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Climber reaches new heights in $200,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes

It turned out to be an easy task for Climber as she elevated herself into stakes winning status Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

The sophomore filly scored the win in the 20th running of the $200,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes with Manny Esquivel aboard. The stakes is one of three that originated during the inaugural season of racing at the track in 2003.

Starting from post 8 in the 10-filly lineup, Climber (photo) had a little bit of a hike to head to the lead early in the one-mile event. Poetic Verse and Eddie Perez grabbed the top spot as Climber was content to sit on the outside in stalking position, flanked by Miss Luv Shack and Fernando De La Cruz on the outside and Lil Evie and Tommy Pompell on the inside.

As the field moved into the final turn, Esquivel asked the filly to accelerate and she responded, circling to the lead and putting lengths between her and the remainder of the field by the head of the lane.

In the stretch, Climber moved out to a five and one-quarter-length advantage to score the win, her third in six starts for 2022. Louder Than Words and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. found racing room in the final turn and moved up for second over Habuiah and Edgar Morales for third.

“I usually just let her do her thing,” said Esquivel, who has been aboard for all six of her starts this season. “She likes to fight (you) in the gate, so the main goal is just to get her relaxed. All the prep for the race goes to Genaro (Garcia). She’s been training really well for today. She broke on top today so all I really had to do was hang on.”



Climber was the second choice in the field, paying $7.80. The Divining Rod filly earned her second stakes win of the year, connecting in the $100,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes for fillies earlier this year. She now has more than $160,000 in career earnings after going winless last year at two. Genaro Garcia trained the Indiana bred filly for Bruck Murphy and Southwest Racing Stables, which is owned by Garcia.

“We purchased this filly privately last year from the breeder (Dawn Martin) after her first start,” said Garcia. “We saw her on the track and liked the way she moved. Last year, she seemed a little immature, so we made the decision to wait for her three-year-old year and that was probably the best decision. You could see over the winter that she was growing up and filling out and she’s doing much better this year.”

Climber has some breeding that would indicate potential success on the turf, but Garcia has noted the dirt seems to be her forte.

“She has a little breeding for the turf, and we tried her on it last time, but she didn’t run that well,” added Garcia. “She has shown us the dirt is better for her. She has a lot of heart, and we are excited about her.”