Shooting In Place another winner for Straight Shooting

by James Platz

Racing second over out of the final turn Friday evening (April 19), Shooting In Place and driver Jordan Ross sprinted home in :27.1 to capture the $20,000 final of the Jerry Landess Memorial Series at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino. The lightly-raced sophomore collected his third seasonal win in a lifetime best 1:52.1. The colt, owned and bred by John Barnard, is yet another winner sired by Indiana stallion Straight Shooting.

“He’s getting up there in years and he’s produced some nice horses,” Barnard said of the stallion.

In a career that spanned 102 trips behind the starting gate, Straight Shooting managed to win 16 times and hit the board in 45 per cent of his attempts. The son of Western Terror out of the Matt’s Scooter mare Mattcheck Girl took his 1:50.1 mark at 3, and finished his career with more than $700,000 on his card. Kevin Kline brought Straight Shooting to Illinois in 2014 where he stood his first season.

“It was Kevin’s find,” said Barnard, who is a partner on the stallion. “I thought he had a good pedigree and I trusted Kevin’s judgment that he saw something in the horse.”

Bernard believed the pacer had the characteristics needed to become a successful stallion, bringing him to Indiana the next season. Straight Shooting may not carry the name recognition of Tellitlikeitis, JK Endofanera, Rockin Image and other pacing stallions in the Hoosier State, but over the course of six crops he has proven he can sire horses that make it to the races, and win. Including his initial Illinois crop, 106 of 137 registered foals have started, an incredible 77 per cent success rate. Nearly one-third have marks of 1:55 or better. Despite small books each season, Straight Shooting has sired 14 six-figure earners, with four banking $250,000 or more, and eight progeny that have taken speed badges of 1:50 or faster. Vel Mr Nice Guy is the fastest of the group, sporting a 1:48.3 mark taken as a 4-year-old at The Meadowlands.

“He’s a go-to horse,” the co-owner said. “If I want to breed something that matches up, I know he produces a very high percentage of racehorses. The problem is that he hasn’t produced that one, great horse. I haven’t looked at his totals lately, but I know he was over $4 million in purse earnings, and there are still more coming.”

Straight Shooting’s latest winner made only three starts last season as a freshman. Shooting In Place managed to reach the winner’s circle in 2023, pacing in under 1:55 at Hoosier Park in his last attempt. He previously struggled with breaking issues, but showed promise.

“The horse kept breaking,” said Barnard. “Three qualifiers on the horse, and the fastest he went was 1:59.2. He broke early in his first start, but he did close in :26.1. We decided he’s got some talent, he’s worth spending some time on.” 

Trainer Luis Quevedo said the pacer was shut down last September due to colt soreness.

“This year he has come back pretty good,” Quevedo said after Friday night’s victory. “He acts like he can be a nice horse. The way he is racing right now, he looks like he can be a nice 3-year-old.”

Shooting In Place completed the Landess Series sweep with his best clocking to date, sent off as the favorite in the night’s eighth race. Driven by Ross, the colt opened the campaign with a 1:52.4 score in the first leg before returning one week later to pace in 1:53.2. Each time he was on or near the lead. Friday, the sophomore raced fifth early before Ross grabbed cover behind stablemate Jbs Cuppa Joe. Shooting In Place dashed home faster than anyone else in the field. The sophomore is out of Park Place mare Helen’s Place Girl.

“She goes back to the Maywood days,” Barnard said of the mare, which passed away last year. “I claimed her out of Maywood Park intentionally as a broodmare. I thought she would make a good broodmare. To date, this is maybe her best baby.”

Now three-for-three in 2024, Shooting in Place will receive a break before the next series begins in early May. That series will lead into the first round of Indiana Sires Stakes action later in the month.

“First week in May they have another series,” Quevedo said. “After that he’s got a shot to go to sires stakes.”

Barnard is excited for the way that his colt has started the year and what he has shown on the racetrack. The early success validates the decision to give the homebred time to grow and develop last fall.

“I just wanted to give him a chance as a 3-year-old,” Barnard said. “He should be competitive. I’m sure you’ve got some monsters out there that you have to compete against, but he’s proven that he’s a racehorse and he does what he needs to do. What I’m really happy about is the way this horse closes. He’s been closing in :26 and change, and he beat some nice horses in there. I really am very happy.”