Winner Spirit and James Flores were winners in the richest Quarter Horse race ever in the state of Indiana. The duo scored the victory in the $201,500 Miss Roxie Little Futurity to cap off a $1 million day in purses during the third Indiana Champions Day at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.
Winner Spirit and Flores began their journey from post three and quarters were tight in the first few strides, but Winner Spirit was focused and carried Flores right to the lead. The two-year-old Indiana bred son of Apollitical Spirit was joined by Dashtraxx and Rolando Pina on the inside through the early stages of the race. In the final strides of the 350-yard dash, Winner Spirit was able to pull away, scoring the win by one-half length in 17.682 seconds.
Dashtraxx was second over The Dirty Wagon and German Rodriguez for third.
Winner Spirit, one of five in the Miss Roxie Little final for leading trainer Randy Smith, paid $10.60 for the win. The sorrel gelding is a homebred for Walter “Dick” Harrison, who was joined by his wife, Lois, of 72 years in the winner’s circle for the celebration. It was the fifth-straight win for Winner Spirit and the second with Flores aboard, who rode the gelding to a win in the trials, posting the second fastest time to advance to the final.
“I had no relationship with the horse prior to the trial and relied on Randy (Smith) to tell me about him,” said Flores. “Randy told me last time that he would try to drift in, so I did the best I could to keep him straight. He kept a straight course tonight and responded very well to me. I want to thank the owners and to Randy for this opportunity. I enjoy coming up to ride for them in Indiana.”
Flores, who is based in New Mexico, has been coming in to ride for Smith and other trainers for the All-Quarter Horse racing days for the past five years. He has won numerous stakes during his visits and adds two stakes wins to his credentials following the third Indiana Champions Day. He was also victorious for Smith aboard Head Patron in the QHRAI Derby.
The Miss Roxie Little Futurity is named after a mare that ran in Indiana prior to the turn of the century. The race has built up to one of the highest purse races for Indiana over the years and now holds the distinction of being the richest race ever for Quarter Horse racing in Indiana. It’s the third time Smith has won the race in the 14-year history of the event, which began in 2009.
“It’s always great to win a stakes race,” said the soft-spoken Smith, who finished third and third in the race. “It’s about having good owners, good help and good horses.”