Paisley wins first career race in $100,000 Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division
It’s always exciting when a horse “breaks its maiden,” but the win was just a little sweeter when Paisley accomplished it for owner-trainer-breeder Marvin Johnson. The two-year-old chestnut daughter of Drinkwiththedevil rallied in the stretch to win her first career race in the 20th running of the $100,000-added Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand.
Starting from the extreme outside post 11 in the starting gate, Paisley broke well but under the guidance of jockey Alex Contreras, did not rush to challenge the leaders. Instead, the freshman filly stayed along the outside in mid pack as Just Taylor and Fernando De La Cruz set the pace early on followed closely by Prompted and DeShawn Parker.
The field tightened up from front to back around the only turn of the six furlong sprint, giving Paisley the opportunity to move up on the outside and get a clear shot in the center of the track as the field turned for home. Paisley didn’t immediately accelerate to the lead. But after a few strides, it was evident she was going to be tough to fend off in the final strides. Prompted became the only filly to catch late in the race and held on gamely as Paisley closed in, getting by in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length over Prompted. Cook Memorials and Malcolm Franklin also closed from the back of the pack to finish third. The final time was 1:12.35.
“After I rode her (Paisley) last time, she gave me the impression she didn’t want to be rushed, so we just stayed close enough so we didn’t get too far behind,” said Contreras. “I wanted to keep her on the outside because I didn’t want her to get a lot of mud in her face. It did take her a couple of strides to move in the stretch. I think she is still learning, but once she got going, she finished really well and she got the job done.”
Paisley, the longest shot on the board, paid $80.40, $39.80, $11.40 across the board. The start in the Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division was her sixth career start and her first to finish among the top three in the brief career of the homebred filly.
“I raced her mother off and on,” said Johnson, who is a native of Nebraska. “I liked the post she drew today. I wanted her to stay on the outside, just like she did. I’ve always liked this filly, but she hadn’t showed the whole story until today.”
Paisley now possesses in excess of $64,000 in career earnings for Johnson. The Indiana bred filly has most likely completed her two-year-old season after her stakes win.
“I’ll look for a non winners of two since she just broke her maiden,” said Johnson. “But more than likely, we will just take her home and turn her out until next year. She is a full sister to Bisque, who I used to race here before we sold him.”
Bisque was also a stakes winner at Indiana Grand under Johnson’s care. He won the $85,000-added Indiana Futurity for Johnson and his wife, Chris, in 2013.
The Johnsons purchased a farm just a few miles from Indiana Grand four years ago. They are based in Indiana during the summer and then return to their farm and home near Grand Island, Neb. for the winter. The Nebraska Hall of Fame trainer has numerous leading trainer titles to his credit in his home state, earning his latest title at Fonner Park. He followed by his father and grandfather into the racing business and has been training since 1974 and has accumulated more than 1,800 career wins.
It was also a big day for jockey Contreras, who scored three wins on the card, including two $100,000 stakes wins. In addition to Paisley, Contreras guided Crafty Spector to victory in the $100,000-added Gus Grissom later in the day, marking the two biggest victories of his career. The Mexican-born jockey began his riding career in 2011 and finished among Indiana Grand’s top 10 last season. The three wins on the program for Contreras moves him into 11th place on the standings for 2017.