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'Bob' Wins World Record Half-Mile Dash

Published: June 25, 2011 10:47 pm ET

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Sundowner Bob and driver Ricky Macomber added their names to the record books Saturday, June 25 at Hoosier Park, setting a new World Record for trotters. The duo stopped the timer in :55.2 for the half-mile dash, the fastest time for a trotter at that distance on any size track.

The previous record of :58 and 1/4 was set in 1925 at Aurora Downs by Temple Harvester and driver Marvin Childs.

Hoosier Park Racing & Casino now holds the record on both the trot and the pace for the half-mile dash. Hezaumpn Bluegrass and Jay Cross set the world record and North American pace record in 2002 with their :53.4 mile.

Starting from Post 2, Sundowner Bob had his nose pressed against Todd Nixon’s starting gate ready for action. He left alertly for Macomber and held position along the inside as Friday Nite Dinky and Allen Anderson was in between him and Rose Run Kermit and Trace Tetrick on the outside.

Rose Run Kermit slid over for the top spot, placing Sundowner Bob in third around the only turn of the race. After posting a first quarter of :26.1, Rose Run Kermit had the jump on the field and appeared to be unstoppable.

Macomber tipped Sundowner Bob to the outside and began the chase, taking long strides to inch their way up to Rose Run Kermit. In the end, Sundowner Bob was the decisive winner by one and three-quarter lengths. Rose Run Kermit was second over Rewrite The Rules and Sam Widger, who closed well for third.

Owned and trained by Scott West, Sundowner Bob now has five wins in 2011. The nine-year-old Muscles Yankee gelding moved over the $440,000 earnings mark with his latest win in the $15,000 Open III Trot. His best time to date remains at 1:53.4, taken at Mohawk Racetrack as a six-year-old.

West has owned Sundowner Bob since claiming him at Mohawk Racetrack in the fall of 2009.

“[Sundowner Bob] can leave pretty good, so I thought he’d be a good fit in here,” said West, who calls Vernon, New York home. “He’s been parked to the half lots of times and stays right in there with them.”

West is spending his first summer in Indiana. After racing at Pompano Park this past winter, he ventured to Indiana in early June where he is currently racing four horses. Last summer, he raced in Upstate New York during the summer months, primarily at Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs. The win with Sundowner Bob was his first trip to the winner’s circle at Hoosier Park.

Dollys Joy Extends Streak In Sires Stakes

Dollys Joy and driver Sam Widger continued their winning ways Saturday, June 25, winning a division of the $40,000 three-year-old Indiana Sires Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The duo pulled in an easy victory by four and one-half lengths in a time of 1:54.4.

Widger kept his options open at the start, but moved Dollys Joy to the inside early, getting away fourth in the field of 10. Six Mile Annie and Trace Tetrick established the fractions of the race, posting times of :27.2 and :56.1 before feeling pressure from Endeavors Glory and Dan Shetler on the outside.

Widger was able to get Dollys Joy out in the flow of traffic around the final turn and then moved three-wide, moving into position for the stretch drive at the three-quarter mile marker in 1:25.2.

In the stretch, Widger urged the three-year-old Pilgrims Punch filly forward and effortlessly moved by the leaders, opening up on the field in the final sixteenth of a mile. In the end, Dollys Joy floated across the wire for her third straight win followed by Catch This Kiss and Jason Dillander who closed well for second. Six Mile Annie held on gamely for third.

“I moved three-wide with [Dollys Joy] because she was ready to go,” said Widger. “She got a soft first half and she was nice and relaxed. But when she’s ready to go, you are better off letting her go. In the stretch, she kicked into another gear. I spoke to her and looked back and saw she had a nice lead, so I thought I’d save her for the final at that point.”

Dollys Joy is owned by Brian and Charles Stephens of Lebanon, Ohio. Brian handles the training duties for the filly which now has 10 wins in 16 lifetime starts. Named for the Stephens family’s favourite celebrity Dolly Parton, the filly’s career best time was taken at Hoosier Park in her last race in a time of 1:54.2.

“Brian [Stephens] does a great job keeping her fresh, tight, and happy,” said Widger. “She is pretty handy to drive.”

Dollys Joy moves into the $200,000 final set for closing night Saturday, July 16 tagged as Hoosier Champions. The race will be one of several Indiana Sires Stakes finals in which purses will eclipse the $1 million mark. The evening will also be attached to the national “Back to the Track” promotion, featuring several giveaways and on-track promotions. First post for Hoosier Champions Night is set for 5:30 p.m. EST.

Bluebird Elian Returns To Form In Sires Stakes

Bluebird Elian was back to his old form Saturday, June 25, taking the fourth and final leg of the $40,000 Indiana Sires Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

The three-year-old reigning freshman trotting champ turned in a powerful performance to win his division by 10 and one-half lengths in a time of 1:57.4 for trainer driver Dan Shetler.

Shetler recognized that Bluebird Elian had been experiencing issues with breaking stride and chose not to gun him out to the lead from the start, despite his post one. Instead, Bluebird Elian settled in nicely in fourth as Muscle Kid and Sam Widger led the way through early fractions of :27.4 and :57.4.

Eventually, Bluebird Elian was flushed out around the final turn in first-over fashion and began to approach the top pair.

Just after the three-quarter mile marker in a time of 1:28.2, Bluebird Elian began to shine. The strong son of Southwind Elian opened up on the field and never slowed down, grabbing his first win of the season. Mo Tator and Mark O’Mara held ground along the inside for second as Muscle Kid held on for third.

Bluebird Elian recently joined the Shetler stable at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Known for his expertise with trotters, previous trainer Erv Miller contacted Shetler about taking the Indiana trotting standout this season.

“I’ve had [Bluebird Elian] since his last Sires Stakes start,” said Shetler. “Erv [Miller] called and wanted me to take him and see what I could do. We made some small changes and qualified him. So far, he seems like he’s returning to his old form and gaining confidence.”

Owned by Leland Mathias and Erv Miller Stables of Illinois, Bluebird Elian completed his two-year-old season with more than $232,000 in earnings. Picking up a mark of 1:57.3 at Indiana Downs last fall, Bluebird Elian won both finals of the Indiana Sires Stakes last fall.

“[Bluebird Elian] is a handsome, very smart horse, and you barely know he’s there in the barn,” said Shetler. “He was very handy tonight, and he acts like he’s getting his confidence back. He was well in hand. I’m real satisfied with the way he raced. He just needs to get his confidence level back and get over making breaks and get around the track without any mistakes.”

Bluebird Elian will advance to the $200,000 final Saturday, July 16

In the other division of three-year-old trotting colts, Roydon and driver Rick Farrington were strong in picking up the win in a time of 1:58.4. Owned and trained by Aaron Stutzman, Roydon is currently five-for-six in 2011 with Farrington aboard for all of his wins. The chestnut son of CJs Secret also heads to the $200,000 final Saturday, July 16.

(Hoosier Park)

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