Day At The Track

Bluebird Elian back on track at Hoosier

06:29 AM 26 Jun 2011 NZST
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Bluebird Elian
Bluebird Elian - Turned in a powerful performance to win his division

Bluebird Elian was back to his old form Saturday, June 25, taking the fourth and final leg of the $40,000 Indiana Sires Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The three-year-old reigning freshman trotting champ turned in a powerful performance to win his division by 10 and one-half lengths in a time of 1:57.4 for harness racing trainer driver Dan Shetler.

Shetler recognized that Bluebird Elian had been experiencing issues with breaking stride and chose not to gun him out to the lead from the start, despite his post one. Instead, Bluebird Elian settled in nicely in fourth as Muscle Kid and Sam Widger led the way through early fractions of :27.4 and :57.4.

Eventually, Bluebird Elian was flushed out around the final turn in first-over fashion and began to approach the top pair. Just after the three-quarter mile marker in a time of 1:28.2, Bluebird Elian began to shine.

The strong son of Southwind Elian opened up on the field and never slowed down, grabbing his first win of the season. Mo Tator and Mark O'Mara held ground along the inside for second as Muscle Kid held on for third.

Bluebird Elian recently joined the Shetler stable at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Known for his expertise with trotters, previous trainer Erv Miller contacted Shetler about taking the Indiana trotting standout this season. "I've had him (Bluebird Elian) since his last Sires Stakes start," said Shetler. "Erv (Miller) called and wanted me to take him and see what I could do. We made some small changes and qualified him. So far, he seems like he's returning to his old form and gaining confidence."

Owned by Leland Mathias and Erv Miller Stables of Illinois, Bluebird Elian completed his two-year-old season with more than $232,000 in earnings.

Picking up a mark of 1:57.3 at Indiana Downs last fall, Bluebird Elian won both finals of the Indiana Sires Stakes last fall.

"He (Bluebird Elian) is a handsome, very smart horse, and you barely know he's there in the barn," said Shetler. "He was very handy tonight, and he acts like he's getting his confidence back. He was well in hand. I'm real satisfied with the way he raced. He just needs to get his confidence level back and get over making breaks and get around the track without any mistakes."

Bluebird Elian will advance to the $200,000 final Saturday, July 16. The race will be part of Hoosier Champions Night, featuring more than $1 million in purses for the Indiana Sires Stakes.

The evening will also be part of the national harness racing promotion "Back to the Track" night.

The Indiana Standardbred Association will offer several additional promotions and giveaways throughout the evening to mark the final night of harness racing for 2011.

In the other division of three-year-old trotting colts, Roydon and driver Rick Farrington were strong in picking up the win in a time of 1:58.4. Owned and trained by Aaron Stutzman, Roydon is currently five for six n 2011 with Farrington aboard for all of his wins. The chestnut son of CJ's Secret also heads to the $200,000 final Saturday, July 16.

Tammy Knox

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