It’s always great to kick off a new meet on the right hoof, and Always Sugary did just that. Piloted by Dale Hiteman, the three-year-old Always a Virgin filly made her career debut a winning effort in a time of 1:58.1.
Starting from post three, Always Sugary was able to get out of the gate with just enough speed to gain the seat behind early leader GD Kayla’s Image and Ricky Macomber Jr. through the first quarter in :28.3. There were not any changes by the half in :59.4, but Always Sugary was waiting for the right moment to get out and advance. Townline Glory and Trace Tetrick led the outside charge, but Always Sugary was able to stay in her seat through the three-quarters in 1:29.2 before moving out to challenge.
In the stretch, Always Sugary hit another gear and paced home in :28.2, winning by two and one-half lengths ahead of GD Kayla’s Image. ER Super Shady and Bradley Ferguson made it an Indiana sired trifecta in the first race of the 2022 racing season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Always Sugary was overlooked at the betting windows, paying $13.20 for the win. Trained by Hiteman, she is owned by DTM Stable of Chesterfield, Ind., a recent purchase from Hiteman. Karl Miller of Ligonier, Ind. bred the filly.
Always Sugary is the most recent foal by Don’t Sugar Me, a standout pacing mare in Indiana during her racing career. The daughter of Dontgetinmyway took a mark of 1:52.4 and made over $271,000. She has two previous foals that have raced out of four total including Meant To Be Mine (1:54.1, $7,125) and Velocity Gator (1:52.1, $42,000).
In the season opener feature, Mac’s Big Boy picked up where he left off for the Tyler George barn with a win in the $22,000 Open Pace. Driver Trace Tetrick had him ready to go when the gate folded, and he reached the top after the quarter in :27.0. Big Gulp and Brandon Bates followed behind him and took over at the half in :56.2 and led the way through the three quarters in 1:26.1.
It was a battle down the stretch as Mac’s Big Boy and Big Gulp both dug in gamely. Big Gulp was not letting down on the inside, but at the wire, Mac’s Big Boy got the advantage by a neck in 1:53.3, a final panel in :27.0. Big Gulp was an open length second place finisher over the rest of the field with Kneedeep N Custard and Sam Widger finishing third.
Mac’s Big Boy paid $4.20 as the favorite of the field. He is owned by Carl Hambleton and Donald Fennell of Ohio. Jeff Snyder bred the five-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere, who was making his first start of 2022. He won 10 races for the George barn last year and took a new lifetime mark of 1:49.3. Overall, he now has 16 wins in 60 starts with more than $284,000 in career earnings.