Snack, shown winning the 2005 WEBN.

Snack, shown winning the 2005 WEBN.

Pat Lang Photography

Snack Stakes Has Special Meaning for Lauer

The Snack Stakes has special meaning for owner/breeder/trainer Mike Lauer.

Mike Lauer always thought Snack was a nice colt. But when he registered an outstanding number on the “sheets” after winning the WEBN Stakes for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park in January 2005, everything changed.

“We had gotten some phone calls after he won the Turfway Prevue and got a 9 1/2 or 10 on the sheets, but after the WEBN, in which he got a 3 1/2 or 4, the phone really rang,” Lauer said.

Snack, bred in Indiana by Lauer and his wife, Penny, ended up in California after they sold 80% of their colt to J. Paul Reddam. Snack never got to show how good he might have been; he broke down in the grade II Santa Catalina Stakes at Santa Anita Park and was euthanized.

“He never had anything the matter with him at all,” said Mike Lauer, who trained Snack before the sale. “(The sale) was very good for us, but we were shocked (when he was injured).”

Snack, by Afternoon Deelitesout of the Fred Astaire mare Miss Riverton, hasn’t been forgotten. With more money available because of revenue from on-track slot machines, the Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Advisory Committee created a stakes for registered Indiana-bred 3-year-olds. The $70,000 Snack Stakes will be run June 13 at Indiana Downs.

“With the expansion of the 3-year-old restricted stakes program here in Indiana, we wanted to find a name that would provide a great example of an Indiana-bred,” said Jim Hartman of the ITBDAC. “While many won’t understand the name when they see it, we decided that Snack was one of those examples. So, the story continues four years later.”

Lauer currently has one Indiana-bred gelding, Tenmor, by Tenpins out of the Northern Baby mare Miss Winmor. Tenmor, a 3-year-old, defeated older horses in a state-bred allowance race at Indiana Downs June 1, and is one of the early favorites for the Snack Stakes.

“We were quite thrilled when we heard they named a race after him,” Lauer said. “We had no idea at all; it was quite an honor. When Jim (Hartman) told us, we planned on running (Tenmor) in the race.”

Lauer’s racing operation is based in Louisville, Ky. As a small breeder, he tries to take advantage of opportunities in other states as well. For instance, he had success with Miss Winmor, who also is the dam of New York-bred Mor Chances. Now 5, Mor Chances, by American Chance, was bred and owned by the Lauers, then sold to Linda Rice. Mor Chances subsequently was claimed and won four consecutive New York-bred stakes.

“I’m realistic and know that I’m going to end up breeding a lot of claiming horses,” Lauer said, “but they can go on to be allowance and stakes horses in other programs. They’ve helped foot the bill for our breeding program.”

Lauer said he’s hopeful the Kentucky incentive program is expanded so breeders earn awards for all levels of racing. He noted he has a Pennsylvania-bred filly whose first- and third-place finishes in $50,000 claiming races earned him about $7,800 in bonus money.

“Most people’s horses will end up being claimers, and those people should share in (breeders’ awards), too,” Lauer said. “There are a lot of two-, three-, and five-mare people in Kentucky.”