Expect Indy and Emmanuel Esquivel defended their title with authority in the 19th running of the $100,000-added Richmond Stakes at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Oct. 2. The duo changed up their strategy and sat closer to the lead before finding another gear in the stretch to rally home as the winners in a time of 1:47.37 for the one and one-sixteenth mile event.
Unbridled Class and Rodney Prescott had the inside post in the seven-horse lineup and had a perfect shot for the lead out of the gate. They were joined early by Expect Indy but it was clear they would need to back off the lead heading around the first turn. Expect Indy was content to sit right to the outside of Unbridled Class, the favorite of the field, through the middle portions of the race. As the field moved into the final turn, Charm of the City and Eddie Perez began to press the pace three wide, forcing Esquivel to begin asking Expect Indy for more speed.
In the stretch, Expect Indy and Unbridled Class matched each other stride for stride until Expect Indy got the advantage, striding out to a five-length win in the end. Unbridled Class finished second over a fast closing Fireball Baby and Marcelino Pedroza, who finished third.
“It was part of our strategy today to get close to the favorite (Unbridled Class) early on,” said Esquivel. “Going long, she is a little sharper and she broke well today which helped. It worked out perfect. We were able to sit right off the favorite. You have to get her (Expect Indy) going or she gets a little lazy. She dug in today.”
It was the 11th career win for Expect Indy and her seventh over the Indiana Grand dirt course. The six-year-old Mr Mabee mare now has in excess of $450,000 for Andrew Berg’s Gumpster Stable. Cipriano Contreras handles the training duties for the multiple stakes winning Indiana sired standout, who originated from Lake Shore Farm.
“I didn’t get involved in the strategy,” said Contreras, who is among the top 10 trainers at Indiana Grand this season. “It was the first time the owner called me and said this is what I’d like, so I had Manny (Esquivel) call him and they worked it out. She’s just a nice little mare.”