Day At The Track

TJ's Top Pick sets track record in ISS at Hoosier

02:32 PM 22 Aug 2019 NZST
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TJ's Top Pick, harness racing Brigotto, harness racing
TJ's Top Pick and driver Trace Tetrick scoring track record
Linscott Photo
Brigotto winning division of the Indiana Sire Stakes
Linscott Photo

ANDERSON, Ind.--August 21, 2019-- TJ's Top Pick, with Trace Tetrick in the bike, became Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino's newest harness racing track record holder when he powered home a winner in 1:53.3 in the co-featured event of the evening, the first division of the $64,000 Indiana Sires Stakes action for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Wednesday, August 21.

The 1:53.3 mark was a lifetime best for the freshman colt and also re-established the previous track record for two-year-old trotting geldings by nearly a full second, a 1:54.2 mark that he equaled in the last round of stakes action.

In just the fifth start of his two-year-old season, TJ's Top Pick turned in a dominant performance to finish nearly five lengths in front of his next closest competitor and remain undefeated this season. His 1:53.3 victory also marked the seventh track record that has been equaled or re-established at Hoosier Park through 102 nights of live racing this season.

Leaving from post seven in the field of seven, TJ's Top Pick left just enough to grab a seat along the rail in fourth. Osprey Hanover and Deshawn Minor would grab the early lead through the opening panel in :27.4. As soon as the field got straightened away down the backside, Tetrick gave TJ's Top Pick the green light and the colt quickly took command at the half in :57.3.

When the field hit the three-quarters in 1:25.4, TJ's Top Pick was on top with a five length lead while the rest of the field was struggling to stay within striking distance. Turning for home, TJ's Top Pick found another gear and trotted away from the field with a :27.4 closing kick. Swan In Motion and Ricky Macomber Jr. rallied well late but were forced to settle for second while Emma Town Bud and Mike Oosting finished third. As the heavy 2-5 favorite, TJ's Top Pick returned $2.80 at the betting windows.

"He's just so versatile," trainer Jeff Cullipher noted after the victory. "He really started to come around when we shipped into Hoosier Park in March and he's just been getting better every week. He's one of the smartest colts I've ever been around and I think he gets a little stronger every start."

With the win, TJ's Top Pick became harness racing's newest $100,000 earner. The gelded son of Swan For All-J A's Ayd is undefeated through the first three rounds of Indiana Sires Stakes action and is owned in partnership by Jeff Cullipher, Pollack Racing, and Trace Tetrick. TJ's Top Pick was bred by Freeman Bontrager.

In the second division of the stakes action, Brigotto broke his maiden in impressive fashion and pulled the 15-1 upset. Driven by Sam Widger for trainer Rodney Debeck, Brigotto staged a big rally late in the lane to score in 1:55.3.

Leaving from post four, Brigotto found a spot along the rail in fifth and would let the dust settle before making his move. Simply Swan and Joe Putnam were on top through the opening quarter in :29.1 but would yield the lead to the heavily favored, Dude Included and Verlin Yoder just before the half.

Dude Included led the field through middle splits of :58.4 and 1:27.4 but Brigotto was on the attack and tracking intently from first-over. Widger was patient with Brigotto through the final turn and when they straightened away from home, Brigotto dipped down to the inside and utilized a :27.2 final quarter to get the win by a length. Dude Included finished second while Rocket Lee Breeze and Jared Finn finished third. As the second longest shot on the board, Brigotto returned $33.60 at the betting windows.

"He tries really hard," trainer, owner Rodney Debeck noted after the victory. "He made a break in his last start but he's still figuring things out so you have to expect that. He trained down great."

With the win, the son of Bluto-Dream Act recorded his first win from six lifetime outings. Bred by Pond-A-Acres, Brigotto has now earned $35,201 in lifetime purse earnings.

Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday, August 22 with three $47,000 divisions for two-year-old filly pacers highlighting the 13-race card. The 13-race card will also feature a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool in Races 3-6 and a $10,000 Hoosier High-5 in Race 13. With a daily post time of 6:30 pm, live racing at Harrah's Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 9. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com.

by Emily Ratcliff, for Harrah's Hoosier Park

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