Williams Racing Stables Inc.'s WRS Valentino sprinted to a half-length win in Thursday's $109,080 Indiana Championship Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Ridden by Juan Marquez for trainer Randy Smith, WRS Valentino covered 440 yards in :21.611 while earning a 109 speed index and breaking the previous track record for the classic distance of :21.744 set by WRS Apolliticalivory in last year's Indiana Championship. The homebred 6-year-old Mighty B Valiant gelding banked the $59,994 winner's share of the purse from his seventh lifetime stakes victory.
WRS Valentino was bred in Kentucky, and he was stretching out in distance off of his third-place finish, a half of a length behind winner Head Patron, in a 350-yard, $34,000 overnight stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis on August 31.
“Last time he raced, we had some trouble,” said Marquez, who was unseated in the post parade in that August 31 race. “But today, he was good. We have been trying to correct everything and we’ve been working with him in the mornings, even at the gate.
"He was good in the gate (today).," the rider added. "The hard part today was making him break, but once we got through that, he was good, and I was very confident in him.”
Campaigned exclusively at Horseshoe Indianapolis, WRS Valentino has won 11 of 21 races and has earned $475,240.
"We’ve only had one other horse in our career that was this one, and that was WRS Special Shoe,” said Randy Williams, referring to the homebred First Down Laveaux gelding who won 11 stakes and earned $880,512 while racing from 2004-12. “He is a tremendous horse and has the will and want-to. He’s 6 now, so you know he’s got little aches and pains just like I do at 73, but you know he’s going to forget all about that when it’s time to race. He’s big and strong and has the heart for it.”
Williams added that WRS Valentino might make his next start in a Bank of America Challenge Championships night undercard stakes on October 22.
On A New Note ran second and was followed by Hooked On Jordan, Speed Dynasty, Jess B One, Flyweight Carver, Paint Me Brown, WRS Moonin Thewagon, Apollitical Tools, and Country Boy 123.
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