Big numbers for 2YOs in Indiana Sires Stakes
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A total of 718 nominations for 2-year-old trotters and pacers have been processed for the Indiana Sires Stakes, extending a streak of increasing numbers in previous years. A five percent increase has been noted between 2018 and 2019, bettering the two percent increase from 2017 to 2018.
Expectations are high for the Indiana Standardbred Breed Development Program to capitalize on 2018, which saw the likes of 2-year-old powerhouse Swandre The Giant (Swan For All) go undefeated in his first seven starts on the track.
“It’s always fun to see the list of 2 year olds coming through for nominations because sometimes it’s the first time we’ll see Indiana sires trying to make an impact on the industry,” said Jessica Barnes, director of racing and breed development. “It’ll be a fun race meet to watch these young horses grow and develop.”
Once again leading the charge for pacers, last year’s champion sire Always A Virgin (Western Ideal-Neverhaveneverwill) has 75 foals nominated out of the total of 338 2-year-old pacers. Newcomer stallion Time To Roll will have 63 colts and fillies hitting the track to make his sire debut. The now 10-year-old stallion stands at Schwartz Boarding Farm in Berne, Ind., and is by Rocknroll Hanover and out of the Real Artist mare Kikikatie. His lifetime best mark is 1:48.2 with earnings of $803,625.
Leading the list for trotters is perennial champion sire Swan For All (Andover Hall-Swan Lake) with 71 totters nominated out of the total 290 2-year-olds. Standing alongside Swan For All at Victory Hill Farm in LaGrange, Ind., Whom Shall I Fear makes his sire debut with 34 foals representing the 7-year-old stallion. By Cantab Hall and out of the Enjoy Lavec mare Galadream, Whom Shall I Fear won two legs of the Spring Preview Series at The Meadowlands at age 3.
The 2019 race season debuts the new format for the Indiana Sires Stakes. Two year olds will have six legs with the $250,000 Super Final. Three year olds will have eight legs plus a $250,000 Super Final, to be contested Oct. 11.
The revamped Sires Stakes program is estimated to pay out $8.5 million in purses during 2019, in comparison to $7.8 million distributed during 2018. When combined with additional opportunities for Indiana Sired and/or Bred horses, such as Late Closers, Indiana Sired Overnights, Fair Stakes and the Mini Series, the 2019 Standardbred Breed Development Program will offer more than $13.6 million in purses and incentives for program participants.
The official Sires Stakes season starts May 29, with the first leg of the 3-year-old filly trot. The 2-year-olds take to the track for the first time July 9 with the filly trot. (Indiana Horse Racing Commission)