Two divisions of The Iron Horse claiming series kicked off the Friday, Aug. 4 racing card at Harrah’s Hoosier Park with Big Chief Arrow and Jordan Ross winning the first division in 1:50.4.
Big Chief Arrow started from post five and got away in mid-pack as Commentariat and Matt Krueger were the first leaders to the quarter in :26.0. Redbank Blaze A and LeWayne Miller took over at the half in 53.4 and Big Chief Arrow stayed right on the inside and saved ground around the final turn.
In the stretch, Big Chief Arrow got into gear, traveling home in :26.4 for the win by one length in a tightly packed finish. Less that two lengths separated the top four finishers. Redbank Blaze A finished second over Free on the Beach and Michael Oosting, who closed late for third.
Big Chief Arrow paid $16.00 for the win. The five-year-old Shadyshark Hanover gelding is owned by Trent Stohler Stable, Inc., Ben Graber, Tim Graber and Christina Wyant. Trent Stohler also trains the claimer, who was bred by Troy Bolin.
Big Chief Arrow earned his second win of 2023 and the mile was his quickest in his career, which boasts 12 wins. The Indiana sired gelding has more than $124,000 in earnings. He was a recent acquisition by his connections, purchased at the end of June. This is the second time his current connections have owned him, losing him in a claim last fall.
The second division was won by Major Crocker A and Trace Tetrick in 1:49.4. Shady Lane Luck and Jordan Ross set the first fraction of :26.3 before being overtaken by Major Crocker A, the favorite of the field. Major Crocker A led the rest of the way and won by one and one-quarter lengths with a final quarter in :27.2. Fox Valley Sampson and John DeLong finished second over Mustang Beach and Michael Oosting for third.
Major Crocker A paid $4.60 for the win. The 13-year-old Art Major gelding is owned by Kirk Nichols and trained by Jason Brewer. The Australian born gelding earned his 13th win of 2023 and his 30th in the U.S. He had 30 wins down under before being imported into the United States. Overall, he is now a millionaire since arriving in the states in 2019. His career best time of 1:49.2 was taken as a nine-year-old in 1:49.2.
Major Crocker A is also a recent acquisition, claimed by Nichols and Brewer in late June. This is the third time he has owned him this year.
Later in the card, Ponda Warrior scored a win in the evening’s featured $22,000 Open Pace. Guided by John DeLong, Ponda Warrior traveled first over and got locked into a battle in the stretch with Smooth Baht A and Kyle Wilfong. The two horses hit the wire together with Ponda Warrior getting the edge by a neck in 1:48.4. Both horses paced home under :26 seconds. General Dolan and Michael Oosting finished third.
Ponda Warrior paid $6.00. The four-year-old Rockin Image horse is owned by Jay Hochstetler, Finkelberg Racing LLC, and South of the Tracks Rac Inc. Hochstetler trains the horse, who was bred and raised at Pond-A-Acres.
It was the first win in the first start of 2023 for Ponda Warrior, who won his qualifier in preparation for this season’s debut. Overall, he has 10 wins in 28 career starts and has more than $487,000 in earnings. The mile was also a new lifetime best for the standout pacer, who competed in the Breeders Crown last year at Woobine.