Upset in Hackett elimination at Miami Valley
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Indian Spirit used a second-over journey to get in position to sprint past the pacesetters in the lane and garner an upset victory in the $8000 elimination heat leading up to the $30,000 final of the James K. Hackett Memorial next Saturday night at Miami Valley. Seven of the nine colts from last year’s $200,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship race for two-year-olds dropped into the Hackett elimination including a trio that earned over $90,000 each as freshmen, thus getting the Ohio stakes season off to a rousing start.
According to the morning line and the eventual actual betting board, the race shaped up as a battle between entries from the powerful Ron Burke and Brian Brown barns, two of the most successful in the business. No one told Indian Spirit or the driver-trainer team of Kyle Ater and his father Dan, however, and the result was the impressive triumph in 1:55.2 and a $51.80 win mutuel payoff for their backers. Owner Gregory Forcum trained Indian Spirit himself throughout most of his inaugural season in which he earned $34,409 before being entrusted to the Aters for his sophomore campaign. Fellow longshot Chief Talkalot (Jim Pantaleano) raced bravely in first-over position until giving way just before the wire and finishing second. Roaddog Jess James (Kayne Kauffman) was a creditable third . Favorites Rock N Randall (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) and Gray Camo (Chris Page) picked up the fourth and fifth place checks and also advanced to the Hackett final. The winning exacta ticket paid $368.20.
One race earlier the $18,150 Craig Colston Memorial Open Pace was won by Atta Boy Dan (Chris Page) in 1:50.2, just a fifth of a second off the all-age track record at Miami Valley. Racing fifth in the early going, Page moved Atta Boy Dan to the outer flow just past the half and moved up to third on the outside at the three-quarter station. Second at the head of the stretch the winner was able to collar pacesetter and eventual runnerup Special Forces (Dan Noble) midway down the lane and secure a one length victory. Carol’s Comet (Aaron Merriman) went a game mile to finish third.