Beach Treat quickest qualifier in Blue River Derby trials

Beach Treat and jockey Giovani Vazquez-Gomez scored the quickest time among 30 three-year-olds vying for a top 10 spot to advance to the $100,000 final of the Blue River Derby slated for Saturday, July 21. The duo covered the 400-yard dash in a time of :19.939 seconds to lead the field into the 16th running of the event.

Beach Treat and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez advance to the Blue River Derby Final as the fastest qualifiers. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from the inside post one of the second of three trials, Beach Treat wasn’t the quickest out of the gate but made up for it just a few steps out. The gelded son of Escondido Beach began to put together a steady rally, wearing his foes down to reach the wire by the margin of a head over Kitty Sixup and Samuel Mendez on the extreme outside. Jessalilsecret and Jose Beltran finished a neck back in third.

Owned and trained by Ron Brown, Beach Treat earned his third career win and his first of 2018 in the Blue River Derby Trial. He has recorded all 11 of his career starts at Indiana Grand.

Rocky Candy Shop, ridden by Beltran, won the second fastest trial of the night, completing his race in a time of :20.007. The Fantastic Corona Jr gelding, trained by Randy Smith, led from gate to wire, winning easily over Just Like Sarah and Jackson, who finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second. Fish Head and Aron Hunt maintained ground along the inside to finish third.

Rockys Candy Shop was well under wraps for jockey Jose Beltran in his trial to advance to the Blue River Derby Final Sat. July 21 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Rockys Candy Shop, owned by Lance Finlinson, is now four for seven lifetime. The stakes placed sophomore is currently two for two in 2018 for his connections.

The always impressive Beach Mercedes kicked off the first of three trials with a victory. Starting from post four, it didn’t take the Escondido Beach filly very many strides into the race to secure the lead, battling all the way to the wire to fend off Atempting Love and Luis Guerrero to her inside. Beach Mercedes got the win by a neck in a time of :20.052. Atempting Love was second over Apollitical Regard and Cesar Esqueda. It was the first time that Beach Mercedes had run a 400-yard race, but she handled it with ease.

“I figured she would like it (the distance),” said Smith. “She is a real easy keeper. We just try to keep her sound.”

Smith has stalls at Indiana Grand and also has a farm just minutes from Indiana Grand. His farm includes an indoor jog track as well as paddocks and a eurocizer, which he utilizes while the horses are at the farm.

Beach Mercedes and Jose Beltran stretch out at the wire to score the trial win for the Blue River Derby. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

“She (Beach Mercedes) spends a little time at both,” said Smith. “They all go back and forth between the track and the farm. And, when she’s at the farm, we put her on the eurocizer.”

Owned and bred by Sheri Miller of Shipshewana, Ind., Beach Mercedes is currently on a three-race win streak. She has won five of her 10 career starts heading into the Blue River Derby final.

The top 10 qualifiers for the Blue River Derby, with jockey and time, includes: Beach Treat (Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, :19.939); Kitty Sixup (Samuel Mendez, :19.958); Jessalilsecret (Jose Beltran, :19.985); Rockys Candy Shop (Jose Beltran, :20.005); HQH Fancy Pants (Luis Guerrero, :20.007); Beach Mercedes (Jose Beltran, :20.052); Atempting Love (Luis Guerrero, :20.079); Apollitical Regard (Cesar Esqueda, :20.165); Bono Rhythm (Rodney Prescott, :20.222); and Just Like Sarah (Shanley Jackson, :20.224). Smith will saddle four in the final (Jessalilsecret, Rockys Candy Shop, Beach Mercedes, Just Like Sarah) while Ron Raper will saddle two. (HQH Fancy Pants and Atempting Love)