Opening weekend action continued Saturday, March 25 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park with one stable making multiple trips down the track to the winner’s circle. That operation was the Jeff Cullipher Stable, who scored four wins on the night.
Cullipher’s final win of the evening came with Sweet Boy Ben in the upper conditioned trot going for a purse of $13,500. The four-year-old son of Swan for All had post one and got away fourth for driver Tyler Smith. Illini Earl and Sam Widger led the way early through fractions of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:27.0. Sweet Boy Ben was flushed to the outside around the final turn and moved up to challenge in the stretch, taking over midway down the lane and holding strong for the win by one length in 1:55.1. Dans Credit finished second for Jordan Ross while Luckey Stormin and Joey Putnam finished third.
Sweet Boy Ben paid $6.80 for the win. He is owned by Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher. Jackie Ricks, longtime groom for Cullipher, cares for the gelding, as well as another winner on the night for Cullipher in the Burt Bacharach Memorial.
Also driven by Smith, Southwind Cherry got away in mid pack as Blu-starz and Sam Widger set the early tone of :28.1 and :58.1. Southwind Cherry was out at the half and moving forward and had taken over the lead by several lengths at the three-quarter mile marker in 1:27.3.
In the stretch, Southwind Cherry continued to open up on the field, eventually winning the race by six and three-quarter lengths in 1:56.2. Sooo Handsome and Rick Plano finished second over Swan Invasion and Trace Tetrick for third.
The featured race of the evening was the $18,000 Fillies and Mares Open Pace placing the spotlight on Rockin Nola, last year’s older pacing mare of the year in Indiana. Rose Run Vision and Sam Widger sat up close early on and rallied home late, fending off a late charge from Rockin Nola and Joey Putnam for the win in 1:52.2. Rockin Nola as second over Maggie Rhee and Kyle Wilfong for third.
Rose Run Vision paid $5.00 for the win. The six-year-old daughter of Time to Roll is owned by Eash Racing Stable and trained by Don Eash. Rose Run Farm in Ohio bred the mare, who now has two wins for 2023. Overall, she has 30 career wins and more than $371,000 in earnings. Her career best time of 1:50.0 was taken as a four-year-old at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Southwind Cherry, bred by Southwind Farms of New Jersey, paid $4.20 for the win. The three-year-old Muscle Hill filly is also owned by Pollack and Cullipher, who was making her first start of 2023. It was only her second career trip to the winner’s circle in limited starts last year. The mile also marked a new career best time for Southwind Cherry.
Other winners from the Cullipher barn on the second night of racing in 2023 included Tug and Coop, who trotted his mile in 1:56.3 for the win and Polks Image, who paced her mile in 1:54.2. Both horses were driven to victory by Tyler Smith and both are Indiana sired.