(Hoosier Daddy Now / All photos by Coady Media)

From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Jennie Rees:

Hoosier Daddy Now provides emotional win in $100,000 Snack at Horseshoe Indianapolis

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (Saturday, July 6, 2024) — Hoosier Daddy Now’s length victory over Jailhouse Justice in The Snack Handicap had far more meaning to the winners than its substantial $100,000 purse for Indiana-bred 3-year-olds.

Dr. Clara Fenger, the Central Kentucky veterinarian and equine researcher who accepted the trophy on behalf of owner Stuart Kendall, called it “the crowning achievement” for Elise Kendall, Hoosier Daddy Now’s co-breeder, owner and trainer who passed away March 8 from complications related to cancer. Stuart Kendall is the son of Elise and Dr. Scott Kendall, also a veterinarian. John Langemeier, Fenger’s husband, took over Hoosier Daddy Now’s training.

“I’ve been friends with Elise and Scott Kendall and known Stuart his entire life,” Fenger said. “This is just the crowning achievement for Elise, and it’s just tragic that it happened several months after her passing. This is a huge emotional win. It’s just too bad it’s after she passed.”

Hoosier Daddy Now was Elise Kendall’s final starter in a training career that started in 1989. The gelding was squeezed back at the start and finished sixth over Turfway Park’s Tapeta surface but has thrived racing against fellow state-breds at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Langemeier is based at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington but has been very effective shipping to Indiana, his record this meet now 7 for 13, with a second.

Hoosier Daddy Now is 3 for 4 with Langemeier after winning his first start on turf. Langemeier left immediately after the winner’s circle presentation to walk back to the test barn with Hoosier Daddy Now. He acknowledged later he was almost overcome with emotion, because he so wanted the gelding to run well.

“Not just for Elise but for Scott,” he said. “We have cameras in the barn, and he’d be there at night after she died. You could tell it meant a lot.”

Langemeier had to move most of Elise Kendall’s horses to other trainers, because he didn’t have the stall space. “But I liked this horse,” he said. “I thought he looked like (his broodmare sire) Scat Daddy. That’s why I held on to this horse. You hope and pray that it works out.”

With Hoosier Daddy Now by Charming Kitten, a son of turf champion and noted grass sire Kitten’s Joy, jockey Marcelina Pedroza Jr. thought he’d relish the lawn.

“The first time I rode him, I told John, ‘Man, this horse is probably better going long and on the grass,’” Pedroza said, referencing his maiden win at 5 1/2 furlongs. “And he was. He was really bred for the grass, you can tell by his pedigree. He was really on it today.”

Pedroza settled Hoosier Daddy Now into mid-pack in the field of 10 registered Indiana-bred 3-year-olds. While forced to steady on the far turn, the jockey got Hoosier Daddy Now over to the rail to make his run, chasing down the front-running favorite Molly’s Town and out-finishing Jailhouse Justice. Molly’s Town finished a neck back in third.

“It was a perfect trip,” Pedroza said. “I was right behind the speed. They were dueling. I saw some pressure against Molly’s Town, so that was perfect for me. I got stuck a little bit because I got behind the 6 (Takeitandrun) and I thought the 6 would take me longer, and I had to come back in. He was there for me when I asked him for it.”

Hoosier Daddy Now completed the mile over yielding turf in 1:38.08, returning $28.20 to win. Kingsbury Road finished fourth, followed by Classic Express, Black White N Gold, Positive Change, Neutron, Moped Mo and Takeitandrun.

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. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis/racing or find the track on Social Media @HSIndyRacing.