Month: November 2016
by Kiersten Flint, vice president of advertising and communications
On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino presented the Indiana Women in Need Foundation (I.W.I.N.) a check totaling $19,625. The money will benefit at least 35 women in Shelby and surrounding counties who are currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, and aid in transportation to appointments, meal preparation, groceries, gas, housekeeping, childcare and more.
In an effort to raise donations for I.W.I.N., Indiana Grand hosted a Pink Out during the entire month of October. Indiana Grand guests were encouraged to donate a minimum of $10 to I.W.I.N. and were given a complimentary $10 in free slot play as a thank you for their contribution. The combined donations totaled more than $18,000.
In addition to the donation program, the month kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 1 with a Pink Out Walk honoring those who have been affected in some form by breast cancer. More than 50 people assembled for the walk, which started through the Indiana Grand barn area and finished before the start of live racing. Members of the starting gate crew, pony riders, valets and other team members wore bright pink shirts in support of breast cancer awareness. The t-shirts were also on sale and the proceeds brought in more than $550 for I.W.I.N.
The Indiana racing program is on the rise and the breeding program just got another boost. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has announced that Sahara Sky, a Grade I millionaire, is retiring and will join the lineup at R Star Stallions located in Anderson, Ind. for the 2017 breeding season.
Sahara Sky, a son of Pleasant Tap, completed his racing career this past summer for Hollendorfer, who is also a co-owner of the eight-year-old. During his career, he won eight races in 27 starts, four of which were Grade I and Grade II races. His biggest win was in the Grade I $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park in 2013. On his maternal side, Sahara Sky’s dam, Seeking The Sky, is from the immediate maternal family of Nyquist, 2016 Kentucky Derby winner. With more than $1.1 million in career earnings, Sahara Sky’s addition to the Indiana breeding program shows the national interest and investment that is being made into a very lucrative program offering breeders awards and incentives.
It was a fight to the finish for the winner-take-all format in the $2,000 final of Racing Rachel’s Wagering Warriors handicapping contest held at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Wednesday, Oct. 26. Each week during the season, the top player earned cash prizes and a seat in the final. Jon Anderson of Nashville, Ind. was one of the final weekly winners to advance but he kept that momentum going to earn the title and the $2,000 cash award.
Anderson and his wife, Joyce, recently relocated to Nashville so she could pursue her love of painting. They lived in the Tampa, Fla. area for 36 years prior to their move and were frequent visitors to nearby Tampa Bay Downs, where they developed their interest in “picking the ponies.”
“She just loves the horses,” said Anderson following his win in the final. “She just painted a piece for the owners of Sucess is Racing (one of the local stakes winners this season at Indiana Grand).”
When it comes to handicapping, Anderson relies on his wife’s expertise to assist him.
“My wife is my guiding light for all these horses,” said Anderson. “She actually picked the pentafecta a few days ago and there was a carryover and she won $1,000 on a 10 cent bet.”
Anderson completed the final competition, which included 27 players from both Indiana Grand as well as Indiana Grand’s Off Track Betting facility in Clarksville, Ind. with a bankroll of $41.60. Players utilize a mythical bankroll over five races to select winners and the player with the largest tally at the end is the winner. Anderson selected three winners in the five races of the contest.
Each summer, the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) holds a local Youth Racing Experience program at Indiana Grand. The event attracts many area students interested in horses with a chance to win scholarship money.
Regional high school students enjoy a day at the track, shadowing a Quarter Horse trainer for some hands on experience followed by a written test. The top student receives $1,000 in scholarship money from QHRAI and a chance to advance to the national Youth Racing Experience event sponsored by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). This year, the local program sent the top two students with Garrett Conway of Muncie, Ind. and Hunter Duncan of Terre Haute, Ind. representing Indiana in the national competition held at Los Alamitos Race Course just outside of Los Angeles.
Conway won the local competition and Duncan finished second. Both students earned $1,000 in scholarship funds with the chance of adding more to their tally at the national competition. The competition travels with the annual Bank of America Championship Challenge races and the 2016 event was held at Los Alamitos in Southern California.
Conway and Duncan, accompanied by members of the QHRAI, attended the event Thursday, Oct. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 30. Duncan scored extremely well on the test to finish second overall and earn an additional $2,000 scholarship from AQHA.
Horsemen are the backbone of the horse racing industry, and through a commitment by the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), a strong partnership is evident in the success of the racing program at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. With handle up for the second straight year, the 2016 racing season will go down as the best ever recorded in the state of Indiana.
Indiana Grand and Centaur Gaming are very aware of the value organizations such as the HBPA provide. They want to acknowledge and thank HBPA for their exceptional partnership, cooperation, and participation in producing another fantastic year for Indiana racing. The HBPA is the official representative of Thoroughbred owners and trainers in Indiana.
Indiana Grand concluded the 120-day race meet Saturday, Oct. 29. The 13th season of racing in 2016 boasted an increase of 16 percent in all-sources handle versus 2015, a year which saw a 22 percent increase in that metric over the 2014 season.