Indiana trotters didn’t leave home without speed Monday, Feb. 5 at Miami Valley. It was an Indiana trifecta with the top three finishers owned in Indiana and the top two sired in the Hoosier State. Ponda Express and Blue Lane Express could only be separated by a nose at the wire in the $14,500 conditioned trot.
Ponda Express and LeWayne Miller started from post two and got away fourth while Blue Lane Express and Jeremy Smith started from post seven and slid over in sixth during the early portions of the race. Rose Run Yancee and Tyler Smith rallied out and took over early, setting fractions of :28.3 and :58.3 before feeling pressure from the outside, which was applied by Ponda Express. By the time the field hit the three-quarters in 1:28.4, Ponda Express was leading the charge into the final turn.
Blue Lane Special was moving up on the outside. Both Ponda Express and Blue Lane Express were longshots in the race and the two had their sights set on the front spot. Ponda Express kept leading the charge while Blue Lane Express kept expending speed on the outside. In the end, Ponda Express held off Blue Lane Express in the four-way photo finish. Southwind Mai Tai, owned by Indiana’s Derek Knepp finished another neck back in third for Ed Greeno Jr. by moving u p the inside. Time of the mile was 1:58.3.
Ponda Express paid $37.20 for the win. The four-year-old son of You Know You Do is trained by Susan Miller and owned by Flatrock Stable and Phillip Graber. Pond-A-Acres bred the gelding, winning his first start since his two-year-old season.
The mile for Ponda Express was a new lifetime mark. The lightly raced gelding is the second foal from the Explosive Matter mare Matter of Days. She has a three-year-old Pilot Discretion colt named Ponda Pilot and a two-year-old son of Don’t Let’Em for 2024. She also has a yearling colt by Swan for All named Ponda Challenger that will be ready for the sales this fall.
A little later in the card, a more experienced trotter scored a win in the $26,500 conditioned trot. Adamsville Road of the John Ryan Melsheimer Stable scored a near gate to wire win in 1:54.2.
Driven by Luke Hanners, Adamsville Road paid $4.80 for the win. The five-year-old gelding is owned by Mel Rose Stable and Joe Nesselroad. Joyce McClelland bred the Indiana Sires Stakes standout, who has more than $400,000 on his card. His win Monday at Miami Valley was his first of 2024. Overall, he has 16 wins out of 54 starts and his career best time of 1:52.3 was taken last fall at Dayton.