Big Matchup in first Quarter Horse Stakes of the 2017 season

It will be a battle to the wire between two standout Indiana sired Quarter Horses Saturday, May 27 when the field enters the starting gate for the eighth running of the $84,200 Born Runner Classic. WH Design by Dash and Beach Cartel, who shared honors in 2016 as the Quarter Horse Association of Indiana (QHRAI) High Point Colt/Gelding of the Year, will be battling it out in the first Quarter Horse stakes race of the season at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

Beach Cartel will be seeking to defend his title in the eight running of the Born Runner Classic at Indiana Grand Saturday, May 27. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Beach Cartel, with jockey Rodney Prescott aboard from post nine, has been tagged as the early favorite in the race over WH Design by Dash, who will be ridden by Oscar Macias from post six in the 10-horse field. The two have already matched skills once this year with Beach Cartel getting the slight edge over WH Design by Dash, winning by the margin of a head in allowance competition May 5. The Born Runner Classic will be the second start of 2017 for both horses, who are now five and six-years-old respectively.

Beach Cartel, bred and raised by Owner Sheri Miller of Shipshewana, Ind. at Miller Ranch, has 11 wins in 16 career starts with a little more than $275,000 in career earnings. The five-year-old son of Escondido Beach won four of his six starts last year. He is trained by Terry Phillips.

WH Design By Dash will be seeking to regain control of the Born Runner Classic Saturday, May 27 after missing the title last season by only one-half length to Beach Cartel. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Owned by Julia Martin and trained by Paul Martin, WH Design by Dash has similar statistics with nine wins in 32 career starts and earnings in excess of $250,000. The six-year-old Brimmstone gelding, bred by Greg Morrison, will be looking for revenge in the Born Classic Stakes. Beach Cartel won the 2016 edition of the Born Classic over WH Design by Dash with a short margin of one-half length at the finish line. WH Design by Dash was the winner of the race in 2015.

A third horse could play into the mix of the Born Runner Classic. Beach Bum Eddie, who starts from post seven for jockey Cesar Esqueda, comes into the race for his first start of 2017. The four-year-old Escondido Beach gelding was named 2016 QHRAI High Point Three-Year-Old Colt/Gelding and will step up for his first test against older horses. Owned and trained by Tony Cunningham, Beach Bum Eddie has six wins in 13 starts and has only finished out of the top three once in his career.

The Born Runner Classic is slated as the final race on the program Saturday at Indiana Grand as Race 9. Estimated post time for the race is 9:49 p.m. EST. The race will set the stage toward the first all-Quarter Horse racing night of 2017 the following Saturday, June 3 featuring the $75,000 final of the Harley Greene Derby. A total of six all-Quarter Horse racing nights will be held during the season featuring the sprinters on June 3, July 8, Aug. 12, Sept. 16, Oct. 7 and Oct. 21. All events will be held on Saturdays with a first post of 6:05 p.m. EST.