Nate Kruska

A field of nine 3-year-old Accredited Ohio-breds went to post in the $75,000 Horizon Stakes on August 11th at Belterra Park. – Magna Man was made the (3-1) luke-warm morning line favorite for trainer Alan Sobol and rider John McKee traveling 1 1/16 on the turf.

When the gate opened, Verissimo broke outward from the nine post and immediately straightened out to grab the lead as they passed the stands for the first time. Luis Rivera sent the gelded son of Vertiformer right to the lead scraping the paint along the rail. – The dawdling fractions of 24.02, 49.36 and 1:13.99, allowed the leader to establish a short lead with the rest of the field only four lengths back bunching in a log jam.

Verissimo led the pack and was shadowed by Pat’s Karma just off his flank to the half way point. As he started to back off the leader, Sammy Da Bull, recent winner of the George Lewis Memorial came calling along the rail. – As Verissimo put away Pat’s Karma, Sammy Da Bull tipped off the rail at the top of the lane and made a strong late charge only to be repelled by Verissimo who dug into the firm turf to maintain a neck lead at the wire. Manga Man was clear for the third spot.

The gelding notched his fourth win from ten career starts trying the turf for the first time. His dam Blue of the Nile by Spunky Rascal produces 67% winners with her first time turf runners as the speedster did not disappoint owners and breeders Richard Spicer and William D. Spitler. – Trainer Jeffrey Radosevich is winning 33% at the Belterra meet and shipped his runner from Cleveland to try the greensward at Belterra Park. – Verissimo notched his fourth lifetime victory and boosted his bankroll to $130,003 in a finish time of 144.66 for the 1 1/16th on the turf.

GALLOPING OUT: It was a trifecta for Poplar Creek Horse Center in the Horizon. The top three finishers were all sired by stallions from the farm in Bethel. The top two finishers are sons of Vertiformer who certainly gives them credential to perform long and well on turf. Vertiformer is by Dynaformer out of a Rahy mare. He was a multiple graded stake-placed winner and is a half-brother to European champion Declaration Of War a multiple grade 1 stakes winner of $1,847,489 and multiple graded stakes winner War Correspondent ($350,989). Manga Man is sired by the deceased Kingship, winner of the Grade 3 Arlington Classic.

We reported that jockey Perry Ouzts was due for a return to the saddle after dislocating his shoulder. Prior to his return to riding he went back for a final check up with his doctor who requested to run an MRI. They discovered three breaks in his rotator cuff that will require surgery and an estimated seven-month recovery period for racing’s 7th leading rider with 7,065 wins. According to his longtime agent Jamie Fowler, “We discussed his options and at this time it is his intent to come back and ride again. He wants to leave the saddle on his own terms and not from an injury.”


Jeff Radosevich hasn’t become the leading trainer in Ohio by not being able to read his horses when they need a change. Though the now 5-year-old gelding had worn blinkers throughout his 11 race careerA compact field of five Ohio-bred runners took the stage in the $75,000 Honey Jay Stakes on August 10th. The even-money morning line favorite was Ohio Horse of the Year Altissimo, an earner of $624,388 seeking his fourth straight win shipping back from Delaware Park after winning a $100,000 stake.

Altissimo grabbed the lead with authority and was pressured the entire trip. Brown Buckeye stumbled out of the gate and quickly regained her stride to stalk in the two path and keep a close eye on the HOY. – Solid fractions of 22.82 and 46.46 kept Altissimo busy as Over Icce tried to sneak up the rail but was immediately repelled. – Brown Buckeye was in the clear and as Over Icce faded back to third as he moved swiftly to bring the heat to the leader not giving him a breather.

The two leaders locked horns and battled gamely from the ¼ pole to the wire. They were neck and neck and exchanged bumps in a fair fight until they reached the 1/16th pole when Brown Buckeye grabbed the lead and inched away from Altissimo with Jose Bracho wearing the familiar lime green “Looch Laundry” for owner Ron Paolucci Racing, LLC. The final time was 1:11.02 with Over Icce safely maintaining the third spot.

The “official” sign on the tote board was replaced by both an “Inquiry” and “Objection” signal as the field returned to the winner’s circle. The objection was lodged by Gary Johnson, trainer of Over Icce who felt his horse’s chance was compromised when the hole was tightened up down the backstretch. The Stewards seemed more intent to view the sparring match through the lane where neither runner was going to throw in the towel. In the end it was a no-call and the placings remained with the upset going to Brown Buckeye.

The son of Big Brown out of Prizes by Prized was bred by Bruce Talisman. He was third in last year’s running and the win increased his lifetime earnings to $187,464 for his 7th lifetime win from 12 starts. This notched his 6th win at the Cleveland track where he is 9 for 10 in the money over his home track. – The winner paid $16.00 with no place or show wagering.

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