Paint The Corners ultra impressive in return

Anytime a horse makes it to the winner’s circle, it’s very fulfilling for the jockey, trainer and owner. But for one horse at Indiana Grand, a trip to the winner’s circle marked a huge accomplishment for the team associated with Paint The Corners. Owned by Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group, the four-year-old filly bounced back after being away from the racetrack for nearly nine months to win the $34,500 Allowance Optional Claiming event Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Paint The Corners and Fernando De La Cruz rally home quickly in the stretch for a surprise win, just two-tenths off the track record Wednesday, Aug. 9. The filly is owned by The Elkstone Group and trained by Tony Granitz, the same connections behind two-time Indiana Horse of the Year Lady Fog Horn. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

 Paint The Corners was purchased by Grant for $85,000 out of the Ocala Breeders Two-Year-Old Sale in March of 2015. She made her racing debut for her new connections under the direction of Trainer Tony Granitz at Indiana Grand, finishing third in August 2015. After a break during the winter, Paint The Corners broke her maiden at Arlington Park in July of 2016 before returning to Indiana Grand. Her final race of 2016 was recorded at Churchill Downs in late November before shipping south with the stable for the winter.

 “We took her (Paint The Corners) to Tampa with us, but it just wasn’t a good fit for her, so we sent her to Mr. Grant’s farm in Camden, South Carolina,” said Granitz. “She was on the farm taking a vacation when the farm manager discovered she was in distress and rushed her to a local hospital for a colic surgery. Everything appeared to turn out okay but she had a relapse in March, so she’s been on the mend for a long time.”

 Through some added care with her feeding program, Paint The Corners was finally able to rejoin her racing crew at Indiana Grand in late May. She now is handled differently than her stable mates due to her gastric issues over the winter.

 “She is now on a feed called ‘Senior’ for horses,” explained Granitz. “We also wet her hay when we put it in her stall. We are always precautionary with her and so far, she has been awesome. She has a great attitude and she has not had any mishaps.”

 Paint The Corners began breezing halves and galloping out strong. The daughter of Tizway gave the indication she was ready for more and training was increased to prepare her for her first start back.

 “We entered her in a couple of races that didn’t fill going five furlongs, so we entered her in the race last Wednesday going long on the turf,” said Granitz. “I did tell the owner (Stuart Grant) that she had been off 262 days, so she probably needed a race.”

 Paint The Corners proved everyone wrong. The dark bay filly, ridden by Fernando De La Cruz, came from off the pace and exploded to the lead in the stretch, winning by two and three-quarter lengths in a time of 1:34.15, just two tenths off the track record. B Rockett and Jon Court finished second over Starr Bear and Shaun Bridgmohan for third.

 A surprise winner, even to race fans, Paint The Corners paid $25.00, $14.20, and $6.40 across the board to earn her third career victory. She also pushed her career earnings to more than $104,000 with the victory.

 “She (Paint The Corners) ran lights out and was ultra impressive,” added Granitz. “There is a stakes race coming up Aug. 26 at Canterbury Park we are looking at and there is also an allowance race here that same night for her. Mr. Grant and I will talk about it and see what is best for her. We are hoping to get her stakes placed down the road.”

 Paint The Corners is part of the shed row that includes a line of fillies in the Granitz barn. One of those fillies is A J Pacer, the filly owned by Grand Gesture Stable, the new fractional ownership program at Indiana Grand this season. A J Pacer is scheduled to make her next start at Indiana Grand Saturday, Aug. 26.

 “It’s like a ‘girls club’ on that end of the barn with Paint The Corners, Seductive and AJ (Pacer),” said Granitz with a smile. “I’m hoping some of that good luck from Paint The Corners rubs off on AJ for her next race.”