The 19th running of the Governor’s Stakes got a boost in purse money beginning in 2022 and is now the second richest race for Thoroughbreds in the state of Indiana. Latigo also got a boost, winning his first career stakes race in the $250,000 Governor’s Stakes Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis with Joe Ramos aboard for the first time.
As Latigo (photo) entered the starting gate, he was antsy but under control. He moved around quite a bit under Ramos but that only meant he was ready to roll once the gate opened. Latigo secured the top spot inside early but had to take a back seat to New Year’s Fever and Alex Achard, who took over setting the tempo in the one-mile event.
There were three clumps of horses down the backstretch with Firing Range and Gage Holmes joining the top two and then a gap back to the second flight, which included race favorite Mowins and Jon Court.
Heading into the final turn, Ramos pushed for Latigo to advance, and the gelding inched away from his opponents. In the stretch, the son of Jimmy Creed was on top by three lengths and coasted under the wire for the win, his fourth in six starts for 2022.
Mr Chaos and Rodney Prescott saved ground inside to move up for second over Cibolo and Manny Esquivel for third.
“He’s a really talented horse,” said Ramos. “I’ve been working him all winter, and it was nice to finally have the opportunity to ride him. He (trainer Randy Klopp) wanted me to try to lay close and today he just took off. I think he’s still growing as a horse and is gonna do big things.”
Latigo was overlooked by bettors, paying $18 for the win. The chestnut gelding increased his career earnings to more than $230,000 with the win. He was unraced at two and was making only his sixth lifetime start, reeling off three wins to kick off the racing season this spring in Indiana. Klopp trains Latigo for Spiess Stable. Roger Spiess purchased him out of the Keeneland January All Ages Sale in 2020 as a yearling for $8,000.
“We just decided not to run him as a two-year-old,” said Klopp. “Roger (Spiess) doesn’t believe in racing two-year-olds much. We generally get them broke, bring them into the track for about 30 days, and then take them home and turn them out so they can grow. It looks like that worked out for us on this horse.”
Latigo caught Spiess’ eye at the sale, but he also had the colt marked due to what he saw in the sale book.
“I liked the breeding and we do well with buying horses from the breeders (Deann and Greg Baer),” added Spiess. “We have liked him since we brought him into the track.”