Day At The Track

Custard The Dragon - $500,000 Hoosier Cup

02:34 AM 26 Jun 2011 NZST
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Custard The Dragon and Montrell Teague Custard The Dragon connections
Custard The Dragon and Montrell Teague - win the final edition of the $500,000 Hoosier Cup
Custard The Dragon connections

Custard The Dragon and harness racing driver Montrell Teague blew by the competition in the stretch to win the final edition of the $500,000 Hoosier Cup at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino Saturday, June 25. Teague became the youngest driver to ever win a major stakes race at Hoosier Park and earned his biggest win to date.

Starting from post three, Teague got the first call for the lead with Custard The Dragon, but he was under pressure immediately as Big Bad John and Brett Miller moved in to take control of the front at the quarter-mile marker in :27.0. Down the backstretch, Custard The Dragon was able to keep Big Bad John on the outside for several strides, making it more difficult for him to reach the lead before the half-mile marker in a time of :53.3.

Sitting in the two-hole around the final turn, horses began to move into contention on the outside as Big Bad John continued to lead the way. Townslight Hanover was the first to approach the leaders from the outside for driver Trace Tetrick. However, he could not continue his attack to the front, giving Teague just enough room to move Custard The Dragon out at the three-quarter-mile marker in a time of 1:23.0.

In the stretch, Custard The Dragon and Big Bad John went at it for an intense stretch battle. Big Bad John did not give in easily but Custard The Dragon finally got the best of him and moved on to the lead. Several horses began go close quickly on the outside. Alsace Hanover showed the biggest kick at the end. Custard The Dragon was too strong in the end, roaring under the wire in a time of 1:50.0 to set a new stakes and track record for the event. Alsace Hanover and Scott Zeron finished second over Wink N Atcha and Yannick Gingras for third.

“I didn’t expect him (Custard The Dragon) to go right on by him (Big Bad John),” said Teague. “He’s always like that, no matter what position he’s in. He always tries his hardest and never gets tired.”

At the age of 20, Teague continues to make his mark in the driving ranks in several of the major stakes races across North America. The win in the Hoosier Cup has special meaning to him.

“This is my biggest win to date,” said Teague. “Before that, it was a $300,000 race. It’s an amazing feeling to win and to get the record. Nobody can ever take this away from me.”

The win in the Hoosier Cup also marks the third for trainer George Teague Jr., who also campaigned Total Truth to victory in 2006 and Mr Wiggles in 2009. Total Truth also held the stakes and track record for three-year-old colts prior to the race in a time of 1:50.1.

Custard The Dragon now has three wins in eight starts for owners Ted Gewertz, Robert Feldman, Fannin Racing and Teague, Jr. this season. The three-year-old son of Dragon Again nearly doubled his career earnings, boosting his bankroll to more than $526,000.

“It feels really great to win this race again,” said Teague Jr. “It’s double rewarding to win with Montrell driving. I always enjoy coming to Indiana to race.”

The Hoosier Cup was first held in 1997. The race has been supported by some of the top three-year-olds in the nation over the years, including Total Truth, who went on to be named 2006 Pacer of the Year. The Hoosier Cup will be discontinued after this year.

“Due to recent changes in legislation that has put pressure on our Standardbred purse account, we had to make a decision whether we wanted to maintain our current overnight purse structure or eliminate the Hoosier Cup,” said Kevin Mack, racing secretary. “Nominations and entries have steadily declined over the years for the Hoosier Cup, and it’s increasingly difficult to attract three-year-olds to the Midwest due to purse increases at other venues on the East Coast. We felt it was more beneficial to our racing program to continue to grow our current schedule and discontinue the Hoosier Cup.”

Tammy KNOX

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