(Hot Little Thing wins Checkered Flag Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis / All Photos by Coady Photography)
From the Horseshoe Indianapolis Media Team / Tammy Knox:
Hot Little Thing and Alex Achard blazed home to win the 3rd running of the $100,000 Checkered Flag Wednesday, July 5 at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The duo closed in gamely for the win in a time of 1:09.61.
Hot Little Thing began her journey from post seven in the 12-horse lineup but had quick steps out of the gate, getting a good early position in the early stages as Carimba and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. used their inside post to their advantage for the lead. Poetic Verse and Eddie Perez joined them to press the pace in second on the outside with Hot Little Thing lurking in third.
Midway through the lone turn of the race, Achard moved Hot Little Thing three wide to prepare for the stretch drive. Once in the stretch, Carimba proved she was a worthy competitor despite her long odds. She went to battle with Poetic Verse, who was also not backing down. The two fillies battled all the way to the wire. Hot Little Thing kicked into another gear late and had the best momentum, getting up for the win by a neck at the wire over Carimba. Poetic Verse was another neck back in third in the three-horse photo.
“I just wanted to make one move with her,” explained Achard, who has been aboard for all five of her career wins. “She is a sprinter, so she is intense. But I was very pleased with the start and the pace. She dug in late, and she was really brave.”
Hot Little Thing was the favorite of the field, paying $6.20 for the win. The chestnut daughter of Army Mule is owned and trained by Brian Lynch and is a recent acquisition by the Australian born owner-trainer. He purchased her this spring from the Keeneland April Horses of Racing Age Sale for $125,000.
“I bought her at the Keeneland Sale,” said Lynch. “She looked like she had talent and was athletic and she was already a stakes winner. I saw a lot of upside to her.”
The win in the Checkered Flag is the second premier win for her at Horseshoe Indianapolis. She won the $100,000 Back Home Again in Indiana last fall and overall, now has five career wins in eight starts, only missing a top three finish once in those efforts. She increased her career bankroll to more than $220,000 with her latest win.
“She’s a little bit of a diva in the barn,” added Lynch. “We give her a lot of attention and she seems to thrive on that.”
Achard is the only jockey to ever ride her in her races. He was joined by special guests from his native France following the race. His mother, Catherine, and stepdad, Luke, were trackside along with Achard’s close friend, Francois Parisel, who trained 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Nownownow. Lynch made sure Achard’s mother held the trophy for the post-race celebration and photos.
“My mother and stepdad have been over here for a month,” noted Achard. “They leave Friday, so this was nice to have them here for this win today.”
It was a “parfait” (excellent) way to cap off a wonderful visit for Achard and his family. And it was another fantastic ride from the jockey, who earned his ninth win in limited starts at Horseshoe Indianapolis this year.
The 21st season of live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing extends through Friday, Nov. 17. Live racing is held Tuesday through Thursday with Saturday racing added in during the summer months. First post Tuesday and Wednesday is 2:30 p.m. Thursday racing begins at 2:10 p.m. The Summer Saturday Racing Series includes five all-Quarter Horse dates July 1, July 22, Aug. 12, Sept. 2, and Oct. 7 beginning at 10:45 a.m. Indiana’s featured event, the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby is set for 12 p.m. Saturday, July 8. For more information on live racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, visit www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis.