After winning four of six races last year at three, Rock N Republic made his 2022 debut in a big way, just like the race’s namesake John Dutton. The Pet Rock gelding had the big guns blazing down the stretch to score the win in the first leg of the $14,000 John Dutton Series.
Starting from post two, trainer-driver Andy Shetler had Rock N Republic out of the gates quickly and secured the spot behind the aptly named Saddle Up and Brandon Bates and TJ’s Indy Pacer and Trace Tetrick through the first half of the race for fractions of :26.3 and :55.1. Past the half, JK Going West was out and advancing on the outside to keep the field all within six lengths of one another at the head of the stretch.
In the lane, Rock N Republic found the room he needed and sprinted home in :26.4 to score the win by one and one-quarter over Saddle Up. JK Going West finished third in the mile that was recorded in 1:51.2.
Rock N Republic paid $28.20 for the win. He is owned by Dossie Minor who has had the gelding since he began racing. He is now 11 of 19 lifetime and his 2022 debut also placed a new lifetime mark on his credentials. He now has more than $75,000 in career earnings.
In a night filled with out of state winners at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, Indiana sired Francis Underwood kicked off the evening with a win in the $30,000 claiming event. Guided by Michael Oosting, the five-year-old gelding found cover in the second half of the race and prevailed at the end, winning by a neck over Big See and Brandon Bates. Another Daily Copy and Trace Tetrick finished third in the 1:52.4 mile.
Francis Underwood paid $7.00 for the win. The Perry Smith trained Time to Roll son is also owned by Smith. He was bred by Jerry Graham of Illinois. It was his second win of 2022 and for Smith, who acquired the gelding last fall. Overall, he has 11 career wins and more than $150,000 in earnings.