Racing Stars Shine in Stakes Action at Hoosier Park
The top two and three-year-old trotters and pacers in the sport of harness racing descended upon Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, October 31 to battle it out in search of the lucrative purses offered on the 14-race card as Grand Circuit racing action made its fourth and final stop at Hoosier Park this season. With purses topping the $1.2 million mark, the stakes filled card delivered some outstanding harness racing battles despite unfavorable weather conditions in the central Indiana region.
The $193,000 Moni Maker
The three-year-old trotting fillies kicked off the stakes action in the $193,000 Moni Maker Stakes and it was Shake It Cerry who continued her winning ways to find the winner’s circle in 1:57 over a track rated good. With regular driver Ron Pierce in the sulky, Shake It Cerry switched up her tactics and came from off the pace to win by a length and a half.
Leaving from post six in the talented field of nine, Shake It Cerry eased off the gate and settled along the rail in fifth. Paul Macdonell sent Riveting Rosie away from the gate firing and the duo set first half fractions of :27.2 and :59 while the rest of the field sorted out positions. Pierce had Shake It Cerry perfectly placed second over as the field reached the three-quarter clocking in 1:29.4.
Using a :26.2 final quarter, Shake It Cerry saved her best for last and was able to track down her stablemate Lifetime Pursuit and Yannick Gingras late in the lane. Cee Bee Yes and Scott Zeron also staged a big rally late in the mile to round out the trifecta.
“I’ve been racing her on the front for most of her starts this year but I did race her off the pace last year some,” Pierce noted after the victory. “Obviously with the factors tonight, I didn’t want to be on the front so I knew if I just floated her out of there and put her somewhere close she would do the rest. Tonight, that was like a training mile for her, she was that good tonight.”
Shake It Cerry has now won 13 of 15 races this season while amassing $899,936 in earnings for her connections, Solveig’s Racing Partners. Jimmy Takter trains the daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig.
The $176,500 Nadia Lobell
Color’s A Virgin proved her dominance once again in the three-year-old pacing filly ranks as she overcame the outside post eight and an unfavorable first-over trip to find the winner’s circle in the $176,500 Nadia Lobell. Stopping the timer in 1:55, Color’s A Virgin has yet to be defeated in four outings since taking home top honors in the 2014 edition of the Jugette earlier this season.
With regular driver Trace Tetrick at the lines, Color’s A Virgin left just enough to grab a spot along the rail in third while Katie Said and Marcus Miller dictated first half fractions of :26.2 and :58.3. Color’s A Virgin began her quest to the front down the backside and reached the leader’s wheel at the third station in 1:28.2. As the field turned for home, Tetrick asked his mount for more and she dug in gamely to pace on to the wire finishing two lengths in front of Gallie Bythe Beach and Tim Tetrick.
Trained by Brian Brown, Color’s A Virgin has now won 16 of 25 lifetime victories. The daughter of Always A Virgin-Full Color has amassed $472,622 in her sophomore season for her owners Emerald Highland Farms.
The $230,000 Carl Erskine Trot
E L Titan and Ron Pierce pulled one of the biggest upsets of the evening in the $230,000 Carl Erskine Trot as the duo was able to hold off the heavily favored Father Patrick late in the lane to score in 1:57.2. At the wire, the margin of victory was a half-length and E L Titan was able to survive a judge’s inquiry to score his third of the season.
Odds On Amethyst and Jimmy Takter were the first to get a call as they set the opening fractions of :27.1 and :59.2 before ever feeling a threat. Pierce made his winning move down the backside as he gave E L Titan the green light and reached the front at the three-quarter clocking in a leisurely 1:30. E L Titan appeared strong on the front but was quickly joined on the outside by Father Patrick and Yannick Gingras. Father Patrick appeared to be up to the task but E L Titan wasn’t finished. Using a :27.2 final quarter, E L Titan found another gear to hold off all charges.
“It was a spontaneous decision coming out of the first turn to move to the front,” Pierce said after the victory. “With the slow quarter I had to move to stay out of trouble so once I did I just sent him to the front. I had to use him pretty hard to get there but he was strong tonight.”
“I raced him (E L Titan) in Chicago a few weeks ago and he was loaded,” Pierce continued. “I felt then if I would have been closer to Father Patrick I could have beat him that night. Tonight, coming around the last turn he still felt good and I knew we had enough to hold him (Father Patrick) off even having to use him so hard early in the race.”
For E L Titan, it was his sixth lifetime victory from 12 career outings. The son of Muscle Hill-Courtney Hall increased his seasonal earnings to $363,212 for trainer Riina Rekila and owner Erkki Laakkonen.
The $211,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby
Bettor’s Edge and Matt Kakaley found the Hoosier Park winner’s circle for the second consecutive week after winning the $211,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby in 1:53. Bettor’s Edge was able to stage a big rally in the late stages of the race to best his stablemate Sweet Lou and Ron Pierce at the wire.
Leaving from post four in the talented group of ten, Bettor’s Edge was uninvolved in the early stages of the race while the field battled for early position. Thinking Out Loud and John Campbell fired off the gate to reach the first quarter in :26.3 but yielded the lead to Sweet Lou just before the half in :58.
Sweet Lou called the shots to the third station in 1:26.1 but was quickly joined on the outside by Clear Vision and Tim Tetrick. Sweet Lou was able to hold off Clear Vision but Bettor’s Edge loomed large in the background. Kakaley found late racing room and Bettor’s Edge exploded to the wire to finish a neck in front. With Clear Vision holding on for third and Foiled Again taking fourth place honors, the Burke stablemates completed the superfecta.
“I have been leaving quite a bit with him lately and tonight I wanted to change it up a bit,” Kakaley noted after the victory. “With the weather too, the front end was not the place to be. It ended up working out really well for us but I was a little worried around the last turn because they kind of got away from us. I was able to move him out to the center of the track and he was strong all the way to the wire. He was really game tonight.”
The five-year-old gelded son of Bettor’s Delight-Spring Wind scored his eighth of the season and gave driver Matt Kakaley his third win of the night. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and M1 Stable, Bettor’s Edge pushed his seasonal bankroll to $673.784.
The $275,000 Monument Circle
Always B Miki continued his winning ways at Hoosier Park as he used a near gate-to-wire effort to win the $275,000 Monument Circle pace for three-year-old colts and geldings in 1:52. With driver David Miller back in the sulky, Always B Miki scored his fourth consecutive win and second consecutive Hoosier Park victory.
Sent off as the 3-2 second choice, Always B Miki settled for a spot along the rail while Big Boy Dreams and Tim Tetrick left aggressively for the front from post nine through an opening quarter in 26. Limelight Beach and Yannick Gingras benefitted from a pocket seat while the heavily favored JK Endofanera and Ron Pierce were next in line in third.
Unable to wait, David Miller sent Always B Miki to the front down the backside and the duo reached the top spot at the half in :56.2. Somewhere In L A and Brett Miller began the first-over attack with Let’s Drink On It and Tyler Smith in tow. While the rest of the field closed in, Always B Miki paced away. Finishing two lengths in front of a hard charging Limelight Beach, Always B Miki used a :26.1 final quarter to hold off all charges.
“The trip didn’t work out exactly like I thought it would,” Miller noted in the winner’s circle. “I was hoping to get some cover but I knew I had to move down the backside or I was going to get locked in. I was worried with the wind and things that he might not be able to hold them off but he raced huge. When I asked him to go around the last turn he felt strong. He was able to hold his speed and he dug in all the way to the wire, that mile really impressed me tonight.”
Trained by Joe Holloway, Always B Miki notched the 11th victory from 18 seasonal outings. The son of Always A Virgn-Artstopper has now earned $914,366 lifetime for his connections of Bluewood Stable, Val D’Or Farms and Roll The Dice Stable.