08/13/2011 1:43PM

Saratoga: Smash debut earns Indian Evening trip to Saratoga Special


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. –There were high expectations from both his connections and the betting public when Indian Evening made his debut last month at Woodbine. Judging by the way he won at odds of 6-5, Indian Evening lived up to if not exceeded those expectations.

His performance in that July 10 maiden race was strong enough for the Vinery Stables and trainer Josie Carroll to point Indian Evening to Monday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Three Chimneys Saratoga Special Stakes, a 6 1/2-furlong dirt race that drew a field of six.

“The reason we’re coming is based on the way he ran first time out,’’ Carroll said Saturday from her base at Woodbine. “We felt he deserved a chance to give that race a try. I had pretty high expectations at that time but I would say he surpassed them.’’

Breaking from the rail in a field of seven in his debut, Indian Evening broke next-to-last and raced in sixth position down the backside. Approaching the quarter pole, he split horses, tipped three wide for the stretch, and displayed a solid kick in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Buongiorno Johnny, the runner-up from that maiden race, came back to win the $150,000 Vandal Stakes in his next start.

“He was sitting on the back of the gate when he broke, that had me concerned, but he handled everything so professionally after that, I was very happy,’’ Carroll said.

Indian Evening is a son of Indian Charlie out of the dam Unenchantedevening, who is a half-sister to Favorite Trick, who won this race in 1997 en route to a perfect season that earned him Horse of the Year.

Carroll shipped Indian Evening to Saratoga in time to get a work over the main track. On Tuesday, he went five furlongs in 1:02.89 under Rajiv Maragh, who will ride him in the Special from post 4.

Banner Bill, also based in Canada, brings the strongest r é sum é to the Saratoga Special, having gone 3 for 3 at Woodbine, including victories in the Victoria and Colin stakes. In the Colin, Banner Bill made an earlier than planned move to the leaders, got passed in the stretch by another horse but came back along the inside to win.

“We wanted him to sit back and make a run; that’s what we think he’s all about,’’ trainer Ralph Biamonte said. “We found ourselves challenging for the lead and he got the lead too early and he kind of hung and he got passed inside the eighth pole and he just come back on and was going away again. That’s the sign of a mature horse. Whether he can catch this group is a different story. We’ll find out.’’

This group includes debut winners Stat, Trinniberg, Union Rags, and Italo, who makes his dirt debut after running twice on turf in Europe for trainer Wesley Ward.

Trinniberg was a front-running debut winner at Calder and this field does not possess much early speed.

Union Rags, a son of Dixie Union, won his debut at Delaware impressively and fired a bullet work over the Saratoga main track for trainer Michael Matz.