Hot Mess Express, 2021 Indiana Horse of the Year, returned to Harrah’s Hoosier Park Friday, Oct. 7 for a prep race heading to Hoosier Champions Night and the Indiana Sires Stakes for older pacing mares. Now four, the mare recorded her mile in 1:50.4.
Guided by John DeLong, Hot Mess Express went straight to the lead and was followed by Maggie Rhee and Michael Oosting. After the quarter in :26.3, Maggie Rhee went onto the lead, giving Hot Mess Express a two-hole trip through middle fractions of :55.2 and 1:23.4.
In the stretch, Maggie Rhee was leading by open lengths with Hot Mess Express ready to pounce. Rose Run Vision and Don Eash were also tracking the top two. Midway through the stretch, Maggie Rhee began to drift and both Hot Mess Express and Rose Run Vision began to close in on the inside. Hot Mess Express was a winner by one length between horses with Maggie Rhee holding on for second. Rose Run Vision had the quickest final quarter of the three, pacing home in :26.1 for third.
Hot Mess Express was the favorite, paying $3.40 for the win. The Panther Hanover mare is owned by Sam Bowie and trained by Tony Alagna. Prior to her return to Indiana, she has been racing at Woodbine and picked up a record of 1:49.1. Her career best remains at 1:48.3 taken at The Meadowlands last year. To date, she has 20 wins in 36 starts and is now over the $800,000 mark in career earnings.
Also looking sharp in the older trotting mares for the Indiana Sires Stakes prep was May Baby and James Yoder, who won in 1:55.0. May Baby got away third as Sly Little Fox and Trace Tetrick went to the lead after the quarter in :27.2. Yoder had May Baby out and rolling at the half in :57.0.
May Baby led the way into the stretch. In the final stages Ima Diamond Babe, her stablemate driven by Atlee Bender, began to close in, but May Baby held on for the win by a neck over Ima Diamond Babe, who trotted home in :26.3. Sly Little Fox held her ground for third.
May Baby paid $4.60 as the favorite. The five-year-old Guccio mare is owned by Cheyenne Yoder. She was bred by Oakwood Farms. It was her 21st win for the Yoders and she is nearing $650,000 in earnings. She is now on a two-race win streak.