As the Butler Bulldogs prepare for the upcoming NCAA Final Four games in Indianapolis, Butler Bulldog, the equine representative in the state of Indiana, was doing a little prep work of his own. Butler Bulldog, a 3-year-old trotter, set the winning tone Wednesday 31 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, capturing the first race of the evening with trainer Doug Rideout in the race bike.
Starting from post seven, Butler Bulldog stayed relatively obscure as the field of eight left from the starting gate. However, down the backstretch was a different story. Butler Bulldog was in full-court press mode as he powered toward the lead. The son of Butler Hall rallied to the top and never looked back, earning his first win of the season in his first start back for 2010.
“This horse’s father is Butler Hall and we were looking for a name for this colt,” said co-owner Dr. Alan White. “Our daughter, Sara, is a graduate of Butler University, so we thought it was a perfect fit, and we hoped that he would race well and pull in some interest from Butler fans. Sara even posted the information about Butler Bulldog racing tonight on Butler University’s Facebook page.”
Butler Bulldog was an easy winner by four lengths at the finish line in a time of 2:01.3 for the one-mile distance. Private Marino and driver Jason Dillander finished second over Riff Raff Rupert and Hoosier Park’s leading driver Peter Wrenn for third.
With five wins as a freshman last season, Butler Bulldog is a solid contender on the Rideout roster. He pulled in more than $60,000 in earnings in 2009. White, a resident of Fountain City, Ind., co-owns the colt with Rideout’s wife, Julie, of Winchester, Ind.
“We thought he (Butler Bulldog) had a good chance to win tonight,” said White. “He finished second by one-half length last year in the $150,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final to our other horse, Skyway Cruiser, so we are happy he’s come back to race well this year.”
Skyway Cruiser proved he has returned to his previous form as well. The 3-year-old son of Keep It A Secret won the third race on the program in his 2010 debut. Also driven by Rideout, Skyway Cruiser earned his victory by more than eight lengths in a time of 2:01.2, just a fifth of a second faster than stablemate Butler Bulldog.
Both Butler Bulldog and Skyway Cruiser will be heading to the rich Indiana Sires Stakes series this season. The first round for the sophomore trotters is set for Saturday, April 24. Both horses will be vying for the top prize in the $40,000 first round of the series leading up to the $200,000 final set for Saturday, July 10 at Hoosier Park. (Hoosier Park)