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Qualifying racing underway at Anderson’s Hoosier Park

Qualifying racing underway at Anderson’s Hoosier Park
Qualifying racing underway at Anderson’s Hoosier Park
Caption This, a gray pacing colt owned by a group which includes Hayswood Farm of Corydon, heads out for his qualifier March 17 at Hoosier Park in Anderson. Photo by Jim Hays

While some horses have been racing in Ohio, or elsewhere, this winter, and others have been training at tracks in Florida, many are now returning to the Hoosier state in time for the opening of the pari-mutuel track in Anderson.

Several horses raised on the Walther Farm south of Lanesville and then sold for their racing careers collected paychecks during the past two weeks.

Nine-year-old gelding To the Limit, racing at CalExpo in Sacramento, was second in his race on March 14 and third when he raced again on Sunday. These checks bring his lifetime earnings to $196,084 for his owners from California and his trainer, Kathleen Plestad.

Five-year-old gelding Rockin TJ, a son of Walther’s mare Kieanna’s Angel, collected second-place money twice in early March at Miami Valley Raceway in Lebanon, Ohio. On Sunday night, Rockin TJ finished third in his race. These paychecks bring his lifetime earnings to $112,684. His younger sister, Soul Kitchen, also now owned by Ohio interests, was sixth in her only recent start at Miami Valley.

From the Conrad Stable, the 4-year-old pacing gelding Bludhaven was seventh and eighth in his Miami Valley races in early March.

Hoosier Park, slated to get under way officially on Friday, started qualifying heats on March 10 to continue on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season. Horses that desire to enter races at Hoosier Park must prove their worth by meeting or exceeding certain time thresholds, according to their age, sex and gait. For “first time” starters, learning how the mobile starting gate operates, how the track surface feels and what it’s like to race against other horses are all important lessons learned during these qualifying races.

Hayswood Farm of Corydon is part of an ownership group which has a 3-year-old pacing gelding, Caption This, who did not race last year as a 2-year-old. Caption This qualified on March 17 with a time for the mile of 1:59:0, pacing the last quarter mile in 27:2 seconds.

The Conrad Stable also qualified three pacing colts, who all raced last year. Ultimaroco paced his qualifier in 1:57:0 (last quarter in 28:3). Seaside Hill was timed in his heat in 1:58:0 (last quarter in 27:1). Onoitsmymothernlaw came home in 1:58:0 with a last-quarter time of 29:2.

More qualifiers will precede the start of regular racing on March 24, and Caption This is expected to make another practice run behind the starting gate that night.