Sectionline Bigry and Brandon Bates scored the first sub 1:50 mile of the year Friday, April 7 in the $22,000 Open Pace at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. But, the impressive part of the story was the veteran gelding did it with three hopples.
Somewhere before the stretch, it appeared the front hopple hanger became unattached to the front right hopple, but Sectionline Bigry never missed a step. He turned his gate to wire performance into a 1:49.4 win, a final quarter in :26.1. Little Rocket Man and John DeLong came from mid-field the second half in first over fashion and moved in to finish second, just a half length back and also pacing his mile in 1:49.4. Mac’s Big Boy and Trace Tetrick finished third. Little Rocket Man turned in the fastest last quarter of the field in :25.4, but more impressive was every horse in the field came home in :26 and change.
Sectionline Bigry was the favorite of the field, paying $3.60 for the win. The eight-year-old Ohio bred is owned by Harold Bauder and trained by Steve Bauder. Harold is a co-breeder on the Pet Rock gelding, who earned his first win in his third start of the year.
Sectionline Bigry won 12 races last season and never finished off the board in 20 starts. He also took a new career mark of 1:48.0 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. Overall, he has 44 wins in 107 starts with earnings over $900,000. His entire career has been with the Bauder family.
It was one of five wins on the card for Bates, who also picked up a win in a division of the first leg of the Jerry Landess Series. One of the first series created at Harrahs Hoosier Park in the mid 1990s, the Jerry Landess provides a series for young pacing males. Bates was a near gate to wire winner with Starlit Beachboy, a three-year-old son of Luck Be Withyou.
After taking over after the quarter, Starlit Beachboy was in full control heading into the stretch. He paced home in :26.1 to fend off Always Floating and Jordan Ross in the final strides for the win in 1:52.0. Vel What a Star and John DeLong finished third.
Starlit Beachboy was the favorite, paying $3.20 for the win. He is owned by Mark P’Pool and Frank Baldachino. P’Pool trains the gelding, who was bred by John Wagler.
Unraced last year at two, Starlit Beachboy is now three for three this season. His win Friday is a new lifetime mark. He was purchased last spring by P’Pool and Baldachino from Wagler of Montgomery, Ind. He is the second foal from the Somebeachsomewhere mare Beachyoutoit. Her first foal is Starlit Virgin, a filly with a mark of 1:57.3.
The other division of the Jerry Landess was won by Six Again in commanding fashion. The Check Six sophomore won by nine and one-quarter lengths for driver Trace Tetrick and trainer Joel Smith. The time of the mile was 1:52.1. He is owned by Paula Smith, Stanley Tarvidas, Ronald Schuler and Lynwood Romano. Also unraced last year at two, he has two wins this year in eight starts and his win Friday was also a new career best.