Month: July 2017

CB Come Fly With Me was the two-year-old Indiana Quarter Horse champion filly last season and has returned as strong as ever for her sophomore year. The Desirio filly solidified her status Saturday, July 29, winning the 15th running of the Blue River Derby at Indiana Grand with Jockey Rolando Pina aboard.

CB Come Fly With Me and Rolando Pina held off Sicario and Cristian Esqueda on the inside to win the Blue River Derby Saturday, July 29. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post three in the 10-horse lineup, CB Come Fly With Me broke sharply for Pina and got the first call. The filly, owned and bred by Carolyn Bruce of Lawrenceburg, Ind., seemed to be building up her speed with every stride during the 400-yard dash. Sicario and Cristian Esqueda looked like they might challenge from the inside at one point midway through the race, but CB Come Fly With Me was too strong, running under the wire as a one-half length winner over Sicario, who was later disqualified for interference. Kid Cartel and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez rallied up late and moved into second place followed by HH Kentucky Krome and Oscar Macias for third.


After turning in the fastest trial time, SR Shambles and Jockey David Pinon proved once again they were the pair to beat in the ninth running of the $108,800 Heartland Futurity at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Saturday, July 29. The duo rallied home to a one-half length win during a night dedicated to raising funds and awareness for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF).

SR Shambles and Jockey David Pinon cruise home to victory in the ninth running of the Heartland Futurity at Indiana Grand Saturday, July 29. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from the inside post one in the nine-horse final, SR Shambles broke alertly and had a clear path from the start. The two-year-old Oklahoma-bred son of Desirio got the first call from the gate and maintained that position all the way to the wire. Dicey Dream and Juan Pulido ran strong from start to finish in the center of the track but had to settle for second while El Candyman and Jose Ruiz made a slight push at the end to finish a neck back in third. The time of the race was :15.467 seconds.


The Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) has a history of having a strong presence in the national American Quarter Horse Association’s (AQHA) Youth Racing Experience program. The national winner in 2015 was Holly Kiess of Fort Wayne, Ind. Last year’s Hunter Duncan of Terre Haute, Ind. finished second in the national program. Indiana will be represented by Kim Standeford for the 2017 edition of the Youth Racing Experience to be held during the Bank of America Challenge at Prairie Meadows Racetrack in Iowa in mid October.


Kim Standeford is pictured with her barrel horse CDF Queensville King following their win in the 1D IBRA State Youth event in 2014. (Photo provided)

Standeford was one of 13 students age 16-18 that competed in this year’s event at Indiana Grand, held in mid June. The students spent the day at the track, learning about the care and training of Quarter Horses. At the conclusion of the event, students were tasked to take an exam which solidified the winner of the contest. As a result, Standeford earned a $1,000 scholarship courtesy of QHRAI and a trip to the national contest where she will have the opportunity to earn an additional scholarship from AQHA as programs from across the nation come together for the national competition.

 Standeford, a 2017 graduate of Hamilton Heights High School located just north of Indianapolis, is headed to Purdue University this fall. The Atlanta, Ind. native hopes to earn a degree in marketing and would love to tie that into horses in some way.


On Saturday, July 15, Elizabeth Lecher of Lebanon was crowned the 2017 Indiana Derby Queen at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino’s biggest racing event of the year, A Royal Derby, which featured the 23rd running of the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby.

Elizabeth Lecher, also selected as People’s Choice through WISH TV, was crowned the 2017 Indiana Derby Queen (right) by the inaugural queen Gracie Lyons during the 23rd running of the Indiana Derby Saturday, July 15.

Lecher was one of five finalists, who were selected by a panel of judges, to make up the 2017 Indiana Derby Court. Lecher received $5,000 and will serve as a representative for the Indiana Derby throughout the state of Indiana during over the course of the next year. Lecher was also named the people’s choice winner and received an additional $500.

Lecher noted that she has a strong love of the racing industry and grew up watching horse racing.

“The equine industry is full of amazing organizations with numerous possibilities and I can’t wait to help represent the Indiana Derby and Indiana Grand,” said Lecher. “All of my life I have loved watching racing, but nothing compares to Derby Day.”


Less than a week after finishing second in the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby with Colonelsdarktemper, Jockey Jon Court shipped back to Indiana Grand Thursday, July 20 and picked up two wins on the card, including the $100,000 Ta Wee Stakes. Youngest Daughter, trained by Victoria Oliver, rallied nearly gate to wire for the win in the one mile race over the turf.


Jon Court and Youngest Daughter hold on as the late closers rally home in the $100,000 Ta Wee Stakes Thursday, July 20. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Queen Del Valle and Edgard Zayas were the first to emerge from the starting gate and grab the lead, but their time at the top was limited. By the time the bulky field of 12 had passed the finish line for the first time, it was Youngest Daughter and Court who had shot up the middle of the track to take over the pace setting role.

 “I wasn’t expecting the lead today,” said Court. “I’ve watched enough of her races and she doesn’t have to be on the lead, but I chirped to her and she took off. She definitely brought her “A” game today. Even in the post parade I didn’t want to warm her up too much because I could tell Victoria (Oliver) had her ready to go.”

 Court was able to get Youngest Daughter to relax around the turn and down the backstretch to keep her fresh for the latter part of the race as Tap It All and Brian Hernandez Jr. sat just to their outside in stalking position. Queen Del Valle maintained early positioning but was gapping along the inside in third before beginning her move toward the leaders heading into the final turn.


Fresh off his win in the $100,000 Snack Stakes Wednesday, July 19, Trainer Randy Matthews was back in the winner’s circle for the third round of the $30,000 Annie Steele Memorial Starter at Indiana Grand. Afoolsbrokenheart and Indiana Grand’s leading jockey Katie Clawson cruised to victory in the series named after Indiana’s first female outrider Annie Steele of Connersville, Ind., who passed away in 2012 at the age of 33 after a brief illness.

Afoolsbrokenheart and Katie Clawson rally home as easy winners in the third round of the Annie Steele Memorial Starter Thursday, July 20 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

The field of six left the starting gate for the one and one-sixteenth mile turf race with Telling Metzie and Alex Contreras leading the way. Afoolsbrokenheart followed the leaders out of the gate but settled in a few lengths off their heels for the first half of the race. Heading into the final turn, Afoolsbrokenheart inched up toward the leader to close in the gap and by mid turn, the six-year-old daughter of Mutakddim was in full flight, overtaking Telling Metzie for the lead before the top of the stretch.

Afoolsbrokenheart kept up her momentum and continued her dominance in the field, rallying home to a three and three-quarter length win. Heavily favored Sugar Cube and James Graham came rallying up late to finish second, just a head over Bela Menina and Fernando De La Cruz for third. The time of the race was 1:43.97.


It’s not about where you start in a race, it’s about where you finish. Trailing the field early on, Polar Vortex and Jockey Richard Bracho rallied late in the game Wednesday, July 19 to win the ninth running of the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes at Indiana Grand. The duo covered the one mile race on the turf in a time of 1:36.45 to establish a new stakes record.


Polar Vortex, with Jockey Richard Bracho, shows the extended stride she used over the turf course to win the Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes Wednesday, July 19 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Post position didn’t really matter to Bracho and Polar Vortex. They began their journey from post three and easily slid behind the field of seven other contenders as Midnight Blvd and Fernando De La Cruz set the fractions of the race. The leader was joined by Marina’s Legacy and DeShawn Parker just to their outside most of the race by open lengths before the remainder of the field began to close in, including Polar Vortex.

 Bracho kept his filly wide in the turn and had great momentum for the stretch drive. In the stretch, Marina’s Legacy took control of the lead with Whistle Stop and Marcelino Pedroza bearing down on them with a late rally. A surprise blur began to appear on the outside as Polar Vortex lengthened her stride and was able to pass by the top ones late in the race for the win by the margin of one-half length. Marina’s Legacy finished second over Defining Hope and Malcolm Franklin, who maintained their ground in the center of the track for third.


Mind Reader and DeShawn Parker were persistent in finding racing room and their persistency paid off, rallying home to the victory in the ninth running of the $100,000 Snack Stakes. The duo covered the one-mile turf course distance in a time of 1:36.80.


Mind Reader and DeShawn Parker pulled off a mild upset in the $100,000 Snack Stakes Wednesday, July 20 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post 10 in the bulky field of 11 Indiana bred three-year-olds, Mind Reader rallied out of the starting gate with the pack, settling in nicely among the second tier horses as Gifted Justice and Declan Cannon shot to the lead on the inside with Evader and Marcelino Pedroza three wide as Shezaguy and Juan De La Cruz held his ground between horses. The trio of horses continued their pursuit of the race down the backstretch as horses continued to stay close from the top to bottom in the field. Around the turn, the late closers began kicking in and Parker let Mind Reader out a notch just to keep positioning.


It was a gate to wire performance for Western Reserve in the eighth running of the $100,000 Warrior Veterans Saturday, July 15 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The stakes was the second of six on the card leading up to the state’s richest horse race, the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby.


Western Reserve takes the early lead in the Warrior Veterans Stakes over the turf on Indiana Derby Night. (Photo by John Engelhardt)

Starting from post seven in the eight-horse lineup, Western Reserve and Florent Geroux rallied out quickly and settled nicely on the lead as Chocolate Ride and Shaun Bridgmohan tracked his progress from the outside. One Mean Man and Brian Hernandez Jr. kept positioning on the inside as this trio pulled away from the rest of the field heading down the backstretch.

Chocolate Ride continued to pursue Western Reserve from the outside but Western Reserve had just that – too much reserve left. In the stretch, the Indiana Charlie gelding moved ahead to a three length advantage as the back of the pack began to close in for the final strides. In the end, Western Reserve was an easy winner, passing under the wire during the one and one-sixteenth mile turf race by three and three-quarter lengths. One Mean Man maintained ground along the inside to finish second, just a neck ahead of a hard charging Special Ops and Julien Leparoux who had to settle for third.


Eagle and Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. edged out the competition in the 18th running of the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Saturday, July 15. The duo covered the one mile and 70 yard distance in a time of 1:40.24, which was a new stakes record.

Eagle and Brian Hernandez Jr. edged out two other horses in a three-way photo for the victory in the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Saturday, July 15. (Photo by John Engelhardt)

Eagle didn’t even attempt early speed in the field. That’s not his forte. He followed along from post two as Bucchero and Leandro Goncalves fired out to the lead from the center of the track. Abraham and Corey Lanerie followed suit and pursued the top spot in a stalking position on the outside while Eagle remained at the back of the pack.

Eagle began to inch up toward the leaders in the turn but it was in the stretch that he got his best footing to join the chase for the wire. Sitting along the rail, Hernandez kept saving ground and got Eagle up into perfect position halfway through the lane. In the end, it was Eagle that posted the head win over Fear the Cowboy and Jesus Rios and Mo Tom and Ricardo Santana Jr. in the three-horse photo.