Trainer Randy Smith had a dilemma heading into the 10th running of the $188,080 Leader of the Class Sale Futurity Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.
Six horses from his barn made the final and after assigning jockeys to horses from the local colony, he still came up short on two horses. So, a phone call to two of the sport’s top jockeys right now was made.
James Flores and Juan Pulido filled the final two spots in the race, which was offering the largest purse in the history of the event for graduations of the QHRAI Speed Sale.
Flores, winner of the 2022 All American Futurity, rode Royal Sin, the third fastest qualifier from the trials, while Pulido, winner of the 2022 All American Derby, climbed aboard Our Louisiana Girl for the first time. The latter combination proved to be a winning match as Our Louisiana Girl, the fourth fastest qualifier, scored the win and gave the Smith Stable an emotional win.
The story starts with My Louisiana Rod, multiple Indiana stakes winner of six races and a filly who never finished worse than third in 11 career starts. At the conclusion of her racing career, a decision was made to retain her into a new role for the Smith Stable.
“We thought a lot of this filly’s mother (My Louisiana Rod),” said Smith. “We bred her and lost her first baby, so this is her second baby. We sure do think a lot of this family.”
Our Louisiana Girl began her career just like her mother, winning her first two starts before stepping up into stakes action. She always raced well but just couldn’t get the elusive stakes win. That scenario changed in the Leader of the Class Sale Futurity.
Starting from post two, Pulido got a great start aboard Our Louisiana Girl and had her in contention early, but stablemate and undefeated Piloted by an Angel and Juan Marquez took over the top spot early in the 350-yard dash. Midway through the race, Piloted by an Angel was strong on the front end as Our Louisiana Girl began to close ground on the inside, snagging the wire first from Piloted by an Angel for the win by a neck in 17.614 seconds. The Dirty Wagon and German Rodriguez finished third.
The top four finishers in the race were all from the Smith barn.
“They told me this filly had speed,” said Pulido, who rode in Indiana in 2017 and was among the track’s top 10 Quarter Horse jockeys. “She was running perfect early on so I thought I would just keep doing what I was doing. I saw she was closing in and she gave me all she had for the win.”
Our Louisiana Girl paid $13 for the win. The sorrel daughter of Duponte in now three for five in her career, and just like her mother, she has yet to finish off the board. The filly bred by Gordon Timm, who owned My Louisiana Rod during her racing career, bumped her career bankroll up to more than $156,000 with the win. Debbie Smith owns Our Louisiana Girl and was the reason Pulido came to Indiana to ride.
“Debbie picked me to ride her horse,” said Pulido. “She asked Randy to call me and when the text came in, I was happy to come in. I thank them for the opportunity to come here and ride such a nice filly.”
The Leader of the Class Sale Futurity is expected to grow even more next year. With 80 yearlings catalogued in this weekend’s 12th annual QHRAI Speed Sale, the number of potential starters next year could triple, creating an exciting prospect on the stakes calendar in 2023. The sale is set for Saturday in the Receiving Barn at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The first horse through the ring is slated for noon.