ABC Mercedes wins first start of 2010
April 10, 2010
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ABC Mercedes cruised home a winner in his first start of 2010 in the co-featured $23,000 Invitational Trot Saturday at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Driven by trainer-driver Joe “True Blue” Putnam, the Indiana-standout trotted home in a time of 1:55.4.
Starting from the second tier post 10, Putnam had no choice but to follow the field out from behind the Todd Nixon starting gate. Speed N The Tunnel and Sam Widger left alertly on the inside to reach the quarter mile marker in :27.4. However, their lead was short lived as Lemoyne “Mooney” Svendsen had Claudius Augustus out and moving to the lead on the backstretch, posting the half-mile time in :57.3.
At this point, ABC Mercedes was out and ready to advance forward, flushing Joey Three Chins and Dan Shetler out, creating a perfect second-over journey to the stretch. In the stretch, it took Putnam only a few taps to get ABC Mercedes into top gear and trot home in :27.3 to earn the victory, one-half length over Speed N The Tunnel. Claudius Augustus, the Invitational winner the past two weeks, finished third.
“I was a little leery starting on the back tier, but we ended up with good cover and he trotted a good mile,” said Putnam, who has had ABC Mercedes his entire career. “He’s been training back really well, and I thought he’d race well. But, you always figure a horse needs a start or two before he’s really ready.”
ABC Mercedes is owned by Larry Miller of Springport, Ind. The five-year-old son of ABC Garland is closing in on $500,000 in career earnings. With 29 wins in 42 career starts, ABC Mercedes has been the top trotter in his class the past two seasons in the state of Indiana.
“This horse (ABC Mercedes) wintered well and has been sharp all spring,” said Putnam. “He likes to do his work and he’s got a great attitude. He qualified really well, too, so we are really pleased with how he’s returned to the track this year.”
Putnam, who is part of the Fab Five at Hoosier Park, is among the track’s top five drivers all-time with 558 career wins. The native of Michigan relocated to Indiana shortly after the track opened in the mid 1990s. Putnam has right at 2,800 career wins as a driver and more than $13 million in purse earnings during his career. In addition to his driving skills, Putnam has fared well in the training ranks. He is sixth on the list of all-time leading trainers at Hoosier Park with 212 career wins. (Hoosier Park)