Land of Freedom and driver Dale Hiteman covered some major ground en route to victory Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The duo timed their final move just right for the win by a neck in 1:56.0.
Starting from post one, Land of Freedom would have used some early speed but several of his opponents rallied out looking for a spot up close, leaving Land of Freedom to get away in mid pack. DJ Dan and Jimmy Whittemore got the first call in :28.2 and were quickly overtaken before the half in :57.4. Hiteman moved Land of Freedom to the outside and eventually picked up cover from Walla For You and Verlin Yoder. Midway through the final turn, Land of Freedom went out one path wider and was three wide heading into the stretch.
There were four horses across the track coming down the stretch with Land of Freedom widest of all. DJ Dan was not giving an inch from the inside with Epic Dreamer and Rick Plano also not backing down. Land of Freedom had the best momentum and got the win over DJ Dan in the three-horse photo. Epic Dreamer finished third.
Land of Freedom paid $7.80 for the win. The Dover Dan sophomore gelding is owned by Robert Reeser and John Johannsen. Reeser trains the sophomore trotter, who earned his first win of the year and adding a new lifetime mark to his credentials. Overall, he has two wins now and earnings over the $70,000 mark. Lavon Slabach is the breeder on Land of Freedom, who was an $8,000 purchase at the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale.
One race before featuring three-year-old trotters with Ponda Adventure turning a near gate to wire effort for the win. The Swan for All gelding, guided by Trace Tetrick for trainer Erv Miller, was parked on the outside at the quarter in :27.1 before clearing Sweet Boy Ben and Peter Wrenn. From there, Ponda Adventure was in full command, coasting home to the win by two and one-quarter lengths. Bluebird Bishop and Sam Widger finished second over Dover in Motion and Ricky Macomber Jr. for third.
Ponda Adventure is owned by Engel Stable of IL LLC, Louis Willinger and Jerry Graham. The product of Pond-A-Acres remains perfect this season with six wins in six starts. His career best time was taken earlier this year in 1:52.4. He is now 14 for 16 lifetime with more than $412,000 in career earnings.