Lexington, KY — Former University of Kentucky and NBA basketball star Sam Bowie said he had strongly considered supplementing Hot Mess Express to the upcoming Breeders Crown later this month at The Meadowlands, but after conferring with trainer Tony Alagna, the decision was made to keep the star 3-year-old filly pacer in Indiana following her start in Friday night’s $250,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Bowie said Hot Mess Express — who is six-for-six in ISS competition this year and also has a career-best 1:48.3 win in the Mistletoe Shalee in mid-July at The Meadowdlands — will following up her ISS Super Final start by lining up behind the gate in the upcoming Pegasus, Circle City and USS Indianapolis at Hoosier Park, before calling it a year.
“I was thinking about supplementing her (to the Breeders Crown), but I’m going to let her race in the final and then those three races, and not go in the Breeders Crown,” said Bowie. “I was going to race her in the final and then ship her to New Jersey, but I decided to go this route. She’ll have those three starts at Hoosier and then we’ll shut her down.”
Bowie purchased the daughter of Panther Hanover in July 2020 and after remaining in the barn of trainer Jamaica Patton, who was also one of the former co-owners, through the end of the year, she was moved to Alagna’s barn over the winter. Overall, Hot Mess Express comes into the ISS Super Final — where she is listed as the 1-5 morning-line favorite — with 10 wins and one second in 12 starts this year with $453,134 in earnings.
“It’s been a great ride, it really has been,” understated Bowie.
Hot Mess Express will be driven by John DeLong from post three in the ISS Super Final, which is slated as race 10 on the 15-race card. The race is one of eight $250,000 finals for 2- and 3-year-olds on the card, which also features four finals for older horses and a trio of consolations. Post time for the first race is 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
Race 13 is the ISS Super Final for 3-year-old male pacers and Goldie’s Legacy will attempt to add a second Sires Stakes championship to his resume following his career-best 1:49 victory in the $250,000 Kentucky Championship Series final on Sept. 19 at The Red Mile.
“We’re not trying to be greedy, but we’re going to give it a go (in the Indiana final),” co-owner Tom Pollack said following last month’s win in Kentucky.
As Pollack Racing, Pollack shares ownership of the gelded son of Always A Virgin with trainer Jeff Cullipher, purchasing the pacer as a yearling for $35,000 from breeder Dave Yoder.
Goldie’s Legacy is out of the Whitefish Falls mare Ag-N-Au Bluegrass, with the first part being the abbreviations on the periodic table for silver and gold. Ag-N-Au Bluegrass earned $301,705 on the track, with her wins including the 2009 ISS final for 3-year-old filly pacers at Indiana Downs. Goldie’s Legacy is a half-brother to Au D Lox Bluegrass, who earned $377,339 on the track with her wins including the ISS Mares final in 2017.
“We owned a half sister that was Goldielocks Bluegrass, but we used the chemical element so it was actually Au D Lox Bluegrass,” explained Pollack. “So in honor of her we named this one Goldie because everybody would butcher the pronunciation not knowing it was a chemical element symbol.
“He’s not the biggest horse, which is probably why he brought only 35 (thousand dollars), but obviously we are happy we have him.”
Goldie’s Legacy won two of 10 starts last year at age two with $22,665 in earnings. This year, Goldie’s Legacy has eight wins in 20 starts and $274,570 in earnings.
“We knew he was going to be a late-bloomer so we just put some experience in him as a 2-year-old for his 3-year-old year,” said Cullipher, whose 75-horse stable is divided into 30 at Gaitway Farm in New Jersey and 45 in Indiana at Hoosier Park.
Goldie’s Legacy’s sophomore campaign got underway in late March and it was a slow beginning as he was interfered with in his first start and was seventh. Goldie’s Legacy’s third start resulted in an overnight score at Hoosier Park, but then it wasn’t until the ISS schedule got underway six starts later that he returned to the winner’s circle.
“I would say that in his first few races…you could tell that he was sneaky good,” said Pollack. “I thought, ‘He’s really going to bust out here at some point.'”
Pollack was correct in his assessment as Goldie’s Legacy posted two wins, one second and a fourth in his first four ISS starts. Then it came time for Cullipher to send Goldie’s Legacy to The Red Mile for the Kentucky Championship Series, where he finished second in the first leg before rattling off three consecutive victories, including his career-best 1:49 effort in the rich final.
“We got to the sires stakes in Indiana and he won the first two legs, and we were eligible (in Kentucky), so I thought we should go down there and give it a shot,” said Pollack. “We came (to The Red Mile) and it’s been shorter fields, and he’s been lights out every week. The only start he got beat was the first in a three-horse field and he got beat (by a head) in 1:48.4.”
Yannick Gingras was in the sulky for all three of Goldie’s Legacy’s wins at The Red Mile, and he was also in charge when the pacer won the final ISS preliminary on Oct. 8. He’ll direct Goldie’s Legacy from post nine in the ISS Super Final.
“He’s a nice horse and is nice to drive,” said Gingras. “He’s got a lot of speed but (post nine) will make it a little tougher. He has the ability so we’ll see what he can do. Most likely this week he will have to be raced from the back because of post nine and speed on the inside. But we’ll play it by ear and when the gate opens we’ll go forward, and hopefully land in a spot in the middle and go from there.”
Click here for complete entries for the Friday card at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.