(Photo: Insta Erma gave jockey Drayden Van Dyke and trainer Richard Baltas their second stakes victory of the Kentucky Downs meet. Reed Palmer Photography)
Insta Erma, under a patient ride by Drayden Van Dyke, earned her first graded stakes victory in taking the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes from off the pace to beat Valadorna by a neck. The winner is trained by Richard Baltas, who teamed with Van Dyke to win the Old Friends Stakes at the track on Thursday with Next Shares. “I’m riding good horses, that’s key,” said Van Dyke, fresh off his first riding title at a major California track when he won the Del Mar crown.
Next Shares, a horse that loves Santa Anita, proved on Thursday that he also loves Kentucky Downs, winning the $250,000 Old Friends Stakes under Drayden Van Dyke by 1 3/4-lengths over Siem Riep. A total of $5,815,464.58 was wagered on the 10-race card, fourth-highest all time and the highest for a weekday. There was $5,402,255 bet on the first Thursday last year.
"They gave it to us, his ears went up and that basically was the whole trip. I kind of coaxed him along, let him breathe.... Once I got over that hill and started going down, I got to ask him and he really kicked in," -- Drayden Van Dyke