Ritascape and LeWayne Miller pulled off a stunning upset in the featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, May 9. Dismissed at 24-1, Ritascape used a perfect pocket trip to score her fourth win of the season and second consecutive at Hoosier Park in 1:52. establishing a new lifetime best.
Leaving from post two in the field of nine, Ritascape was hustled away from the gate just enough to protect her inside position. American Girl and Peter Wrenn fired from the gate and were the first to get a call at the first station in a snappy :26.3. Ritascape followed intently in third while Gran Gabriel and Mike Peterson were next in third. American Girl was able to slow the tempo just a touch as the field gapped out a bit down the backside through a second panel in :56.
Up Front Kellie Jo and Trace Tetrick were the first to commit to the outer flow as the field approached the final turn and No Respect and Sam Widger quickly followed suit as the bettors’ choice. American Girl reached the three-quarter clocking in 1:24 and braced herself for the cavalry charge that was about to ensue.
While the top pair battled gamely on front, Ritascape loomed large in the pocket. Using a :27.4 final panel, Ritascape tipped from the pocket to put a nose in front of American Girl at the wire. Igottafeelinfran and Brad Hanners staged a big rally late in the lane but had too much ground to make up on the end of mile and finished third.
Tabbed as the publics’ seventh choice in the field of nine, Ritascape returned $51.60 to her backers at the window. The victory was the first of two wins on the evening for driver LeWayne Miller as he also scored with Don’t Tell Russ in the very next race for trainer Missy Essig.
Trained by Homer Hochstetler, Ritascape has now won 10 of her 21 lifetime outings while amassing $140,304 for her connections. The daughter of Artiscape-Rita J is owned by Connie and Homer Hochstetler and South of The Tracks Rac Inc. and has won four of her eight outings in 2014.