Bates doubles up in Indiana Sires Stakes
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Freshman pacing fillies were the featured attraction at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday in four $36,000 divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes action. Heavy favorites Foxy Rigger and Grace Rocks played their part in delivering in their divisions, but it was driver Brandon Bates who came home with the most stakes wins of the night with winning drives on Western Sierra and Priceless, with whom he also takes the training title.
The first division kicked the night off with a win for Brian Brown trainee Foxy Rigger, who scored back-to-back stakes wins. Stopping the clock in 1:52, Foxy Rigger used a front stepping effort to establish a new lifetime mark.
Foxy Rigger and Trace Tetrick went straight for the lead when the race began to establish the opening quarter of :27. Odds On Madison with Peter Wrenn also left alertly for position and were able to grab a pocket seat hoping to catch the leader. The fillies remained in their positions through the half in :56.1 and the third quarter in 1:25.3.
Turning for home, Foxy Rigger and Odds On Madison engaged in a full-on stretch battle. The fillies were matching strides to the wire, but Foxy Rigger utilized a :26.2 closing kick and dug ahead by almost a length, stopping the clock in 1:52. Odds On Madison’s effort paid off in a second-place finish while Rocksann with John De Long rallied in the stretch for third. Foxy Rigger paid $2.40 to win.
“She’ll race well no matter where she’s at,” driver Tetrick noted after the win. “She’s a quality filly and they’re doing all the right things with her. She was strong right down to the wire.”
Foxy Rigger is the daughter of Riggins-Foxy Angel and is owned by Country Club Acres, L&H Management Services, Lombardo/Green Racing and Tim Lane. With the win, Foxy Rigger now sports a lifetime bankroll of $41,250. She is undefeated in all three of her career starts.
The second division brought Priceless with Bates to the winner’s circle for back-to-back stakes wins. Sent off as the heavy 1-5 favorite, Priceless went right to the front and never looked back to notch her second consecutive victory and establish a new lifetime best.
When the wings of the gate opened, Priceless defended her rail position and left alertly to grab the lead, followed closely by Always In Motion and Tetrick. The field continued in straight formation through opening fractions of :26.4 and :56.3, where Priceless remained unchallenged by trailing horses.
Once the fillies hit the third quarter in 1:25.4, Priceless began to distance herself from her competition, opening up by nearly four lengths throughout the stretch. By the time she crossed the wire in 1:52.1, she had a six-length lead over the field. Always In Motion held on for second while Townline Adios with LeWayne Miller fought for third. Priceless paid $2.40 for her betting backers.
“She’s a very tough and versatile filly,” trainer, driver Bates revealed in the winner’s circle. “She takes care of herself, lives her best and loves to eat. Her next start will be at the state fair next week but then she’ll be back here for more Sires Stakes.”
Priceless, the daughter of Rockin Image-Btwnyurheartnmine now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $36,000. She is owned by Kevin Miller and Bert Hochsprung and is now undefeated in both of her career starts.
Division three brought driver Bates to the winner’s circle again when he guided Western Sierra to a maiden-breaking win. Slightly dismissed at 6-1, Western Sierra staged a big rally late in the lane to get the win.
At the start of the race, heavy favorite Flirtinwithtrouble with John De Long went straight for the lead while Western Sierra patiently took a pocket trip. Through opening fractions of :26.4 and :56.3, the top two pacers remained unchallenged while the rest of the field swapped positions.
After the third quarter in 1:25:3, Bates began to move Western Sierra to begin to apply pressure on Flirtinwithtrouble. By the time Western Sierra had crossed the wire in 1:53.2, she had established a three-length lead over Flirtinwithtrouble who held on for second. Full Moon Martha with Sam Widger paced evenly for third. In the slight upset, Western Sierra paid $15.40 to win.
“In the stretch, she had the bit in her mouth and she was up and ready to go,” driver Bates stated after the victory. “She has a real will to race—it’s clear that she loves what she does and looks forward to it every week.”
Western Sierra is trained by William Crone. The daughter of Straight Shooting-Sierra Blue Chip now sports a lifetime bankroll of $34,745 for owner John Barnard.
The fourth and final division brought home another favorite as Grace Rocks with Sam Widger powered home a winner for trainer Ronnie Roberts. Establishing a new lifetime mark of 1:52.1, Grace Rocks dug in gamely late in the lane to get the win.
When the wings of the gate opened, Seventimesacharm with De Long took the leading position followed by Odds On Melanie with Peter Wrenn. By the opening fraction in :27.1, Kickin Up My Heels with Tetrick moved into the lead with Seventimesacharm and Odds On Melanie following closely behind.
The field remained in straight formation through the half in :56.1. Grace Rocks began to make her move to the lead not long after the half and grabbed the front by the third quarter in 1:24.4. The stretch turned into a battle with the top four fillies nearly matching strides. With a :26.4 final quarter, Grace Rocks surged ahead of her competition, crossing the wire with a two-length lead. Odds OnMelanie grabbed the second spot and Kickin Up My Heels was third. Grace Rocks paid $2.60 to win.
“I always like to hear what the trainer has to say before the race,” driver Widger mentioned in the winner’s circle. “She’s a nice filly who’s well-mannered, which is important. She does what she’s asked and she’s versatile.”
Grace Rocks, the daughter of Rockin Image-Cosmic Grace, is owned by Howard Taylor. She now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $31,750 and has won three of her four lifetime starts.(Hoosier Park)