Indiana trotters were dominant during the Monday, June 5 racing program at Oak Grove. It’s a Herbie was a winner in the Open Trot while Bluebird Deacon made it an Indiana exacta in the $18,000 Open II.
Bluebird Deacon started from post five with Atlee Bender in the bike. He left for the lead, but so did Empire City Fr and Nicolas Roussel on the inside and Pilgrims Image between horses, leaving Bluebird Deacon three wide heading to the quarter in :27.4. From there, Pilgrims Image and Matt Krueger led the way with Bluebird Deacon slipping in behind him. The top two moved away from the field at the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:25.3.
Around the final turn, Bluebird Deacon tipped to the outside and was already on the move when the two horses moved into the stretch. Bluebird Deacon pinned his ears and put his head down and went to work, grabbing the lead and winning by three-quarters of a length over fellow Indiana sired Pilgrims Image, a son of Pilgrims Chuckie. Yo Lucky Moni and Verlin Yoder was a winner over Indiana sired Just For Us and Carson Conrad for third.
Bluebird Deacon paid $4.00. It was the third win of the day for Bender. His wife, Hannah Bender owns the six-year-old Swan for All gelding. Her father, Erv Miller, trains the Blue Bird Meadows product.
It was the first start of the year for Bluebird Deacon. He now has 12 wins in 66 starts and more than $241,000 in earnings. His career best time of 1:53.1 was taken at Oak Grove at the age of four.
It’s a Herbie and Verlin Yoder turned in an impressive mile to score the win in the afternoon’s featured $26,000 trot. The duo got away fourth as Sweet Mr Pinetucky and Atlee Bender set the fractions of :27.1, :57.1 and 1:25.1 before It’s a Herbie came into the picture. The seven-year-old gelding closed in gamely with a final quarter in :27.3 for the win by a half length over Stride the Hill and Kevin Wallis. Heath Bar and Matt Krueger finished third.
It’s a Herbie paid $4.16 for the win. It was his second win of the year and his 22nd overall. To date, he has more than $611,000 in earnings with his career best time of 1:51.2 taken last year at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Yoder owns and trains the gelding, who has been with the Yoder Stable his entire career.