Anderson, IN — It was an excellent night of racing at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for trainer Ron Burke on Thursday (July 11) as he won two of four of the Indiana Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings. In the opening round of stakes action for this gait, gender and age group, Sawyer’s Desire, High Impression, Clever Character and Nassau Desire collected victories on the 14-race card.
In the first $36,000 division, Burke found the winner’s circle with Sawyer’s Desire who made his career debut a winning one with Ricky Macomber Jr. in the bike. Leaving from post four, Sawyer’s Desire headed right to the front over a determined General Doug A (Dale Hiteman) and led the field through a first quarter clocking of :27 with. Post time favorite Always And Again (Trace Tetrick) protected their rail position to hold third.
Once the field reached the half in :56:2, Always And Again took the lead but jumped it off approaching the third station. General Doug A inherited the lead but also made a costly break just before the three-quarter pole. Unaffected by the breaking horses, Sawyer’s Desire stayed on course and found himself on the front post a 1:26.4.
Lickcreek Patrick (Sam Widger) staged a big rally late in the lane but Sawyer’s Desire fended off that rival to stop the clock in 1:53. Odds On Osiris (Peter Wrenn) also rallied well late for third. Slightly dismissed by the betting public, Sawyer’s Desire returned $20.20 for the victory.
“Obviously, the trip went a little different than I expected,” Macomber Jr. said. “The rough traffic made it so I didn’t want to be on the front. Everything worked out though. He’s very nice and did everything I asked him to.”
With the win, Sawyer’s Desire’s bankroll is now $18,000. The son of Real Desire-Ain’t That Funny is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and David Wills.
All eyes were on the heavy favorite My House (John De Long) in the $36,500 second division, but High Impression (Widger) turned in a strong performance for the upset. When the gate opened, My House went right to the front from post five while Candys Image Rocks (Michael Oosting) opted for a pocket trip. The horses remained in this formation through the first quarter in :27:4 with Power Of Tell (Todd Warren) in third.
Just before the half in :56:4, Widger gave High Impression the green light. He moved aggressively to claim the lead and carried it through the third quarter in 1:25:3. When the field turned for home, the stage was set for a stretch battle between High Impression, My House and Candys Image Rocks, but ultimately it was High Impression who dug in gamely to stop the clock at 1:53.
“He’s obviously a super nice individual with a heart like a lion,” trainer Ernie Gaskin said. “He’s not a real big colt but we’ve worked with him all year and he’s coming around very nicely. I don’t give the drivers any directions, other than letting them know how the horse trained. Sam did a great job.”
High Impression paid $11.20 at the betting windows and now boasts purse earnings of $23,250. The son of Rockin Image-Happy Becky is owned in partnership by Robert Rubin, Warren Emery, Ronald Krodel and Riparian Retreat.
The third $36,000 division of stakes action provided yet another price when Clever Character (Hiteman) beat even money favorite Highway Star (Tetrick) by less than a length. Stellar BB (Ronnie Gillespie) took the lead from the start while Clever Character sat in the pocket seat through the first quarter in :27.
Just before the half, Clever Character made his game-winning move and took the lead through the second station in :56:4. When the field hit the third quarter in 1:26:3, Highway Star began to challenge from the second spot and The Candyman Can (Widger) were ready to strike from third. The three battled it out in the stretch, only for Clever Character to hold off his rivals and stop the clock at 1:52:4, paying $15.20 to win.
“He’s been handy off the start,” Hiteman said. “We got a good position. I knew he had plenty of power behind him.”
The 1:52.4 clocking was a new lifetime best for Clever Character and was also the fastest division of the night. The son of Tellitlikeitis-Ruby Delight is owned and trained by Timothy Smith. The gelding now sports a lifetime bankroll of $23,000 for his young career and owns two victories from two starts.
Burke would find the winner’s circle once more as Nassau Desire (Macomber Jr.) prevailed as the heavy favorite in the final split of the stakes action in 1:53.2. Mighty Little Joe (Hiteman) left alertly to find the front while Nassau Desire sat patiently in second through the first quarter in :27:2.
Nassau Desire made his move to the front shortly before the half and hit that pole in :56:3. He held the lead through the third quarter while challenger Beachmaster Two (LeWayne Miller) were applying pressure on the outside. With a final quarter of :26:4, Nassau Desire paced strong to the wire. Beachmaster Two finished second and Fort Apache Scout with (Brandon Bates) came charging late for third.
“No one wanted to be on the front, so that’s where I had to go,” Macomber Jr. said. “He’s still trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do, but he’s really handy and does everything I ask him to do.”
Nassau Desire, a son of Real Desire-Nassau Loop, paid $2.40 for his betting backers. The colt is now two-for-two this season and sports a lifetime bankroll of $23,000 for owners Burke Racing Stable, J&T Silva – Purnell & Libby and Weaver Bruscemi.
Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah’s Hoosier Park on Friday (July 12) with two $49,500 divisions for 3-year-old pacing fillies. With an adjusted post time of 4:30 p.m., Friday’s 12-race card will also feature a $20,000 Open Pace and a $10,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-5 in race 12. At the conclusion of live racing, 3 Doors Down will perform as part of the 2019 Summer Concert Series at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Live racing at Harrah’s Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through Nov. 9. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.