Crown starters redeem in Hoosier stakes
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Fresh off the heels of a successful Breeders Crown weekend, Grand Circuit racing action was back in the spotlight at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday. The evening’s 12-race card was highlighted by the $140,000 Crossroads of America for 3-year-old filly trotters, The $125,000 USS Indianapolis Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies, The $235,000 Carl Erskine Memorial for 3-year-old colt trotters, and The $245,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, many of which featured rematches from the Breeders Crown finals.
After finishing second to divisional leader Ariana G in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Filly Trot last week, Ice Attraction rebounded gamely and turned in a dominant performance to capture the $140,000 Crossroads of America Stakes in 1:53.3 with Trace Tetrick in the bike.
Tasked with the outside post nine, Ice Attraction left alertly for position but so did a host of others. Overdraft Volo and Andy Miller were the first to get a call through the opening panel in :27 but quickly yielded the lead to That’s All Moni and Mark MacDonald just before the half. That’s All Moni dictated fractions of :55.2 and 1:24.2 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field.
Unable to find a spot along the rail, Ice Attraction was parked for the entirety of the mile but continued to press on to the lead. As the field turned for home, Ice Attraction was matching strides with the leader before she utilized a :29 final quarter to get the win by 2 1/2 lengths. After a ground-saving trip, Overdraft Volo rallied for second while That’s All Moni held on for third-place honors. As the 4-5 favorite, Ice Attraction returned $3.80 for the win.
Sired by Muscle Hill out of the Conway Hall mare The Ice Queen, Ice Attraction is trained by Ake Svanstedt who also co-owns the filly with Douglas Sipple, Mal and Janet Burroughs, and Little E LLC. Recording her sixth victory in 19 starts this season and her ninth in 28 overall, Ice Attraction has bankrolled $490,842 in lifetime purse earnings.
In the very next race on the program, Agent Q and driver David Miller found the winner’s circle and delivered as the heavy betting favorite to take the $125,000 USS Indianapolis Memorial. Stopping the timer in 1:51.1, Agent Q became the sport’s newest millionaire with the victory.
Leaving from post four, Miller sent Agent Q away from the gate just enough to grab a pocket seat behind the pace-setting Idyllic Beach and Mark MacDonald. Idyllic Beach breezed through fractions of :26.3 and :55.3 before being joined on the outside by Bettor’s Up and Doug McNair.
While the damage was being done on the front, Agent Q loomed large in the background. Utilizing the Hoosier Park passing lane, Agent Q kicked clear of Idyllic Beach to get the win by three-parts of a length. Rockin Serena and Peter Wrenn rallied well late in the lane to round out the trifecta. As the publics’ choice, Agent Q returned $4 to her backers at the betting windows.
"The track was dry tonight and I think it suited her a little better this week," Trainer Aaron Lambert noted in the winner’s circle. "She’s all heart. She tries hard every week and loves her job. We were glad she went over a $1 million with this win, that’s what we were aiming for."
With the win, Agent Q has now won 12 of 26 lifetime outings. The daughter of Western Terror-Teenage Paige is owned in partnership by Martin Scharf, Rochetti Cassar Racing, and Robert K. Muscara.
Not to be outdone by their female counterparts, the three-year-old trotting colts were up next and it was International Moni who was able to turn the tables in the $235,000 Carl Erskine Trot. After finishing third in the Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old trotting colts last week, International Moni and Scott Zeron turned in a near gate-to-wire performance to pull the slight 6-1 upset, scoring in 1:53. After trouble behind the gate, Breeders Crown Champion What The Hill finished off the board.
Devious Man and Andy Miller left alertly from post seven to grab the early lead through the opening panel in :27.1. Zeron wasted no time as he had International Moni pointed to the front and the duo grabbed the lead just before the half in :55.2.
International Moni looked strong on the front reaching the three-quarter clocking in 1:24 but What The Hill and David Miller were applying pressure first-over. As the field turned for home, Devious Man tipped from the pocket late in the lane but International Moni was up to the task, digging in gamely to get the win by a head.
"We just got caught too far back last week," assistant trainer Domenico Cecere noted in the winner’s circle. "The plan was to get out of there this week. He is a great horse so I knew even if they got to him he would fight them off."
"We plan to give him a rest after this," he continued. "We hope to get him ready for a big 4-year-old campaign."
International Moni is sired by Love You out of the great Moni Maker. With the win, International Moni recorded his ninth victory from 15 seasonal outings and pushed his lifetime bankroll to $714,412 for his connections at Moni Maker Stable.
The final stakes race of the evening was the $245,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings and it was Downbytheseaside who avenged his runner-up finish in the $527,500 Breeders Crown final in a big way. With Chris Page in the bike, Downbytheseaside was untouchable down the stretch, stopping the timer in 1:48.3. The 1:48.3 clocking established a new lifetime best for the Brian Brown trainee and was also just a fifth of a second off the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts, a record set by Freaky Feet Pete in 2015.
Downbytheseaside settled along the rail in third through the opening quarter in a snappy :26.2 set by Miso Fast and Matt Kakaley. Page gave Downbytheseaside the green light just before the half and he ranged up to grab the lead at the second station in :53.1.
The swift pace continued through the three-quarters in 1:20.2 as Downbytheseaside braced for the stretch drive. Funknwaffles and Corey Callahan were on the attack first-over with the rest of the field closing in. Page asked his mount for more and Downbytheseaside responded with a :28.1 final panel to hold off a late-surge from Filibuster Hanover and David Miller. Rock N Tony and Trace Tetrick also rallied well late to get up for a third place finish. As the 8-5 favorite, Downbytheseaside returned $5.40 at the betting windows.
"That was a big mile," Page noted after the win. "I was a little nervous turning for home, I knew were going a good clip but this horse is so game. He’s everything you want in a horse. He’s beautiful; you can do anything you want with him, and he’s very, very game."
The 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover is conditioned by Brian Brown and owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing Stable. Downbytheseaside has now won 19 of 32 lifetime trips behind the gate while amassing $1,903,028 in lifetime purse earnings. (Hoosier Park)