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Naughty III Nabs Indiana Stake

Published: August 5, 2016 12:12 am ET

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Naughty III turned in an impressive performance to take the featured race of the evening, the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting fillies, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday evening.

Perhaps even more impressive than her 1:54.4 clocking was her driver, John DeLong, who steered six winners on the 14-race program.

Leaving from post seven in a talented field of ten, DeLong sent Naughty III away from the gate firing to grab the early lead through the opening panel in :28. Love To Win and Trevor Smith were well placed in the pocket second while the heavy-favourite Fawn De Savage was away a worrisome sixth in the early stages of the race. Naughty III continued to call the shots through the second split in :57.2 but Andy Shetler had Fireball’s Prayers out and pointed to grab the lead approaching the final turn.

Fireballs Prayers was still in command at the third station in 1:25.4 but Nothing But Nice and Sam Widger were first-over taking aim at the leader with Ooh La La La and Tyler Smith in tow. Fireball’s Prayers was able to put away Nothing But Nice but Naughty III was desperate for racing room. DeLong found the late room he needed up the passing lane and Naughty III used a :28.4 final quarter to find the wire nearly a length in front of Ooh La La La. Nothing But Nice held on gamely to round out the trifecta. Pulling the slight upset, Naughty III returned $8.40 at the betting windows.

“She raced awesome,” DeLong noted in the winner’s circle. “She’s a really nice filly and everything worked out for us. I didn’t know if I was going to get through but when things opened up, she was game. She raced really big tonight.”

The victory was a new lifetime best for the Melanie Wrenn trainee. Naughty III notched her second victory from six seasonal starts and seventh lifetime victory from 18 outings. The daughter of Here Comes Herbie-Msnaughtybynature has now amassed $206,078 lifetime for her owners, The Kales Company and Wrenn Racing LLC.

The victory was one of six winners on the program for DeLong who won half of the races in which he competed this evening. DeLong found the winner’s circle for the first time on the 14-race card in the opening leg of the pick-4 sequence, race 3, behind Cinderlane Jade for trainer Trent Stohler. DeLong then went on to capture the next three races in the pick-4 sequence with FF Big Show, Siskel, and Starry Skys, respectively. His next victory came after a near gate to wire victory with McKinley Ivy who broke his maiden in 1:56 for trainer Karlee Roach.

“Well I certainly didn’t expect to win six of 12,” DeLong noted with a smile after his victory in the featured race of the evening. “You always want to have a good night but you have to have a little luck and things have to go your way—tonight, they did. All the horses I had to drive raced really well tonight.”

The Wisconsin native started his career at the Illinois fair circuit in 2005 and now at the age of 27 has over $11 million in career purse earnings. Last year, in his first full season at Hoosier Park, DeLong set a career high with over $2.4 million in purse earnings and multiple stakes wins to his credit, nearly doubling his stats from previous years. DeLong is currently second on the leading driver standings at Hoosier Park in 2016 with 170 wins behind Trace Tetrick who leads all drivers with 199 trips to the winner’s circle.

(Hoosier Park)

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