Month: July 2016

It was a fantastic performance by Fantastic Six Pack in the $114,600 Blue River Derby at Indiana Grand Saturday, July 30. Ridden by Cristian Esqueda, the three-year-old rallied hard all the way to the wire, saving his best stride for last to win the 400-yard dash.

Starting from the outside post 10 in the 10-horse lineup, Fantastic Six Pack got a good break from the gate and went to work. Beach Bum Eddie and Cesar Esqueda got the early lead in the center of the track and made his opponents chase him nearly the entire race. The two horses raced side by side in the final strides. However, as the wire neared, Fantastic Six Pack had the best momentum and was able to get a neck in front of Beach Bum Eddie at the wire for the win in a time of :19.796 seconds, a new stakes record. Beach Bum Eddie finished a head in front of My Louisiana Rod and Berkley Packer for third.

“He (Fantastic Six Pack) is a nice horse and easy to ride,” said Cristian Esqueda, who has been the regular rider for over one year. “You just have to be confident and let them do their thing. He got next to the other horse (Beach Bum Eddie) and really dug in. He did that in the trials too, he just had nowhere to go.”

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It was anyone’s race halfway through the eighth running of the $98,280 Heartland Futurity, but Jess a Dollar and Jose Davila proved to be the toughest in the end, winning the event by just a neck over Vampire Rose and Smitty Oxendine.

Starting from post six in the 10-horse field, Jess a Dollar was in the thick of things from the very start. The chestnut son of One Sweet Jess went to battle with nearly the entire field of the 300 yard dash from the first few jumps out of the gate. A blanket could have been spread on eight horses through the first half of the race before Jess A Dollar emerged with a slight lead. Vampire Rose and Wrs Against the Wind and Berkley Packer were not giving in easily and stayed right with Jess a Dollar all the way to the wire. Vampire Rose was just a head in front of Wrs Against the Wind at the finish line for second.

“We’ve been working as a team,” said trainer Victor Gonzalez. “We got the job done, it was not easy, but we worked hard. I’d like to thank everyone who helped get him (Jess a Dollar) ready for this race tonight.”

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by Nancy Holthus, Indiana Grand paddock analyst

Cheyanna Patrick isn’t hurt. She isn’t sick. And she didn’t change professions. She just came back from the adventure of a lifetime. The fourth year Senior Criminology/Pre-Law major at the University of South Florida left in mid-June for six weeks to study aboard in…Spain!! This was the first time abroad for the daughter of Gary and Cindy Patrick. She made the journey with college students across the United States.

Her itinerary was fully packed with school activities and sightseeing. The first destination was two weeks in Malaga, Spain. During that time, her studies focused on Spanish conversation and Spanish civilization. Schooling was approximately four hours a day which left plenty of time for taking in the sights.

“I’m looking forward to getting more comfortable with speaking Spanish,” Patrick said before leaving, “that’s the whole point of going on this trip. Classes help you in reading and writing, but they don’t help you speak every day Spanish. I never have gotten enough practice.”

The next destination took her to Madrid, Spain. She was able to feel right at home when meeting the local jockey colony at Hipodromo de La Zarzuela. Patrick also spent four days in Barcelona and visited the “must-see” sights, including the amazing architecture of the Sagrada Familia De Gaudi and its famous beaches.

A perk of traveling in Europe is being able to hop on a bus or train and be in another country in a few hours. An overnight trip led Patrick and friends to Lisbon, Portugal on a spontaneous adventure.

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A break from racing since the end of May had little effect on Beach Cartel, who rallied home the winner in a $20,000 Quarter Horse allowance race Friday, July 29. Now four, 2015 Three-Year-Old Quarter Horse of the Year is nine for 12 lifetime. Starting from post eight in the nine-horse lineup, Beach Cartel had […]

A pair of $150,000 stakes races for registered Indiana bred three-year-olds will highlight the Wednesday, Aug. 3 racing program at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The 14th running of the Indiana First Lady Stakes and the 13th running of the Governor’s Stakes will be held as races seven and eight, respectively, on the 10-race program.

Tequila and Salt will look to transfer her skills to the dirt following a win in the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes over the turf course in her last outing. The daughter of Limehouse went right to the lead for Jockey Francisco Torres and was never challenged, winning by two lengths. She meets back up with several horses from that stakes race including the second and third place finisher, Express Run and Seven Seize.

Owned by Penny Lauer and trained by Mike Lauer, Tequila and Salt will begin from post six in the nine-horse field. She will be seeking her second win of 2016 and increase her career bankroll that has already amounted to more than $115,000.

Looking to deny Tequila and Salt another trip to the winner’s circle will be first time stakes starter Betitallwithpaul, who romped to victory in her last start over a muddy track at Indiana Grand. Owned by Michael Caruso’s Bethlehem Stable, Michael Dubb and Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group, Betitallwithpaul is trained by Brad Cox. The Cape Blanco filly purchased as a yearling for $85,000 from the Keeneland Yearling Stales will start from post five and Jockey Robby Albarado returns to Indiana to ride once again.

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by Elaine Knepp, intern at Indiana Grand

Dr. William Doig is one of the local veterinarians in Shelby County. His family moved to Shelby County when he was just two and it is where his passion for animals grew substantially. He attended grade school through high school at Waldron Jr. /Sr. High School and furthered his education at Purdue University. His incredible background of education lent him the tools to get him where he is today. Dr. Doig is a man of many assets and contributes so much to the local community.

Dr. Doig currently owns a veterinarian practice that is located in Waldron, Ind. He has 42 years of veterinary practice under his belt. Prior to the opening of his Waldron clinic in 1979, his practice was located in the town of Shelbyville. He decided it was best to move the practice closer to his home roots in Waldron.

In addition to his Waldron clinic, Dr. Doig also works for Indiana Grand Racecourse. He was asked to join the original Indiana Downs track team when the track opened in 2002. It wasn’t easy obtaining this caliber of a veterinarian. Initially, he declined the position on several occasions. However, Indiana Downs was reluctant to let him go because not only did he have veterinarian experience, he also had prior experience in the racing industry.

Dr. Doig eventually agreed to work an 18-day Standardbred meet and the rest was history. He has now worked with the race track for 15 years as the facility has evolved into Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

When asked what his purpose was at the track Dr. Doig stated, “I’m here to protect the horses.” When further questioned about his job, he responded, “Animals are easy to talk to, it’s the human aspect that makes it difficult at times.” Dr. Doig’s positive outlook at the track is that, “every day is different and new,” which helps to fuel his equine passion.

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Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will join in on the national movement to raise awareness and funding for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) Saturday, July 30. Racetracks across the nation will provide additional promotions and giveaways to support the cause, and Indiana Grand has a full slate of activities during the evening, which is also “Back to School Night” featuring giveaways from the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA).

Racing kicks off at 6:05 p.m. and will feature backpack giveaways between races, courtesy of the HBPA. The HBPA will also provide drawings for an iPad to be given away during the night as well as school items passed out to children while supplies last. Mike Brown, executive director of HBPA, will be on hand during the races to sign guests up for the drawings at a table located outside the winner’s circle.

The jockeys will get involved in a few activities, including a dunk tank that will be positioned near the paddock area. Jockeys and other key racing personnel will take turns sitting in the tank for $1 donations to PDJF. The tank will be open from 6-9 p.m. Rodney Prescott, local Jock’s Guild representative, will speak on behalf of the jockeys after the first race to explain what PDJF does and how important it is to the jockeys. Indiana Grand was the site for the second annual “Jockeys and Jeans” event held in 2015. More than $200,000 was raised for PDJF through the event that included a silent auction and numerous guest appearances from Hall of Fame jockeys and local celebrities, including several former NBA and ABA basketball players associated with the Indiana Pacers.

In addition, the jockeys will participate in their annual Tug of War contest outside the winner’s circle. The jockeys will go pound for pound against a group of individuals. Last year, they teamed up against the valets who assist them in the jockey’s quarters. The Tug of War will take place after Race 3 with an approximate start time of 7:15 p.m.

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Charming Clare and Jockey David Flores rallied home as winners in a $32,000 maiden event over the turf course at Indiana Grand Saturday, July 23. The duo made a late move around the turn and broke free from the field of eight to win by four and three-quarter lengths under wraps at the finish line.

Starting from post five, Charming Clare broke sharply but opted to sit off the early pace setters Su Say Socks and Leandro Goncalves on the inside tracked closely by In the Shoes and Ramon Romero and Granny Pants and Dick Cardenas. The trio stayed together for much of the seven and one-half furlong race.

At the top of the stretch, Flores already called on Charming Clare to pick up the pace and was able to sweep by the front ones before being alone on top and striding out easily to win. English Flower and Sammy Bermudez used a late push from the back of the pack to finish second over Honey Chile Ryder and Rodney Prescott, who also closed late for third.

Charming Clare, the favorite of the field, paid $3.40, $2.80 and $2.10 across the board. The three-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday was making her third lifetime start for breeder and owner Tracy Farmer, longtime businessman and entrepreneur and owner of Shadowlawn Farm in Midway, Ky.

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Brian Elmore, longtime member of the Indiana horse racing program through various jobs, was honored for his years of service during a special winner’s circle ceremony during Indiana Derby Night. Elmore, who retired in early 2016 from his latest assignment as vice president of racing for Centaur Gaming, was presented with an award from both Centaur Gaming as well as the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association.

“Brian (Elmore) has been in the racing industry for over 40 years,” said Jim Brown, president and COO of Centaur Gaming. “He was instrumental with our team, horsemen and legislators through the phases of implementing our current racing program and helped move Indiana racing into national prominence. It is an honor and a privilege to work with him for almost 20 years.”

Elmore has been involved with Indiana racing since the arrival of Hoosier Park in 1994. He initially oversaw operations at the downtown Indianapolis OTB before moving up and handling business for all three off-track betting facilities in the state. The Sullivan, Ind. native left for a few years to serve as general manager at Ellis Park and was reconnected with Centaur Gaming as Hoosier Park began the early stages of receiving the addition of casino gaming in the form of slots and e-table games. From that point forward, Elmore served as a catalyst between race track management and horsemen and supervised many major racing renovations and projects, including the acquisition of Indiana Grand by Centaur Gaming in 2013.

“The kind of leadership that Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park have is unmatched,” said Elmore. “Nobody else has done what you’ve done for racing. And, Jon (Schuster) and his team have done a great job in the transition to all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.”

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