Browning wins $2,000 Road to the Derby Contest

April 12, 2014 – He may not have led the way during the entire contest, but Roger Browning found the right stride in the late stages of the 2014 Road to the Derby contest at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, winning the grand prize of $2,000 during the final leg of the competition Saturday, April 12. Browning completed the contest, which had participation from 237 different players, with a total of 46 points, six more than a trio of players who finished in second place. The contest was conducted over a 10-week span.

“Dance With Fate’s win in the Blue Grass is what put me over the top,” said Browning, who competed every week in the contest. “I had read a story a few weeks prior to that race that the trainer was prepping him for the Blue Grass, and I had remembered that. I had been watching his works, so he was my choice that final week.”

The Road to the Derby contest included players from both Indiana Grand Racing & Casino as well as players from the Clarksville OTB. At Indiana Grand, William Carey, Matt Kwiatkowski and Earlen Wilkerson all finished in second place with 40 points followed by Steve Allen (39) and Jewell Baughman (37) as the top players. At Clarksville OTB, Kenneth Burkhead and Thanh Ta were atop the standings with 39 points followed by Ettico Coury (37), George Gilmore (36) and Warren Morse (35).

Six players competed in all 10 weeks of the competition and received a $20 race wagering voucher for Kentucky Oaks Day Friday, May 2 or Kentucky Derby Day Saturday, May 3. Players receiving the bonus included Browning, Carey, Kwiatkowski, Allen, Baughman and Terry Johns.

Browning, a native of Shelbyville, is a student of the horse racing game. When he was just a kid, he would accompany his father and uncle to then Latonia (now Turfway Park) near Cincinnati and always says, “The first book I read was the Daily Racing Form.” Browning’s interest in horse racing continued into his adulthood, and he rarely misses a day of action at Indiana Grand.

“I’ve been coming here (Indiana Grand) since it opened,” said Browning. “I haven’t missed two weeks total since that time. In fact, my father and uncle won the first “Race to the Derby” contest in 2003.”

A Local 103 Union crane operator by trade, Browning puts as much preliminary work into his handicapping as he can. He reads the Daily Racing Form every day along with blogs and other racing news sources. When he arrives at Indiana Grand, he usually only focuses on three or four races and picks and chooses what horses to watch and wager on.

“I like the Pick 6, Pick 3 and Pick 4 along with Win and Place,” said Browning of his preferred choices of wagers. “I love to wager on Saratoga along with Indiana Grand. I like all types of racing, and I especially like the turf. It seems like it’s a little easier to handicap.”

Browning has been a winner in contests before at Indiana Grand but winning the Road to the Derby is his biggest jackpot yet. He has also teamed up with other friends at the track in pooling their picks together for the larger payoffs and has hit two Pick 6 wagers already this year from Gulfstream Park through simulcasting at Indiana Grand. He also hit three Pick 6 wagers at Indiana Grand last season and is ready for the 2014 racing season. In addition to his love of handicapping, he has also delved into horse ownership.

“Two years ago I bought my first horse,” said Browning. “There are four partners on it and we are all from Shelbyville. His name is Seal Beach and he is trained by Tim Glyshaw and he will be racing here this year.”

In the meantime, Browning will continue to watch and wager on racing at Indiana Grand. He looks forward to another year of action right in his backyard.

“Who would have thought that as a kid growing up and making all those trips to Kentucky that I would have a racetrack eight miles from my house,” said Browning. “I love handicapping and love the contests. Anything to keep me going.”