Sims sweeps first two turf races of the season

Turf racing is back at Indiana Grand. A pair of turf races were held on the Tuesday, May 16 racing program, marking the first time on the grass this season. Trainer Phil Sims swept both events to record a training double on the card in his first two starts of the year at Indiana Grand.

Cha Cha Magic and Malcolm Franklin stride out to win the first turf race of the season Tuesday, May 16. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

The first turf race of the year was a one and one-sixteenth mile event with a purse of $31,000. Cha Cha Magic and Malcolm Franklin coasted to victory in the race, winning by five and one-half lengths in the field of 10. Starting from post three, it took the three-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast until the final half of the race to accelerate into contention, pulling away from the field in the stretch for the win, her first career trip to the winner’s circle. Kathy’s Song and Shaun Bridgmohan finished second over Cuddle Kitten and Katie Clawson for third.

The second favorite of the race, Cha Cha Magic paid $5.80, $3.00, $2.20 across the board. The homebred filly is owned by Nelson McMakin of Kentucky and was making her second start of the year for Sims, with a previous outing at Keeneland.

In the second turf race on the card, Sims was once again in the winner’s circle as Krewe Chief and Jack Gilligan used a late move in the stretch to snag the one-mile race at the wire. Starting from post five in the eight-horse lineup, a $32,500 Allowance Optional Claiming race, Krewe Chief was content to let the field vie for early positioning. However, the last eighth of a mile was a different story as Krewe Chief moved to the outside, hitting high gear and traveling past opponents in the stretch to reach the wire a head over Conquest Mystique and James Graham for the win. Impassable Canyon and Rodney Prescott maintained positioning for third.

The second longest shot on the board, Krewe Chief paid $28.40, $13.00, $7.20 across the board. Owned in partnership between McMakin and Sims, the four-year-old son of Parading recorded his first win of the year in only his second outing.

“It just worked out to have our first starts of the year at Indiana Grand on the turf,” said Matt Sims, assistant to his father Phil. “We have always liked the turf course at Indiana Grand and have always done well here. We came up with Cha Cha Magic and decided to give Krewe Chief a shot today also. It’s a nice surprise to get a win with both of them.”

It was the third straight race for Gilligan, a native of England, to be aboard Krewe Chief. However, it was the first start at Indiana Grand for Krewe Chief, who shipped up from Sims’ home base at Keeneland where he currently has 32 head in training.

“The turf course is great, it looks great and it’s riding great,” said Gilligan. “I wanted to wait as long as I could with this horse (Krewe Chief) and when we finally got out, I knew I had enough horse to get there.”