Month: September 2017
It didn’t take long for Tommy Pompell to secure his 2,500th trip to the winner’s circle. Pompell came into the day just one win away from the milestone and easily defeated the field of nine aboard Tornada in the second race of the day.
Owned by Clabar Mor Stable LLC and Haran Thoroughbreds, Tornada completed the milestone for Pompell with a four and one-half length advantage at the wire after taking over the top spot at the top of the stretch. The seven-year-old Indiana bred daughter of High Fly moved closer to $200,000 in her career with the win for Trainer John Haran.
“This win feels really great today,” said Pompell. “I started riding in 1996 but didn’t come to Indiana (Hoosier Park) until 1997. I missed the first few years of racing at Indiana Grand (then, known as Indiana Downs) when they started in 2003 because I would go to Florida in the winter and didn’t come back up for the spring meet, but I’ve been here ever since.”
By Nancy Holthus, paddock analyst
Within the horse racing industry, it isn’t uncommon for one person to have several jobs within the industry simultaneously. But one special individual takes that concept to a whole new level.
Jockey Ramon Rechy’s alarm goes off without fail at 4:30 a.m. One of his first duties is taking his seven-month-old daughter, Alejandra, to daycare. After that, it’s off to Indiana Grand where his car seems to automatically guide itself on a daily basis. His work day begins bright and early under the glow of the lights while galloping for Thoroughbred trainers Mike Nance and Wayne Mogge. He then gets on the boss’ horses, his wife of three years, Chaz, who is a trainer at Indiana Grand.
It’s not unusual for Rechy to gallop 12 to 15 horses each morning between the three barns. Once training is complete, riders typically make their way to the Jockeys Room. But Rechy isn’t like most jockeys.
Keen Liaison and Ronald Hisby set the bar in the first of three trials for the upcoming $100,000 Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes Saturday, Sept. 16. The duo turned in the fastest time of :20.080 seconds heading into the Saturday, Sept. 30 final at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.
Starting from post six as the favorite of the eight-horse field, Keen Liaison had a good break and was all business from start to finish in the 400-yard dash. The three-year-old daughter of Sixes Liaison grabbed the lead early and could not be caught, winning the race by one-half length at the wire. Dreamers Liaison, also a son of Sixes Liaison, kept close the entire race for Rodney Prescott to finish second over Kid Cartel and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, who came out on top of a close photo for third.
Owned by James Black and trained by Erin Thompson, Keen Liaison paid $5.60, $4.00, $2.60 across the board. She is now four for five in 2017, just missing a perfect season by the margin of a nose earlier this year to finish second.
By Nancy Holthus, paddock analyst for Indiana Grand
There are so many important factors involved in the care of a Thoroughbred, too many to count. But one that many people don’t take into consideration is providing a secure home for them after their racing career is over. Fortunately for those at Indiana Grand, there is a special person that many count on to provide not only a good home, but also retraining for a second career for their retired equine athletes.
Amy Paulus has family ties to the track. Her father, David, and grandfather, Richard, both trained at Indiana Grand. Riding since the age of two, Amy is accomplished in all disciplines including barrel racing, hunter jumper, polo, team roping, trick riding and more. At a young age, she would restart horses that were retired by her father and had much success. Unbeknownst to her, that talent and passion would lead to a career. Her experience on the back of a horse is priceless, and the retired horses that come to her, whether purchased or given, are retrained by her. Through her restarting process, Amy is able to determine the discipline(s) each horse will excel at and also decide the level of rider best suited for each horse.
It’s not unusual for Amy to turn down offers if she doesn’t feel the person is a good match with a particular horse. The horse’s interest comes first, no exceptions.
After traveling to various tracks for stakes action, Indiana’s top older male returned to defend his title in the 21st running of the $100,000 Brickyard Stakes Wed. Sept. 13 at Indiana Grand. The flashy chestnut horse, piloted by Fernando De La Cruz, posted a time of 1:09.36 to earn his eighth career trip to the winner’s circle.
Starting from the extreme outside post 12 in the lineup, Bucchero’s white blaze was not immediately detected as Mr Manning and DeShawn Parker opened up for the early lead in the six-furlong race. It took a while for Bucchero to move up into contention, but that happened by the time the field had hit the only turn of the race.
As the duo straightened out for the stretch drive, it appeared that Bucchero was poised to blow right by Mr Manning, but he had other intentions. Mr Manning dug in gamely to make Bucchero fight for the lead, a position he did not secure until late in the race. But once he had cleared, the five-year-old son of Kantharos was strong, posting a one-length win over Mr. Manning for second. Supreme Justice and Marcelino Pedroza rallied up nicely to finish third.
Peyton’s Pass showed how quickness pays off as she rallied to a nearly gate to wire victory in the 23rd running of the $100,000-added Merrillville Stakes at Indiana Grand Wed. Sept. 13. The race joins the Indiana Derby as the oldest stakes race in the history of pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing in the state of Indiana. It was part of the lineup during the inaugural season at Hoosier Park in 1995 and was moved to Indiana Grand in 2013 when the track went to all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.
Peyton’s Pass was ready to go as the Steve Peterman starting gate sprung open, the four-year-old daughter of Pass Rush busted out of the gate on top and looked powerful on the inside as she was joined by Ourcinnamonansugar and Fernando De La Cruz on the outside for the race down the backstretch. Whistle Stop and Marcelino Pedroza were tracking the progress of the top two throughout the race and when the field turned for home, they were ready to pounce.
In the stretch, several opponents tried their best to catch Peyton’s Pass but she was strong through the wire, winning by four lengths in a time of 1:10.36. Hay Little Bit and Alex Contreras rallied from the back of the eight horse field to finish second, less than a length ahead of Whistle Stop for third.
Each year, trainers hope their new crop of prospects will carry on the winning tradition of the stable. Trainer Mike Lauer appears to have just the horse to carry that hope out as Bibbidibobbidi Boo and Marcelino Pedroza powered under the wire to win the $100,000-added City of Anderson Stakes Wed. Sept. 13 at Indiana Grand.
Starting from post nine in the 12-horse field of freshman fillies, Bibbidibobbidi Boo left the gate in a flash, claiming the top spot before others could get their momentum going in the six furlong sprint. Bibbidibobbidi Boo was quickly joined on the outside by Shesmischievous and Tommy Pompell while Ever Wonder and Eddie Perez shot up the inside to challenge. Bibbidibobbidi Boo and Ever Wonder broke away from the rest of the field and stayed together like a team heading into the only turn of the race run over a track listed as fast during the light rain in the area. Time of the sprint was 1:11.81 after a :21.54 opening quarter.
In the stretch, neither filly was giving in as the duo battled to shake loose from the other one. However, midway through the stretch, it was Bibbidibobbidi Boo that got the edge and strode away from her opponents to win by two and one-quarter lengths. Regal Wildcat and Albin Jimenez closed in from the back of the pack to finish second over Ever Wonder, who held steady along the inside for third.
Jersey Justice and DeShawn Parker were a bit of a surprise in a strong field of two-year-old Indiana breds vying for the title in the 17th running of the $100,000-added Hillsdale Stakes. The duo covered the six-furlong race in a time of 1:12.07 to take home the title for Owner Maggi Moss and Trainer Tom Amoss.
Starting from post four, Jersey Justice broke well from the starting gate but was no match for the quick speed of race favorite Its Just Fate and Rodney Prescott, who got the first call. Express Win and Jon Court rallied up along the inside to also get an early advantage with Jersey Justice sitting right in between horses down the backstretch. Once the field got into the turn, Jersey Justice and Its Just Fate continued to battle and found themselves all alone at the top of the stretch before Jersey Justice broke away and got a several length advantage, making it hard for the late closers to catch him. Jersey Justice rallied home to a two and one-half length win over Buck Dynasty and Malcolm Franklin, who proved to be the fastest from the back of the pack for second. Mo Money and Alex Contreras also closed in well to complete a longshot trifecta in the Hillsdale Stakes.
Lovely Bernadette and jockey Florent Geroux rolled to an impressive win in the ninth running of the $200,000-guaranteed Indiana Grand Stakes Wednesday, Sept. 6 at Indiana Grand. The duo covered the one mile turf race in a time of 1:35.37.
Starting from post seven in the 10-horse field, Lovely Bernadette broke well and was in contention early for the lead along with five other horses. Each one looked as if they might strike out to take control for a few strides before I’m Betty G and DeShawn Parker finally committed to the front spot, leading the way through the majority of the race. Little movement was detected as the field stayed close throughout, but when the final turn arrived, several noticeable moves began to unveil, including one from Lovely Bernadette from the center of the track.
Eddie Perez and Erica Murray represented the jockey colony at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Thursday, Sept. 7 during the annual visit to Riley Hospital for Children in downtown Indianapolis. The trip is conducted by the jockeys with support from The Jockey’s Guild and Indiana Grand to bring awareness to Childhood Cancer Awareness Month during the month of September.
Perez and Murray visited several children in various areas of Riley Hospital specializing in cancer treatments. Their first stop was on the cancer unit floor followed by a trip to the cancer clinic that provides outpatient services. The jockeys handed out horse racing coloring books and crayons along with goggles to the patients. They also autographed several items for the kids and stopped for photos along the way.
Perez, a native of Mexico, is a 27-year veteran with nearly 2,500 career wins. He was attending his second straight visit to Riley in support of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Perez is currently ranked among the top 10 jockeys at Indiana Grand and recorded four wins on the program Wednesday, Sept. 6.
“This is something I look forward to participating in every year,” said Perez. “I really enjoy visiting the kids. And, a couple of them really like horses, so it was nice to talk with them and tell them about our job as a jockey.”
Murray, a native of Louisiana, is new to racing. The apprentice rider began her career at the age of 17 at Fair Grounds in her home state before venturing to the Midwest last summer. She has been very active all season with various charitable events with the jockeys and will celebrate her 20th birthday next week.