Race of the Week 2017
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Hoosier State of Mind

The Vosburgh and Breeders' Cup Dream

If ever there was a day to seize an opportunity, "Super Saturday" at Belmont Park is it.  With four of the six graded stakes races designated as “Win and You’re In” races for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, today is the final opportunity for many horses to claim their spot in the starting gate at Santa Anita Park to compete for Breeders' Cup coronation.

Story lines abound throughout today's card, with the Vosburgh GI field arguably having the most emotionally charged story of them all.  No screen writer could have imagined the story that has developed for that of Strapping Groom and Drawing Away Stables over the last few weeks.  For Drawing Away Stables, the weekend of August 30, 2013, was to be their  biggest of the year, as they sent out two of their star horses at Saratoga to compete for their respective places in racing history.  The stable’s star gelding, Saginaw, was going for his sixth win of the season to eclipse the million dollar earning mark, while Strapping Groom was attempting to make history for his owners the following day in the Forego GI, competing for  the stable's first Grade I victory in flat racing.

Unfortunately, the dream that was to be for Saginaw quickly turned into a nightmare when Drawing Away Stable and New York Racing’s beloved gelding  broke down turning for home. Mere moments after Saginaw’s passing, some in the racing community made Drawing Away and Saginaw's Trainer, David Jacobson, the scapegoats for his breakdown.  In the midst of this storm, the connections came together and rallied around one goal: Win it for "Sags".







Strapping Groom would revive the dream.


Strapping Groom was sent off at odds of 15-1 in the Forego GI.  Lightly respected by the betting public, the son of Johannesburg ignored the tote board and the experts, and ran with the biggest part of his body: his heart.  The former $25,000 claimer found himself dueling for the lead against the best sprinters in the world.  Just when it looked like he would be beaten late in the stretch by either Jackson Bend or Justin Phillip, he dug in and “Won one for Sags.”  His display of heart and guts lifted the heavy hearts and broken spirits of not only his connections, but of racing fans around the country.  Folowing their victory, his jockey, Junior Alvarado, who also was aboard Saginaw in his fateful last race, pointed to the sky as a tribute to his fallen comrade. Strapping Groom's head lifted as a nod to the skies as well.

Drawing Away Stable's  managing partner, Robert Hachemeister Jr., spoke about what a win in the Vosburgh GI and a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup mean would for Strapping Groom and Drawing Away Stables. “Winning the Vosburgh would be a tremendous accomplishment to a blue collar claiming stable like DAS. After winning the Grade I Forego, it was marred by the passing of our poster child, Saginaw, and I feel as if Strapping Groom wasn't given the accolades by his owners that he deserved, even though the reasons were completely understandable . It’s as if the spirit of Saginaw lives on throughout the eyes of Strapping Groom, and winning the Vosburgh, a “Win and You’re In Race,”would send us to the Breeders’ Cup which would give us the greatest feeling in the world to achieve such greatness; not just for the stable, the notoriety or the money, but for Saginaw! We would be happy, yet humbled, and would go to Santa Anita feeling as if we already won just by being in the starting gate. The feeling of owning a horse of this magnitude is indescribable, as this horse has gone from the claiming ranks to stardom, and has exemplified our stables motto that 'if you believe you can, you will and anything is possible!' On behalf of DAS, and myself, I wish each and every horse a safe trip with the very best of luck on Super Saturday, and if the stars align and the sun shines on our boy that day, it will be the proudest and most humbling honor to see you all in California on that first weekend in November!”

As Strapping Groom looks to continue one of the greatest stories New York Racing has ever told, he will face a deep field full of sprinters who are capable of not only winning the Vosburgh GI, but also taking the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Crown.


#1 Forty Tales 7/2  J. J. Castellano – Todd Pletcher  (Fast closing three year-old who could be dangerous if the pace is hot.)


#2 Justin Phillip 3/1 John Velazquez – Steve Asmussen (Hard knocking sprinter who’s good enough to win but he doesn’t always perform on the biggest stage.)


#3 Bahamian Squall  4/1 Louis Saez – David Fawkes (Grade II winner who defeated the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint Champion Trinniberg two races back at Calder; he’s good enough to pull off the upset.)


#4 Strapping Groom 5/1  Junior Alvarado – David Jacobson (The dream could come true today. He’s in top form with three wins in his last four starts and three triple-digit Beyer speed figures.)


#5 The Lumber Guy 8/1 Mike Luzzi – Michael Hushion (Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up is looking to channel the past and repeat in the Vosburgh.)


#6 Palace 20/1 Cornelio Velazquez – Linda Rice (New York Bred who just defeated The Lumber Guy; he will be closing but doesn’t look good enough.)


#7 Candyman E 12/1 Joe  Bravo – Michael Mareina  (Would have to run the best race of his life to find himself in the Winner’s Circle today; could fill out the exotics.)


#8 Private Zone 4/1 Martin Pedroza – Doug O’Neill  (California speed mixed with California speed jockey; could be very dangerous if he’s left alone on the front end.)


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Meet Scott Dick 















My journey into the sport of kings has been different than most. I do not boast a royal pedigree, and in fact, before my interest in horse racing, my family thought the Kentucky Derby was the only race of the year! I'm the son of a minor league baseball player and a homemaker, which doesn't exactly scream grade I winner.

My passion for the sport started about 8 years ago.I was watching as Funny Cide was making his triple crown run. The “Gutsy Gelding” had my eyes glued to the television with each of his triple crown races. After watching Funny Cide on TV. I decided to make a trip down to our local track, Indiana Downs.This would be an experience that would change my life.

I looked over the program, while having no idea what I was doing,I decided to put my 5 dollars on a horse named Apollonea. As the gates broke and the announcer began his race call, I heard the words Apollonea to the lead. My excitement grew as I watched my horse lead all the way around the track, eventually drawing to win by an easy five lengths. Apollonea paid 58.00 to win, I was hooked from that point on.

For the past 8 years my life has been horse racing.  I've tried to educate myself on every aspect of the sport and learn about it's past. The incredible run of the Super Filly Rachel Alexandra would also change my life. It was my intense passion and love for Rachel that would bring me to meet some of the greatest  people in the world. I owe a lot to Rachel and this sport for introducing me to such wonderful people.

I want this blog to show that Indiana Racing stacks up with any track, anywhere! It will also show what great value can be found in Indiana for the bettors, and not to mention, the incredible purses for the owners and trainers.

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