Champions Crowned At Harrah’s Hoosier Park

Published: October 14, 2023 01:42 am EDT

Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to Hoosier Champions Night on Friday, Oct. 13, and the 15-race program provided a fitting conclusion to the 2023 Indiana Sires Stakes season. The summer-long Indiana Sires Stakes culminated with the crowning of 10 new champions with purses offered exceeding $1.8 million.

Heavy rain showers and coolers temperatures marked the evening but did not slow the tempo as the evening was highlighted by exciting racing action in front of an enthusiastic crowd. 

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot

The $250,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Super Final for three-year-old filly trotters was race three on the 15-race card, with favouritism falling to eventual race winner Naturdays. With regular pilot Matt Krueger in the bike, Naturdays was uninvolved through the early stages but used an impressive :27.2 closing quarter to track down the pacesetting Yo Beth D and LeWayne Miller. Yo Beth D led the field through hot early fractions. As second choice, Swanya launched her bid on the final turn, Naturdays waited for a clear stretch before exploding home with a powerful :27.2 final fraction to score in 1:53.2. Swanya and John DeLong finished second while Yo Beth D held on for third. 

“I had all the confidence in the world in her,” noted driver Matt Krueger. “I wanted to be second-over but I knew if I could get her in a decent position, she would do the rest and she certainly did tonight.”

Trained by Matt Rheinheimer, the three-year-old daughter of Helpisontheway-Windsongmusclelady has now won seven of 12 starts this season. Owned in partnership by Alton, Debra and Brackton Miller, Naturdays pushed her career earnings to $339,665. Naturdays was bred by Mervin Lehman, Orka Bontrager, John Lengacher and Black Creek Farm.

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace

Not many had a better night than driver John DeLong at Harrah’s Hoosier Park after he had five winners on the 15-race card. DeLong kicked off his impressive evening with a win in the $250,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for two-year-old pacing fillies with Lets Go Endofaera. With heavy rain falling by the time they went to the gate, Lets Go Endofaera made the most of it and stormed home in :27.4 to get the win over Lyin Eyes and Joey Putnam in 1:53.3.

Leaving from post nine, Lets Go Endofera was unhurried from the gate and settled along the rail in sixth. All JK and Trace Tetrick assumed their usual spot on the front and dictated fractions of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.1 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. The post time favourites, Teelatini and driver Peter Wrenn, benefitted from a pocket trip while Lyin Eyes was the first to commit to the outer flow. Lets Go Endofera was perfectly placed second-over and when DeLong gave her the green light she responded gamely. Lets Go Endofera was able to track down All JK and keep Lyin Eyes at bay to get the victory.

“She’s a really good filly,” DeLong noted after the win. “My wife Tabby works really hard on her. She’s a tough filly who has a lot of quirks and she works really hard to get along with her and keep her happy—but it’s all worth it when she races like that.”

With the victory, Lets Go Endofera completed her Indiana Sires Stakes campaign with a 10-5-2-1 record and $284,000 in seasonal earnings for owners Jesse J. DeLong, John J. DeLong and William C. DeLong. Trained by Tabitha DeLong, the filly was bred by Jesse J. DeLong.  

Three-Year-Old Filly Pace

Trainer Tyler George finished 1-2 in the $250,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for three-year-old filly pacers as Tells On A Roll and Dexter Dunn were able to hold off the heavily favoured stablemate, Rollin Rosie and Trace Tetrick. Tells On A Roll finished three lengths to the good and stopped the timer in a new lifetime best of 1:50.

Dunn sent Tells On A Roll away from the gate firing and she was able to grab a pocket seat through the opening panel in :26.2. Opting out of a pocket trip, Dunn sent Tells On A Roll to the front and she quickly grab command at the half in :55. Tells On A Roll was on top by three lengths at the third station in 1:22.2 while the rest of the field was winding up to take aim. Turning for home, Tells On A Roll began to pace away from the field. Rollin Rosie turned in a valiant effort to finish second while Walkin On Sunshine and Jay Cross finished third.

“She felt really good scoring down,” Dunn noted after the victory. “Tyler was confident in her and I was too so I knew I wanted to step out of there with her. She’s a really nice filly who showed that tonight.”

With the victory, the daughter of Tellitlikeitis-Have Rock Willroll notched her sixth win in nine starts this season. Owned in partnership by Engel Stb of Ill LLC, Louis Willinger and T G Stable LLC, Tells On A Roll catapulted her career earnings to $294,006. Tells On A Roll was bred by Victory Hill Farm. 

Three-Year-Old Colt Trot

After trainer Tyler George finished first and second in the three-year-old pacing filly final, trainer Missy Essig followed suit in the $250,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Helpfirstedition and driver John DeLong were able to overcome post position nine and a first-over trip to score a three-length victory in 1:53.3. Texsong Soprano and Michael Oosting finished second while Ponda Jet and Kyle Wilfong finished third.

Ponda Jet found his customary spot on the front and led the field through splits of :26.3, :56.2 and 1:25.4. When the field turned for home, the race appeared to be wide open. Helpfirstedition was on the attack first over and when DeLong asked him for more, he responded. Using a :27.2 closing quarter, Helpfirstedition dug in gamely late in the lane to get the victory.

With the win, the gelded son of Helpisontheway-She Knows Swagger recorded his seventh win from 18 starts this season. Owned in partnership Ervin Wickey, John Graber, Running Wild Stables and John Schmucker, Helpfirstedition was unraced at two but has now amassed $382,275 in lifetime purse earnings. Helpfirstedition was bred by Martin Wickey.

Two-Year-Old Colt Pace

DeLong was back in the winner’s circle in the very next Super Final -- this time with Tellmeitmatters for trainer Roger Welch in the $250,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Stopping the timer in 1:51.4, Tellmeitmatters was determined on the front-end and was able to hold off a hard-charging Noblesville and driver Ronnie Wrenn Jr.

Leaving from the rail, Tellmeitmatters protected his rail position just enough to get away third in the early stages through the opening panel in :27. Just before the half in :55, DeLong had Tellmeitmatters back out and firing and pointed to the front. Tellmeitmatters reached the three-quarters in 1:24.1 and appeared strong on the lead. Using a :27.3 closing kick, Tellmeitmatters finished a head in front of Noblesville. Play Action Pass and Trace Tetrick also rallied well late to round out the trifecta.

Tellmeitmatters has now won five of 10 starts this season and sports a lifetime bankroll of $229,750. Owned and bred by William C. DeLong and William P. DeLong, the gelded son of Tellitlikeitis-Art Matters equalled his lifetime best with the win.

Three-Year-Old Colt Pace

Why Not Now put a bow on the Indiana Sire Stakes Super Finals on the evening, delivering as the 3-5 favourite in dead-game fashion in the sophomore colt and gelding pace. Driver Dexter Dunn left aggressively from post two with Why Not Now, stringing Coach Stefanos and Trace Tetrick out to the opening quarter in a speedy :26.3 through the rain. Why Not Now relinquished the lead only briefly on the backstretch before pocket-popping and powering to the front of the field once again to the half in :54.4. John De Long led the charge of the outer flow as he pulled Buzzsaw Russ from third, reaching the leaders wheel at three-quarters in 1:23.3.

As the pacers turned for home, Why Not Now dug in gamely to rebuff the challenge of Buzzsaw Russ at the top of the lane only to face yet another challenge from Coach Stefanos, who waited patiently for the passing lane. The duo exchanged blows down to the wire, with Why Not Now splashing home in :26.1 to hold off the hard-charging Coach Stafanos by a quarter of a length on the line to secure the victory in 1:49.4. David Allan Whoa and Joey Putnam rallied for the third spot.

The victory was the eighth of the season and fourth straight for the Dylan Davis trainee in 14 seasonal outings. With the win, Why Not Now has banked more than $400,000 on the season and pushed his career bankroll to $505,630 for owners Howard Taylor, Dylan Davis and Jeffrey Billings. The three-year-old son of Always A Virgin-Star Of The Show was bred by Dustin Miller.

(With files from Hoosier Park)

Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.