09/13/2017 6:02PM

Bucchero repeats in Brickyard Stakes, Peyton's Pass uncatchable in Merrillville

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Bucchero successfully defended his title in Wednesday's Brickyard Stakes at Indiana Grand.

Bucchero, probably the top Indiana-bred in training, overcame a speed bias and loose leader Mr Manning to win the $105,600 Brickyard Stakes by one length Wednesday at Indiana Grand.

It was the second straight Brickyard win for Bucchero, who aired by more than seven lengths in last year’s race. While considerably less dominant this year, Bucchero ran better than his bare margin of victory.

Bucchero broke on top from post 12, but Mr Manning was hustled from post 3 onto the lead, a great plan considering where dirt winners had been coming from Wednesday at Indiana Grand. Mr Manning went at a breakneck clip while out on his own, laying down splits of 21.74 and 44.11, but Fernando De La Cruz on Bucchero wisely made an early move while a few paths wide around the turn to get into striking position. Bucchero had reached Mr Manning’s flank by the three-sixteenths pole, but while Mr Manning battled bravely and Bucchero never changed leads, the race was all but over at the sixteenth pole as Bucchero edged away.

Bucchero paid $4.40 to win as the favorite and was timed in 1:09.36 for six furlongs on a fast track. Supreme Justice did his best work from the quarter-pole to the wire to finish third, three-quarters of a length behind Mr Manning.

“Mr Manning has proven all year he’s been really tough on the lead,” said winning trainer Tim Glyshaw. “I was just happy we were able to run him down.”

Bucchero is by Kantharos out of Meetmeontime, by General Meeting, and is owned by Harlan Malter’s Ironhorse Racing Stable LLC. Bucchero has run well on turf, dirt, and synthetics, and though he is better sprinting, the horse can get two turns in the right spot. His record stands at a fine 8-6-1 from 21 starts, and Bucchero went over a half-million dollars in career earnings with his Wednesday win.

Glyshaw said an interim race is possible for Bucchero but that he will be pointed to the To Much Coffee Stakes next month at Indiana Grand, a race the horse has won two years in a row.

Peyton’s Pass uncatchable in Merrillville

Racing over a track surface where little passing was going on, Peyton’s Pass made the lead despite a slow break, set a strong pace, and came home four lengths best Wednesday in the $105,050 Merrillville Stakes.

Peyton’s Pass had finished fifth of seven on  Aug. 23 in the Shelby County Stakes at Indiana Grand, a more heavily restricted race than the Merrillville, which is open to older Indiana-bred fillies and mares. But Wednesday’s race was contested over a speed-biased surface, and jockey Eddie Perez made the most of Peyton’s Pass’s early speed and rail draw.

The pair actually broke last of eight, but Perez gunned his mount toward the front and Peyton’s Pass scraped inside her pace rivals to make the lead a half-furlong into the race. She went a half-length clear through splits of 21.97 for the quarter and 44.67 for the half, at which point her lead had grown to a couple of lengths, and from which point Peyton’s Pass never was challenged. She cruised under the wire four lengths clear of her nearest rival, Hay Little Bit, who got up for second by three-quarters of a length over Whistle Stop.

Joyous Lady, the 2-1 favorite, raced from the back and never got involved, finishing fifth. Duchess of Duke, who would have been among the favorites, was scratched because Indiana Grand stewards on Tuesday told trainer Jorge Navarro, who never has started a horse in Indiana, that he would not be granted a license.

Peyton’s Pass was timed in 1:10.36 for six furlongs and paid $13.40 to win. She’s trained by Robert Gorham for Mast Thoroughbreds, and ran her record to 6-4-0 from 12 starts. Four-year-old Peyton’s Pass is by Pass Rush out of Colorado Song by Pine Bluff.