Crooked Smile and Driver Jordan Ross went straight to the finish line for the win in the $22,000 featured Open Pace Friday, Sept. 29 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. The duo stopped the timer in 1:49.4 for the win against a tough field of veteran pacers.
Starting from post three, Crooked Smile got away from the gate and settled into third as JK Victory and Trace Tetrick took the top spot through the first quarter in :26.0. with Billy Clyde and John DeLong pursuing the top spot also, clearing down the backstretch before the half in :53.4. Around the final turn, Crooked Smile was out and moving up and was in full swing when the field turned for home.
In the stretch, Crooked Smile went to work, traveling home in :26.4 to score the win by a neck in 1:49.4. Yourwishisgranted and Ricky Macomber Jr. were placed up to second and Captain Sleaze and Michael Oosting were placed up to third.
Crooked Smile paid $7.20 for the win. The six-year-old Panther Hanover gelding earned his sixth win of 2023 for owners Wilson Racing Stable, Inc. and Turn for Home Racing LLC. Tim Wilson Jr. trains the gelding, who was bred by Ellis Bryant.
Overall Crooked Smile is nearing $400,000 in earnings during a career that has placed him in the winner’s circle 27 times. His career best time of 1:49.1 was taken this summer at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. He was part of the first Indiana crop by Panther Hanover, who moved to Ontario in 2020. After standing four years in Indiana, there are only 70 Indiana sired registered foals by Panther Hanover with Hot Mess Express being the quickest at 1:48.3 and possessing earnings of $908,000. Crooked Smile is the second fastest and second richest on the list of his foals.
Jordan Ross had back to back winners on the Friday card. In the race right before the Open, he guided VP Rockin to victory for trainer Sixto Rivas. The five-year-old Rockin Image gelding had an inside post and moved out to the lead with a first quarter in :26.3 before being overtaken by Francis Underwood and Michael Oosting before the half in :54.3. VP Rockin moved back out and around to take back over the lead at the three-quarters in 1:23.2 before pressing home to win in 1:51.3. Isitlikeitlooks and Joey Putnam finished three-quarters of a length back in second after a big closing kick. Shakertown and John DeLong finished third.
VP Rockin is owned by Castaldo Racing Stable and Horsecents LLC. John Miller and Robert Yoder bred the gelding, who picked up his sixth win of 2023 and his 16th overall for his connections. His career best was also taken earlier this year at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in 1:49.3.