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Hoosier Hosts Night Of Champions

Published: October 16, 2016 2:43 am ET

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The top two and three-year-old trotters and pacers in the state of Indiana descended upon Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, Oct. 15 to battle it out in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Finals in front of a packed house on a beautiful, October evening.

As expected, the Super Finals delivered some spectacular harness racing battles and hard-earned divisional championships. With purses topping the $2 million mark, the 14-race card featured the top 10 competitors from each division and provided a fitting conclusion to the 2016 stakes season.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies

The action-packed evening opened with the first $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for three-year-old trotting fillies and it was Fawn De Savage who turned in a dominant performance to score in 1:54.4.

Trainer/driver Dan Shetler sent Fawn De Savage away from the gate firing from post five and she grabbed command through the opening panel in :28.1. Fawn De Savage dictated middle fractions of :56.3 and 1:25.3 while Naughty III and John DeLong were content to sit in the pocket. Tyler Smith gave Ooh La La La the green light approaching the final turn and the filly ranged up to match strides with the leader. Just as the field turned for home, it appeared that the stage was set for an epic stretch battle to the wire, however, Ooh La La La made a costly break and took herself out of contention. Fawn De Savage took full advantage and coasted on to the wire to win by open-lengths over Nothing But Nice and Sam Widger. You Me and Rosie and Darrell Wright rallied gamely in the stretch, but had to settle for third-place honours.

Fawn De Savage returned $6 to her backers at the betting windows.

“She had plenty of ability at two,” Shetler noted in the winner’s circle. “But like most fillies, just needed to grow up and mature. I always knew she would be a nice filly we just had to take our time with her.

“I wanted to leave with her tonight without using her too hard,” he continued. “I knew if I could get her out of there and they left her alone, she would be strong. I had a lot of horse at the top of the stretch, but that other filly [Ooh La La La] is a nice filly too. When she made a break I knew we were home free.”

Fawn De Savage recorded her eighth win of the season from 19 starts and 11th lifetime victory. Owned by Fawn De Mon Farms, the daughter of Keystone Savage-Ms Mastercraft has now amassed $320,396 in lifetime purse earnings.

Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies

The two-year-old pacing fillies were up next and it was Gooses Weedie and Sam Widger who pulled the first of many upsets on the evening in her $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final. Sent of at odds of 8-1, Gooses Weedie used the long Hoosier Park stretch to her advantage to get up in the final strides of the mile and stop the timer in 1:54.4.

John DeLong had Amazing Arya firing from the gate and she was the first to get a call through the opening panel in :27.2 before yielding the lead to Rockin Serena and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. Rockin Serena led the field through middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:25.1, but was soon joined on the outside by the heavy post-time favourite, Hah ChaChaCha and Trace Tetrick. While the damage was being done on the front, the rest of the field was winding up to take aim at the leaders. Brandon Bates had Rock Me Gorgeous well placed second-over, but the biggest threat was still behind him. Widger tipped Gooses Weedie past tiring cover and she responded to the find the wire a length in front of Rock Me Gorgeous. Sand Madeline and Brett Miller used a late surge to round out the trifecta.

With the upset, Gooses Weedie returned $18.20 to her backers at the betting windows.

“This is a very special moment for me,” trainer Mike Hollenback said after the win. “Being from Anderson and growing up around harness racing, this is as good as it gets for me.

“It really was an ideal trip for her,” he continued. “She’s a small filly and doesn’t seem to like the front-end too much so it worked out for us. She’s always been a nice filly and she showed it tonight.”

Gooses Weedie notched just the second win of her career from 13 lifetime outings and established a new lifetime mark in the process. The homebred daughter of Dontgetinmyway-Nonstop To The Top has now earned $141,650 in lifetime purse earnings for owner Charles Kline.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts

The upset trend continued in the very next race of the program, the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, as Ultimate Encore and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. found the winner’s circle at odds of 9-1. The Jeff Edwards trainee was a decisive winner, winning by four lengths, in a new lifetime-best of 1:58.

After a costly break by the heavy favourite Jesse V behind the gate, the race was a wide open affair. Trace Tetrick sent Bumblebzbuzz to the front to dictate first half fractions of :28 and :57.2. Herbies Wild Child was content to sit in the pocket while Swan Chase and Rick Plano were next in line third. Plano gave his mount the green light and he was matching strides with the leader at three-quarter clocking in 1:28.1.

Swan Chase was able to put away Bumblebzbuzz, but he would have his work cut out for him as Ultimate Encore was looming large in the background. Wrenn Jr. was well placed second and when he asked his mount for more, Ultimate Encore responded with a :29.2 final quarter to trot past his rivals well in hand at the wire. Swan Chase held on for second while Dream Of Elegance and Dale Hiteman rallied nicely for third.

With the upset, Ultimate Encore returned $20 at the betting windows.

“I’ve never driven the horse before and didn’t get a chance to talk to Jeff [Edwards] before the race,” Wrenn Jr. said after the victory. “I looked at the program and knew I wanted to get a trip with him especially since the front end hasn’t been holding up tonight. I was able to fall in line and come second-over and the colt responded. He really raced strong tonight, he’s a very nice colt.”

Owned by Denise Dennis, Dolne Farm Services, and John Johannsen, Ultimate Encore has now won two of his 14 lifetime outings. With the victory, the gelded son of Encore Encore-Southwind Ultima has now amassed $145,400 in lifetime earnings.

Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies

Just when it seemed an upset trend was forming, Seventimesavirgin proved her divisional dominance yet again with a 1:50.3 victory as the 2-5 favourite in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Seventimesavirgin notched her ninth straight Hoosier Park victory, but more impressively, made a clean sweep of the stakes action to remain undefeated in Indiana Sires Stakes this season.

Leaving from post three, Seventimesavirgin powered away from the gate to reach the first quarter in :27.3 while the rest of the field sorted out early position. Todd Warren gave Cant Touch This the green light and she grabbed the lead just before the half :55.3. Cant Touch This went uncontested through three-quarter clocking in 1:23.2 while DeLong waited patiently in the pocket.

Using a :26.4 final panel, Seventimesavirgin took the passing lane and paced away from the rest of the field to win by three lengths. Rockin Rum Springa and Ricky Macomber Jr. made up substantial ground late in the lane to finish second while Cant Touch This held on for third.

As the heavy betting favourite, Seventimesavirgin returned $2.80 to her backers.

“We needed a trip this week,” noted DeLong, who also handles the training duties of the filly. “She’s raced hard all year, she shows up every week and I couldn’t have asked for the trip to work out any better for us tonight.

“This is a special one for us,” he continued while surrounded by family and friends in the winner’s circle. “My mom is a cancer survivor and to have her here with us to enjoy this moment means the world to me. This is definitely a family affair.”

The homebred daughter of Always A Virgin-Mrs Grant Seven notched her 12th win from 13 seasonal outings. Owned by Jesse J. DeLong, Seventimesavirgin has now bankrolled $426,140 in lifetime purse earnings for her connections while winning 17 of 25 lifetime starts.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies

Satin Dancer and Ronnie Wrenn Jr. followed suit to deliver as the 6-5 post time favourite in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final for two-year-old trotting fillies. Scoring in gate-to-wire fashion, Satin Dancer stopped the clock in 1:59.1 and extended her win streak to four in the process.

Wrenn Jr. wasted no time as he sent Satin Dancer away from the gate from post two and she quickly grabbed the lead through the opening panel in :27.4. She went unchallenged through middle fractions of :57.3 and 1:27.4 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. Intothelight and Rick Plano were the first to take aim at the leader approaching the final turn, but Satin Dancer was strong on the lead. Jessi Lind and Rick Farrington were closing in quickly on the outside, but Satin Dancer dug in gamely to win by a neck. Jessi Lind finished second while Hoosier Wiggles and John DeLong finished third.

As the heavy betting favourite, Satin Dancer returned $4.60 for the win.

“Anytime you have a two-year-old, you have to be nervous,” trainer Byron Hooley said in the winner’s circle. “She’s been a nice filly all year, a fun filly to have in the barn. Ronnie [Wrenn Jr.] just started driving her a few starts ago; he’s done a really great job with her. He gets along really well with her and said she’s like a Cadillac to drive.”

Owned by Summit Pacing Acres LLC, Satin Dancer recorded her eighth win from 15 lifetime outings. The daughter of Big Stick Lindy-Shaken Not Stirred now sports a lifetime bankroll of $227,933.

Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts

Born To Thrive and driver/trainer Rick Plano pulled off the biggest surprise of the evening, prevailing at odds of 15-1 in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Stopping the timer in 1:54.4, Born To Thrive staged a big rally late in the lane to get up in the final strides of the mile and establish a new lifetime mark in the process.

John DeLong had the 1-5 post time favourite, Bridge To Jesses, on the front and he led the field through fractions of :27.1, :56.1 and 1:25.3. Fly Jesse Fly and Trace Tetrick were on the attack first-over and at the top of the stretch was matching strides with Bridge To Jesses. Fly Jesse Fly was able to put a nose in front, but the taxing mile was beginning to take its toll. Just as the top pair started to fade, Plano tipped Born To Thrive to the outside and he kicked into high gear to surge past his rivals. Fly Jesse Fly held on for second while Topville Avatar and Dale Hiteman closed well for third-place honours.

“It’s hard to be confident with the caliber of horses we were racing against in here tonight, but this is a nice colt,” driver/trainer Rick Plano commented. “I just bought him a few weeks ago, I made a few changes and he’s really responded well to everything I’ve done. He’s a nice colt that I think is only getting started.”

Earning his third win of the season, Born To Thrive has now won five of 28 lifetime outings. Owned by John Campagnuolo, Victor Contento, and Maryann Plano, the gelded son of Swan For All-Soxy Kosmos has now earned $141,933 in lifetime purse earnings.

Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts

On The Virg and Brett Miller turned in a near gate-to-wire performance to take home top honours in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The Jim Dailey trainee dug in gamely to hold off his rivals late in the lane to score his sixth win of the season in 1:52.4.

Dave And Dennis and Tyler Smith left with the wings of the gate to grab the early lead through the opening panel in :28.1 before yielding the lead to On The Virg just before the half. On The Virg dictated the tempo of :57 and 1:25 before Trace Tetrick had the post time favourite Rock N Tony applying pressure to the outside first-over. As the field turned for home, Rock N Tony made a solid bid for the lead, but On The Virg found another gear and drew away to win by two lengths.

“Leaving the gate, I could tell not a whole lot of people were leaving,” Miller said after the race. “With the soft fractions,, I knew I had to make my move and when I saw the half-mile time pop up. I had a lot of confidence in my colt.

“The wind has died down a little and when we turned for home I was just hoping my colt could out-sprint them,” he continued. “He did. He’s a very nice colt and paced strong all the way to the wire.”

Owned by Richard Lombardo, Howard Taylor, David Kryway, and Eric Goodell, On The Virg recorded his sixth win from 11 seasonal outings. With the win, the gelded son of Always A Virgin-Modern Bobbi now sports a lifetime bankroll of $195,250.

Three-Year-Old Pacing Colts

Brett Miller would find the winner’s circle once more, this time with Uncmprmising Z Tam in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Using the same front-running tactics, Uncmprmising Z Tam held off all charges to score in a new lifetime-best of 1:50.2.

Leaving from post five, Miller wasted no time as he sent the Wilbur Eash trainee to the front. Uncmprmising Z Tam led the field through fractions of :27, :55.1, and 1:22.3 before ever feeling a threat.

Bourbon Chase and Dan Shetler were the first to commit to the outer flow, but by the time the field rounded the final turn, Umcmprmising Z Tam’s lead was ever-increasing. Using a :27.4 final panel, Uncmprmising Z Tam held off a late charge from Ricky Macomber Jr. and Downthehighwy to win by three lengths. Matrix Of Luck and Trace Tetrick rallied from way back to round out the trifecta.

As the 9-5 favourite, Uncmprmising Z Tam returned $5.80 for the win.

Uncmprmising Z Tam notched his fourth win from 17 seasonal outings and seventh win from 26 lifetime starts. Owned by the Z Tam Stables LLC, the gelded son of Shadyshark Hanover-Cosmic Grace has now amassed $231,288 for his connections.

(With files from Hoosier Park)

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