Gil Crest Training Center in Bell, Fla. was alive with four qualifying races Saturday, March 21. Included in the mix were several Indiana sired horses seeking to kickstart their 2020 racing campaigns soon.
The biggest name of note was the return of Katkin American from the Verlin Yoder Stable. A five 3-year-old son of Guccio, James Yoder drove Katkin American and sat right on the back of Verlin, who was driving Compelling. Natural Herbie, driven by Jesse Yoder, and Ideal Jesse, driven by Kenneth Shields, rounded out the field.
Katkin American overtook Compelling in the stretch to win in 1:55.1, a final panel of :26.2. Natural Herbie finished a distant third.
Owned by Brett Boyd Racing of Michigan, Katkin American will seek to add to his already impressive bankroll of $221,000. Unraced at two and then missing the entire season last year at four, Katkin American has five wins and six seconds in 12 career starts for Yoder. His best time was taken at three in 1:52.1 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
In other qualifying action, Explosive Swan, driven by Verlin, won the first of four qualifiers in a time of 1:59.3. The three-year-old Swan for All filly, also owned by Verlin, only had two starts last year at two.
Royal Rocks, trained by Missy Essig, finished second during the qualifiers. Jay Cross drove the Rockin Image sophomore, who was lightly raced last year. He is owned by Essig Racing, Russell Beeman and Charles Weaver, all of Indiana. Royal Rocks is a full brother to the Essig-trained standout Little Rocket Man, who took a mark of 1:49 last year and was named Indiana Sires Stakes Three-Year-Old of the Year.