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TJs Top Pick, Brigotto Take INSS

Published: September 17, 2019 11:37 pm ET

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Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino kicked off a busy week of live racing action on Tuesday, Sept. 17 with two $65,000 divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes for the two-year-old trotting colt and geldings.

After tasting defeat in their last stakes engagements, TJs Top Pick and Brigotto rebounded impressively to score in their respective divisions and deliver as the heavy post time favourites.

The freshman trotting colts have now completed the fifth preliminary round of their six-round series as they look toward the $250,000 Super Finals slated for Oct. 11 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.

After making an uncharacteristic break in his last start, TJs Top Pick looked every bit the part of a 1-5 favourite this week, going gate to wire in 1:54.2. With Trace Tetrick in the bike, TJs Top Pick went to the front and clicked fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:26.2. Turning for home, TJs Top Pick was on top with a four-length lead and used a :28 closing quarter to coast to the wire in front of Swan In Motion and Ricky Macomber Jr. Rocket Lee Breeze and Jared Finn rounded out the trifecta. As the heavy betting favourite, TJs Top Pick returned $2.60 at the betting windows.

“Last week, he was just too keyed up,” trainer Jeff Cullipher noted of his stable standout in the winner’s circle. “He tied up and it just wasn’t his night. Tonight, he was much better. He’s pretty straight forward when it comes to maintaining him.”

With the win, TJs Top Pick pushed his lifetime bankroll to $145,871. The gelded son of Swan For All-J As Ayd has now won six of seven starts and is owned in partnership by Jeff Cullipher, Pollack Racing and Trace Tetrick. TJs Top Pick was bred by Freeman Bontrager.

In the second division of stakes action, Brigotto was a two-move winner in 1:55.4. With Sam Widger in the bike, Brigotto eased off the gate through the opening panel in :28.1. When the field hit the half in :58, Widger gave Brigotto the green light and he ranged up to take the lead before yielding to Dude Included and Verlin Yoder.

Dude Included led the field through three-quarters in 1:27.1 but Brigotto found late racing room up the inside and surged past his rivals late in the lane. After All Paul and Doug Rideout also rallied well late but were forced to settle for second while Simply Swan and Joe Putnam finished third. As the even-money favourite, Brigotto returned $4.20 to his backers at the betting windows.

“He’s a very handy little horse,” Widger noted after the victory. “He’s getting better and stronger with every start and really learning to be a race horse.”

With the win, the son of Bluto-Dream Act recorded his second win from eight outings. Bred by Pond-A-Acres, Brigotto is trained by Rodney Debeck and has now earned $75,441 in lifetime purse earnings.

Live racing action will continue at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Wednesday, September 19 with a 12-race card. The evening’s 12-race card will feature a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool in Races 3-6 and a $10,000 Hoosier High-5 in Race 12.

(Harrah's Hoosier Park)

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