Indiana's Pistol Packin Mama heads to Yonkers
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Trainer Jeff Cullipher got to know Pistol Packin Mama well this spring at Hoosier Park. The 4-year-old mare raced against his star distaffer Au D Lox Bluegrass twice, once in the Filly and Mare Invitational May 19 and again in the Filly and Mare Preferred June 9. Pistol Packin Mama got the upper hand each time, including the latter start by a nose in 1:49.4.
Tragically, Au D Lox Bluegrass, a 17-time winner and earner of $377,339 died suddenly just after the pair's final matchup. Soon after, Cullipher had the chance to purchase Pistol Packin Mama and he jumped on it with partner Tom Pollack.
"We had a mare, Au D Lox Bluegrass, a very nice mare. Au D Lox, her last race she died just after she went across the wire," Cullipher said. "Then an agent called us about Pistol Packin Mama and obviously we wanted to replace Au D Lox Bluegrass, so I paid up and got her."
An Ohio Sire Stakes Champion at 3 and a proven winner against older females already at 4, Pistol Packin Mama came to Cullipher sharp from the stable of Tyler George. However, Cullipher was surprised to find something familiar about The Panderosa daughter when he began working with her.
"It's unreal how two horses look alike, act alike, train alike, jog alike," he said, referring to Au D Lox Bluegrass. "Pistol Packin Mama is a little smaller than the other mare was. Just a good horse. She's professional about everything. Grabs a little, but nothing bad."
Pistol Packin Mama won her first start for Cullipher, taking a $20,000 Filly and Mare Preferred at Hoosier June 30. She posted a fourth, second, and third in her next three tries before earning an impressive win in her last outing August 4.
Pistol Packin Mama trailed the field as rivals She's Heavenly, Rockin Racer, and Topville Cadillac battled three wide around the clubhouse turn. Pistol Packin Mama raced 7 ¾ lengths behind a :25.3 opening panel and a :53.3 half. Driver Trace Tetrick edged to the outside at the midway point and grabbed the second-over cover of Seventimesavirign.
Pistol Packin Mama swung three wide into the stretch with just 1 ¾ lengths to make up. Tetrick pulled the ear plugs and put her to a drive. Pistol Packin Mama took the lead with a furlong to race and drew away to score by 4 ¼ lengths. The 1:49.1 clocking is the fastest of her career.
"Her last start was the highlight for us. She went 1:49.1," Cullipher said. "She doesn't seem to be a strong leaver. Trace Tetrick said at times she can leave and she'll let you know when she wants to go. Other than that, try to get her in the right position and as soon as they turn for home, she knows the game."
Now 15-for-30 with another 13 seconds and thirds, Pistol Packin Mama sports earnings of $352,855. Despite her impressive performances at Hoosier Park, Cullipher decided to send the mare east to compete at Yonkers Raceway for trainer Ed Hart, eyeing a more consistent schedule and a chance at the big-time next winter.
"There's just not enough racing at Hoosier Park for her," Cullipher said. "The Filly and Mare Open doesn't go very often and we have a little relationship with Ed Hart, so we sent her out there to race at Yonkers for a couple different reasons. We wanted to test her a little bit on the half and next year when stakes season comes, the Matchmaker, that's in the back of our minds right now."
Pistol Packin Mama arrived at Hart's stable in good order about 10 days ago and will make her local debut in Friday's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap. Matt Kakaley will drive the 5-1 shot from post six and off the three-week break, Cullipher expects the mare to stick to the off-the-pace style she employed at Hoosier Park.
"I'm sure we'll probably give her a trip," he said. "I don't know if she's 100 percent tight just yet, but we'll see how she goes around and make adjustments if needed and go from there."
The field assembled for Friday's distaff feature also includes last week's winner and runner up, Newborn Sassy and Tequila Monday, who will start from posts eight and seven, respectively. Mach It A Par finished fourth from post eight last time, but was assigned post five this week. Best Of Jenna enters off consecutive wins in the conditions and will start from post three. Annabeth, Angel's Pride, and Lispatty complete the lineup. (SOANY)