Valiantinecandyrocks continues her dominance this season in the older Quarter Horse ranks at Indiana Grand. The five-year-old mare scored her 10th career win Wednesday in the 25th running of the $83,300 Hoosier Park Classic, earning her third win in a row at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Starting from post one, Valiantinecandyrocks (photo) and Juan Marquez came out of the gate strong and had the lead within steps from the gate. The duo hit a high gear early on to lead the way. About 100 yards into the 400-yard dash, Marquez tapped the Valiant Hero mare twice. She continued to lead the way under wraps at the wire by one and one-quarters lengths in 19.831 seconds.
Beach Mercedes, last year’s Hoosier Park Classic winner, finished second for jockey German Rodriguez, just a head in front of Jess a Flyin Beach and L.D. Martinez. Randy Smith trained both Valiantinecandyrocks and Beach Mercedes to complete the Hoosier Park Classic double.
It was the 10th career win in 17 career starts for Valiantinecandyrocks, who is owned and bred by Lance and Tammy Finlinson of Greenwood, Indiana. The Indiana bred mare increased her career bankroll to more than $264,000. She is now four for five in 2021 and is out of the Finlinson’s fantastic brood mare, Jesses Candy, by Mr Jess Perry.
“It’s just amazing how this mare came on this year,” said Lance Finlinson, who has liked Valiantinecandyrocks since she was born. “It’s just a testament that you should wait. As a two-year-old, she had to get better to be terrible. Then, at three, she was a little better and was coming on at the end of her four-year-old year. She just goes out and does her job now.”
The Finlinsons own a small breeding operation in central Indiana. They have had several Indiana champions over the past four years, all stemming back to Jesses Candy. They have plans to continue the bloodlines they have worked so hard to establish.
“That’s it for her this year,” said Finlinson on her next race. “We’ll take a look at her over the winter and decide. Her value is as a mom. She’s valuable for the little ones. She’s five, so do you bring her back? That’s something we will have to take a look at this winter.”
It was the second straight win in the Hoosier Park Classic for Marquez, who won the race in 2020 aboard Beach Mercedes. Marquez is currently among the track’s top 15 jockeys this season.
Randy Smith continues to dominate the trainer standings and has already broken his record for most wins in one season. The win with Valiantinecandyrocks was his 66th of the meet. The previous record was established by Smith with 54 wins last season.
He also broke the record for most purse earnings in one season with his win in the Hoosier Park Classic. Horses from his barn have earned in excess of $1.5 million. The previous record of $1.49 million was set by Smith in 2020.