Natural Herbie, with Verlin Yoder at the lines, shattered a nine-year-old track record for older trotting geldings when he powered home a winner in 1:52.4 in the $22,000 Invitational Trot at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday (June 21). The previous record of 1:53 was established by Hesza Laser and David Miller in 2005 and equaled last week in the very same event by Penn and Brad Hanners.
The 1:52.4 score by Natural Herbie was just a fifth of a second off the overall trotting track record, a 1:52.3 mark that was established by Uncle Peter and David Miller in the $200,00 Centaur Trotting Classic last season. The time also marked the fifth track record that has been equaled or lowered over Hoosier Park's seven-eighths mile oval in 2014.
Leaving from post three, Natural Herbie was unhurried off the gate and settled along the rail in third. Summer Indian and Ricky Macomber Jr. fired from the gate and landed on top through an opening panel in a snappy :26.4. Somebody As and Ross Leonard benefitted from a pocket trip while Banker Volo followed intently in third. Summer Indian continued to call the shots at the second station in :56.3 but would quickly be joined by Natural Herbie on the outside.
Reaching the three-quarter mark in 1:25.1, Natural Herbie had already started his first-over attack and was able to wear down the tiring leader in the final turn. Penn was well placed second over but was no match for Natural Herbie who was strong on the front.
Turning for home, Yoder asked his mount for more and Natural Herbie found another gear. Using a :27.3 final panel, Natural Herbie put his talent on display and trotted away from the field, finishing four lengths in front of his competitors. Somebody As trotted evenly to finish second while Penn rounded out the trifecta. As the 3-1 choice, Natural Herbie returned $8.20 to his backers at the window.
An Indiana Sires Stakes Champion at both two and three, Natural Herbie is in the midst of another stellar campaign. The four-year-old gelding bested his lifetime mark by a full second with the 1:52.4 score. Sired by Here Comes Herbie, the black gelding has now won four of 11 seasonal starts while bankrolling over $45,960 for owner, trainer, driver Verlin Yoder in 2014. Sporting a career bankroll of $435,441, Natural Herbie has hit the board in 16 of 35 lifetime outings.
Live racing returns to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, June 24. The 14-race card will be highlighted by the opening round of the $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes action for two-year-old trotting colts. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. (Hoosier)