Month: October 2016
Bucchero and 2016 Leading Jockey Fernando De La Cruz didn’t disappoint. The duo scored their second straight win in the $150,000 To Much Coffee Stakes Saturday, Oct. 29, repeating their winning performance from the 2015 version of the race. The To Much Coffee, named after former Indiana bred standout To Much Coffee who ran at Hoosier Park in the mid 1990’s, was part of a $600,000-plus purse card that featured four stakes to close out the 2016 racing season.
Starting from post one in the 12-horse lineup, Bucchero rallied out from the starting gate to retain his inside advantage during the early portions of the one and one-sixteenth mile race. The field was tightly packed as Derby Express and Malcolm Franklin tracked Bucchero’s progress from the inside while Paddy’s Notes and Emanuel Cosme used a wider path to stay in contention.
As the field turned for home, Bucchero had a good hold on the front end and began to drift out in the stretch. However, there was no horse in the race that could even come close to threatening him for the win. The four-year-old son of Kantharos stretched out to a four and one-half length victory at the finish line, recording the time in 1:43.05. Huntstown and Abel Lezcano saved ground inside to finish second followed by Sucess Is Racing and Eddie Perez, who rallied from the back to finish third.
Tony Cunningham has been among Indiana’s top trainers for more than a decade. In 2016, he added ownership as a successful category as well, winning his first Leading Quarter Horse Owner title.
Cunningham won races with 13 horses that he owned during the season, nearly half of his training wins for the meet. In addition to his success in the owner ranks, he finished second in the Quarter Horse standings with 27 wins.
A native of Michigan, Cunningham has competed in all 20 seasons of pari-mutuel Quarter Horse racing in the state of Indiana, which began in 1997. He earned a leading Quarter Horse trainer title at Hoosier Park prior to both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing moving full time to Indiana Grand in 2013.
Unraced at two, Carmalley Chrome proved to Trainer Mike Nance and Owner Tom Roche she was worth the wait. The three-year-old Cat Dreams filly earned five wins during the season to top the standings as the leading Thoroughbred for 2016.
Carmalley Chrome started off her career with two wins before finishing third in her first stakes attempt in the $100,000 Swifty Sired. The flashy chestnut sophomore then returned to score wins in the $75,000 ITOBA Filly Stakes and the $150,000 First Lady Stakes. One more stakes win would be added to her credentials with a win in the $100,000 Merrillville Stakes, taking on older horses in several of her stakes races during the year. In all, Carmalley Chrome completed the 2016 racing season with five wins in 10 starts and purse earnings in excess of $255,000.
It’s been a big year for Quarter Horse jockey Rolando Pina. Earlier this season, he scored his first stakes win aboard Parti Favor and the stakes win was followed up by other stakes wins aboard CB Come Fly With Me and Stinkin Rich. Pina and Berkley Packer tied atop the standings with 28 wins apiece to share the honor as the meet’s top Quarter Horse jockeys for 2016 at Indiana Grand.
Pina rode first call for Trainer Joe Davis, who also had a breakout year and finished third in the trainer standings. Pina has been a threat then entire season and has traded the top spot with both Packer and Cesar Esqueda several times.
Pina and Packer ended their seasons with 28 wins apiece to equal the record for most wins by a Quarter Horse jockey in one season, which was set in 2013 by Harold Collins. Pina moves into the top 25 all-time leading Quarter Horse jockeys this year in only his third season of riding at Indiana Grand.
“I want to thank Joe Davis and all the owners for this opportunity,” said Pina. “I never thought I would ever be able to do this. It’s been a great year.”
It was nearly a repeat of the last stakes race between Lady Fog Horn and She Mabee Wild, but this time, the outcome was different. The two talented four-year-old fillies went to battle once again in the stretch, but it was Lady Fog Horn who prevailed to win her second straight title in the 20th running of the $150,000-guaranteed Frances Slocum Stakes Saturday, Oct. 29 at Indiana Grand.
Starting from post eight, Jockey Albin Jimenez took Lady Fog Horn off the early pace as She Mabee Wild and Jesus Castanon went out for the early lead with Stage Five Creeper and Orlando Mojica showing good early foot from the outside to get into position early. Down the backstretch, Carmalley Chrome and Rodney Prescott snuck up the inside to challenge She Mabee Wild for the lead and saved ground into the final turn. Halfway through the turn, Jimenez timed his move just right and moved Lady Fog Horn to the outside to get some racing room.
At the top of the stretch, it was once again a two-filly race, similar to the last stakes race where She Mabee Wild and Lady Fog Horn went to battle in the $100,000 Richmond Stakes, giving the nod to She Mabee Wild by a head at the wire. Both fillies dug in gamely before Lady Fog Horn was able to forge to the front, taking home the victory by two and three-quarter lengths over Heart’s Song and Fernando De La Cruz, who moved into second. She Mabee Wild was third.
Reverend John and Rodney Prescott put together a very impressive trip to win the 17th running of the $100,000-added Indiana Futurity Saturday, Oct. 29. The race was part of a four-stakes evening with purses in excess of $600,000 for closing night of the 2016 racing season.
Reverend John was ready to roll from the start. As soon as the gates sprung open he was in full race mode, posing a little bit of a handful early for Prescott. Candy Snatcher and Orlando Mojica moved out for an open length lead early with Gifted Justice and Declan Cannon sitting inside and Reverend John on the outside. In the turn, Reverend John began to move up to challenge Candy Snatcher and the colts were matching each other stride for stride by the time they were at the top of the stretch.
In the stretch, Reverend John dug in gamely and although it took a few strides to get control of the lead, it was his halfway down the lane. The Noble’s Promise colt moved off to a two and three-quarter length advantage at the wire in a time of 1:41.33. Candy Snatcher was an easy second over Ron and Fernando De La Cruz, who rallied from the back of the pack for third.
Defining Hope and Malcolm Franklin have been nearly perfect all season long and they finished the year with a bang, winning the 19th running of the $100,000 Miss Indiana Stakes Saturday, Oct. 29 at Indiana Grand. The win was the third of the season in four starts for owner and breeder Colette Vanmatre of Zionsville, Ind.
Starting from post 11 in the 12-filly lineup, Defining Hope was a contender from the start, but opted to follow along as Justiceonthebeach and Abel Lezcano chose the top spot early from the inside. Kitty Corner and Francisco Torres held ground along the outside as Richard Bracho kept Midnight Blvd in contention early along the inside behind the pace setter. As the field moved into the final turn of the one mile and 70-yard route, a horse was moving rapidly on the outside toward the leaders and that was Defining Hope, who was geared up for a strong finish.
In the stretch, Defining Hope overtook the top horses and pulled away to a four and one-half length advantage by the time they reached the wire in a time of 1:42.98. Midnight Blvd finished an easy second over Kitty Corner, who was also a comfortable third in the race.
Tom Amoss pulled in his fifth leading trainer title in six years and his primary owner, Maggi Moss, also recorded her second leading owner title for the 120-day racing meet at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Saturday, Oct. 29. Amoss completed the 2016 season with 41 wins and purses in excess of $850,000 while horses owned by Moss won 33 races, accumulating purse earnings of more than $600,000.
A native of New Orleans, Amoss rewrote the record books in 2013. He set new records for most wins in one season by a trainer (81) and most purse money earned by a trainer ($1,548,715). His success goes way beyond Indiana as he maintains several strings of horses all across the United States during the year and recorded his first Triple Crown top three finish when his horse, Mylute, finished third in the 2013 Preakness.
Amoss, who could not be in attendance, sent the following statement regarding his 2016 racing season at Indiana Grand, “I wish I could be at Indiana Grand to accept this prestigious honor on behalf of my staff, owners and most importantly, the athletes. Unfortunately, my contractual obligations with TVG do not make that possible, but I want to thank Rod Ratcliff and his staff for showing the rest of the nation how to run a racetrack. Racing comes first at Indiana Grand and we are proud to be a part of it. Most importantly, I want to thank the best racing fans in the world. You guys make racing fun for all of us. We will see you next spring. Thank you.”
Fernando De La Cruz has been a force the entire 2016 racing season. The native of Peru led the standings for nearly all of the 120-day race meet and eventually, pulled away from the field, 48 wins ahead of his next closest opponent en route to his second title at Indiana Grand.
De La Cruz won the title at Indiana Grand in 2014. During that season, he earned 130 wins. De La Cruz reached that tally Friday, Oct. 28 as part of his four-win afternoon, bringing his tally heading into the final night of racing to 131 wins. The mark is the second largest in the history of the track behind Malcolm Franklin’s record of 158 wins during the 2013 racing season.
“Fernando (De La Cruz) has had a very impressive year,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. “We appreciate the class you bring to our racing program and congratulate you for your success this year.”
De La Cruz was joined by many of his family members in the winner’s circle. Schuster and Kevin Greely, director of racing, made the winner’s circle presentation.
Randy Smith was awarded his third consecutive Leading Quarter Horse Trainer title Saturday, Oct. 29 during the final night of racing for the 2016 racing season. Smith, a native of Broughton, Ill. nearly matched his record setting year of 2015 when he rewrote the record books for most wins by a Quarter Horse trainer in one meet as well as most purse earnings by a Quarter Horse trainer in one season.
Horses from Smith’s stable earned 44 wins this season, just two shy of his record of 46 in 2015. Smith also went over the $1 million marker again for the second straight year in purse earnings. He is the only Quarter Horse trainer in the history of Indiana Grand to eclipse that mark. Smith, who races a lot of younger horses, is currently ranked 10th in the nation for wins among all Quarter Horse trainers this season and is among the country’s top 12 in purse earnings.
“We would like to thank Randy and his team for racing here again this year,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand. “He’s had another successful year and we appreciate his participation in our Quarter Horse racing program.”