Day At The Track

Trotting colts rebound in Indiana Sire Stakes

12:06 PM 18 Sep 2019 NZST
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TJ's Top Pick, harness racing Brigotto, harness racing
TJ's Top Pick and driver Trace Tetrick
Linscott Photo
Brigotto and driver Sam Widger
Linscott Photo

ANDERSON, Ind.--September 17, 2018-- Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino kicked off a busy week of live racing action on Tuesday, September 17 with two $65,000 divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes for the two-year-old harness racing colt and gelding trotters.

After tasting defeat in their last stakes engagements, TJ's Top Pick and Brigotto rebounded impressively to score in their respective divisions and deliver as the heavy post time favorites. The freshman trotting colts have now completed the fifth preliminary round of their six round series as they look toward the $250,000 Super Finals slated for October 11 at Harrah's Hoosier Park.

After making an uncharacteristic break in his last start, TJ's Top Pick looked every bit the part of a 1-5 favorite this week, going gate to wire in 1:54.2. With Trace Tetrick in the bike, TJ's Top Pick went straight to the front and clicked off fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:26.2.

Turning for home, TJ's Top Pick was on top with a four length lead and used a :28 closing quarter to coast on to the wire in front of Swan In Motion and Ricky Macomber Jr. Rocket Lee Breeze and Jared Finn rounded out the trifecta. As the heavy betting favorite, TJ's Top Pick returned $2.60 at the betting windows.

"Last week, he was just too keyed up," trainer Jeff Cullipher noted of his stable standout in the winner's circle. "He tied up and it just wasn't his night. Tonight, he was much better. He's pretty straight forward when it comes to maintaining him."

With the win, TJ's Top Pick pushed his lifetime bankroll to $145,871. The gelded son of Swan For All-J A's Ayd has now won six of seven lifetime starts 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 was a two-move winner in 1:55.4. With driver Sam Widger in the bike, Brigotto was eased off the gate through the opening panel in :28.1. When the field hit the half in :58, Widger gave Brigotto the green light and he ranged up to take the lead before yielding to Dude Included and Verlin Yoder.

Dude Included led the field through the three-quarters in 1:27.1 but Brigotto found late racing room up the inside and surged past his rivals late in the lane. After All Paul and Doug Rideout also rallied well late but were forced to settle for second while Simply Swan and Joe Putnam finished third. As the even money favorite, Brigotto returned $4.20 to his backers at the betting windows.

"He's a very handy little horse," Widger noted after the victory. "He's getting better and stronger with every start and really learning to be a race horse."

With the win, the son of Bluto-Dream Act recorded his second win from eight lifetime outings. Bred by Pond-A-Acres, Brigotto is trained by Rodney Debeck and has now earned $75,441 in lifetime purse earnings.

Live racing action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Wednesday, September 19 with a 12-race card. The evening's 12-race card will feature a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool in Races 3-6 and a $10,000 Hoosier High-5 in Race 12. 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

by Emily Ratcliff, for Harrah's Hoosier Park

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