07/17/2016 6:17AM

Smart claim Watchyourownbobber captures Warrior Veterans Stakes

Coady Photography
Watchyourownbobber, under Luis Saez, wins the Warrior Veterans Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths.

SHELBYVILLE, Indiana – From Barbados to central Indiana, Watchyourownbobber is proving to be yet another excellent claim for trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Second on March 5 in the Barbados Gold Cup, Watchyourownbobber won the $100,000 Warrior Veterans Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on Saturday night at Indiana Grand.

Conquest Typhoon finished second by a nose over Thatcher Street. Pleuven, the 6-5 favorite, mistimed his break, jockey Channing Hill said, hit the side of the gate, fell back to last before the first turn, and was taken completely out of his game, finishing seventh.

Up front, Watchyourownbobber made the early lead under Luis Saez, but when Big Changes and Shaun Bridgmohan came through on the inside into the first turn, Saez yielded and let Big Changes go to the front. What pace were the top two going? Hard to say. The turf timer at Indiana Grand was not functioning properly (the card’s other grass race was officially hand-timed off video), and in the race’s running the posted splits were impossibly fast. The official fractions were 22.68 and 47.06 seconds, but the field was compact into the first turn, and the first-quarter mile time seemed implausibly quick.

At whatever speed, Watchyourownbobber and Saez maintained a comfortable two-wide pressing position around the far turn, and when Saez asked for run, Watchyourownbobber ($22.20) quickly opened a clear lead. He had two lengths at the stretch call, at which point victory appeared assured. His official winning time for the 1 1/16 miles on firm turf was 1:40.73.

.A 4-year-old out of the Mr. Greeley mare Boodles, Watchyourownbobber began his career in the barn of Eddie Kenneally before the Ramseys and Maker plucked him out of a $50,000 claimer in December 2014. Watchyourownbobber won 3 of 7 starts and more than $150,000 in 2015, and his first win from three starts this year earned him the $58,600 winner’s share of a $103,900 purse.

Departing snaps slump in Michael Schaefer Stakes

Departing kept leaving the track without visiting the winner’s enclosure.

In eight starts since he won the Firecracker Handicap in June 2015, Departing had finished his race, come back to be unsaddled, and walked straight to the stables. But this was not a horse who lacked the will to win – he had eight victories from 25 starts before Saturday – nor had Departing been showing signs of losing his form. He just needed the right spot, and he found it in the $102,800 Michael G. Schaefer Stakes, beating Rocket Time by two lengths.

Al Stall trains Rocket Time, and he had trained Departing for his first 25 starts, but Claiborne Farm, which owns Departing with Adele Dilschneider, moved the horses stabled with stalls to other outfits, and Departing ended up with Thomas Drury Jr.

“He’s made $1.8 million without me,” Drury said. “We were just trying to stay out of his way. He seemed like he was doing well going into the race. First time you run one, you’re always afraid you’re going to miss something or maybe not notice something. He showed up and ran his race. Got a nice confidence-builder today. Hopefully it’s something we can move forward off.”

Departing ($6.80) and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. raced three paths wide stalking the pace of Bordini around the first turn and down the backstretch. The first quarter-mile went in a slow 24.70 seconds, according to the official chart, but the chart has the second quarter-mile in an impossible 21.82 seconds. Trakus recorded that quarter in more reasonable 23.72, but whatever the pace, Departing was going comfortably. He moved three to four paths off the rail around the far turn but kept good momentum into the homestretch and ran with spark to the finish, stopping the timer in 1:40.96, according to the official chart.

Rocket Time, who also raced from close range but had trouble keeping up with the winner around the second turn, edged slow-pacesetting Bordini for second by a neck. Fourth-place Geothermal rallied from the back and had little chance given the race flow, while favored General A Rod faded to last of eight.

Departing won for the ninth time in 26 starts and pushed his bankroll past $1.9 million. The 6-year-old Departing, a homebred, is by War Front out of the Pulpit mare Leave.

Brooklynsway romps in Mari Hulman George Stakes

On paper it looked like Brooklynsway couldn’t lose the Mari Hulman George Stakes, and with luck finally on her side, she didn’t, beating Pangburn by 8 1/2 lengths in a thoroughly dominant performance.

In the Arlington Matron on May 28, Brooklynsway stumbled at the start and found herself a distant last behind a pokey pace, and June 18 in the Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs she got parked six wide around the second turn, a sure recipe for defeat. But in the George, Brooklynsway took up a tracking opposition in second behind overmatched longshot Big Island Blonde, crept closer and closer down the backstretch and around the far turn, took over before the quarter pole, and won in a gallop.

“We’ve been beaten a few times, but every time she got beat, something had to happen,” said winning trainer Bernie Flint. “Either she stumbled, she fell, she got shut off or in tight where you couldn’t make a run. That goes with horse racing. But today, absolutely, she came through and shined really brightly.”

Brooklynsway ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.02 according to the official time and 1:42.68 according to Trakus. Either way, that was faster than Cupid’s winning time later on the card in the Indiana Derby, and off a slower pace. Pangburn rallied from fifth and nipped Conquest Curlgirl for second. The heavily favored winner paid $3.80.

Brooklynsway had a strong 3-year-old campaign racing on turf and Polytrack  in Canada, and was sold late in the year to owner Naveed Chowhan. She has proved her worth on dirt this year, beating I’m a Chatterbox in the Doubledogdare at Keeneland in April, and ran her career record to 19-6-3-3 with her victory in the $102,850 Hulman George. Brooklynsway is a 4-year-old by Giant Gizmo out of Explosive Story, who is by a horse named Radio Star, making the filly a very good racehorse with a very obscure pedigree.