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Ombre Art A Sires Stakes Winner For Binkley

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Published: June 11, 2010 11:40 pm ET

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The Binkley Stable had another successful Indiana Sires Stakes evening, this time with a different horse making it to the winner’s circle. Ombre Art bested a field of eight in a division of the $40,000 event for three-year-old pacing colts Friday, June 11 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

Driven by Josh Sutton, Ombre Art made his presence known early from behind the Todd Nixon starting gate. He slid over quickly to grab the front spot from McStraight and Trace Tetrick before hitting the first turn and establishing the first quarter in :27.4. As soon as the horses had hit the backstretch, Tetrick was out and moving back to the lead, but his time on the top was short lived. Race favourite Viking Kilowatt and leading driver Peter Wrenn rallied from mid-pack and took control of the pace, passing the halfway point in :55.4.

Sutton was able to sit inside until halfway through the turn when he was flushed to the outside with Ombre Art. At that point, the sophomore son of Royal Art made a quick move to the leader and was primed and ready for the final quarter of a mile.

In the stretch, Ombre Art kept his speed level elevated and overtook Viking Kilowatt. Halfway through the lane, McStraight was able to shake loose from behind Viking Kilowatt but he could not reach Ombre Art, who coasted under the wire in a time of 1:55, two and one-quarter lengths ahead of McStraight for the win. Viking Kilowatt was close behind for third.

“This colt [Ombre Art] was good when we started breaking him and has always shown a lot of promise,” said Ewell Binkley, who owns and trains. “We bought him on account of his mother. We had his half-sister, Johnathans Penny, and she won a leg of the Sires Stakes before we sold her.”

Ombre Art now has two wins in eight starts for 2010. A $3,500 yearling purchase, the slightly smaller in stature colt increased his career earnings to more than $86,000 with the win.

“Josh [Sutton] has always driven for me,” said Binkley. “He gets more out of my horses than anyone else. He calls me ‘Uncle Ewell’ but we are no relation. I signed for his license down at Thunder Ridge when he was nothing but a kid.”

Sutton and Binkley teamed up during the second preliminary round of Sires Stakes to bring home another surprise winner among the three-year-old colts. Blue Creek Abner led gate-to-wire to win his division of Sires Stakes. However, he wasn’t as solid in the third round, tiring in the lane after leading the way and finishing out of the money as Iron Claw and Charlie Conrad were easy winners in a time of 1:53.2.

“Josh thought he drove him [Blue Creek Abner] bad, but I didn’t think that,” said Binkley. “You can’t win ‘em all.”

Winless in 13 starts last year, Blue Creek Abner has hit his stride this season. In eight starts, the gelded son of Tooter Scooter has only missed the top three twice for owner Barry Binkley. He now has earnings in excess of $55,000.

“We only paid $1,000 for this colt at the yearling sale,” said Binkley. “When I saw he was by Tooter Scooter, I told my son, Barry, that he wouldn’t bring much. People over here weren’t familiar with him [Tooter Scooter], but I’d had a couple of colts by him in the past and they were race horses. Dan Shetler drove him last year. He drove him good every time, but seemed like he could only finish second or third.”

Binkley has been in the horse racing industry since he was a kid. He grew up around the Sunday matinees near his hometown in Henning, Tennessee and accompanied Louis Mann to the Illinois fair circuit one summer, which gave him the bug to be in it as a career.

Since that time, he and his brother, Robert, have produced numerous winners, mainly on the Illinois and Kentucky circuits. Notable horses from their stable include Mister Dizzle, Prince Russ, and Dizzle Fizzle, who was the fastest Illinois filly in Illinois at both two and three and earned more than $233,000.

Today, Binkley concentrates only on the Indiana circuit and competes at Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs before heading south to his home in Tennessee. He and his wife, Barb, do all of the work themselves and currently have six in training at Hoosier Park.

“I still live where I used to catch the school bus,” said Binkley. “We have a farm with a half-mile track and after Indiana’s done racing in the fall, we go home and turn them out. Eight months is long enough to be away from home.”

One trademark look from Binkley are the crew cuts for all the horses. None of them sport a foretop for any reason while they reside in the Binkley barn.

“I’m an old army man,” said Binkley, who served in the National Guard for nine years as a squad sergeant. “They all get their heads shaved. If you don’t platt [braid] them up, then they are always in the way.”

Wrenn Fares Well In Sires Stakes

The third leg of the Indiana Sires Stakes took place Friday, June 11 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, which resulted in plenty of competitive racing and a variety of horsemen to the winner’s circle. This mixture included Peter Wrenn, who had another successful night in Anderson beyond just the sulky.

Wrenn trains two trotters competing in the Indiana Sires Stakes and has yet to be beaten with either one of the phenomenal horses. As Hoosier Park’s leading driver, he also guides them around the track.

The third race was designated for Indiana sired three-year-old fillies and it was Wrenn and Msnaughtybynature who cruised to a first place finish in the $40,000 stakes race. Drawing post position five, the Scramble Ranger filly secured the third spot where the duo waited until the backstretch to make their move. Msnaughtybynature captured the lead well before the half-mile marker, which she trotted in :58.4, and never looked back as she beat out the rest of the field by 10 and one quarter lengths. Doug Rideout, who was behind LW Galie Rachel finished second followed by Kinda Kinky and Chad Peter.

The Kales Company, along with Wrenn’s wife, Melanie, co-owns the dynamic Msnaughtybynature. Wrenn frequently has nights where he drives in every race on the program, but he is much more selective when it comes to training.

“I like trotters,” said Wrenn. “But when it comes down to it, I like nice horses, pacers or trotters.”

Wrenn also had a trotter in the 11th race. Earls Glider, another “scary-good” three-year-old, stole the show from other hopefuls in the three-year-old colts and geldings division. One could argue that the race was theirs for the taking.

After smoking the field in the second leg of Indiana Sires Stakes by 16 and one quarter lengths, the triumphant team of Earls Glider and Wrenn once again dominated the field. The three-year-old son of Earl Of Stormont went straight to the front and was never really challenged the entire race, setting fractional marks of :28.2, :58, and 1:28.1. The gelding went on to win in 1:58 by six and one quarter lengths. Ron Burke’s Bluebird Caviar, driven by Ricky Macomber Jr., gave a valiant second place effort followed by SJ Grayhawk and Rick Farrington for third.

Wrenn purchased Earls Glider this past January after he had raced against him last season. The decision has paid off. The gelding has earned $60,000 this season and will compete in the $200,000 final of the Indiana Sires Stakes July 10 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

“He [Earls Glider] showed a lot of promise as a two-year-old,” said Wrenn. “I thought he was just immature. The extra year has helped him and now he is pretty easy to get along with.”

Wrenn will not race his two prized three-year-olds in any other races until the Indiana Sires Stakes are completed. Besides the third and 11th race, he also picked up a win for Ron Otto, steering A Golden Rose to victory in the eighth race, an Open Pace for fillies and mares, completing a driving triple for the night.

ABC Photo Wins Photo Finish In Sires Stakes

ABC Photo and Lemoyne “Mooney” Svendsen embarked on a fierce stretch battle with race favourite Solvent and Jay Cross Friday, June 11. They were successful in their quest, taking home the prize in the third round of Indiana Sires Stakes action at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

Starting from post three, Svendsen dropped to the rail quickly as Canwecheatumnwhen, driven by trainer Charlie Conrad, topped the field before the quarter-mile marker in :28.3. ABC Photo moved to the outside down the backstretch and was followed by Solvent to the halfway marker in :58 before making the lead. Around the turn, Solvent sat to the outside of ABC Photo and waited for the stretch battle.

In the stretch, ABC Photo and Solvent began to break away from the pack. They both turned in strong performances, but Solvent could not get past ABC Photo in the end, giving him the nod by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:57.1. Dakotas Final and Ricky Macomber were nine lengths back in third.

“He [ABC Photo] is all trot,” said Svendsen. “He is still learning, and he puts in some funny steps at times but he comes back down trotting. He has a trotting horse heart. He was still fighting at the wire tonight.”

ABC Photo made only his fourth start of 2010 a winning one for owners DM Stables of Naples, Florida. Bobby Brower trains the sophomore gelding by ABC Garland, who won six of 10 starts at two. He now has more than $143,000 in career earnings.

“He [ABC Photo] raced well last year and turned up colt sore, so we took him to Rude and Riddle in Lexington,” said Brower. “Turns out, he was just growing too much. But he’s come back better this year. He’s still learning and although he’s three, he has the mind of a younger horse.”

Brower has also incorporated a unique way to keep the trotter balanced. Instead of knee boots, ABC Photo wears athletic tape around his knees for protection.

“I learned that from watching other horsemen, such as the Swedish trainers,” said Brower. “If a horse just brushes their knees, the tape works well and widens them out in front. We had another trotter, Snow White, that wore tape and we had success with her doing that.”

Another unique trick with ABC Photo came in the form of the race bike he pulled. Svendsen, who drives first call for trainer Bob Johnson, placed his specially-made Harmer bike behind the trotter.

“This bike is red hot right now,” said Svendsen. “World Of Rocknroll won with it in the Hoosier Cup and it’s won a couple of Sires Stakes now. It’s extra wide and two inches taller. It was made special for one of Bobby’s horses, Keystone Eli. It’s the biggest bike on the grounds.”

(Hoosier Park)


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