08/12/2015 11:28PM

Hoosier: Churita looks to remain unbeaten in 2015

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Churita has been an Indiana Sire Stakes star.

When she is scoring down or on her way to the gate, Churita’s adoring fans line up on the fence at Hoosier Park nudging one another with their elbows and talking softly amongst themselves about how fabulous she looks. It’s as if the Anderson oval is her very own personal runway and all in attendance are only there to witness her.

“You really can just see it in her eyes,” said her owner Jack Porter. “It is also in the way she carries herself and holds her head.”

The ‘it’ Porter is referring to is star power and this Indiana champion possesses it in spades. The 3-year-old daughter of Airzoom Lindy and the Yankee Paco mare Stonebridge Volare may not be an international superstar, but she is certainly a local celebrity.

[HOOSIER PARK: Watch Foiled Again in the Dan Patch & top 3YO Freaky Feet Pete--Live on DRF!]

The reasons for this deep reverence are well-deserved as Matt Rheinheimer’s charge has cruised to a career record of 18-16-1-1, collected $422,050 and established a track record of 1:53 4/5, which is her swiftest mile to date. She is perfect in eight trips to the gate this season and will seek to add luster to her already sparkling resume on Friday (August 14) when she takes on nine rivals in her $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Final. It is the seventh race on the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes card with an approximate post time of 7:31 p.m. and regular reinsman Trace Tetrick will be holding the lines. She will commence her journey to the wire from the rail.

“My job is just to keep her happy,” Rheinheimer said. “She has already more than exceeded my expectations so anything she does makes me happy. The minute she steps on the track she is all business and you could never ask anything more from her than that.”

Churita has been defying the odds since Porter purchased her as a yearling for a fair racing prospect. She was not even his or Rheinheimer’s first choice, but she went for the right price and is only competing in the Sire Stakes program because that is what she was eligible to. In fact, she is the only horse Porter has owned after several decades in the business that has competed at this level.

“When other trainers come up to you and say if they had to lose to anyone they are glad it was her because we deserve it is an indescribable feeling,” Porter said. “And to be honest, I never anticipated she would be undefeated at this point of the season. I really thought Golden Big Stick was going to give her some competition and would improve from two to three, but even when she has someone look her in the eye she just digs in. She doesn’t want to let another horse go by.”

Most trotting fillies do have a bit of an attitude and Churita, while not quite a diva, does have her own air about her.

“She is terrific to be around and always takes care of herself,” Rheinheimer said. “But there are times when you just need to leave her alone. She needs to do her own thing and she lets you know that.”

Despite her devoted minions and her domination of the local competition, this young lady will remain at her home base until the end of the season.

“We have her nominated to a couple stakes like the Circle City,” Porter said. “But it all depends on her. She doesn’t owe us a thing and anything else she does is like icing on the cake. If she is sound and healthy we will go, but if not that is perfectly fine too.”

Rheinheimer admitted he was always nervous during the filly’s campaign last year as he was astonished at how talented she was, but this year it’s different. Not that he still isn’t on edge about her at times, but he now can enjoy her a bit more.

“I am in awe of her,” he said. “Not that I don’t get anxious at times, but I just am astonished how good she really is. She is by far the best horse I have trained and I feel so very fortunate to have her. You always wish for a horse like this to come along and when they finally do it’s something very special.”

Churita’s $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final will be part of the star studded card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 14 that features the 2015 installment of the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The entire racing card will be part of a special weekend tagged as the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The thrill-themed weekend will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. First post is 5:15 p.m. For more information, please visit www.hoosierpark.com .