(Bella Francesca — #9 — and Reflex — #12 — win Stakes events at Horseshoe Indianapolis on Wednesday / All Photos by Coady Media)

From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Tammy Knox:

Longshots prevail in first two premier events of 2024 at Horseshoe Indianapolis

 SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Wednesday, May 22, 2024) – The first two of 40 premier racing events were held Wednesday, May 22 at Horseshoe Indianapolis with both races producing longshot winners on the day. Bella Francesca and Jockey Reynier Arrieta scored the win in the 11th running of the Swifty Sired Fillies while Reflex and Fernando De La Cruz took the title in the 11th running of the Sagamore Sired. Both horses paid more than $100 for the win in the $100,000 events.

Bella Francesca was saddled with post nine in the 11-horse lineup for the Swifty Sired Fillies and was not one of the top ones out of the gate as The Kid Pataky and Sammy Bermudez put a neck in front early. Race favorite Werk It Wendy was also in the initial mix of the five and one-half furlong event. Fillies were bunched up heading into the only turn before Crosley and Edgar Morales made the biggest move to sweep around the outside and cross over and take the lead in the lane. Bella Francesca also moved up and around on the outside but appeared too far back to make an impact on the top ones.

Late in the lane, Bella Francesca was closing the quickest of all and nailed Shaggy Kitty and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. right at the wire for second, but a disqualification by Crosley placed Bella Francesca up for the win. Werk It Wendy and Rodney Prescott were moved up to third.

Bella Francesca paid $110.20 for the win. The sophomore daughter of Santiva is owned and trained by Heather Irion, who is based out of Fairmount Park near East St. Louis. Irion, a former jockey in the Midwest, has had the filly her entire career and now has two wins in seven starts Arrieta has ridden her to both of her victories, both recorded at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

In the colt and gelding division of three-year-olds in the Sagamore Sired Handicap, Reflex had a similar journey, starting from post 12 and used just enough early speed to secure a spot on the outside near the leaders. Tacklin Fuel and Andres Ulloa surged to the top spot early and led the way to the turn before being joined by Reflex on the outside.

Heading out of the turn, Reflex took over and sped away from his competitors, winning by one and three-quarter lengths for De La Cruz to pay $119.80 to win. Rigoberto and Manny Esquivel finished second with Booming and Gavin Ashton placed up to third after a disqualification.

Reflex is owned by Haran Thoroughbreds and trained by John Haran. He was making his second start of 2024 and is now two for two as a three-year-old. The Slope gelding was a $1,000 purchase by Haran at the ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale as a yearling. He now has just under $100,000 on his card in 10 career starts.

Both longshots were part of the Late Fire Five Pick 5 which created a carryover of $132,112.37 to kick off the wager Thursday, May 23 in Race 4. A Late Pick 4 Carryover was also recorded with $92,077.04 kicking off Race 5. First post Thursday is 2:10 p.m. ET.

The 22nd season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Thursday, Nov. 14. Racing is held Monday through Thursday at 2:10 p.m. Six all Quarter Horse dates are set for 10:45 a.m. Saturdays June 1, June 29, July 20, Aug. 10, Aug. 31, and Oct. 5. Indiana’s featured event, the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby is Saturday, July 6 with a first post time of 12 p.m. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis/racing or find the track on Social Media @HSIndyRacing.