Polar Vortex surprises in Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes

It’s not about where you start in a race, it’s about where you finish. Trailing the field early on, Polar Vortex and Jockey Richard Bracho rallied late in the game Wednesday, July 19 to win the ninth running of the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes at Indiana Grand. The duo covered the one mile race on the turf in a time of 1:36.45 to establish a new stakes record.


Polar Vortex, with Jockey Richard Bracho, shows the extended stride she used over the turf course to win the Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes Wednesday, July 19 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Post position didn’t really matter to Bracho and Polar Vortex. They began their journey from post three and easily slid behind the field of seven other contenders as Midnight Blvd and Fernando De La Cruz set the fractions of the race. The leader was joined by Marina’s Legacy and DeShawn Parker just to their outside most of the race by open lengths before the remainder of the field began to close in, including Polar Vortex.

 Bracho kept his filly wide in the turn and had great momentum for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Marina’s Legacy took control of the lead with Whistle Stop and Marcelino Pedroza bearing down on them with a late rally. A surprise blur began to appear on the outside as Polar Vortex lengthened her stride and was able to pass by the top ones late in the race for the win by the margin of one-half length. Marina’s Legacy finished second over Defining Hope and Malcolm Franklin, who maintained their ground in the center of the track for third.


Many friends and family of the connections of Polar Vortex assembled in the winner’s circle for the trophy presentation of the Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes Wednesday, July 19. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

“I’m very, very happy with her (Polar Vortex) today,” said Bracho, who is a former leading rider from his native Venezuela and is still perfecting his English. “We had a very good trip. The horse broke good and finished good. I’m very happy.”

 It was the first attempt at stakes action for Polar Vortex, who surprised the crowd with a payoff of $23.20, $9.00 and $4.20 across the board. The Johar filly won only her second career start in 14 tries, adding another turf win to her credentials for owners Brian and Aaron Reed and Keith Wexler, who bred the Indiana filly. Tim Glyshaw serves as the trainer for Polar Vortex.

 “Her only two wins have been on the turf,” said Glyshaw. “She ran against older mares at Fair Grounds and was dead last and circled them to break her maiden. In her last start here on the turf, she was running in a tough three-year-old race with some Kentucky breds in there and ran well. We were as confident as we could be going into today’s race. She and the eight (Marina’s Legacy) were the two best bred in there for the turf. I felt she would run well against her kind (Indiana bred fillies).”

 Glyshaw noted that she is still a “two other than” filly so that will likely be her next start. There is also another turf stakes opportunity coming up at Indiana Grand, but he knows it will be a tough task.

 “There is an older turf stakes coming up (Florence Henderson Stakes Sept. 6) but it will be tough,” said Glyshaw. “We will just want her to run the best she can. Lady Fog Horn (two-time Indiana Horse of the Year) will most likely be in there, but we will just keep running her (Polar Vortex) on the turf.”

 The previous stakes record for the Ellen’s Lucky Star was established in 2016 by Tequila and Salt with jockey Francisco Torres aboard in a time of 1:38.30. This is the second year the race has carried an increased purse of $100,000.