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SHELBYVILLE, IN—SEPTEMBER 14, 2020—After some bad racing luck in her last start, Valiantinecandyrocks and Victor Olivo rebounded in a big way, winning the 18th running of the $86,460 Indiana Grand Classic.
The stakes race is one of the oldest Quarter Horse stakes for Indiana Grand, beginning during the inaugural season in 2003.
Prior to her last start in the Bob Woodard Memorial Stakes, Valiantinecandyrocks was a perfect two for two on the season. A bad stumble at the start took the four-year-old mare out of the race with no hopes of getting into contention.
"Her back feet slid back from underneath her," said Olivo. "From that point on, I just took hold and rode her through. If you miss a break in a race like that, you are done."
In the end, she was able to fend off Beach Mercedes and Sammy Mendez who closed in late. Southern Belle BP and German Rodriguez finished third. The time of the 400-yard sprint was :19.929.
"Her last race was a hard pill to swallow," said Trainer Lily Gonzalez. "The first worry we had today was the break, but she can run, and she can go the distance. It's good to see her come back like this. She deserves it." The win from Valiantinecandyrocks also holds special meaning for Gonzalez. With a Thoroughbred win earlier in the card, she recorded her first career training double thanks to the speedy Quarter Horse.
"This is my first double and it's with my two favorite horses, my favorite Thoroughbred (Pradar)and my favorite Quarter Horse (Valiantinecandyrocks)," said Gonzalez. "This mare is nice to be around. You have to let her act like she's in control. She loves to win, and we just keep her happy. She's had a very good meet. Us girls have to stick together."
Valiantinecandyrocks is now three for four this season and six for 13 life. It was her first career stakes win. The daughter of Valiant Hero out of Jesses Candy by Mr Jess Perry is owned by breeders Lance and Tammy Finlinson of Greenwood, Ind. who were unable to attend. Their son, Landen, is a senior at Center Grove High School and plays number one doubles for the state ranked No. 3 tennis team in Indiana.
The Finlinsons were attending his match at Bloomington North but were tuned in online to watch their horse win the stakes race.
Sheri Miller's homebred Beach Mercedes earned $17,292 for finishing second. Randy Smith conditions the 5-year-old daughter of Escondido Beach from the Feature Mr Jess mare Jess Alive Bully. Samuel Menez had the riding call aboard the $220,209 stakes winner.
Southern Belle Bp earned $8,646 for third. Randy Haffner trains the Oklaoma homebred for owner-breeder Bill Price. German Rodriguez rod the 4-year-old daughter of all-time leading sire First Down Dash from the Southern Cartel mare Bp Shes Southern. She has earned $47,780.
Shes Relentlesswagon, Cause For Corona, Apollitical B Beast, My Pillow, Tres My Heart, Wagon Dash and Air Born Rio completed the field. Shes A Real Patriot was scratched.
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