her. She's always been a big gaited filly. Everyone that came by and saw her jogging always liked the way she looked from day one."
The first Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes features Always About Katey and Authorize.
Always About Katey, trained by Roger Welch and driven by Peter Wrenn, has won five of six races this year and is coming off a victory in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Gold final last Saturday at Indiana Downs while Authorize, with Dave Palone listed to drive Saturday for trainer Tony Alagna, won the $150,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in August at the Meadowlands.
by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
Courtesy of The United States Trotting association Web Newsroom