Following is a recap of the four $100,000 stakes held October 4 at Indiana Grand.
Paisley prevails in $100,000-added Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division
It’s always exciting when a horse “breaks its maiden,” but the win was just a little sweeter when Paisley accomplished it for owner-trainer-breeder Marvin Johnson. The two-year-old chestnut daughter of Drinkwiththedevil rallied in the stretch to win her first career race in the 20th running of the $100,000-added Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand.
Starting from the extreme outside post 11 in the starting gate, Paisley broke well but under the guidance of jockey Alex Contreras, did not rush to challenge the leaders. Instead, the freshman filly stayed along the outside in mid pack as Just Taylor and Fernando De La Cruz set the pace early on followed closely by Prompted and DeShawn Parker.
The field tightened up from front to back around the only turn of the six furlong sprint, giving Paisley the opportunity to move up on the outside and get a clear shot in the center of the track as the field turned for home. Paisley didn’t immediately accelerate to the lead. But after a few strides, it was evident she was going to be tough to fend off in the final strides. Prompted became the only filly to catch late in the race and held on gamely as Paisley closed in, getting by in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length over Prompted. Cook Memorials and Malcolm Franklin also closed from the back of the pack to finish third. The final time was 1:12.35.
“After I rode her (Paisley) last time, she gave me the impression she didn’t want to be rushed, so we just stayed close enough so we didn’t get too far behind,” said Contreras. “I wanted to keep her on the outside because I didn’t want her to get a lot of mud in her face. It did take her a couple of strides to move in the stretch. I think she is still learning, but once she got going, she finished really well and she got the job done.”
Paisley, the longest shot on the board, paid $80.40, $39.80, $11.40 across the board. The start in the Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division was her sixth career start and her first to finish among the top three in the brief career of the homebred filly.
“I raced her mother off and on,” said Johnson, who is a native of Nebraska. “I liked the post she drew today. I wanted her to stay on the outside, just like she did. I’ve always liked this filly, but she hadn’t showed the whole story until today.”
Paisley now possesses in excess of $64,000 in career earnings for Johnson. The Indiana bred filly has most likely completed her two-year-old season after her stakes win.
“I’ll look for a non winners of two since she just broke her maiden,” said Johnson. “But more than likely, we will just take her home and turn her out until next year. She is a full sister to Bisque, who I used to race here before we sold him.”
Bisque was also a stakes winner at Indiana Grand under Johnson’s care. He won the $85,000-added Indiana Futurity for Johnson and his wife, Chris, in 2013.
The Johnsons purchased a farm just a few miles from Indiana Grand four years ago. They are based in Indiana during the summer and then return to their farm and home near Grand Island, Neb. for the winter. The Nebraska Hall of Fame trainer has numerous leading trainer titles to his credit in his home state, earning his latest title at Fonner Park. He followed by his father and grandfather into the racing business and has been training since 1974 and has accumulated more than 1,800 career wins.
It was also a big day for jockey Contreras, who scored three wins on the card, including two $100,000 stakes wins. In addition to Paisley, Contreras guided Crafty Spector to victory in the $100,000-added Gus Grissom later in the day, marking the two biggest victories of his career. The Mexican-born jockey began his riding career in 2011 and finished among Indiana Grand’s top 10 last season. The three wins on the program for Contreras moves him into 11th place on the standings for 2017.
Crafty Spector rallies in $100,000-added Gus Grissom Stakes
Everything lined up perfectly for Crafty Spector in the 17th running of the Gus Grissom Stakes Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. As a result, the five-year-old gelding took advantage of his surroundings and rallied home as the upset winner for owner-trainer John Haran.
Guided by Jockey Alex Contreras, Crafty Spector left the starting gate handily from the center of the pack in the 12-horse field. Evader and Jon Court grabbed the early lead on the inside and Derby Express and Malcolm Franklin sat to their outside to press the early pace in the one and one-sixteenth mile event. Contreras was able to keep Crafty Spector just to the outside of Calandave and Tommy Pompell in the early goings in fourth and stay close to the leaders down the backstretch.
In the turn, Contreras began to ask Crafty Spector for a little more exertion, and he readily delivered. Maintaining a spot in the center of the track, the duo began to move forward with only Derby Express left to overtake in the stretch. Both horses dug in gamely to the wire, but in the end, it was Crafty Spector who crossed under the wire first by one and one-half lengths for the win over Derby Express. Operation Stevie and Constantino Roman rallied from off the pace to close well for third. The time of the race was 1:44.02.
“I knew this horse had a little speed,” said Contreras, who recorded his third win of the day with Crafty Spector. “I talked with John (Haran) before the race and he said he wanted me to keep pressure on the front ones, which we were able to do. I wanted to stay close enough and the trip worked out perfectly. When it was time to go, I asked him and he got it done.”
Crafty Spector, the sixth choice of the field, paid $39.80, $19.20, and $7.40 across the board. The son of Bye Bye Crafty earned his seventh career win in 28 career starts and picked up his fourth win in 10 starts for 2017 for Haran, who is having a banner year at Indiana Grand.
“I claimed this horse for $5,000 at Hawthorne two years ago,” said Haran. “He is a race horse and he improves every year and is getting better. I’ve been running him in some really tough spots but he’s very honest and tries very hard. He’s very easy to train, which means a lot. When you have one that is easy to train and they have a good mind, it makes it a lot easier.”
Haran is currently ranked third in the trainer standings this season. His win with Crafty Spector was his 32nd trip to the winner’s circle in Indiana for 2017. The native of Ireland has been racing horses in the United States for the past 32 years. Although he still calls Chicago home and that is where his farm is located, he is investing in the racing program in Indiana.
“I bought six very nice Indiana breds this spring,” said Haran. “And, of those six, I’ve only raced one so far, so we are looking forward to racing them. We’ve had a great year and we have been very blessed.”
Joyous Lady sings winning tune in $100,000-added Richmond Stakes
Some of Indiana’s finest older females stepped onto the track for the 17th running of the $100,000-added Richmond Stakes Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. It came down to the wire to determine a winner but it was Joyous lady and Jockey Tommy Pompell who took home top honors.
Starting from post six in the seven-horse lineup, Joyous Lady used just enough early speed to track the progress of the early leader Express Run and Jon Court. Bar Rag and Fernando De La Cruz also showed good early speed from the outside to secure the second spot and get into stalking mode. Down the backstretch, Court had Express Run well in hand to reserve just as much as he could for the second half of the one and one-sixteenth mile race.
“The trip worked out pretty good today,” said Pompell. “I thought there would be early speed from the one (Peyton’s Pass) but I looked over and she wasn’t there. And, I thought Bar Rag would show early speed from the outside. I had an advantage there because I have ridden her in the past. So when the five (Express Run) went on out for the lead, I wanted to let those two hook up.”
Pompell began getting Joyous Lady prepped to close in on Express Run around the final turn and at the top of the stretch, she had Express Run in her sights. However, Express Run was not showing any signs of slowing down. Pompell went to work on Joyous Lady and began to close the gap. It took the entire length of the stretch for Joyous Lady to finally overtake Express Run, but she was successful in accomplishing her goal in the final strides of the race, winning by a head over Express Run. The rest of the field finished many lengths back with Bar Rag pulling in third place. Joyous Lady stopped the timer in 1:43.92.
“At the top of the stretch, I thought she (Joyous Lady) would roll right on by,” said Pompell. “But he (Jon Court) made me work for it. He never gave it to me. My horse had to work hard to get by his horse (Express Run).”
Joyous Lady, the second choice of the field, paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.80 across the board. The win in the Richmond Stakes was her ninth career victory, all of which have been recorded at Indiana Grand. It also marked her fourth stakes win for owners Dennis Claramunt and Randy Klopp, who also trains. The five-year-old daughter of Kela, who was bred by Claramunt and his wife, Cynthia, boosted her career earnings to more than $450,000 for her connections in her 26th career start.
The win with Joyous Lady caps off a successful week for Pompell, who recently earned his 2,500th career riding win. Pompell has had a stellar season and is currently ranked third in the standings this year. The third generation jockey is also ranked among the top five on the list of all-time leading riders at Indiana Grand.
For Klopp, the win was the 21st of the season. Klopp is also among the top 10 on the list of all-time leading trainers.
Mo Money gets the win in$100,000-added Crown Ambassador Stakes
It was an afternoon of upsets and leading the way was a freshman colt from the Gary Patrick Stable. Mo Money, ridden by 2017 Leading Jockey DeShawn Parker, rallied through traffic in the stretch to win only his second career race in the 19th running of the Crown Ambassador Stakes Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand.
Starting from post five, Mo Money didn’t have many options as the gate sprung open and was perfectly content to follow along in the 12 horse field from the back of the pack, being on the receiving end of a lot of mud thrown up in front of him during the six-furlong race. However, Parker kept the two-year-old son of Caiman engaged in his race and brought him up into contention between horses around the final turn as Stone Sober and Tommy Pompell continued to lead the way.
Coming out of the turn into the stretch, Parker found an opening and slid Mo Money to the outside for some clearance and away he went. Mo Money picked up steam and rolled past his opponents, winning by three and one half lengths at the finish in a time of 1:11.72. Classy Score and Marcelino Pedroza also closed in well at the finish for second, just a neck in front of Santisteban and Rolando Aragon, who closed in well for third.
“Nothing bothers this horse,” said the mud covered Parker after the race. “I really couldn’t see much when we were on the inside and I was out of goggles, so when I saw an opening, he moved out and shook loose. Once he was clear he really took off. He sort of shocked me how he found another gear. He’s a tall, good looking horse and has a bright future.”
Overlooked at the betting windows, Mo Money paid $15.40, $6.80, and $5.20 across the board for his efforts in the Crown Ambassador Stakes. He now has two wins in four career starts for owner-breeder-trainer Gary Patrick.
“I raced both his mother and his father,” said Patrick. “In fact, Walter Abner gave his father (Caiman) to me. We have him at our farm in Pendleton and that’s where he stays year round. I don’t breed any outside mares, only our own mares to him. We only bred two mares to him and this is one of his foals. This horse is quiet and laid back. He’s nice to train and we hope to have a lot of fun with him.”
Patrick and his wife, Cindy, also own a farm in Florida and will head to their southern location at the conclusion of the Indiana Grand meet at the end of October. Mo Money will be one of the horses accompanying the Patricks to warmer weather. Although the colt grew up on the farm in Pendleton, last fall, he made his first trip to Florida where he was broke and began the process of working on his racing career. Mo Money has already proven that his name fits him with earnings now in excess of $91,000.
(from Indiana Grand news release)