09/03/2017 10:04AM

Houghton gets three wins in Michigan Sire Stakes


Saturday’s Michigan Sire Stakes card at Hazel Park was a homecoming for many in the state’s Thoroughbred industry, but none more so than jockey T.D. Houghton, who tallied three stakes wins on the night.

Houghton, a Hazel Park, Mich., native and perennial top rider in the Midwest, is the track’s all-time leading rider by Sire Stakes victories since it resumed hosting the state’s Thoroughbred meet in 2014, with seven.

“It’s just nice being back here racing,” Houghton said. “When I was growing up, I lived right down the street, and after school, we’d go behind the bowling alley, hop the fence, and go back on the backside so we could see my dad’s horses.”

The $40,000 Sire Stakes races featured six divisions restricted to Michigan-sired runners bred in any state.

Houghton wasted no time adding to his win tally, taking the 3-year-old fillies division aboard Circle Can Win.

The Gun Power filly battled with stablemate Say Shesnotperfect through the opening half-mile of the one-mile-and-70-yard race and held a three-length advantage at the top of the stretch. Favorite Poof Its Magic rallied hard but could not get past the winner, who held on by a half-length. Grab the Loot finished well behind in third.

Circle Can Win stopped the clock in 1:51.69 over a fast track and paid $4.40 to win as the second choice. Shane Spiess trains the filly for his father, Merril Spiess, and she was bred in Ohio by Daniel Myers.

Normally based at Thistledown, the filly has raced just twice at Hazel Park. Her first visit was also a win over rival Poof Its Magic in last year’s 2-year-old fillies Sire Stakes.

“She likes Hazel Park awful well,” Shane Spiess said. “My dad bought her because she was an Ohio-bred but still eligible for the Michigan Sire Stakes, and it’s panned out for him.”

Veteran trainer Doug Caraker earned his first career stakes win in the older females division with Dorthys Blitz, who made her stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile race and won by a widening 5 1/4 lengths over a closing Trinity Revealed. Pink Pajamas finished a half-length behind in third.

Dorthys Blitz, a 5-year-old Fire Blitz mare, crossed the finish in 1:59.84 and paid $12.20 to win as the third choice, with Angel Stanley aboard. She was bred in Michigan by Lisa Campbell.

Dorthys Blitz is the first horse whom owner Ronald Bowling has campaigned by himself, having purchased the mare prior to the start of this year’s Hazel Park meet.

“I about lost my mind,” he said about the stretch run. “I got up on top of a picnic table. That move was so amazing. All the kudos to Angel Stanley – that ride was tremendous.”

Houghton got his second stakes win in the 3-year-old males division aboard Brother Z, who rallied wide from last to a 19 1/4-length score. Heavy favorite Artavia briefly battled the winner but could not keep stride to finish second, six lengths ahead of No Cash Back.

Brother Z, a gelded son of Zulu Magic, won the one-mile-and-70-yard race in 1:50.58 and paid $14 to win as the third choice.

It was the first of two Sire Stakes wins on the night for trainer Robert Gorham, who saddled the gelding for owner Marion Gorham. Brother Z was bred in Pennsylvania by Dan Atwood.

“We had a really terrible trip, actually, but it worked out,” Houghton said. “I was kind of surprised. I didn’t think I’d have that much horse left, but he ran a really big race.”

The ageless Boo Dutton won his second consecutive edition of the older males Sire Stakes, this time at age 10.

The Equality gelding sat a few lengths off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile race and took command in the final turn to draw off by 6 1/2 lengths over Fortylinesofdeputy. Meadow Wise finished 6 3/4 lengths farther back in third.

Boo Dutton stopped the clock in 1:58 flat under jockey Gilberto Santiago and paid $5.60 to win as a narrow second choice. Bred in Michigan by Twin Cedars Farm, Boo Dutton is trained by Jason Uelmen for his fiancé, owner Kala Crampton.

“He’s been a good horse for a long time,” Uelmen said. “He’s a pretty neat old horse. He’s not particularly fast, he just never gets tired and keeps going.”

Sky Energy provided the night’s biggest upset, winning on debut in the 2-year-old males division at odds of 44-1.

The Unbridled Energy colt closed in a burst from near the back of the pack and ran off to a 4 1/4-length win under jockey Kevin Gonzalez. Pacesetter Quick Cowboy finished second, a neck ahead of Elliot Road.

Sky Energy completed the 5 1/2-furlong race in 1:12.42 and paid $90.20 as the longest shot on the board. Bred in West Virginia by Williams Racing Corp., the colt is owned by Hubel Farms and trained by Christi Flores.

“It’s been a rough year, and this is the most amazing thing,” Flores said. “We put everything into this horse, and he’s such a class horse. He’s had his brain right in running since we started training him, and this is where he belonged.”

Pardon My Style rounded out the stakes slate in the 2-year-old fillies division, giving Houghton his third stakes win of the night and Gorham his second.

A daughter of Equality, Pardon My Style stayed close to the lead through the opening quarter, then disposed of the field across the backstretch and pulled away to a 10 1/4-length win.

Pardon My Style won the 5 1/2-furlong race in 1:12.47 and paid $5.80 as the second choice.

Gorham trained the winner for owner Mast Thoroughbreds. She was bred in Pennsylvania by Connie Pass and John Eubank.

“We knew she could run,” Gorham said. “She was green the first time she ran in Indiana, so we thought we were in real solid with her tonight.”