After the last of four Indiana-bred stakes at Indiana Downs the evening of July 19, Mike Lauer was asked how many of them he thought he'd win.
"I expected two," said the Kentucky-based trainer who participates heavily in the Indiana program.
Lauer underestimated the victory count. He ended up with three stakes wins on the night, with all the horses owned fully or in part by his wife, Penny.
The Lauers raced seven horses in the four stakes and took home $199,850 in earnings.
"It was a great day at the races," Lauer said.
In the $89,500 Florence Henderson Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, homebred Dreamin Big pushed her earnings to $445,296 with a course-record victory in 1:39.70 on firm ground (VIDEO). A 5-year-old mare by Pure Prize out of Hush U Dreamer, Dreamin Big won for the ninth time in 21 starts.
Dreamin Big, ridden by Francisco Torres, now has two wins on the grass from only four starts. The other turf victory was in last year's Florence Henderson.
"I don't know if she's better on the turf, because they don't have a lot of opportunities to run (in state-bred grass races)," Mike Lauer said. "She has run OK in open company for a $100,000 purse.
"She's the highest earner I've ever trained, at least for one we raced entirely during its career. Her dam was bred back to Pure Prize."
Owner/breeder Sherri Greenhill's 4-year-old filly Aint She a Saint (Saintly Look–Pay the Toll), who last year banked more than $337,000 in Indiana-bred races, settled for second in her second start of the year for trainer Jeff Greenhill, who liked her effort but joked that he may have run her in the wrong race.
"They went about 10 lengths faster than the colts did," Greenhill said in reference to the final time of 1:41.27 in the $89,650 A.J. Foyt Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
The connections' third win of the night came in the $150,000 Governor's Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards. Penny Lauer's Joint Tenant, only one-for-eight in his career, upset the race under Jon Court (VIDEO). The 3-year-old gelding by Article of Faith out of Neighbors pushed his earnings over the $100,000 mark.
The Lauers had two horses in the $150,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and 70 yards but could only collect fourth- and fifth-place checks. The winner, Mast Thoroughbreds' Rivertown Belle, won her first stakes under Fernando De La Cruz for trainer Robert Gorham (VIDEO).
Rivertown Belle is by Bellamy Road out of Sweet Magie and was bred by Deann Baer and Dr. Greg Baer.