Ritascape and LeWayne Miller pulled off a stunning upset in the featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (June 13). As the longest shot on the board, Ritascape used a perfect pocket trip to score her sixth win of the season and established a new lifetime best of 1:51.3 in the process.
Leaving from post two in the field of six, Ritascape was hustled away from the gate just enough to protect her inside position. American Girl and Tyler Smith fired from the gate and were the first to get a call at the first station in a :27.2. Ritascape followed intently in second while last week's winner, Mach Me Not and Sam Widger, were next in line in third. Widger gave Mach Me Not the green light down the backside and American Girl yielded the lead through a second panel in :56.
No Respect and Trace Tetrick were the first to commit to the outer flow as the field approached the final turn and Igottafeelinfran and Brad Hanners quickly followed suit and joined the outer flow. Mach Me Not reached the three-quarter clocking in 1:24.2 and braced herself for the long Hoosier Park stretch.
American Girl tipped from the pocket and took aim at the leader while Ritascape found racing room up the rail. Using a :26.3 last quarter, Ritascape charged down the lane and was able to finish a length in front of Mach Me Not at the wire. Mach Me Not held on for second place honors while American Girl battled gamely to round out the trifecta. Dismissed at 14-1, Ritascape returned $30.80 to her backers at the window.
"It was a great trip for her tonight,” Miller noted after the win. "The last couple weeks the race just didn't work out for us for one reason or another. Tonight, she was really sharp and the trip went our way. I knew coming around the last turn if I could get room down the lane she would be good.”
Trained by Homer Hochstetler, Ritascape has now won 12 of her 25 lifetime outings while amassing $159,004 for her connections. The daughter of Artiscape-Rita J is owned by Connie and Homer Hochstetler and South of The Tracks Race Inc. and has won six of 12 outings in 2014.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Saturday, June 14 with a 14-race card highlighted by the $22,000 Invitational Trot and Pace. Live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the 160-day, all harness racing meet will be conducted through November 15. (Hoosier)