All eyes in Standardbred racing are on Little Brown Jug Week in Delaware, Ohio. Anytime connections can win a race during the week, it is a little more prestigious, but when a horse can win a big stakes race, it’s a big deal. That’s just what Helpoftheseason did Wednesday, Sept. 20, earning the title in the $88,000 Buckette for the Wrenn Stable.
Helpoftheseason was guided perfectly into the two hole from post six at the start by driver Peter Wrenn. The Indiana sired filly followed early race leader Royal Filly and Yannick Gingras, the favorites of the field. Fractions of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:24.1 were posted on the board before Bella Macchiato and Dexter Dunn came roaring up on the outside to challenge. They went off stride in the final turn and space opened up for Helpoftheseason to advance.
At the top of the stretch, Helpoftheseason was in command of the field. As famed track announcer Roger Huston noted, Wrenn looked over both shoulders and was home free, winning by two and one-half lengths in 1:54.2, a final quarter in :29.2. Pride N Joy and Todd McCarthy were the widest pair and were closing in gamely for second over Bravo Angel S and Andrew McCarthy, who were placed up to third.
Helpoftheseason paid $11.00 for the win. The sophomore daughter of Helpisontheway is owned by John Schmucker, Wrenn Racing LLC, and Running Wild Stables, all of Indiana. Ben Wittmer Jr. bred the filly, who has only been out of the top two places twice this year in 10 starts for trainer Melanie Wrenn.
Helpoftheseason pulled in her career best time of 1:53.3 at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in the start before her win in the Buckette. Overall, she now has nine wins in 17 starts and more than $311,000 on her card. She is one of 58 foals that sold from the first crop of Helpisontheway and was the third highest from his initial crop, bringing $40,000 through the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale. She is the second foal from the Angus Hall mare Torches Star, who had a mark of 1:54.4 and made more than $100,000 during her career. The family has a two-year-old filly this season named Torches Help and a weanling colt named Red Hot Joe. Both are by Helpisontheway.
The Old Oaken Bucket, the male counterpart to the Buckette, is slated for Little Brown Jug Day Thursday, Sept. 21. Three Indiana sired horses will be featured in the $100,000 race, slated as the 17th on the card. Talent Scout, a son of Swan for All from the Doug Rideout barn, has post one and is the 3-2 morning line favorite with Dexter Dunn in the bike. Other Indiana starters are Kruise on Dover, trained by Ryan Miller and driven by Brett Miller at odds of 8-1, and Just Show Up from the Ron Burke Stable, who starts from post six with Yannick Gingras named to drive at odds of 6-1.
The Little Brown Jug eliminations start in Race 19. Three eliminations will determine the final field in Race 24 vying for a final purse of $850,000.