by James Platz
Last season, Peter and Melanie Wrenn campaigned then-sophomore trotter Swingforthefences to an Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final win and divisional honors for the partnership of David McDuffee and L&L Devisser LLC. This year, the same connections return with a contender in 3-year-old Bluebird Dove, a five-time winner in 2022. The filly leads a trio from the Wrenn Stable battling in a very competitive division at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.
“She’s been very good. She’s just a classy type filly,” said Peter, who also steers the sophomore. “Everything about her. She’s fun to drive and she’s got a lot going for her. She’s pretty fancy.”
A $60,000 yearling purchase out of the Hoosier Classic sale, Bluebird Dove was unknown to Indiana racing fans when she debuted at Hoosier Park this spring. As a freshman, the daughter of Swan For All—Goosebump Hanover nearly qualified before the Wrenns opted to turn her out after consulting with her owners.
“She went through some issues. We thought she was a very talented filly. She came up with some colt soreness and what not. I went with her probably until almost June. I was real close to stepping forward with her and I made the decision,” Peter said. “It was a group effort between the owners. We were real patient on her and they trust our judgment that she showed us enough ability. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. In this situation it seemed to work.”
The veteran horseman witnessed Bluebird Dove’s potential when he qualified the trotter at Pompano Park. Her first time behind the gate she made two breaks but managed to trot the mile in 2:03.2. She returned to win a week later in a gate-to-wire effort, finishing seven lengths in front and stopping the clock in 1:58.1.
“When I qualified her at Pompano, that showed me what I thought she was,” he said.
The filly made her pari-mutuel debut in mid-April at Hoosier Park. Racing over a surface rated sloppy due to rain, Bluebird Dove made a break in the stretch while second. Although she was the second filly to cross under the wire, judges placed her fifth after an inquiry. The sophomore rebounded from her miscue to break her maiden the next week, capturing the $18,000 final of the Mya Tri Series, held April 20, in 1:56.2.
Peter dropped the filly in the Msnaughtybynature Series next and she suffered two narrow defeats, the first by a neck in 1:53.3 and the second by a nose in a time of 1:54.2. In the second defeat, Bluebird Dove trotted home in :26.2 to nearly collar Luv Lorelei at the wire.
“We skipped the final because I thought the 3-year-old fillies were too far ahead for the time of year,” Peter said.
The decision provided Peter with 19 days of preparation leading into the first leg of Indiana Sires Stakes action. Sent off as the second choice to favored Luv Lorelei in a $47,000 division, Bluebird Dove sat in the pocket before overtaking the leader in the stretch to win by half a length. She stopped the clock in 1:53.2. The trotter has since added victories in legs two and five – establishing a 1:52.3 lifetime mark in the process – as well as scoring a Grand Circuit win at the Indiana State Fair. From 10 starts, the Daryl Miller-bred filly has posted a 5-2-1 record with $105,256 in earnings, all while still relatively green.
“She’s pretty mature in the race,” Peter said. “She’s awful fun to race. She’s done everything so far.”
Bluebird Dove will attempt to collect a third consecutive win Monday (Sept. 5) at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in the sixth leg of Indiana Sires Stakes. She lines up in post two for the 11th race on the program, a $92,500 contest. The event has attracted a field of nine, including the undefeated M-M’s Dream and the Robert Taylor-trained tandem of Luv Lorelei and Jusmakinyalook.
“It’s very good group of horses. Any one of them could step forward,” he said. “There’s not one filly in there you wouldn’t like to have. They are all good fillies.”
The field also includes two more from the Wrenn barn. Fleurie, one of the top fillies in the division last season as a freshman, has hit the board in seven of eight starts in 2022 with two wins to her credit. She has drawn post five and will be driven by Mike Oosting, who sat behind the Muscle Massive filly several times last year when Peter was sidelined with an injury. She earned just shy of $205,000 for breeder and owner M T Pockets Stables in 2021.
“We were able to get Mike, so we stuck with him again this year. He’s done a great job with her, as always,” Peter said of the pairing. “She was a hell of a 2-year-old and she’s coming back really good now. Just in these last few starts she has come around. She could surprise everybody in another couple weeks because she almost did last start. She’s really stepping up.”
Rounding out the Wrenn trifecta is Swan Trixie, a Swan For All 3-year-old that moved to the barn last fall. In 11 seasonal starts, the trotter has registered three wins and hit the board in all but three attempts, banking $57,070 for S&R Racing Stables and Louis Willinger.
“They sent her to me in November of last year when I went to Florida. She had a good winter and she’s a beautiful filly. She has also stepped forward,” Peter said.
He has guided Swan Trixie in each of her previous starts this year, but with three fillies in the race, he will hand the lines to Atlee Bender. Peter will steer Bluebird Dove in what looks to be an ultra-competitive affair.
“When I first broke her she was probably my favorite filly, so I kind of stuck with her. There’s not much separation between all of them,” he said.
Six Indiana Sires Stakes divisions for sophomore trotters and pacers highlight Hoosier Park’s special Labor Day card. The 14-race program kicks off at 6:15 p.m. on Monday.