Blue Harbor (8), ridden by Armando Martinez, crosses the finish line to win the Dowd Mile March 14 at Fonner Park. Mr. Tickle (6), ridden by Bryan McNeil, was second. Both horses, trained by Marissa Black, are entered for in the Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes Wednesday at Fonner Park as is Yo Y Me (4), ridden by Jake Olesiak, who finished third in the Dowd. (For the Independent/Ellis Collins).

ope体育By Bob Hamar

ope体育Trainer Justin Evans had been thinking about coming to race in the $50,000 Bosselman/Gus Fonner Stakes for quite some time.

ope体育“It was kind of a bucket list thing,” Evans said. “I always wanted to come up here and try it.

“And they do a great job up here.”

This year, things fell in place and Evans is in Grand Island for Wednesday’s Bosselman with Pendleton who is a 3-1 morning-line favorite heading into the race.

Evans was considering bringing Pendleton to Fonner Park for the Bosselman even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many tracks to cancel racing. In fact, he had Pendleton at Sunland Park Racetrack in Sunland Park, N.M., and entered in a stakes race the next day, but the pandemic caused racing there to come to a halt.

ope体育So then there weren’t a lot of options for his next race. Evans was more than happy to bring him to Grand Island.

ope体育“It’s kind of a race that has always intrigued me a little bit,” Evans said. “In some respects I always thought it was kind of a prestigious race. It was actually on our radar before the pandemic hit because of him liking Sunway Park in Farmington (New Mexico). He was three-for-three there last year. So we really wanted to try him on another bullring track.”

Those three wins were part of a run of six wins in eight races for the Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway and Distorted Passion during his 5-year-old season.

ope体育Pendleton had just one race under his belt when Evans and owners Bill and Susan Tomasic got him as a 3-year-old. He had just three races his 4-year-old season, all at Zia Park in Hobbs, N.M., and he won two of them.

“Once we got him up and going he took off,” Evans said. “He broke his maiden the first time we ran him after a layoff and the second start he set a track record going a mile. He only had one head scratcher (a sixth-place finish) when we just wondered what happened. He just didn’t run a step.

ope体育“Then he came up and won at Sunland the first time we ran him there.”

That set the stage for his 3-for-3 performance at Sunray Park. That included a win in the San Juan County Comissioner’s Stakes which he won by 14 lengths.

A horse named Lookin For Lee was second in that race. That’s the same Lookin For Lee that finished second in the Kentucky Derby in 2017.

ope体育Sunray Park is a bullring like Fonner Park, although it’s a little bigger at 3/4ths of a mile. That’s another reason Evans wanted to bring Pendleton to Grand Island.

“He’s trained over this track the last couple of days really well,” Evans said. “He loves Farmington. He really excelled there.”

ope体育Pendleton drew the ninth post position of what is now a nine-horse field after Taruca defected on Monday. Evans said that’s a good post for his horse.

“When he can get stretched out, he’s got a really high cruising speed,” Evans said. “When he gets into that, that’s when he’s at his best so the pole position actually worked out well with being on the outside.

ope体育“If they want to go really fast, we can kind of drop over and stalk them. If they don’t go really fast, he can kind of have it his own way.”

ope体育Pendleton, who will be ridden for the first time by jockey Francisco Arrieta, will face plenty of challenges in the Bosselman.

Fight On, trained by Doug O’Neill, is a 5-year-old son of Into Mischief. He won the Fifth Season Stakes at Oaklawn earlier this year and had a pair of third-place finishes at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates. He’s 4-1 on the morning ride and will be ridden by Armando Martinez, the leading jockey at Fonner Park.

ope体育“And O’Neill’s horse, the only thing that maybe is a plus for us is he’s been a frequent flyer,” Evans said. “He’s been on the road. Hopefully maybe that catches up with him and maybe shortens him up a little bit. Doug’s always tough whenever he ships anywhere.”

Sleepy Eyes Todd is 5-1 on the morning line. The 4-year-old colt by Paddy O’Prado finished sixth in the G3 Mineshaft Stakes Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. He’s trained by Miguel Angel Silva and will be ridden by Quincey Hamilton.

The local horses are led by Blue Harbor and Mr. Tickle, both trained by Marissa Black. Blue Harbor, fresh off a win in the Dowd Mile and will be ridden by Dakota Wood, is 6-1. Mr. Tickle, who won the Budweiser-Tondi Stakes earlier this season at Fonner, is 8-1. He’ll be ridden by Bryan McNeil.

“Those horses that ran in the Dowd Mile,those were both impressive,” Evans said. “I don’t think anybody is going to have it easy in there.”

Cabin John, trained by Brent Jennsen and ridden by Chris Fackler, is 10-1.

ope体育Yo Y Me, who was third in the Dowd, is 12-1 and is trained by Jason Wise and ridden by Jake Olesiak.

Rock City Roadhog, trained by Schuyler Condon and ridden by Scott Bethke, won the Bosselman a year ago but hasn’t fared so well since then. He finished at the back of the pack two weeks ago in the Dowd Mile. He’s 15-1 on the morning line.

ope体育Thetrashmanscoming, trained by David C. Anderson and ridden by Nathan Haar, is 15-1 as well after finishing fourth in the Dowd Mile.

Possibly In Love wins feature

ope体育Possibly In Love went wire-to-wire to win the Fonner Park feature, an $8,800 allowance optional claiming race for Nebraska-bred fillies and mares.

Possibly In Love, a 4-year-old daughter of Loveofthegame and Possible held off the closers to win the six-furlong race in 1:15.2 by 1 ¾ lengths over Lost Key in second. Judge On The Run was third.

It was another win for the Martinez gang with Armando in the saddle and wife Kelli handling the training duties.

ope体育It was the third win in five career starts, all coming at Fonner this year, for Possibly In Love. The win was worth $5,280 for Martinez Racing and brought her career earnings to $16,588.

ope体育Armando also won the first race on Road Show for trainer Mark Lemburg.


— Jockey Dakota Wood and trainer Stetson Mitchell teamed up to win twice, first with Third Dimension in the third race and later with Frigid in the sixth.

— JockeyJake Olesiak, trainer Marvin Johnson and owner Seven Arms Stables also won twice with Emmas Silver Rose the fifth and Ohtani in the eighth.

ope体育— Olesiak also rode Moonfield to a win in the second race for trainer Isai Gonzalez.

ope体育— There was bet $196,663 into the Dinsdale Pick 5 Jackpot on Tuesday. Five of five correct paid $141.10. The carryover into Wednesday will be $195,705 with another mandatory payout on tap.

— The total all-sources handle for the day was $3,136,228.

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