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Sophomores Clock New Marks In Stakes

Published: August 22, 2020 12:23 am ET

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Lifetime marks were lowered in two $34,000 divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes featured on the evening’s 13-race card on Friday, Aug. 21 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

It was the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings’ turn to tussle, and the fourth round of action brought victories from both a favourite and a price, Crook Boyzz and Family Recipe, respectively. Both sophomore geldings bested their own lifetime marks by almost a full second.

Kicking off the stakes action for the night, Crook Boyzz with Brandon Bates found the winner’s circle after a near gate-to-wire effort. As the field passed the start pole, Frankiepark with Ricky Macomber Jr. grabbed the early lead while Tar Zan Dan with Sam Widger sat in the pocket. Crook Boyzz found a spot toward the back of the pack, but didn’t stay there for long as he maneuvered around his competitors from fifth to first just after the first quarter in :26.2.

Clocking fractions of :54.2 and 1:22, Crook Boyzz bolstered his lead on the field, handily pacing toward the finish. With a lead of four lengths, Crook Boyzz crossed the wire in 1:50.1, besting his previous mark of 1:51. Northern Cadilac with Joey Putnam staged a late rally for second, while Nassau Desire with Trace Tetrick dug in to claim third.

Crook Boyzz paid $4.80 to win at the betting windows.

“He seems very versatile,” Bates noted after the victory. “Taking him right off the gate ended up not being his best spot so I moved him early and he was really strong from there. He drives nicely but doesn’t like to stand around afterward; he likes to keep moving.”

Crook Boyzz, who was lightly raced as a two-year-old, has now won four of 11 lifetime starts, sporting a lifetime bankroll of $44,480 for owners John Esposito, Robert Esposito and Brett Selby, who also trains the gelding. The son of Always A Virgin-Magic Moments was bred by Wilber Lengacher.

The second stakes division ended with a 9-1 upset from Family Recipe, who took advantage of a pocket trip to dig in gamely for a 1:49.4 win. Driven by LeWayne Miller, who also trains and co-owns the gelding, Family Recipe found late racing room to get the win by two lengths.

The heavily favoured Island Of The Sea with Trace Tetrick had his nose on the gate as it opened, followed closely by Family Recipe. Through fractions of :26.1, :54.2 and 1:22.2, Family Recipe sat patiently in the pocket while the rest of the field raced nose-to-tail.

As the pacers turned for home, Family Recipe tipped from the pocket and was soon matching strides with Island Of The Sea. Utilizing the passing lane, Family Recipe surged ahead and reached the wire in 1:49.4 while Island Of The Sea settled for second. Sawyers Desire with Ricky Macomber Jr. rallied late in the stretch to finish third.

Family Recipe paid $21.80 to win for his betting backers.

“I think he races best off the helmet, but he’s quick and very handy,” Miller noted after the win. “He’s been racing well all year, even with tougher trips. He’s also a barn favourite — very playful and friendly.”

The son of Always A Virgin-Tia Maria Hanover has now won four of 18 lifetime starts. With the win, Family Recipe surpassed the $100,000 mark in purse earnings, bringing his lifetime bankroll to $115,480. Miller co-owns Family Recipe with Arnold Manders, Joseph Vieria and the Never 2 Late Stables. He was bred by Lyndar Stables.

Indiana Sires Stakes will continue at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Saturday, Aug. 22 with two $32,500 divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. The card will also feature an Open Trot and an Open Pace.

With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing at Harrah’s Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 21, highlighted by the return of the Breeders Crown on October 30 and 31.

(With files from Hoosier Park)

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