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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Ken Weingartner, USTA — A decisive victory in Friday’s $250,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final from post nine was all the impetus the ownership group of Helpfirstedition needed to write a $72,000 supplemental check for entry into the Breeders Crown 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.

He is the only supplement to the Breeders Crown program, a fee that is 12% of the advertised purse for the division. The entire supplemental fee will be added to the purse, bringing it to $672,000.

The gelded sophomore son of Helpisontheway–She Knows Swagger was a $17,000 yearling purchase for owners Erv Wickey, John Graber, Running Wild Stable (Lester Schmucker) and John Schmucker, and “was good from the start,” according to Wickey.

“I like to buy young horses and get them going and then give them to a couple of different trainers,” he continued.

Helpfirstedition’s only start at age 2 was a qualifier in late July at Hoosier, and the precocious youngster won by 17-3/4 lengths in 2:01 with a last quarter of :28.2.

“Maybe three days later he seemed a little gimpy,” said Wickey. “He was always kind of ornery, so we think he hurt himself in his stall, so we had him X-rayed and he had. We shut him down and then gelded him in the fall of last year.”

Helpfirstedition responded to the time off, winning three straight races in April of 2023 before entering Indiana Sire Stakes competition. He’s won seven of his 18 starts this year for trainer Missy Essig, including the $110,000 Phil Langley Memorial and the aforementioned state-bred final, for an impressive $382,375 in earnings, having never missed a check.

“We thought about staking him a bit this year, but we didn’t really outside of the sire stakes. But we said if he was good in the final we were going to go ahead and do it [supplement] since he’s really just starting to peak right now,” said Wickey. “We had to take the chance. We have the home-track advantage and that means something here.”

Eligible Breeders Crown 3-year-old trotters enter Wednesday, Oct. 18, and if eliminations are necessary, Helpfirstedition will have to clear that barrier on Saturday when 3-year-old colt and open Crown divisions hold eliminations.

The 2-year-old trot eliminations have been drawn and can be found here.

Breeders Crown entries for 2-year-old male and female pacers, 3-year-old female pacers, and 3-year-old female trotters are due by 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday. Eliminations, if necessary, will be held Friday. The remaining Breeders Crown entries are due by 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, with necessary elims on Saturday.

Racing begins at 6:15 p.m. (EDT) Thursday. For complete entries, click here. For free daily program pages, click here.

The $7 million Breeders Crown finals will be raced on Friday (Oct. 27) for all 2-year-olds and Saturday (Oct. 28) for 3-year-olds and up. Post time is 6 p.m. both nights.

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