Leading the Charge led the way to the wire for a repeat win in the 18th running of the $100,000 Bucchero Stakes Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.
The one and one-sixteenth mile event served as a springboard for the flashy grey gelding to near $300,000 in career earnings.
Starting from post two, jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr. got Leading the Charge out of the gate for a good early spot among the 11 starters in the race named after Indiana’s all-time leading money earner, Bucchero.
From there, he bided his time aboard the five-year-old gelding as two horses from the far outside had moved over to take control of the early fractions. Latigo and Joe Ramos held a slight lead early on over Akamai and Manny Esquivel down the backstretch with Leading the Charge tucked away in third along the inside.
Around the turn, the field began to bunch up and horses were four and five wide to get positioning for the stretch drive. Pedroza Jr., who is the defending leading jockey champion in Indiana, timed his move just right to the outside and when he had clearance, Leading the Charge exploded.
The five-year-old son of Suntracer hit another gear and blew past his opponents to win by one length over Rockin Justice and Andres Ulloa who closed for second. Akamai held his ground for third.
Leading the Charge was the favorite of the field, paying $3 for the win. The homebred owned and raised by Team Block now has eight career wins in 15 career starts. He is 8-for-13 over Indiana’s turf course and is trained by Robert Dobbs Jr. It was the second win in three starts for Leading the Charge in 2022 with Pedroza Jr. aboard for both victories.
“They put this horse in the right spot,” said Pedroza Jr. “He broke sharp, and I just waited until we had a spot to get out and move. He responded just like I wanted him to.”
The win aboard Leading the Charge was extra special in the Bucchero Stakes. Pedroza Jr. started off riding Bucchero for the Tim Glyshaw Stable in the early stages of the standout stallion’s career.
The chestnut horse, now 10, retired in 2018 as a Graded Stakes winner with two starts in Breeders Cup action and accumulated more than $947,000 in earnings for Ironhorse Racing Stable. He now stands at stud in Florida and his first foals are two-year-olds in 2022.
“I want to thank the owners and trainer for this opportunity to ride this horse in this stakes race named after Bucchero,” said Pedroza Jr. “It’s really special to me since I used to ride him and I’m happy to get this win.”