Day At The Track

Indiana's track 'Dash and Distance Challenge'

09:42 PM 14 Aug 2011 NZST
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Indiana Downs' third race Saturday evening (Aug. 13) was billed as a 1-5/8-mile trot, but the test of endurance was decided in the final strides as Glorydays Hanover put a neck in front on the outside to edge Lookin' Ahead by a neck in 3:17.3. The event was one of seven races that comprised the harness racing track's Dash and Distance Challenge.

"It was pretty exciting," said winning trainer and driver Verlin Yoder. "We were nose-to-nose with Pete (Wrenn) and Sam (Widger) through the stretch. After going that distance, it was great that the finish was that close."

Starting on the backstretch of Indiana Downs' mile configuration, Cellebrity Force and Gerald Kazmaier took command at the onset with favorite Four Starz Kid in second. Lookin' Ahead, Glorydays Hanover and the rest of the field of six followed the leaders past the grandstand the first time, with Cellebrity Force setting the fractions and leading the field through the final turn.

Wrenn pulled the pocket with Four Starz Kid and quickly took the lead at the top of the stretch, but was soon challenged by Lookin' Ahead, with Glorydays Hanover drifting three-wide to join the battle. The 4-year-old SJ's Caviar-Giant Motion mare closed the gap in the lane and surged in front just before the wire to win the $15,000 contest.

"As we went by the tote board the first time she swelled up. The further we went she just kept swelling up," Yoder explained. "When we went past what would be the five-eighths-pole on a regular mile she was still in the muscle pretty good. I didn't pop the plugs until we were at Sam's wheel and she just responded."

While the 1-5/8-mile contest required patience and a little strategy, the sprint events were nothing more than a dash for the cash. The program opened with a 3/16-mile trot, won by Friday Nite Dinky and driver Josh Sutton. The duo covered the distance in 19.3. Last year Friday Nite Dinky finished second in the same event at Indiana Downs.

"Once she sprung out off the wings she was home free," Sutton said of the Kawartha Special mare. "We were just wide open; no strategy."

Armbro Doyle and Jason Dillander finished three-quarters of a length back in second. Allen Anderson trains and owns the 8-year-old mare, collecting her first seasonal win in four starts.

Dillander and gelding Electric Lad may have put on the best performance of the evening. Competing in the 1/8-mile pace, the 6-year-old and his pilot fired off the gate and left the competition in the dust, crossing the wire two lengths in front in 11.3. Dax Hanover followed the favorite, with Got ‘Er Done pacing third. Jacqueline Ricks trains Electric Lad.

"He's one of the fastest horses to sit behind out of the gate," Dillander commented. "I thought he had a good shot at winning, but I didn't think he would open up on them like that."

Favored Actionuke and Sam Widger won the first of two 5/8-mile pacing events Saturday evening with a 1:07.4 performance. Benefitting from a speedy 25 quarter and 53.1 half executed by Bullard and Terry Cullipher, the Ryan Bellamy-trained entry marched by the pacesetter in the stretch to win by 5-1/4 lengths. Meritage Hanover rounded out the trifecta.

"He's an old class horse and he's pretty handy," Bellamy said of the 8-year-old No Nukes gelding. "It's good to have some speed but not necessarily be a complete front runner. We got a dream trip for that race."

The other 5/8-mile contest was won by Hillcrest Bigdaddy and trainer Tom Hall. The tandem kept a neck in front of Race Track Warrior and Tyler Smith in a time of 1:10. Favorite Mr Jamial C W finished three lengths back in third.

Mac Jonathan VP and Trace Tetrick led wire-to-wire in the 1-3/16-mile pace, stopping the clock in 2:18.3. In another distance event for pacers, Holy Buck and Wrenn took the lead racing to the half and won a soggy 1-1/8-mile pace in 2:14.3.

Three $40,000 Indiana Sires Stakes events for sophomore pacing colts were offered Saturday evening. GD Airliner captured the first division with a lifetime best 1:52.1 performance. The Panspacificflight gelding, trained by Erv Miller, was driven to victory by Marcus Miller. Favored Lost Jewels and Ricky Macomber Jr. took command after the half and splashed home to a 1:54 win in the second split. In the last $40,000 division, heavily favored Flight Elal led the field into the stretch but could not withstand a late challenge by Yankees In Six (Panspacificflight), a 1:54.2 winner. Straight Dancer, moving up the inside, edged Flight Elal for second. Dave Magee drove Yankees In Six for trainer Tim Wilson Jr. and co-owners Terry Ehardt and David Maier.

from Indiana Downs

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom


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