Anderson, IN — Two $25,000 divisions of the Star Destroyer Stakes for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings headlined the 14-race card at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday (June 27). While they used opposite strategies to find the winner’s circle, both winners turned in career-best efforts.
In the first division of the stakes action, What A Swan and driver Mike Oosting staged a big rally late in the lane to get up in the final strides of the mile and score in 1:55.
After a costly break in stakes action last week, Oosting eased What A Swan off the gate to settle along the rail in seventh. Lite Years Away and Sam Widger dictated first half fractions of :27.4 and :57.1 before breaking stride at the three-quarter pole.
The heavy favorites Otsego and driver Peter Wrenn inherited the lead turning for home but they would have their work cut out for them as the rest of the field was closing in. Utilizing a :27.1 final quarter, Oosting tipped What A Swan to the far outside and he powered home to get the win by a neck over Airman Kelly and Trace Tetrick. Foxy Trottin Stick and Todd Warren finished third.
“I didn’t want to rush him out of the gate,” Oosting noted. “Last week, he just got too fired up trying to leave. I knew if I could get him settled and around the last turn okay, he would trot home. He notices everything but when he puts his mind to it, he’s got speed.”
Trained by William Crone, What A Swan recorded his second win from eight seasonal outings. The son of Swan For All-Tanya’s Legacy is owned by John Barnard and has earned $44,768 lifetime. The 1:55 clocking was a new lifetime best.
In the second division, Martini Show and Sam Widger used a front-stepping effort to find the winner’s circle in 1:54.1 for trainer Jeff Cullipher.
Martini Show left alertly for the lead as the public’s second choice and grabbed the top spot through the opening quarter in :27.4. Peter Wrenn and Never Say Uncle, who were sent off as the post-time favorite, also wanted their turn on the lead and would get it through the middle splits of :57.3 and 1:26.1.
As the field turned for home, Widger had Martini Show back out and firing and he trotted strong to the wire to get the win by 1-1/2 lengths. Never Say Uncle had to settle for second while Trump This and Lewayne Miller rounded out the trifecta.
“We’ve made a few changes here and there every week,” Cullipher noted. “He’s still very green and still putting things together. He was a nice colt last year and we bought him for this very reason. We figured he would be very competitive with the 3-year-olds here in Indiana this year. He definitely has the speed and ability — just needs to put it all together.”
Cullipher, in partnership with Tom Pollack, purchased the 3-year-old son of Swan For All-Barmaid from the Tattersalls Mixed Sale in January. Since joining the Cullipher barn, Martini Show has only finished off the board once in seven seasonal outings. With the win, Martini Show established a new lifetime best and improved his lifetime stats to 19-4-4-4 with $98,390 in lifetime purse earnings.
Live racing will continue at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (June 28) with an action-packed 14-race card. Friday’s card will be highlighted by two divisions of the Star Destroyer Stakes for both the sophomore filly and colt pacers.
In addition, Harrah’s Hoosier Park will offer a $30,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool in races three-six. A host of longshots were victorious on Thursday’s card and produced a carryover of $9,749.18 that will kick-start Friday’s $30,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool. In partnership with the Unites States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering program and the Indiana Standardbred Association, free past performances for the Pick-4 will be available on the United States Trotting Association website. Expert selections and handicapping tools are also available on Hoosier Park’s website.
With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through Nov. 9. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.