Month: April 2018
It was the first display of superior Quarter Horse power of the season Wednesday, April 25 as several former Indiana champions competed in the 350-yard $20,000 allowance for three-year-olds and up. WH Kenny G got the nod as the race favorite in the nine-horse lineup but it was Jumpn Chick who got the last jump for the win with Shanley Jackson aboard.
Owned by Rose Bode, Jumpn Chick was a step slow out of the gate as Tip It Bac and Leonel Bolanos grabbed the early lead. Seven horses were spread across the track in the middle stages of the race leaving the win up for grabs until Fantastic Six Pack and Cesar Esqueda looked to be the one to beat from the center of the track. Jumpn Chick was closing in quickly on the outside and at the wire, timed her trip just right to win the contest by a nose over Fantastic Six Pack. Time to Get Rough and Fernando Fonseca-Soto finished another neck back in third. Less than three-quarters of a length separated the top seven finishers at the wire in a time of :17.867 seconds.
Bold Concept, a three-year-old Indiana sired filly, has been purchased for Indiana Grand’s Racing Club, Grand Gesture Stable. The maiden filly had one start in 2018 prior to being purchased for the fractional ownership program. She finished a hard charging second in a maiden special weight Wednesday, April 18.
A daughter of Deputy Storm, Bold Concept was bred by R Star Stallions, Kerry Hopper and Jesse Hopper of Anderson, Ind. The filly sold at ITOBA’s Spring Two-Year-Old Sale held at Indiana Grand last June for a price of $7,500 to Cipriano Contreras’ Contreras Stables, Inc. She made her first start in early August. Her form began to turn around in her third start where she finished strong for fourth followed by a second and third place finish to complete her two-year-old season at Indiana Grand.
To date, Bold Concept has $16,710 in earnings in six career starts. Looking back five generations, many great racehorses appear in her lineage, including Northern Dancer, Bold Ruler and the great Secretariat, making her an interesting prospect for Grand Gesture Stable.
Bold Concept joins the barn of Anthony Granitz for Grand Gesture Stable. She is positioned right beside last year’s stable horse, AJ Pacer, who was purchased privately by three members of last year’s fractional ownership partnership of Grand Gesture Stable at the conclusion of the 2017 racing season. Just like AJ Pacer, Bold Concept has a perfect personality for Indiana Grand’s Racing Club, with a gentle, calm personality and a love of peppermints.
John Napariu, horse owner, handicapper and frequent contest player at Indiana Grand, has won the 2018 Road to the Derby contest. The contest, which began Saturday, Feb. 3, covered 10 weeks of action and included 18 races from tracks across the United States. Napariu topped the field with 52 points, just one point ahead of Kenny Peacock, who finished second. Dave Stroud finished third with 49 points.
A native of New Palestine, Napariu played in all 10 weeks of the contest to earn an additional 5,000 Club Centaur Rewards points. He was a consistent player and among the top 10 from day one, but it was his choice in the $200,000 Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks (formerly known as the Spiral Stakes) at Turfway Park March 17 that changed the whole landscape of the contest.
“It was my pick in the Spiral Stakes (Jeff Ruby Steaks) that flipped the standings and put me in the lead,” said Napariu. “Everyone that week was going with the chalk (Hazit) and I went off the chalk and picked a 10-1 shot (Blended Citizen). Up to that point, it was nip and tuck. After that, everyone seemed to go with the same horses and they just happened to win but that one race gave me a lead over them.”
Napariu earned the top prize of $1,500 for his win in the Road to the Derby contest, which concluded Saturday, April 14 with the Grade I Arkansas Derby. Napariu picked seven of the 18 races correctly, and chose the winning horse in four out of the last five weeks of the competition to retain his lead in the standings. Peacock received $600 for second while Stroud won $250 for third. The top five places received rewards with Tony Fannin finishing fourth for $100 and Karen McGuinness completing the top five finishers for $50.
Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand, was recently honored with the Hall of Distinction award at the annual Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA) banquet held Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Indiana Grand. The award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual from ITOBA. Schuster was the third recipient of the prestigious award.
“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized by the folks in our game,” said Schuster, who has been with Indiana Grand in leadership roles since its inception as Indiana Downs in 2002. “We value their support and partnership. I had been alerted about a presentation, but I didn’t know exactly what the award was, and it was a nice surprise.”
A native of Indianapolis, Schuster graduated from Warren Central High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona. He is also a graduate of the prestigious
University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program.
Express Charge with apprentice jockey Edgar Morales charged home in the stretch to win the season opener Tuesday, April 17 at Indiana Grand. The race kicked off the 120-day racing season that extends to Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Starting from post five in the nine horse lineup used early speed out of the gate to get good positioning along the inside as Gibsons Tricky Boy and DeShawn Parker rallied from the outside to secure the lead. Noble Sowle and Rodney Prescott also chose early speed tactics and tracked the top two on the outside during the five and one-half furlong event. In the stretch, Express Charge moved up for a one on one challenge with Gibsons Tricky Boy for the drive home. Midway through the stretch, Express Charge had a clear path in the center of the track and took over, rallying home for a one and one-half length victory over Gibsons Tricky Boy. Stringtown and Perry Ouzts used a late kick to finish third.
The 16th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing will get underway Tuesday, April 17 with a nine-race program beginning at 2:05 p.m. The 120-day race meet will extend through Wednesday, Nov. 7 offering racing four days a week.
“I’m excited as always for racing to get underway,” said Kevin Greely, director of racing. “We have a good group of horsemen coming in with a lot of good stock. It looks to be another high caliber, competitive race meet in 2018.”
Featured on the season opener is a $32,500 Allowance Optional Claiming race slated as the seventh race on the program. Five-time Indiana Grand leading trainer Tom Amoss will saddle a tough entry in Bobby The Brain and Tito Tonight. Bobby The Brain ships in off a win at Fair Grounds in late February and was claimed from that race. The four-year-old son of Pioneerof The Nile makes his first start for owner Maggi Moss from post one in the 10-horse lineup. With two wins in three starts in 2018, Bobby The Brain will make his first start over Indiana Grand’s one-mile oval. The gelding is joined by Tito Tonight from post three, who also comes into Indiana off a win at Fair Grounds over the turf course. DeShawn Parker, who finished second in the standings in 2017, is named to ride both horses for Amoss.