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Mare Lowers 13-Year-Old Track Record

Published: June 11, 2011 5:04 pm ET

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Sugar Nips and driver Mark Evers established a new track record for older pacing mares Friday, June 10 in the $24,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The mare stopped the timer at 1:50.4, eclipsing the old mark established by Shania and driver Tim Curtin in 1998.

Starting from post seven in the 10-horse lineup, Sugar Nips used early speed to get away third as Aqua Artist and Tyler Smith were the first to arrive on the front. Native Hotspur and Sam Widger were not going to settle for anything but the front and made the top spot by the quarter-mile marker in a time of :25.3. Native Hotspur put a couple of lengths between herself and Aqua Artist and still had the call at the halfway marker in :54.4. Francies Dream and Peter Wrenn were the first to pull to the outside at this point, creating a second row of challengers behind them.

Smith was able to keep Aqua Artist in behind Native Hotspur until halfway through the turn before being forced out of his two-hole position. There was just enough time for Evers to also tip out from the inside and follow Aqua Artist to prepare for the stretch drive home.

After passing the three-quarter mile marker in a time of 1:24, Sugar Nips was able to gain control of the field and paced home to the wire, winning by two and one-quarter lengths. Dutzs Charm and Trace Tetrick rallied home the quickest of the field to finish second on the outside while Aqua Artist held her ground for third.

In addition to being a new track record, the victory was a personal best for Sugar Nips, who is owned by Velocity Standardbreds of Lebanon, Ohio. Evers also serves as the trainer of the six-year-old Cambest mare, who has earned in excess of $220,000 during her career. Sugar Nips is now two-for-six in 2011 and has only missed being among the top three one time this season.

Shetler Scores Grand Slam In Sires Stakes

Driver Dan Shetler turned in an outstanding showing in the third leg of Indiana Sires Stakes action Friday, June 10 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Shetler brought home four winners in the $40,000 events, two of which came from his own barn.

Shetler’s final win of the night came behind Lakeview Fest, a three-year-old trotting filly that is now two-for-three in 2011. Owned by Lester Raber of Loogootee, Indiana, the daughter of ABC Garland was a strong contender in last year’s series, earning more than $173,000 and the title in the $200,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final at Indiana Downs. She has returned to racing this year just as skilled and proved she is a major threat in her category.

Starting from post five in the 11-filly lineup, Lakeview Fest showed just enough early speed to get away in third as Shes All Guts and Walter Haynes Jr. stepped out to grab the lead from the far outside, posting the quarter mile time in :28.3. Soxys Kid and Rick Schaut were right there to challenge and move onto the front before the halfway point in :58.2. However, their spot was not unchallenged. Skyway Priss and Don Eash attempted to unseat the top ones, but could not get the best of them. Shetler saw an opportunity to get out behind Skyway Priss and follow along through the final turn before tipping three-wide and getting into position for the stretch drive home.

In the lane, Shes All Guts moved from the two-hole and looked primed for a big effort. However, she could not fend off the advances of Lakeview Fest, who trotted home the quickest, picking up the win in a time of 1:59. Shes All Guts was three-quarters of a length back in second followed by Sergio GL and Marlin Fry, who moved in for third.

“She [Lakeview Fest] is normally strong at the end of the mile,” said Shetler. “She’s just been getting a little better every start. But, it’s still a little early in the season.”

Shetler, known for his expertise with trotters, also sent out ABC Easter earlier in the night for a win in the first division of three-year-old trotting fillies. Also a favourite in her division, the ABC Garland filly is now three-for-four this season for owners Crystal Ball Stables of Holland, Ohio and Shetler. She won by a margin of two lengths in a time of 1:59.3.

Other wins on the night included a pair in the three-year-old filly pace divisions with Radar Contact and Endeavors Glory. Heavily favoured Radar Contact was a winner by six and one-half lengths in a time of 1:54.3 while Endeavors Glory was more of a surprise, only winning by one-half length in a time of 1:55.3, a career best.

“I didn’t really expect to win four tonight,” said Shetler. “It’s always good when you can win that many Sires Stakes in one night.”

Shetler holds the record for most stakes wins by a trainer over Hoosier Park’s oval with 23 heading into the 2011 racing season. With more than 2,200 career wins, he has been a force among the standings each season. He continues to lead the way among all drivers and trainers for most Indiana Sires Stakes wins at Hoosier Park.

(Hoosier Park)

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