Lazarus N Dominates In Dan Patch


New Zealand's acclaimed pacer Lazarus N made his highly-anticipated North American debut a winning one with a 1:48.4 mile in the 25th edition of the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, Aug. 10.

Leaving from the outside post nine in rein to Yannick Gingras, Lazarus N worked his way to the lead, clearing Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) and Rockin Ron (Trace Tetrick) after a :26.1 opening quarter. He reached the half in :54.1 and cruised past three-quarters in 1:22.4 with Split The House (Brett Miller) advancing first-up to come only within a length of the popular pacer down the stretch. McWicked (Brian Sears) closed for third-place honours.

Lazarus N was sent postward as the heavy 1-5 favourite in Indiana’s richest harness race following a sizzling 1:48.3 qualifying mile at The Meadowlands on July 28.

"I don't mind the post nine when you're 1-5 -- usually you've got somebody that wants to follow you. It's a lot harder when you're 99-1 from the nine-hole to make things happen," commented Gingras after the race. "With this horse, I just figured I'd leave hard and maybe get away somewhere in the middle or see how it was going to play out. I didn't really have a plan A in my head, but heading into the first turn, it looked like I was going to get an easy lead and, you know, why not?"

The six-year-old son of Bettors Delight out of the Christian Cullen mare Bethany was acquired by Taylor Made Stallions and brought to North America where he is being pointed towards the Breeders Crown Championships under the tutelage of trainer Jimmy Takter.

"I'm thinking thank you New Zealand for raising me a heck of a horse," said owner Duncan Taylor. "We appreciate it. We're carrying the New Zealand flag and hopefully he's going to be America's horse soon."

Now a 36-time winner in 46 career starts, the richest Standardbred of all time from the Southern Hemisphere pushed his earnings past $2.8 million. Trainer Mark Purdon previously campaigned New Zealand’s defending Horse of the Year, who was supplemented to the Dan Patch for $25,000.

The Dan Patch is for older male pacers and restricted to the 10 highest lifetime money-earners that entered.

The $29,000 Gregg Haston Memorial Invitational went to another New Zealand-bred making his first start in North America as Risk N collared Jet Airway in 1:48.2. Sam Widger drove the seven-year-old son of Changeover and Crafty for trainer Jeff Cullipher, who shares ownership with Thomas Pollack.

Risk N gave way to fellow outside leaver and odds-on favourite Endeavor (Trace Tetrick) after a blazing :25.4 quarter before Jet Airway (Lewayne Miller) took command and carved out middle splits of :53 and 1:21.1. However, Risk N sprinted a :26.4 final frame to prevail as the 8-1 fourth wagering choice. Uncmprmising Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr.) edged out Endeavor for third.

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