After a plethora of favorites visited the winner’s circle Friday, Sept. 30, Crooked Smile and Michael Oosting broke the trend with a win in the $16,000 conditioned pace. The duo stopped the timer in 1:49.3, just one tick off the gelding’s career best time.
Crooked Smile began his journey from post two and was able to secure the spot right behind race favorite This Kit Rocks and Joey Putnam, who passed by the quarter in :26.4. This Kit Rocks had a big hold on Putnam moving to the half in :55.0 and Caviart Lotus and Sam Widger moved out to apply pressure to the leader. This Kit Rocks and Caviart Lotus matched each other stride for stride around the final turn and Crooked Smith was tracking both horses from the inside, waiting patiently for the stretch.
In the stretch, This Kit Rocks pinned his ears and was adamant about getting to the wire first. Midway through the stretch, Oosting was able to move Crooked Smile to the outside and surged toward the leader in the final strides, picking up the win by a neck, a final quarter in :26.3. Bet Mine and Brandon Bates rallied up for third.
Crooked Smile paid $7.20 for the win. The five-year-old son of Panther Hanover is trained by Tim Wilson Jr. and owned by Wilson Racing Stable Inc. and Turn for Home Racing LLC. Ellis Bryant bred the gelding, who now has more than $218,000 in career earnings. Crooked Smile has been a consistent performer for his connections with 30 starts last season and 20 already on the books in 2022.
In the very next race, another son of Panther Hanover earned a sub 1:50 win in upper level claiming action. Driven by Trace Tetrick, Ike’s Panther went straight to the lead and never looked back, pacing home in :26.4 for the win by three and one-half lengths in 1:49.4. Tulhurstsantanna A and Michael Oosting finished second over Imma Be and Ricky Macomber Jr. for third.
Ike’s Panther was the favorite of the field, paying $3.00 for the win. He is trained by Tyler George, who had three wins on the Thursday card and a training double on the Friday program. Seven Star Stables owns the four-year-old gelding, who was bred by Mervin Eicher.
The fastest mile of the night was recorded in the featured $22,000 Open Pace. Billy Clyde and John DeLong sat patiently in the two hole before moving out in the stretch for the win by two lengths in 1:48.4, a final quarter in :25.2. Tellmeaboutit and Michael Oosting closed gamely from the back of the pack in :25.2 to finish second, just a neck ahead of Primary Colors and Atlee Bender.
Billy Clyde paid $3.00 for the win. The Always B Miki four-year-old is owned by Ray Schnittker and Dr. John Egloff for trainer Ryan Miller.