With top two-year-old trotting filly Ariana G making the first miscue of her career, Fine Tuned Lady controlled the field from start to finish in the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes on Friday night (September 23) at Hoosier Park.
While the previously undefeated Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) broke stride behind the gate from post nine, driver Corey Callahan sent Pennsylvania Sires Stakes champion Fine Tuned Lady to the lead from post seven into a :27.3 first quarter. After a big breather during the middle half with fractions clocked in :59.2 and 1:28.4, the John Butenschoen trainee drew away from the advancing first over filly Cant I (John Campbell) in the stretch to win by three lengths in 1:56.2. Cant I stayed for second, edging out pocket-pursuer Temple Ruins (Ricky Macomber Jr.).
"I knew she [Ariana G] was off the gate a little bit when we were leaving, but I never noticed that she was actually off stride," said Callahan in a post-race interview. "I mean, I was kind of going slow up there figuring John or Yannick would come on me. My whole plan was just to track her around there and give her a run late, so it worked out good for us. I got a really, really, really soft, you know, really middle half and she really responded late."
Fine Tuned Lady now boasts four wins and four second-place finishes from eight career starts.
"She's done everything I've asked her to do the whole way along," said Callahan. "I really asked her to trot home pretty good last week [in the Sire Stakes Championship] so I kind of wanted to follow somebody tonight. I think she'll actually be a little bit better off of a helmet, but I got things so easy, I was able to keep grabbing into her and when I asked her to trot through the lane, she had some left."
The daughter of Cantab Hall out of the Pine Chip mare Poster Princess is owned by William Wiswell of Elkhorn, Wisconsin and M And L Of Delaware Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware. She was purchased for $27,000 as a yearling at the Harrisburg Sale and now boasts earnings totalling $326,340.
Fine Tuned Lady paid $18.80 to win her first start outside of Pennsylvania as the third betting favourite.
She will look to add to her bankroll as she heads to The Red Mile's Grand Circuit meet next and is eligible to the Breeders Crown.
"She's been a blessing for me and I'm very fortunate to be able to drive her," concluded Callahan.
Princess Aurora was a consolation winner for the connections of Ariana G -- Gingras, trainer Jimmy Takter, and Canadian owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The homebred Cantab Hall-Vulcanize filly delivered on her pari-mutuel promise with a career-best 1:54.4 mile to claim the winner's share of the $35,000 purse.
“This filly raced great,” said Takter of Princess Aurora. “Post nine was just a little tricky for Ariana G. She didn’t like it from the start and things like that happen, especially with two-year-olds. It was unfortunate for her, but she’s such a nice filly, she will be okay.”