It was a stellar evening of competition featuring some of the sports top horses across North America and Indiana sired horses held their own throughout the evening featuring numerous stakes races, including the first Indiana-hosted stakes the Peter Haughton and the Jim Doherty. Also on the card was the $80,000 Hoosier Cup for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers with Why Not Now and LeWayne Miller bringing home the win.
Starting from post seven, Why Not Now left the gate with some speed to land in the third spot on the inside behind Strengthfromabove and David Miller, who set the first fraction of :25.4. Down the backstretch Strengthfromabove got a bit of a breather to the half in :55.0, prompting an outer flow to form. Why Not Now was flushed to the outside first over and moved up to match Strengthfromabove stride for stride.
In the stretch, Why Not Now dug in gamely, getting past opponents and fending off late chargers for the win in 1:50.1, a final quarter in :26.3. Coach Stefanos and Trace Tetrick moved up to finish third while JB Gram and Kyle Wilfong followed them to the finish for third.
Why Not Now paid $8.00 for the win. The sophomore son of Always a Virgin is owned by Howard Taylor, Dylan Davis, and Jeffrey Billings. Dylan Davis also trains the impressive colt, who has royal bloodlines and former ties to his connections.
Why Not Now is out of the Four Starzzz Shark mare Star of the Show, who is a near 100 percent producer, including Virgo, who was campaigned by the Davis Stable to a 1:48.3 record and more than $438,000. A full brother, Why Not Now is now joining his brother with multiple stakes wins on his card and earnings in excess of $250,000. His career best time of 1:49.1 was taken earlier this spring at Harrah’s Hoosier Park. After going winless at two, Why Not Now has four wins this season and has not finished off the board in 10 starts.
Another Indiana standout on the night was Ponda Title, who finished second in the $400,000 Jim Doherty Memorial. The freshman trotting filly moved out early for Kyle Wilfong before settling in second behind race leader Cheval Rapide and Yannick Gingras. Wilfong kept the filly well in hand until he had room in the stretch to challenge, moving up and just getting beat at the wire by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2. Soiree Hanover and Tim Tetrick scored the win in the race. Graceful Design and Andrew McCarthy finished third.
Indiana was also well represented in the $40,000 Fools Goal Invitational Trot. The sports quickest trotter Just for Trix took the lead from Flagman and Rick Plano after the quarter in :26.2 and led the way to the stretch. The Nancy Takter trained Pretender took over for Dexter Dun and was a winner by four lengths in 1:51.4. Just for Trix, trained by Mike Murphy, longtime trainer in the Midwest, finished second, just a neck ahead of Indiana’s Jusmakinyalook and Jordan Ross for third.
Earlier in the night, Ponda Warrior dominated his competition in the $35,000 Armbro Omaha Free for All Pace. Guided by Kyle Wilfong, the four-year-old Rockin Image horse pounded down the lane to a two-length advantage in 1:48.1, just one tick off his career mark taken in this year’s Dan Patch Stakes win. Crooked Smith and Jordan Ross finished second over Yourwishisgranted and Ricky Macomber Jr.
Ponda Warrior paid $2.80. The Jay Hochstetler horse is owned by Jay along with Finkelberg Racing and South of the Tracks Rac Inc. Ponda Warrior is now three for five in 2023. He moved his career earnings tally up to more than $670,000.