Indiana Sires Stakes champions crowned at Indy Downs
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Saturday’s Indiana Summer Championships at Indiana Downs offered many intriguing storylines and more than $1 million in purses. Over the course of the 14 race card, 10 Indiana Sires Stakes champions were crowned, with three winners producing stakes record efforts. Veteran Mark O’Mara steered three championship winners, narrowly missing a fourth.
“She’s been a little sick, just not 100 percent” Perdue said of the filly. “I thought she’d be hard to beat early on. She trained really super. I thought she could be one of the best.”
ABC Bay Bee made up for previous runner-up efforts in Indiana Sires Stakes action, winning the $100,000 final for older trotting mares by two and one-half lengths in 1:55.2. O’Mara guided the ABC Garland mare to victory for trainer Joe Putnam and owner Larry Miller. Defending ISS champion Wigwam Baby finished second while LW Sweet Talker rounded out the trifecta.
“I knew she was peaking. I could tell by the way she had been at the farm,” Miller explained. “Mark got a good trip out of her tonight.”
A full sister to multiple ISS champion ABC Glory and sibling of current champion ABC Mercedes, ABC Bay Bee dropped her lifetime mark by more than a full second with the victory. She has earned nearly $185,000 in her career.
O’Mara added his second win of the evening in the fourth race, the $75,000 final for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Starting from post eight, the veteran steered 3-5 favorite Sunny Ben Joe to a 2:01 triumph. The Super Ben Joe gelding fought off the challenge of ABCDE and Dan Shetler in the stretch by a quarter length. S J Mr Prince raced third.
“That was a little close on us, but he handled him well,” trainer Alvin Miller said of O’Mara’s drive. “He kept him up front and out of the way.”
It was the seventh win in nine starts for Sunny Ben Joe, owned by Lee Brook Farms of South Orange, N.J. The victory pushed the freshman’s earnings to more than $75,000.
Brad Hanners and JNB N Me came flying late to nip Ag-N-Au Bluegrass at the wire in the $75,000 ISS final for freshman filly pacers, squeaking out a 1:55 effort in the night’s sixth race. The Dream Work filly, trained by Perdue, finished half a length in front. Sapphire Martini finished third. It was the third seasonal win for the two year old, owned by Shady Lane Meadows.
“She’s a real nice filly,” Perdue commented. “I liked her when she first started at Hoosier Park. She came home a ton tonight.”
Bred and owned by Brooke Nickells before being sold to Shady Lane Meadows in early August, JNB N Me knocked two-fifths off her lifetime best.
After a disappointing break behind the gate and subsequent eighth-place finish in the $565,000 World Trotting Derby, ABC Mercedes returned to Indiana soil to score a four-length victory in the $100,000 ISS final for sophomore trotting colts. O’Mara was in the bike for the victory, his third on the program, winning in 1:55.1. Secret Image raced second and Sweet Joe was third.
“We just wanted him to stay trotting, just stay out of trouble,” the driver added. “We’re still scratching our heads over the last start.”
The sophomore gelding secured his fourth ISS finals victory for Putnam, who conditions the trotter, and Miller. Now a winner in 16 of 19 career starts, ABC Mercedes has accumulated more than $270,000 in earnings.
EJ’s Copperstone held off a hard-charging Alexabeth to capture the $100,000 final for sophomore pacing fillies Saturday night. The Lease On Life filly stopped the clock in 1:53.4 for Hensley, driving for trainer Steve Gray and owners L J Stone and Phillip Hawk. Viking Contessa, locked in along the rail, was relegated to third.
“This filly showed lots of character, even last year,” Gray said of the three-time ISS finals champion.
The victory pushed the filly’s earnings to $246,020 lifetime. Hensley added his second finals victory of the night.
Mya Tri not only earned her 21st straight victory, but she did so in Indiana Sires Stakes record time. Driven by Haynes, the Pining Fora Tri sophomore won the $100,000 ISS final for three-year-old trotting fillies in 1:56.1, finishing two and one-quarter lengths in front of Deputy Julianna. Lakeview Star was third.
“It’s all luck in this business,” said Haynes, who co-owns the filly with breeder Bob Wientjes. “She came from a family that shouldn’t have made it.”
Yet to taste defeat in her career, Mya Tri increased her bankroll to $276,900. The 2-5 favorite is trained by Sara Haynes.
Rocket Fuel and Shetler used a pocket trip to propel to a 1:51 triumph in the $100,000 ISS final for older stallion and gelding pacers. The Dontgetinmyway four year old finished nearly two lengths ahead of Rebelman at the wire while Chief Silverheels raced third. A champion at three, Rocket Fuel scored another big victory for Miller and owner Twila Harts.
“He’s just a nice horse,” Miller said of the gelding. “Dan got an excellent trip tonight.”
Annexing his 13th career trip to the winner’s circle, Rocket Fuel added significantly to his earnings, which now exceed $236,000. He was bred by L J Stone.
Suprizemeagain flexed his muscles as the 1-5 favorite in the $75,000 final for freshman pacing colts, winning in an ISS record 1:52.1 clocking. Trace Tetrick guided the Western Hero colt to his seventh win in eight outings, crossing the wire a length in a half in front. Rob V finished in the runner-up spot and Mystical Valentine was third. Shawn Nessa trains the colt.
“This colt has such tremendous speed,” the conditioner noted. “He just has an unbelievable turn of foot. That’s what makes him so special.”
Suprizemeagain now possesses $116,800 in earnings to go along with a 1:51 mark, taken at DuQuoin last week.
In the most exciting finish of the evening, Freddyscooter put a head in front of Robin I Scoot and O\'Mara at the wire to take the $100,000 ISS final for sophomore pacing colts in a stakes record 1:51.1. Hanners drove the I Scoot Hanover gelding to victory for breeder, owner and trainer Steve Brannan in the night’s penultimate race. I Scoot For Cash and Don Eash were third.
“It was close; it was really close,” Brannan said of the finish. “Brad did a great job. We just waited and waited for tonight.”
A brother to standout pacer Rebelman, Freddyscooter added his sixth seasonal score. The victory pushed his seasonal bankroll to more than $109,000. He has earned $150,275 in his career.