Month: August 2016
When one door closes, another one opens. That’s exactly what has happened to Jockey Ty Kennedy. The Hiawatha, Ks. Native recently completed the 2016 meet at Prairie Meadows and has relocated to the Indiana-Kentucky circuit. He kicked off his start at Indiana Grand Tuesday, Aug. 30 with a win aboard Classic Bo for trainer Doug Anderson.
“I’m actually based in Kentucky, but we are bouncing up here on off days and we plan to go to Kentucky Downs,” said Kennedy. “I ride first call for Doug (Anderson) and we’ve had a pretty good start so far.”
Kennedy closed out the Prairie Meadows meet with a stakes win aboard Foxy Fleda for Anderson in the $100,000 Donna Reed, which is his largest win to date in his young career. The 22-year-old completed his second year of riding in Iowa with 22 wins, landing in 11th place on the final standings.
Kennedy comes from a long line of participants in the racing industry. He grew up watching his grandmother, Barbara Coffman, ride the bush tracks while his grandfather was a trainer. In addition his uncle, John Coffman, was a Quarter Horse jockey and rode the All American, giving the young Kennedy a lot of expertise to pull from when he entered the business.
CB Come Fly With Me and jockey Rolando Pina were dominant in the trials and the scenario did not change in the final of the 17th running of the QHRAI Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Futurity Saturday, Aug. 27. The duo rallied home easy winners in the 350-yard dash over their opponents.
Starting from post eight of the 10-horse field, CB Come Fly With Me had a clean break, as did the rest of the field. She was a threat early on, getting the early advantage and only increasing her lead. At the finish line, the two-year-old daughter of Desirio was a winner by one and one-quarter lengths, showing her backers why she deserved the heavily favored status in the race. Wrs Whoseyourdaddy and Omar Reyes chased CB Come Fly With Me to the wire in second place followed by Tres Seis Delight and Cesar Esqueda for third. The final time was :17.594 seconds, besting the stakes winning record set in 2015 by My Louisiana Rod and Berkley Packer in a time of :17.664 seconds.
“She (CB Come Fly With Me) loves the off track,” said Pina, who has ridden her in every one of her five career starts. “Every time she comes out on the track, she wants it more. She loves to race.”
After turning in the third fastest qualifying time in the trials, My Louisiana Rod proved she was the one to catch in the 17th running of the $71,954 QHRAI Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Derby Saturday, Aug. 27. The three-year-old daughter of La Jollaroid broke free from her opponents early in the 400-yard dash and never looked back, rolling to an easy victory for jockey Berkley Packer.
Starting from post six in the 10-horse lineup, My Louisiana Rod avoided any contact early on. Her early speed got her out and on task early on. She used the center of the track to keep her eye on the wire, posting a one-half length victory over stablemate Coco Beach and Juan Galvan. Mr Fool Me Twice and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez finished third.
“She (My Louisiana Rod) left like she always does and wins like she always does,” said Packer.
My Louisiana Rod paid $5.40, $3.40, $2.80 across the board. She is now six for 11 lifetime and has not finished worse than third in her career. Affectionately known as “Lucy” around the Smith Stable, her win in the QHRAI SSA Derby is her fourth career stakes victory for owner-trainer Randy Smith, who purchased the filly from breeder Gordon Timm when she was a yearling.
Stinkin Rich added to his already impressive bankroll Saturday, Aug. 27, earning the win in the eighth running of the $90,600 Bob Woodard Memorial Classic. The four-year-old Quarter Horse, ridden by Rolando Pina, found his long stride midway through the 400-yard dash to take home the top prize.
Starting from the outside post 10, Pina had little to worry about at the start with Stinkin Rich. The One Famous Eagle gelding broke well and was in contention early on. Beach Cartel and Berkley Packer got the early advantage from the center of the pack. Stinkin Rich found his customary long stride and switched gears, making up ground with every stride. In the end, he was a one-length winner over Beach Cartel. WH Design By Dash and Harold Collins rounded out the trifecta to move into third.
Stinkin Rich covered the muddy surface in a time of :19.528 seconds, a new stakes record. The old record was set in 2014 by This Lion Roars and jockey Yordanis Amaro in a time of :20.018. Stinkin Rich paid $5.80, $3.00 and $2.20 across the board as the second favorite of the field.
“Actually, he (Stinkin Rich) was very comfortable in the mud,” said Pina. “The first time he hesitated a little, but he was pretty comfortable tonight. I liked the outside (post) for him too. I’m pretty happy with how the race went and how he raced tonight.”
After eight weeks of intense handicapping and jockeying for position, Gary Showalter came out as the winner of the 007 Jock’s Agent contest. The event was the second session of the year and awarded Showalter with a trophy and the top prize of $1,000.
The 007 Jocks Agent contest allows players to choose two jockeys to represent. During the contest, they are allotted five “fire” cards and can switch to other jockeys. Points are based on total purse earnings.
Showalter is a regular contest player at Indiana Grand and took the lead early. He utilized his “fire” cards and switched up his two jockeys during Indiana Derby Week, “hiring” Rafael Bejarano, who won the Indiana Derby. He also “hired” Marcelino Pedroza, who had a great month. The move proved to be just what he needed to get on top and stay there for the duration of the contest.
“After Indiana Derby, I sort of stopped doing as well, but those first few weeks got me on top,” said Showalter.
Ramon Romero had a lot to celebrate Saturday, Aug. 27. He guided Lisa’s Cat Nap to an upset win in the second race of the night, recording his first career victory. The rookie from Puerto Rico started his career at Indiana Grand earlier in the summer and had a lot to celebrate.
Starting from post four in the nine-horse maiden claiming field, Romero got Lisa’s Cat Nap to the lead quickly in the six furlong event. He was able to maintain control of the race, jumping out on the lead by six as he turned for home. In the end, Lisa’s Cat Nap was a nine-length winner at odds of 34-1 for the victory. Gemini’s Reward and Marcelino Pedroza finished a neck ahead of Coolera and Kayla Albright for second.
“It’s really exciting to get my first win,” said Romero. “It’s been a good experience so far and this win is an accomplishment for me.”
Trained by Katy Allen, Lisa’s Cat Nap scored his first career win in his 13th career start. The five-year-old gelded son of Cat Dreams is owned by Larry Hadler.
Nominations for the 11th running of the $200,000-added Centaur Stakes (Listed) closed Wednesday, Aug. 24. A total of 34 nominations were included on the list for Indiana’s richest turf race.
Heading the list of nominees includes Oscar Nominated, starter in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. The three-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy switched back over to the turf following his start in the Kentucky Derby, finishing second in the Grade III American Derby at Arlington Park in July. He is trained by Mike Maker.
Another horse that grabs attention from the nomination list is Whateverybodywants, a fourth place finisher in the 2016 Grade II Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand in July. The three-year-old Giant Oak colt trained by Kellyn Gorder followed Indiana Derby winner Cupid to Mountaineer Park where he finished second to him in the $750,000 Grade II West Virginia Derby. If he were to start in the Centaur Stakes, it would mark the first start over the turf course for Whateverybodywants.
Ben Colebrook’s Surgical Strike has Graded Stakes experience and comes into the race off a seventh place finish in the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat at Arlington Park. The Red Giant colt was a winner three starts back in the Grade III Arlington Classic and was also a second place finisher in the Grade II American Turf at Churchill Downs this spring.
A horse to watch if he makes the trip to Indiana is First Trappe Road from the Bret Calhoun Stable. The grey son of Trappe Shot has two wins and one second in four starts this season racing in Graded Stakes competition on the dirt. His last start was a winning effort in the Grade III $500,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park. A start in the Centaur Stakes would be a first start over the turf for First Trappe Road.
One of the oldest horses in the field proved to be the toughest in the 13th running of the $100,000-added William Henry Harrison Stakes Wednesday, Aug. 24 at Indiana Grand. Sucess is Racing, a former Indiana champ, returned to his previous stakes winning performance and captured the title in the six-furlong sprint under the guidance of Jockey Eddie Perez.
Starting from post 10 in the 10-horse field, Sucess Is Racing used early speed, but only enough to grab a front stalking position as Zoned In and Francisco Torres claimed the top spot from the inside followed closely by Easy Doer and Rodney Prescott along the outside. Sucess Is Racing sat patiently three wide as fractions of :22.05 and :45.08 were posted on the slightly wet track due to a small shower before the race. Zoned In maintained his positioning inside around the turn as Sucess Is Racing began to rally along the outside and challenge for the lead. The two were neck and neck at the top of the stretch before Sucess Is Racing got the best of his opponent and grabbed the lead solo for the stretch drive.
In the lane, Sucess Is Racing fought gamely to keep up the momentum as late closers began to charge in. Operation Stevie and Emmanuel Esquivel saved ground in the turn to have the most strength left for the challenge but in the end, no one could catch Sucess Is Racing, who won by one and one-quarter lengths over Operation Stevie. Still Chief and Marcelino Pedroza had a nice late rally on the outside to finish third.
The 14th running of the $100,000-added Shelby County Stakes set up just as expected. The two early favorites, Carmalley Chrome (Rodney Prescott) and Easy Victory (Richard Bracho) broke quickly from the gate and sprinted to the lead. However, it was not anticipated that Joyous Lady and Tommy Pompell would have such a big kick at the end to pass them up in the stretch and drive off for the win.
Starting from post five in the field reduced to six starters, Joyous Lady was able to get behind the two front runners from the start of the six-furlong race. The top two rallied away from the field, leaving a big gap down the backstretch between them and the rest of the field. Halfway through the only turn of the race, Joyous Lady had caught up to the top two and her momentum was strong. The four-year-old daughter of Kela easily passed them up and had the lead by the top of the stretch.
Joyous Lady ended up as the favorite of the field. She moved out to a four and one-quarter length advantage as she crossed under the wire. Hay Little Bit and Albin Jimenez finished second followed by Short and Sassy and Santo Sanjur who rallied up for third.
Jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr. has had a great year at Indiana Grand. His year just got a little better Saturday, Aug. 20. In addition to winning two races on the card, the Panamanian-born jockey recorded his 500th career trip to the winner’s circle, an impressive feat for the 23-year-old.
Pedroza Jr. has racing in his blood. Several family members are jockeys, including his father, who rode in Panama, and his uncle, Martin, who has been a force on the Southern California circuit for more than a decade.
“My dad (Marcelino Pedroza Sr.) is a retired jockey and he never wanted me to become a jockey because of the dangers,” said Pedroza Jr. “But, I begged my dad to go to jockey school and that’s when my career started.”
Pedroza Jr. attended jockey school at the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey Training Academy outside of Panama City at Presidente Remon Racetrack. There, he learned the expertise of riding Thoroughbreds.
“The first horse I got on ran off with me and I ended up falling off and it really scared me,” said Pedroza Jr. of his first experience prior to attending jockey school. “I stayed off the horses for three months, going straight to the jockey school rather than first going to get on the horses in the morning. I only got back on because the school said that to continue there, I had to get back on the horses in the morning.”