Ransack rallies in Don K. Memorial Starter Allowance

Ransack and Fernando De La Cruz rallied in the stretch to draw off for the win in the sixth round of the $30,000 Don K. Memorial Starter Allowance Wednesday, Aug. 2 at Indiana Grand. The duo covered the one and one-sixteenth mile race that was moved to the dirt in a time of 1:44.92.


Ransack and Fernando De La Cruz win their second straight race at Indiana Grand, this time in the sixth round of the Don K. Memorial Starter Allowance Wednesday, Aug. 2. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Ransack started the race from post three after three horses scratched out when the race was moved off the turf. The start wasn’t ideal in tight quarters and De La Cruz had to take Ransack back for a few strides before getting clearance to pursue the leaders. Arch Pearl and Katie Clawson got the jump on the field and led for a majority of the race. Point After and Manny Cruz pressed the pace with Ransack on the inside tracking the progress of the top two.

 In the stretch, Ransack was able to prove why he was the heavy favorite in the race as he swooped to the lead. The four-year-old Pioneerof The Nile colt was able to win the race by two and three-quarters of a length over Arch Pearl for second. Point After maintained positioning for third.

 Owned by Jana Wagner and Jeff Gardella, Ransack earned his third win in six outings for 2017. He increased his career bankroll to more than $73,000 with his win in the Don K. Memorial Starter. He is trained by Mike Maker, who lost the horse five starts back at Gulfstream Park this past spring, only to reclaim the horse in the very next start for his new connections. It was the second start over Indiana Grand’s oval and the second time that De La Cruz, 2016 Leading Jockey at Indiana Grand, had been aboard.

 “I didn’t see any difference in him (Ransack) today from his last start,” said De La Cruz. “He was close to the lead last time to win. This time, he was inside. When we turned for home, he just opened up and took off.”

 The win was one of two on the afternoon for De La Cruz, who missed the first two and one-half months of the 2017 meet at Indiana Grand recuperating from a shoulder injury sustained at Tampa Bay Downs this past spring. Since his return, the Peruvian born jockey has accumulated 27 wins and more than $500,000 in purse earnings to already secure a sixth place spot in the standings this season.

 The Don K Memorial Starter will return for the seventh round Wednesday, Aug. 23 for a race contested at one mile over the dirt course. There are 11 legs total of the series during the 2017 racing season, which concludes at the end of October.