07/15/2017 9:39PM

Tiger Moth notches first stakes win in Mari Hulman George

John Engelhardt
Tiger Moth paid $17.20 in winning the Mari Hulman George on Saturday night.

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. – The Indiana Grand main track has been kind to speed horses in recent weeks, but it swallowed up the pacesetters in the $100,000 Mari Hulman George on Saturday evening as Tiger Moth came flying over the top to win going away.

Giving Florent Geroux his second stakes win on the card, Tiger Moth had one horse beat down the backstretch and still was only fifth, probably six lengths behind the leaders, turning into the short homestretch at Indiana Grand. But Geroux wheeled her to the outside, the horses in front of her tired, and Tiger Moth had made the lead well before the finish, coming home 2 1/2 lengths in front of runner-up Mo d’Amour.

“Florent got her rolling,” winning trainer Brad Cox said. “The middle of the track seems to be her thing.”

Tiger Moth, a 5-year-old John Gunther homebred by Street Sense out of Saratoga Cat, by Sir Cat, won for the fourth time in 16 starts while scoring her first stakes victory, a major milestone for an owner who also breeds to sell.

Tiger Moth made her first nine starts for trainer Todd Pletcher before joining the Cox barn. She finished third earlier this year in the Grade 3 Azeri at Oaklawn, but had been nowhere close in two recent graded-stakes starts at Churchill Downs.

“The filly was knocking on the door at Oaklawn. Brad told me she had been training very well,” Geroux said.

Mo d’Amour, who loomed a winner in midstretch, was second by a neck over even-money favorite Big World. It was another two lengths back to Improv, who set quick splits of 23.78 and 47.02 while hounded by Brooklynsway. Tiger Moth, who paid $17.20 to win, was timed in 1:43.32 f or 1 1/16 miles on a fast dirt track.