For the seventh consecutive time, Swandre The Giant and Brandon Bates found Hoosier Park Racing & Casino’s winner’s circle, this time in the featured event of the evening, the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Saturday. Looking every bit the part of a 1-9 favorite, the gate to wire victory came as no surprise to fans of the 2-year-old trotting sensation who stopped the timer in 1:55.1. With the win, Swandre The Giant remains undefeated in seven starts this season and has now won the first three $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for his division this season.
Bates sent Swandre The Giant away from the gate firing but was followed closely by It’s A Herbie and Verlin Yoder, last week’s other elimination winner. Sign Here N Here with Sam Widger in the bike was next in line in third, through first half fractions of :28:1 and :58. Once the horses hit the three-quarters in 1:27:3, Swandre The Giant was still calling the shots but It’s A Herbie was tracking closely in second and was poised to put up a fight turning for home.
Swandre The Giant and It’s A Herbie began to distance themselves from the rest of the field who were left to battle it out for minor spoils, some 11 lengths behind the top pair. It’s A Herbie tipped from the pocket and made a strong bid at the leader but Swandre The Giant proved too tough once again. Utilizing a :27.3 final quarter, Swandre The Giant found another gear to hold off It’s A Herbie by a length. Airman Kelly and Trace Tetrick were the best of the rest and trotted evenly to finish third. Swandre The Giant paid $2.10 to win for his betting backers.
"He’s definitely a professional, nothing bothers him," trainer/driver Brandon Bates said. "With the horses closing in tonight, I did touch him a little bit because he wasn’t paying much attention. He’s better off the helmet but with races like tonight, I put him on the front to keep him out of trouble."
The freshman trotter has now won all seven of his lifetime starts. Tonight’s victory brought Swandre The Giant’s lifetime purse earnings to $148,900 for owners Panic Stables, Terry Erhardt, Brian Hochman and Richard Barone. (Hoosier Park)