Month: September 2016
Five jockeys from Indiana Grand Racing & Casino visited Riley Hospital for Children in downtown Indianapolis Thursday, Sept. 29 in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. The jockeys visited with children in the Child Life Zone area of the hospital, playing games, painting, shooting pool and playing video games during the one and one-half-hour session.
The movement began in 2014 when local Thoroughbred owner and breeder, Mike McCauley, and his wife, Marcie, of the Columbus, Inc. area wanted to do something to show support for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, which is each year in September. Their daughter, Cierra, battled cancer and is now cancer free, thanks to the efforts of Riley Hospital for Children. McCauley contacted The Jockey’s Guild, who in turn, got behind the program. Jockeys at Indiana Grand wore gold ribbon patches on their boots and pants during September, 2014. Other tracks soon followed. Today, it is a national movement across the United States to show support for the cause.
In conjunction with the national awareness movement, jockeys from racetracks across the nation also make visits to their area children’s hospitals. This is the third straight year that Indiana Grand’s jockeys have made the trip to Riley Hospital for Children.
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will honor those who have dealt with breast cancer either directly or indirectly by honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, guests in the casino can stop by Club Centaur and give a $10 donation and receive $10 in casino cash during the entire month of October. Guests may donate up to once per day during the promotion.
To help kick off the October Breast Cancer Awareness activities, a special Pink Out Night will be held Saturday, Oct. 1. The event registration begins at 2:30 p.m. leading into a special “Survivor’s Walk” beginning at 3:30 p.m. Those interested in participating in the event may contact Jamie Krueger at firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register.
All guests attending the afternoon kickoff of Pink Out Night can take advantage of several activities going on to complement the event. Prior to the walk, Theresa Hopper, local Zumba instructor at the Shelby Parks and Recreation, will provide a “warm-up” for walkers on the apron area. Garry Lauziere, Indiana Grand’s bugler, will provide the “Call to Post” to start the walk.
The walk will begin at the winner’s circle and proceed north toward the barn area, walking parallel to the track. Once walkers have reached the barn area, they will make a short turn near the receiving barn and then walk back to the winner’s circle on the racetrack. For those who find the racing surface too taxing, they can walk back along the outside of the racetrack on the path.
By Elaine Knepp, race marketing intern at Indiana Grand
Marvin A. Johnson is a renowned trainer in the horse racing industry. Indiana Grand has had the pleasure of hosting him since 2003. He took a two-year break from a then “Indiana Downs” in 2005 and 2006 and rejoined the program in 2007. In 2014, Johnson received Leading Trainer at Fonner Park in Nebraska. This year, he is hitting many marks again and recently received Trainer of the Month for August at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.
Johnson was born and raised in Grand Island, Neb. He now spends six months of the year at his farm in Nebraska and the other six months are spent at his farm in Fairland, Ind. He has been married to his wife Christy, who is also a trainer, for more than 30 years. He has four children, three girls and one boy.
Johnson has been in the horse racing industry, as a trainer, since 1974. When asked what got him interested in the industry, he stated that his, “grand dad and dad both trained.” When asked which horse that he has trained was his personal favorite, he responded with, “Ogataul has been my favorite. He was a real Nebraskan bred superstar.”
Ogataul was foaled March 13, 1977. Across his career, he achieved 83 starts, and of those starts, he won 23 races, placed second 20 times, and earned eight third place spots. He had average earnings of $3,529 per start. His career lasted from 1979 to 1985. His best year, as far as wins, was 1981. He had 14 starts and of those starts he had six wins. His total purse earnings that year were an astounding $76,996, which was impressive for the time period before modern day purse money.
By Elaine Knepp, race marketing intern
“There were two hats on a hat rack. What did one hat say to the other? ― You go on ahead I’ll stay here.”
Owner Paul Adkins is fondly known at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino for his sense of humor and will enlighten anyone he meets with one of his jokes. He is one of the most dedicated patrons at Indiana Grand with at least one visit a week. This is especially impressive with his two-hour commute from his home in Harrison County in the southern portion of the state of Indiana.
Adkins became interested in horse racing at the age of 16. His older brother, Weldon, and he would go to the races at various tracks such as Churchill Downs, Keeneland, and Ellis Park. These experiences eventually led Adkins to own and breed horses of his own.
Adkins and his brother, Jimmy Ray, started owning horses in 1965. At that time they owned only two horses, but left temporarily from the business as finances took a toll. Adkins got back in the racing game in 2002. The first horse that he owned was named Jules Pride. Jules Pride had a career total of 38 with five wins, nine seconds, and two thirds. Of the nine races she finished second, six of them were achieved consecutively. This earned Adkins enough income to start adding horses to his roster.
The Adkins Stable continued to grow with the addition of Queenatheart. Adkins claimed her in 2002 for $5,000 and she won her first race for him by an astounding eight lengths. In her racing career, she earned a total of 40 starts, and of those 40 she had 11 wins. She raced at Beulah Park, River Downs, Great Lakes Downs, and Arlington Park.
Facey’s Spirit was an additionally great horse for Adkins. In her first race for Adkins she went down to her nose but recovered incredibly quickly and ended the race winning by three lengths. Facey’s Spirit won nine races, and of those nine, three were stakes races in Indiana. Facey’s Spirit was not only a great race horse, she was a personal favorite for Adkins because he was fortunate enough to raise her.
Albin Jimenez, 2015 leading jockey at Indiana Grand, will be one of 19 official torchbearers for the upcoming Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay when it comes to Shelby County Saturday, Sept. 24. Jimenez will be the first torchbearer in the relay and will ride a retired Thoroughbred racehorse on the first leg of the event as the torch is carried into downtown Shelbyville.
Jimenez, a native of Panama, is once again among the top riders at the track in 2016, ranked in second place with 73 wins through the first 94 racing programs. He is the regular rider aboard 2015 Indiana Horse of the Year Lady Fog Horn and is closing in on 1,000 career wins. Jimenez and his wife, Marybeth, reside in Shelby County during the 120-day racing season with their 18-month-old daughter. He is very honored and excited to be part of the process.
“It is a real honor to be part of this special event,” said Jimenez. “I am borrowing a newer saddle to use because I want to make sure I represent the track in the best way I can. Riding a horse for my part of the relay is a little different, and I am going to practice on the actual horse I’m using. I’m excited for the event.”
Jimenez is very community-minded during his time in Shelby County. He was part of the Indiana Grand group earlier this year that provided cleanup assistance to the Shelby Parks and Recreation during a major softball tournament. He is also one of the jockeys that attends the annual visit to Riley Hospital for Children during September to honor Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. He never hesitated to step up and support the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay when he was one of 38 nominated for the role of torchbearer in Shelby County earlier this year.
Bucchero and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. turned in a commanding performance against a stellar field to win the $100,000-added Brickyard Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Wednesday, Sept. 14. The win marked the second career stakes victory for the four-year-old Indiana bred colt, increasing his career bankroll to more than $300,000.
Starting from post seven, Pedroza Jr. had a few options at the start, but his main objective was to get on or near the lead as quickly as he could. Bucchero joined Grandpa Grumpy in pursuit of early positioning and was content to follow along behind Grandpa Grumpy and Rodney Prescott, who flashed by the first quarter in :21.93 seconds. Bucchero sat to the outside and bided his time, saving up his best move for the final half of the six-furlong race.
Bucchero reached Grandpa Grumpy heading into the stretch and responded to Pedroza Jr., speeding off open lengths in front of the field. Pedroza Jr. kept the son of Kantharos focused on his job and was along for the ride late in the race as they crossed under the wire seven and one-half lengths ahead of Sucess is Racing and Eddie Perez, who had too much ground to make up to become a threat in the end. A nose separated Sucess is Racing ahead of Avery Glenn and Malcolm Franklin for third.
Carmalley Chrome was back to her winning ways Wednesday, Sept. 14, winning the 22nd running of the $100,000-added Merrillville Stakes at Indiana Grand. The three-year-old chestnut daughter of Cat Dreams scored the gate to wire win in a time of 1:10.07 for the six-furlong sprint with jockey Rodney Prescott aboard. The win marked the third of the day for Prescott, who is Indiana’s all-time leading jockey for wins.
Starting from post six was the ideal spot for Carmalley Chrome, who is known for her quick speed. The sophomore filly rallied out early and got control of the pace, setting the quarter time at :22.57. She kept Picante Caliente and Richard Bracho and Ralla’s Rally and Dick Cardenas in stalking position behind her. Heading into the turn, Carmalley Chrome was able to open up slightly on the field, which put her at an advantage for the late closers of the race, including race favorite Joyous Lady and Tommy Pompell.
By the time Carmalley Chrome reached the top of the stretch, she had built up a five-plus length lead and at that point, no one could touch her. She kept focused on the finish line and floated under the wire for the win, her fifth in eight starts for 2016. Joyous Lady moved up for second while She Mabee Wild and Jon Court, who scored win 3,994 earlier in the day at Indiana Grand, maintained ground inside for third.
A new star emerged at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Wednesday, Sept. 14, winning one of four stakes races on the card. Gifted Justice and Jockey Declan Cannon rolled to victory in the two-year-old Indiana bred stakes, the 16th running of the $100,000-added Hillsdale Stakes.
Starting from post four, Gifted Justice used his quick foot early and sprung out of the gate on top. The chestnut son of Haynesfield, a $100,000 purchase at the Keeneland Yearling Sales last fall, held onto the top spot with authority and was not going to relinquish it without a fight. There were no challengers past the quarter pole in :22.68 seconds, and Gifted Justice kept up the swift pace.
Halfway through the turn of the six-furlong race, race favorite Ron and jockey Fernando De La Cruz came into focus and had momentum on their side for the stretch drive. However, Gifted Justice also had another gear left. The colt proved he was a fighter and dug in against the challenge by Ron, who was also digging in gamely. In the end, Gifted Justice got the advantage, winning by one and one-half lengths in a time of 1:10.07, a new stakes record for the Hillsdale Stakes. Ron was an easy second over Wing and Wheel and Leandro Goncalves, who maintained positioning inside for an easy third place finish.
She proved herself in her first and only start with a six and three-quarter win to break her maiden, but a step up into stakes action left Defining Hope with few backers in the 16th running of the $100,000-added City of Anderson Stakes Wednesday, Sept. 14. The two-year-old filly dug in gamely to defeat race favorite Whistle Stop in a stretch battle to remain undefeated in two career starts.
Defining Hope had a task from the start. She left the starting gate from post eight with jockey Malcolm Franklin aboard in the six-furlong sprint. Whistle Stop and Marcelino Pedroza had a good inside post to show their early speed skills and did just that. However, Runaway Rosie and Eddie Perez also had the same game plan. They wanted to get on the lead early and took over the top spot down the backstretch, keeping Defining Hope to their outside and Whistle Stop at their heels, passing the first quarter in a swift :22.40 seconds. Heading into the turn, Whistle Stop began to rally, shooting between horses.
Halfway through the turn, it became a two-horse race between Whistle Stop on the inside and Defining Hope on the outside. The two hit the stretch together and both horses dug in gamely. The battle lasted nearly the entire length of the stretch before Defining Hope got the advantage at the wire, winning by one and three-quarter lengths in a time of 1:11.66. Oh So Thirsty and 2016 Leading Jockey Fernando De La Cruz finished third.
Another fantastic performance was recorded by Fantastic Six Pack as he rallied home for his third straight victory in the eighth running of the $113,400 Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The three-year-old, ridden by 2014 Indiana Grand Leading Quarter Horse Jockey Shanley Jackson, is now six for 10 lifetime for Trainer Matt Frazier and Owner Duke Racing LLC.
Fantastic Six Pack was not the first name called out of the gate. Beach Bum Eddie and Cesar Esqueda rallied out quickly from post three and secured the lead in the first few strides of the 400-yard dash. He maintained the lead from the center of the track before the outside horses, including Fantastic Six Pack, began to close in to become a threat. Fantastic Six Pack had a big rallying stride that brought him even with Beach Bum Eddie and in the last four strides, he was able to move into the lead and take home the title by three-quarters of a length over Beach Bum Eddie. WH Kenny G and Rodney Prescott also closed well to finish in a tight photo, just a head back from Beach Bum Eddie for third.
“We were hoping for a little better break,” said Frazier. “He stumbled a little coming out of the gate and that cost us a few strides. After 200 yards, he hits a gear that most cannot and he made up that ground. He just gets more professional and better every time he runs.”