Hot Mess Express To Make Final Start

Hot Mess Express winning at The Meadowlands
Published: February 1, 2024 04:15 pm EST

Hot Mess Express has been a big part of owner Sam Bowie’s life for more than three years. On Friday, he will watch his six-year-old female pacer compete for the final time before she embarks on the next chapter of her career as a broodmare.

A multiple winner on the Grand Circuit and Indiana Sire Stakes champion with more than $970,000 in the bank, Hot Mess Express will race in Friday’s $17,000 USD conditioned pace for mares at The Meadowlands. She will start from post nine in a field of nine with Anibal Borjas driving for trainer Tony Alagna. She is the 3-1 morning-line favourite.

Hot Mess Express has been purchased by a group that includes Stephanie and Myron Bell’s Riverview Breeding and Hunterton Farm’s Cindy and Steve Stewart. She will be retired following the race.

“What a ride she has taken us on,” said Bowie, the former University of Kentucky basketball star who had a 10-season NBA career. “It’s been a beautiful ride. Me being an athlete and looking at the Standardbred horse as an athlete as well, knowing the work that she’s put in, and having Tony Alagna and [his mom] Donna Lee do the job that they’ve done with her, it’s been a wonderful thing to witness.

“I know all owners are biased, but I’ve always thought she was a gorgeous looking mare. She’s been a big part of my life the last three or four years. Now she deserves to start creating her own offspring.”

Bowie purchased Hot Mess Express privately early in her two-year-old season from a group that included trainer Jamaica Patton. She remained with Patton for the remainder of the year and was the runner-up in the Indiana Sire Stakes final.

At age three, Hot Mess Express moved to Alagna’s stable and posted five victories on the Grand Circuit in addition to going undefeated in the Indiana Sire Stakes series, culminating with her championship triumph.

Her top wins that season came in the Mistletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands and Nadia Lobell at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. She missed by a neck in the Fan Hanover and ended her sophomore campaign with 13 wins and a second in 16 starts.

For her career, the daughter of Panther Hanover-My Heart Was True has won 28 of 67 races and earned $970,542.

“From a trainer’s standpoint, and a driver’s, they always told me she was great gaited and would do whatever you wanted her to do on the track,” said Bowie. “She could always leave the gate, she could come off a helmet, she sat in a hole with two fingers. I guess her mannerisms and smarts would probably be her biggest assets.

“She raced on the Grand Circuit against some of the best mares that were looking through a bridle during her time. I can’t really pick out a particular race that stands out. I’ve always been proud of her regardless of the outcome of a race. Anytime you’re racing against Grand Circuit-type mares in today’s game, you have to have a good animal. To say she was a good animal would be an understatement.

“I would like to give everyone credit except myself for the job that she’s done.”

Racing begins at 6:20 p.m. (EST) at The Meadowlands. For a free TrackMaster program for the Big M card, click here.

Hot Mess Express is one of several recent purchases by the Stewarts and their partners. Others include millionaire Boudoir Hanover, Breeders Crown champion Max Contract and Grand Circuit winners Bellisima Hanover and Dont Fence Me In.

Riverview Breeding bred Dont Fence Me In and was among the breeders of Boudoir Hanover (with Visionary Breeders) and Bellisima Hanover (with Visionary Breeders and Hanover Shoe Farms). The Bells’ Riverview Racing was among the owners of all three horses during their racing careers.

Five-year-old Boudoir Hanover and four-year-old Bellisima Hanover are full sisters, by Captaintreacherous out of million-dollar earner Bedroomconfessions. Boudoir Hanover was a two-time champion in the Kentucky Sire Stakes program as well as a multiple winner on the Grand Circuit. Bellisima Hanover was a 2022 Kindergarten Classic Series champ.

Dont Fence Me In, a five-year-old daughter of Captaintreacherous-Mystery Game, also garnered two Kentucky titles and was a multiple Grand Circuit winner. She retired this past May and is in foal to Bulldog Hanover.

“I’m very proud of them,” Myron Bell said of the three mares. He has been involved with their maternal families for three generations. “They’ve been great on the racetrack and they’re going to be, I believe, just as good in the breeding shed.”

Steve Stewart said Hot Mess Express would be bred to Captaintreacherous, Boudoir Hanover to Confederate, Bellisima Hanover to Bulldog Hanover and Dont Fence Me In to Sweet Lou.

“It’s kind of a smorgasbord of stallions that works out really well,” said Stewart.

In the past decade, Stewart has been the breeder or co-breeder of five Dan Patch Award-winning trotters: Tactical Approach, Venerable, Forbidden Trade, Venerate and Mission Brief. Venerable, Forbidden Trade and Mission Brief also were O’Brien Award recipients, with Forbidden Trade being named Canada’s 2019 Horse of the Year.

“We have pretty much been focusing on trotting mares,” said Stewart. “This is kind of the first time that Hunterton and partners have really spent a lot of money on pacing broodmares. Over the years, we’ve bought some like Put On A Show and have got a lot of nice ones, but this is a little more of a larger group of [pacing] broodmares than we’ve purchased in the past.

“It’s an honour to have these great mares on the farm and it’s an honour to take care of them. The success we’ve had has allowed us to have more success in being able to acquire Breeders Crown champions and million-dollar winners. It’s a wonderful situation that we find ourselves in. We’re very excited about the acquisitions. The beat goes on, that’s the fun part.”


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