Five Stakes at Indiana Grand
Indiana track offers more than $600,000 in stakes purses over five races.
October 25, 2014
Indiana Grand on Saturday night hosted its final all-Quarter Horse card of the 2014 meet, and it featured five stakes races for more than $600,000 in purses. Following is a recap of those races.
$100,000 QHRAI Derby
Jettastic and Jose Beltran were seeking their fourth straight win, and they accomplished their goals, winning the $100,000 QHRAI Derby. The duo, selected as the second favorite of the seven-horse field, earned the win in a time of :19.834 seconds for 400 yards to extend their streak to four.
Jettastic was in the mix from the start. He battled alongside his foes until halfway through the race when he finally started getting the advantage on main rival BP Hit The Bigtime and Rodney Prescott. It was a fight to the finish between the two horses, but Jettastic prevailed by a neck in the end. Secrets Fly and Ben Creed finished third in the 3-year-old stakes race.
“The horse (Jettastic) didn’t break too well,” said Beltran, who earned his second winner of the night aboard Jettastic. “But I tried the whip to get him going because I told myself that I need to win this race.”
Jettastic responded to redeem himself in stakes action after finishing a neck back in second during the $73,000 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby in July. Although he now has five career wins, the victory in the QHRAI Derby is the first stakes win for Jettastic, who more than doubled his career earnings to top the $100,000 mark as a result of his efforts.
Jettastic is owned by Rebecca Barton and trained by Tony Cunningham, who is based in Michigan. Cunningham has raced on the Indiana pari-mutuel circuit since the first year in 1997. He is ranked second in wins on the list of all-time leading trainers at Indiana Grand.
“Coming into the race tonight, I was just really hoping for a safe trip,” said Cunningham. “This horse (Jettastic) has been solid all year long. He’s really a nice individual.”
Jettastic has made all 13 of his career starts at Indiana Grand. Beltran has been aboard the Jet Black Patriot colt in his last seven starts. The Texas-bred Jettastic paid $5.80, $4.00 and $3.00 across the board.
The QHRAI Derby, now in its 18th running, was one of three stakes races held during the inaugural season of Quarter Horse racing at Hoosier Park in 1997. The stakes joins the Governor’s Stakes as well as the Hoosier Park Classic as the three oldest pari-mutuel stakes in the state of Indiana. The stakes record was set in 2012 by Feature My News and Shanley Jackson in a time of :19.587 seconds for trainer Matt Frazier.
$128,000 Governor’s Stakes
Never underestimate a Matt Frazier-trained Quarter Horse at Indiana Grand. Grabbing little attention before the race, Seize The Win and Shanley Jackson snatched the spotlight in the 18th running of the $128,000 Governor’s Stakes at during the final all-Quarter Horse Night of the 2014 season.
Starting from post three, Seize The Win had a good start in the 10-horse final and was a contender from the start. Halfway through the 350-yard dash, the 2-year-old son of PYC Paint Your Wagon began to pull away from his opponents. There was only one horse left in the final strides to put away, and that is just what Seize The Win did to earn the victory by one-half length over Iz Special James and Rodney Prescott, who never gave up trying to close on the leaders. Jesse Jr First Down and Ben Creed, the race favorites, finished third. The time of the race was :17.582 seconds to eclipse the old stakes record of :17.652 seconds set by Stone Heading West and Prescott in 2009.
“When the other horse (Iz Special James) started coming at him late, it did cause him (Seize The Win) to dig in,” said Jackson, who had three wins on the evening to move back to the top on the leading jockey standings. “I had to keep his attention, because when I slacked off, he slacked off. He’s still learning how to run, but he’s really a nice horse.”
Seize the Win is fairly untried, only having four career starts for owner Glenn Graff. The Texas-bred colt earned his first career win in the Governor’s Stakes, which was the first-ever pari-mutuel race held in the state of Indiana in 1997 at Hoosier Park. Seize The Win increased his career bankroll to $77,882. His earnings of $1,082 heading into the race were the smallest amount of the field.
“This horse (Seize the Win) is still pretty green,” said Frazier. “We are headed to Hialeah at the end of the meet here (in Indiana) and he will head to the futurity at Hialeah. At least, that’s the plan.”
The Frazier family has been long associated with racing in the state of Indiana. Dan Frazier first came on the scene and fared well before turning the operation over to his son. Although they started in Thoroughbreds, the Frazier Stable is now exclusively a Quarter Horse operation.
“We have a string here at Indiana Grand and we have some in Lexington at the Thoroughbred Training Center, which is our home base,” said Frazier. “Right now, we have about 25-30 horses. We are fortunate to have a great string of owners, and I am very fortunate to have great parents who have always been supportive.”
The win for Frazier was his 15th of the meet. He currently rests in fourth-place on the leading trainer standings. The win in the Governor’s Stakes is his fifth stakes win at Indiana Grand since beginning his career as a trainer in 2008.
Seize The Win paid $9.80, $7.40 and $3.60 across the board for his efforts in the Governor’s Stakes. He was the third choice by bettors in the field of 10.
$198,900 Miss Roxie Little Futurity
He has been on everyone’s radar all season and Stinkin Rich lived up to the hype Saturday at Indiana Grand. The flashy grey gelding with the distinctive white eye was untouchable in the seventh running of the Miss Roxie Little Futurity (R). Guided by jockey Ben Creed, Stinkin Rich completed the 350-yard dash in a time of :17.592 seconds, which almost set a new track record but did establish a new stakes record for the race.
Starting from post eight, Stinkin Rich came out of the gates a little crooked but Creed quickly got him corrected and back on track. The 2-year-old son of One Famous Eagle found his stride and the pink blinkers of the Ron Raper barn were very visible as the horse to watch heading to the finish line. Stinkin Rich put his long stride to good use in the final steps, winning the race by a comfortable one and three-quarter lengths over Rock Crushin Dynasty and jockey Yordanis Amaro, who were just a neck ahead of their stablemate Stone Toasted and Juan Guerrero for third.
The win aboard Stinkin Rich marks the biggest win for Creed, who is a graduate of the North American Riding Academy in Lexington, Ky. It is the second win in a row for Creed aboard Stinkin Rich.
“All I can say is ‘Wow’,” said Creed. “I worked this horse (Stinkin Rich) out of the gate before the trial and he exploded. I have never been on a horse, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred, like him. He stumbled just a little out of the gate tonight but once he got straight, he loves to run. That’s really my only job is to keep him straight.”
Stinkin Rich is quickly living up to his name, boosting his career earnings to more than $204,000. The homebred gelding has not finished worse than second in six career starts, earning wins in four of his starts for owner and breeder Carolyn Bruce. Stinkin Rich adds the Miss Roxie Little Futurity to his resume, which also includes a stakes win in the $130,000 Jaguar Rocket Futurity (R) held earlier in the year at Indiana Grand. Ron Raper, Indiana’s all-time winning Quarter Horse trainer with seven titles to his credit at Indiana Grand, conditions the horse for the Bruce family.
“I had horses for the Bruces a long time ago and they came back to me as a trainer a couple of years ago,” said Raper. “This horse has always shown promise. He was a little spooky starting out, but he got over that. These kinds of horses don’t come along very often.”
Raper noted unless something comes up wrong, Stinkin Rich will be paid in late to the $500,000 Hialeah Futurity. He said they will call Monday morning to get the gelding into the race. The trials are slated for early December with the final set for later on that month. Hialeah is the destination for Raper’s stable following the meet at Indiana Grand.
The win was one of two on the card for Raper, who moved one ahead of Randy Smith in the trainer standings. A few more races are scheduled for the 2014 meet, which ends Saturday, Nov. 1. Raper could also reach last year’s records that he set of most wins in one meet (28) and most purse earnings in one meet ($673,393). He currently has 26 wins this season with purse earnings of $664,855.
The Miss Roxie Little Futurity becomes the second-highest purse in Quarter Horse racing history in the state of Indiana. The race’s total of $198,900 nearly matched the $199,200 Gordon Mobley Futurity held earlier in the year at Indiana Grand in late July. This is the second year the race has been contested at Indiana Grand, moving from Hoosier Park Racing & Casino after the 2012 season when all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing relocated full time to Indiana Grand.
$126,400 Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes
Pistolpacking Pepsi has been strong all season, and he just took his talent to the next level. The 3-year-old gelding rallied to a commanding one and one-quarter length win in the sixth running of the Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes (R). In the process, Pistolpacking Pepsi also became the first Quarter Horse to ever win five races in one season at the track, showing how consistent he has been throughout the season.
Pistolpacking Pepsi was joined by jockey Jose Beltran for the journey from post two. The heavily favored duo didn’t have an especially good start, but it didn’t matter. Once he got his feet under him, the son of Jesse James Jr took off, rolling ahead of his opponents in the 400-yard dash for his fifth straight win. Eyem Jumpn and Yordanis Amaro were the closest at the end to finish a solid second over Beach Runner and Juan Guerrero for third.
“This horse (Pistolpacking Pepsi) gives you no problems,” said Beltran, who has guided the horse to four of his last five wins. “He likes running and he was the best horse. The only thing he doesn’t really like is too much whip. He will just run on his own.”
Owned by Robert Ray and Ron Brown, Pistolpacking Pepsi covered the 400-yard race in a time of :19.890 seconds, which was close to a track record and was a new stakes record. Brown also trains the horse, who is now eight for 15 in his career.
“I’m so tickled right now and happy for the connections,” said Brown. “I’ve never done drugs before, but I can’t imagine any drug being better than this high I have. Getting five wins this season is just another feather in his cap.”
Pistolpacking Pepsi increased his career bankroll to more than $283,000. The sorrel gelding, which has a large roan birthmark on his left flank, was bred and raised by Diane Keiser, a longtime breeder in the state of Indiana.
“We don’t do anything special with this horse,” said Brown. “Just feed him good alfalfa hay, and of course he gets a Pepsi once in a while, although he likes Diet Pepsi better. No one in our barn is allowed to drink anything but Pepsi, that’s a rule before I hire you. He (Pistolpacking Pepsi) is officially on vacation now for the next six months. He’s going to the farm just to be a horse for a while.”
Pistolpacking Pepsi will have one more task on his agenda this season. He and stablemate Tinys First Pepsi will pose for the Brown Stable’s annual Christmas card. The horses are lovingly referred to as the “Pepsi Boys” from the stable.
The Sterlie Bertram Memorial was named in honor of Sterlie Bertram, who was instrumental in getting the Indiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association going. He even went out to Texas to get races approved at the Indiana State Fairgrounds prior to pari-mutuel racing in the state. Several of Bertram’s family members and friends were on hand to assist with the trophy presentation to Brown, who noted that he knew Sterlie when he was racing in the state of Indiana.
“My dad (Sterlie Bertram) was always involved in racing and even had a couple of his own horses do well, including Lost Hope, who led the nation in wins one year,” said Mike Bertram, who is a retired jockey. “At one time, we had about 60 head of horses at our farm near Modoc (Indiana). His motto was, ‘the coffee pot is always on.’”
Horses from Bertram’s farm have been detected in a lot of the breeding in the state. The younger Bertram noted they just lost the final horse that was part of his father’s string.
“We just put the last horse of my father’s string down two weeks ago,” said Mike. “Her name was ‘Sissy’ and she was one of his brood mares. She was 29 years old.”
$84,250 Indiana Championship
It may be the newest stakes race on the program at Indiana Grand, but the second running of the $84,520 Indiana Championship turned out to be the most exciting on the 10-race Quarter Horse program. Cootinks Flying Ace and rider Ben Creed came from nowhere to upset the field of 10 seasoned veterans to take home the top prize.
Starting from post nine, Cootinks Flying Ace flew under the radar in the early stages of the 400-yard dash. Several powerhouses were in the field and reeled in most of the attention to the inside of the track with heavily favored Habits Secret and Yordanis Amaro and several others getting caught up in several bumps out of the gate. Once clear, Finche and Shanley Jackson got the early calls from the middle of the pack along with Bright Eyed Vision and Victor Olivo.
Cootinks Flying Ace began to rally midway through the race and momentum was building up as the sorrel gelding surged by the leaders on the outside. In the end, Cootinks Flying Ace finished in the trio on the outside and had the neck advantage at the wire for his second win since joining the Ron Raper barn. Finche finished a neck ahead of Bright Eyed Vision, who was a clear third ahead of the rest of the field.
“He (Cootinks Flying Ace) was awfully hot in the post parade,” said Creed, who earned his second stakes win of the night. “I tried to get him to settle down but he wasn’t agreeing with me. He was just ready to go. This race was close to a track record time, and it felt pretty fast.”
Cootinks Flying Ace is owned and trained by Raper. The Fly Jess Fly gelding now has six wins in 18 career starts and boosted his career earnings to more than $108,000. Cootinks Flying Ace was only one of two horses heading into the race with earnings of less than $109,000, showing the depth of experience and success of the field.
“One of my friends use to own him (Cootinks Flying Ace) and I bought him,” said Raper, who capped off the night with a training double. “He’s a handful, but I’m probably the only one that knew how good he was. When you win a race like this and no one expects you to, that’s the good one.”
Cootinks Flying Ace lit up the tote board, paying $51.60, $16.00 and $12.60 across the board. He was the second longest shot on the board of the Indiana Championship.
Cootinks Flying Ace will accompany the Raper stable to Hialeah Park, the winter destination for Indiana’s all-time leading trainer who has seven career training titles to his credit at Indiana Grand.
The Indiana Championship capped off a Quarter Horse program that included five stakes races, marking the richest card ever offered for the sprinters in the Hoosier State. With more than $710,000 in total purses, the evening dedicated to Quarter Horse racing marked the sixth all-Quarter Horse night for 2014 at Indiana Grand.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, watch the AQHA Racing Newscast and visit www.aqharacing.com.