Local Sports

WRs Valentino gets the nod in $50,000 Bradford Stakes at Indiana Grand

It was a race to the finish from four of Indiana’s top older Quarter Horses with WRs Valentino and Sammy Mendez getting the right rhythm at the finish for the win by a nose in the 23rd running of the $59,720 Bradford Stakes Tuesday at Indiana Grand.


The race marked the third win in a row for the five-year-old.


The field of 10 broke from the gate with WRs Apolliticalivory and German Rodriguez getting the early edge. He was joined by WRs Valentino to his inside with Country Boy 123 and L.D. Martinez lurking in the shadows. Valiantinecandyrocks and Jose Beltran were close throughout as well.


As the field neared the wire, it became a three-horse battle with WRs Valentino (photo, center) timing the wire just right for the win over Country Boy 123, who had won the race the two previous years. WRs Apolliticalivory was between them, just a head back in third while Valientinecandyrocks was visible in the tight photo, one-half length from the winner.


WRs Valentino had been selected as the favorite in the field, paying $4.20 for the win. The gelding by Mighty B Valiant is owned by Randy and Gwen Williams’ Williams Racing Stable of LaCenter, Kentucky. He earned his eighth career trip to the winner’s circle and pushed his career earnings tally to more than $340,000. Randy Smith trained the gelding since day one and he has become one of the favorites in the barn for Randy and Debbie Smith.


“He’s quite a horse,” said Randy Smith. “He is very focused. He follows the same routine as the others. He’s in and out (from the Smith’s local farm). He’ll get some pasture time and then we’ll get him ready for the next one.”


WRs Valentino is now two for two in 2021. He polished off his four-year-old season with a win in the Indiana Championship. He now has four career stakes win for the Williams family.


“He’s like me, the older her gets the tougher he gets,” said Randy Williams. “He’s all business and walked out and got the job done. Those top three in that race, you could have thrown a blanket over them. Those are some nice horses. We appreciate Indiana Grand a lot. Gwen and I have raced a lot of different places, but we enjoy coming up here. It’s a beautiful track and the purses are getting better all the time.”


The Williams family have an extensive breeding operation in western Kentucky that produces stakes winners each year. They have a half-sister to WRs Valentino by Apollitical Blood they hope to make the trip up and see next summer at Indiana Grand.


The next all-Quarter Horse day is July 24 with a first post of 10 a.m. The afternoon card will feature exotic animal racing with ostriches, camels and zebras added to the card between races. The card will feature four stakes races with purses nearing the $500,000 mark for the day.