by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park
Fresh off a win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old trotting colts, Bar Hopping was back in the spotlight as he ventured to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Nov. 4) to turn in a dominant performance and take home top honors in the featured event of the evening on a stakes filled card, the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts.
With Tim Tetrick in the bike, Bar Hopping staged a big rally late in the lane to hold off all rivals in 1:53.4 and establish a new track record in the process. The previous track record for 3-year-old trotting colts was a 1:54.3 mark established by Creatine and David Miller in the 2013 edition of the Carl Erskine Trot.
Leaving from post two in a talented field of 10, Bar Hopping left alertly but Andy Miller had Sutton firing off the gate from post three to grab the early lead through the opening panel in :27.1. Bar Hopping was content to sit in the pocket while Bridge To Jesse’s and John DeLong were next in line third. Dayson and Yannick Gingras were unable to find a spot along the rail and pressed on to the lead to reach the front just before the half in :56.2.
Dayson continued to call the shots at the three-quarter clocking in 1:26.2 but Tetrick had Bar Hopping on the attack first-over. As the field turned for home, the stage was set for a battle to the wire. Tetrick asked his mount for more and Bar Hopping utilized a :27 final quarter to get the win by a quarter-length over a game Dayson. Sutton held on for third place honors. As the 1-5 heavy betting favorite, Bar Hopping returned $2.60 at the betting windows.
“I wanted to be a lot closer than I was but my colt almost ran in the first turn so I had to be careful,” Tetrick, who won last year’s edition of the Carl Erskine behind Crazy Wow, noted after the victory. “He fought it out and went a great trip. He has been close all year racing the best colts in the country and he deserves the big wins that he’s got. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Trained by Jimmy Takter, the millionaire trotter has now won nine of 18 seasonal starts while bankrolling $1,171,795 in purse earnings. The Muscle Hill-Cocktail Hour colt recorded his third consecutive victory and tenth lifetime win for his connections of Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.
The Grand Circuit stakes action continued in the very next race of the program and it was Check Six who went gate-to-wire in the $200,000 Monument Circle Pace for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings. With Yannick Gingras in the bike, Check Six stopped the timer in 1:51 to win by nearly two lengths over stablemate Manhattan Beach and Matt Kakaley. With the win, Check Six recorded his tenth win of the season and became the sport’s newest millionaire.
As one of five Ron Burke trained horses in the field, Check Six left alertly from post two to grab the early lead in :26.4. Manhattan Beach also left aggressively but was content to sit in the pocket for much of the mile. Gingras was able to slow the tempo a touch to dictate middle fractions of :56 and 1:24.2 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field.
Stablemate Downthehighwy and Ricky Macomber Jr. were the first to commit to the outer flow and had reached the leader’s wheel as the field turned for home. Manhattan Beach looked poised to strike from the pocket but Check Six was strong on the front. Check Six used a :26.3 final quarter en route to a near two length victory over Manhattan Beach and a hard charging Mystical Rock and Andy Shetler. As the 3-5 favorite, Check Six returned $3.20 at the betting windows.
“I definitely expected some speed from the outside but when the gate opened, there were only two of us leaving out of there so I was happy about that,” Gingras, who has two previous victories in the Monument Circle at Hoosier Park, noted in the winner’s circle. “I had control of the race and I was able to rate the mile so when we turned for home I didn’t think they were going to beat me from there. My horse went a brutal trip in his last start but he was very game again tonight, he is super sharp right now.”
Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, William Switala and James Martin, Check Six recorded his 14th win from 30 lifetime outings. Now sporting a bankroll of $1,070,304, the Somebeachsomewhere-Southwind Vanna colt has won 10 of 21 seasonal starts.
Not to be outdone by their male counterparts, the 3-year-old trotting and pacing fillies kicked off the Grand Circuit Stakes action earlier in the card in impressive fashion. Gingras found the winner’s circle for the first time of the evening behind Flowers N Songs in the $115,000 Crossroads of America stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Overcoming a tough, first-over trip, the Rich Gillock trained filly dug in gamely in the stretch to get the win by a head in 1:54.3.
“Hats off to her connections for keeping her on the top of her game all year,” Gingras said. “Rich Gillock has the filly this week but Paul Reid has done a great job with her. She’s raced week in and week out and traveled all over the country, and she proved again tonight that she is a very nice filly.”
Unraced at two, Flowers N Songs recorded her 11th win from 31 seasonal outings. Owned by Robert Key, the daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Pleasure’s Song pushed her seasonal bankroll to $499,314.
Indiana Sires Stakes champion Seventimesavirgin found herself back in a familiar place, the winner’s circle, in the $112,500 USS Indianapolis Memorial for 3-year-old pacing fillies. After going undefeated in Indiana Sires Stakes action this season, Seventimesavirgin was handed her first loss in nine starts in Grand Circuit stakes action last week at Hoosier Park but rebounded gamely to score this night in 1:52.1.
Leaving from the rail, Seventimesavirgin left just enough to secure a pocket trip behind the pacesetting Yankee Moonshine and Yannick Gingras. Driver John DeLong was content to sit in the pocket through fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:25.2 before making his move in deep stretch.
While the rest of the field was fanning out across the track, DeLong moved his filly to the passing lane and she exploded past her rivals to get the win by 3-1/4 lengths. Can’t Touch This, also an Indiana Sires Stakes winner, rallied gamely for Todd Warren to get up for second place honors. Time On My Hands and Trace Tetrick rounded out the trifecta. As the 3-5 favorite, Seventimesavirgin returned $3.20 for the win.
“We’ve just been doing what we’ve done all season and stuck to our plan,” said DeLong, who also handles the training duties of the filly. “She raced really good last week too, they can’t win every week and we were not disappointed at all but I am glad she’s going out a winner, she deserves it.
“This was her last start of the year, she’s pretty easy on herself and those breaks in between stake races really helped us out. She’s going to get some well deserved R&R and hopefully be back for more next year.”
The homebred daughter of Always A Virgin-Mrs Grant Seven ended her sophomore campaign winning 13 of 15 starts while amassing $411,200 this season. Owned by Jesse J. DeLong, Seventimesavirgin has now won 18 of 27 lifetime outings.
Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday (Nov. 5) with a 12-race card. With a daily post time of 5:45 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through Nov. 12. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.