Justin Lloyd had not only one but two horses hit the board in the fillies and mares claiming event Thursday, Jan. 18 at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. Both Indiana sired females, Whimsical scored an impressive win with stablemate Bellacache finishing third.
Whimsical and Aaron Merriman started from the extreme outside post eight as the field lined up behind the starting gate with snow piled on both sides of the track. Bellacache and Case Bateson left the gate from post four and had enough speed to secure the two-hole early on behind How About Murph and Hunter Myers, but Whimsical was on a mission. The Indiana mare kept on task and was out for the lead and got it just after the quarter in :27.2. Merriman had a big hold on the mare heading by the grandstand the first time as the mare got a slight breather to the half in :56.4 before picking up the pace once again and opening up on the field before the stretch.
In the stretch Whimsical was untouchable pulling away to a six and three-quarter length advantage at the wire, winning in 1:53.1 on the cold afternoon program. Infinite Symbol A and Brady Brown moved up on the outside to finish second while Bellacache moved up the inside for third.
Whimsical was the favorite, paying $4.00 for the win. The five-year-old daughter of Tellitlikeitis is owned by Barry Franklin of New York. Jo Shetler bred the mare, who is out of their former racehorse Discreetly, a daughter of Art’s Chip with a mark of 1:54.4. She is the daughter of Tammy C Tresa, who was tough on the Indiana circuit during her racing campaign and took a mark of 1:54.2 and earned nearly $150,000 when purse money wasn’t as abundant as it has been in recent years.
Whimsical has been active at the claiming box recently and was acquired by Lloyd and Franklin from her last start. She has not missed the board in three starts this season. Overall, she has 13 career wins and a mark of 1:52.1 taken at three at Harrah’s Hoosier Park when she was under the direction of the Shetler Stable.
Bellacache is an eight-year-old daughter of Aracache Hanover and is also owned by Franklin. The veteran mare was bred from the teaching program at the University of Illinois. She is also a recent addition to the Lloyd barn. Overall, she has 18 wins and nearly $200,000 on her card. Her career best time of 1:51.2 was taken as a five-year-old at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. She began her career under the direction of Trainer Mike Hollenback and later joined the Jamie Macomber barn where she earned her career mark.
Lloyd is off to a hot start in 2024. He has four wins and four thirds from 10 starts this year for a UTRS of .533.