Beyond Blame and Florent Geroux proved why they deserved to be the favorites of the field in the 10th running of the $200,000-guaranteed Indiana Grand Stakes at Indiana Grand on Wednesday. From their early speed out of the gate to their good positioning throughout the one-mile turf event, Beyond Blame was perfect to score the win.
Starting from post three, Beyond Blame left the gate for Geroux with enough tempo to snag a spot at the top on the inside. She was quickly overtaken heading into the turn by Molecules and Sammy Bermudez as the duo moved in unison to the backstretch. Geroux waited for the best time to ask for more speed and did so heading into the far turn, opening up on the field and heading for home.
In the stretch, several horses attempted to run down Beyond Blame and close the gap, but no one could reach the 3-year-old daughter of Blame, who scored the victory by2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:35.69. High Tech and Chris Landeros moved from the inside and finished second while Beach Waltz and Tyler Gaffalione rallied on the far outside to close for third.
It was the fourth career win in eight career starts for Beyond Blame, who was unraced at 2. The filly adds her win to an already impressive resume that includes a Grade III win in the $100,000 Regret Stakes two starts back at Churchill Downs. Brad Cox trains the talented filly for Shirley and Presley Blake's Pop-A-Top LLC based in Mississippi.
“We got a great trip and sat second most of the way,” said Geroux. “She is the class of the field and won like she was supposed to. At Arlington (in her last start), she was very nervous but today she was pretty calm. She was perfect today.”
Beyond Blame now has earned in excess of $240,000, nearly doubling her career bankroll. Although Cox has a string at Indiana Grand, it was the filly's first start at the Shelbyville, Ind. track. She paid $3.60, $2.80, $2.80 across the board as the race favorite.
“She (Beyond Blame) came here a couple days ago and I think that helped her today,” said Ricky Giannini, assistant trainer for Cox. “That goes a long way with a 3-year-old filly. Spotting horses and trying to find the best spot is 90 percent of the battle, and Brad has done a good job doing that with her. She can be very aggressive at times and getting her to switch off today was the winning trip. When Florent (Geroux) pushed the button, she gave it her all.”
Giannini travels frequently with Cox's horses, but is based out of Indiana Grand each summer. He and his wife, Ashley, who also serves as one of the exercise riders for the Cox Stable at Indiana Grand, oversee operations for Cox while stabled in Indiana.
The 16th season of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horse racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 7. Racing is conducted Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:05 p.m. with Saturday racing beginning at 6:05 p.m. A special Thursday racing program will be held Sept. 6 with a 2:05 p.m. post time.
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