Driver Dan Shetler turned in an outstanding showing in the third leg of Indiana Sire Stakes action Friday night at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Shetler brought home four winners in the $40,000 events, two of which came from his own barn.
Shetler’s final win of the night came behind Lakeview Fest, a 3-year-old trotting filly that is now two for three in 2011. Owned by Lester Raber of Loogootee, Ind., the daughter of ABC Garland was a strong contender in last year’s series, earning more than $173,000 and the title in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final at Indiana Downs. She has returned to racing this year just as skilled and proved she is a major threat in her category.
Starting from post five in the 11-filly lineup, Lakeview Fest showed just enough early speed to get away in third as She’s All Guts and Walter Haynes Jr. stepped out to grab the lead from the far outside, posting the quarter mile time in :28.3. Soxy’s Kid and Rick Schaut were right there to challenge and move onto the front before the halfway point in :58.2. However, their spot was not unchallenged. Skyway Priss and Don Eash attempted to unseat the top ones, but could not get the best of them. Shetler saw an opportunity to get out behind Skyway Priss and follow along through the final turn before tipping three wide and getting into position for the stretch drive home.
In the lane, She’s All Guts moved from the two hole and looked primed for a big effort. However, she could not fend off the advances of Lakeview Fest, who trotted home the quickest, picking up the win in a time of 1:59. She’s All Guts was three-quarters of a length back in second followed by Sergio GL and Marlin Fry, who moved in for third.
“She (Lakeview Fest) is normally strong at the end of the mile,” said Shetler. “She’s just been getting a little better every start. But, it’s still a little early in the season.”
Shetler, known for his expertise with trotters, also sent out ABC Easter earlier in the night for a win in the first division of 3-year-old trotting fillies. Also a favorite in her division, the ABC Garland filly is now three for four this season for owners Crystal Ball Stables of Holland, Ohio and Shetler. She won by a margin of two lengths in a time of 1:59.3.
Other wins on the night included a pair of wins in the 3-year-old filly pace divisions with Radar Contact and Endeavor’s Glory. Heavily favored Radar Contact was a winner by 6 1/2 in a time of 1:54.3 while Endeavor’s Glory was more of a surprise, only winning by one-half length in a time of 1:55.3, a career best.
“I didn’t really expect to win four tonight,” said Shetler. “It’s always good when you can win that many Sires stakes in one night.”
Shetler holds the record for most stakes wins by a trainer over Hoosier Park’s oval with 23 heading into the 2011 racing season. With more than 2,200 career wins, he has been a force among the standings each season. He continues to lead the way among all drivers and trainers for most Indiana Sire Stakes wins at Hoosier Park. (Hoosier Park)