Fantastic performance by Fantastic Six Pack in Blue River Derby

It was a fantastic performance by Fantastic Six Pack in the $114,600 Blue River Derby at Indiana Grand Saturday, July 30. Ridden by Cristian Esqueda, the three-year-old rallied hard all the way to the wire, saving his best stride for last to win the 400-yard dash.

Starting from the outside post 10 in the 10-horse lineup, Fantastic Six Pack got a good break from the gate and went to work. Beach Bum Eddie and Cesar Esqueda got the early lead in the center of the track and made his opponents chase him nearly the entire race. The two horses raced side by side in the final strides. However, as the wire neared, Fantastic Six Pack had the best momentum and was able to get a neck in front of Beach Bum Eddie at the wire for the win in a time of :19.796 seconds, a new stakes record. Beach Bum Eddie finished a head in front of My Louisiana Rod and Berkley Packer for third.

“He (Fantastic Six Pack) is a nice horse and easy to ride,” said Cristian Esqueda, who has been the regular rider for over one year. “You just have to be confident and let them do their thing. He got next to the other horse (Beach Bum Eddie) and really dug in. He did that in the trials too, he just had nowhere to go.”

Fantastic Six Pack, owned by the Duke Family’s Duke Racing, LLC located in nearby Whiteland, Ind., is now four for eight lifetime. The win marks his first stakes win and boosted his career earnings to more than $132,000. The Fantastic Corona Jr. gelding is trained by Matt Frazier.

“He (Fantastic Six Pack) was real immature at first,” said Frazier. “But he is getting better with every start. He is a complete professional and all racehorse. He got pinballed in the trials and came running under a hand ride and had horse left, so we knew he would be tough. He’s a monster of a closer and we knew if he was within a half-length at the 250, he was going to give them trouble.”

Fantastic Six Pack, the second choice of the field, paid $8.40, $5.20, $4.20 across the board. He now has two wins in three starts this season for the Duke Family, who also bred and raised him. The gelding’s mother, Six Packin Robin, also raced for the Dukes and was stakes placed during her career.

The previous record for the Blue River Derby, which switched to 400 yards in 2013 when it relocated to Indiana Grand, was set by Sum Fun For Magic and Harold Collins in a time of :20.056 seconds. It is the first time the race has dipped under the 20 second barrier for the final time.