HBPA holds first Grand Mornings at the Track

The Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) is hosting a series of breakfast events from May through August during the 2016 meet. The first of four “Grand Mornings at the Track” was held Saturday, May 21 featuring a look at the life of a jockey.

Rainy weather started the morning session but quickly subsided, allowing guests to take a trip to the Jockey’s Quarters to see the inner workings of what it takes to prepare for racing. Clerk of Scales Steve Cahill began the tour by explaining Trakus and how the battery packs are inserted into saddle pads to detect the horses’ positions during a race. The group then learned about changes for the race before moving back to the jockey’s locker room, seeing different types of equipment, from girths to various saddles. Cahill also showed guests of “Grand Mornings at the Track” the silks room and lounge area.

Indiana Grand’s all-time leading rider Rodney Prescott then took over with a look at the life of a jockey. Prescott explained his daily routine and how he approached each horse for each race as well as the equipment he uses.

“I’ve been riding for more than 20 years now,” said Prescott. “I enjoy it and have been fortunate during my career. “

The group then went into the paddock where the racehorse, Barat, winner of 16 career races and more than $250,000 in earnings, was standing by to be utilized for a saddling demonstration. Owned by Lesalene Pompell, Barat, now eight-years-old, was a perfect gentleman as Valet Joe Johnson and Trainer Mike Nance provided the demonstration, showing each component of the saddling process.

“Barat is now eight and we are considering retiring him,” said Pompell, who has been a longtime assistant trainer for Randy Klopp. “He has raced well for us and he’s coming to the end of his career.”

Also assisting with bringing Barat to the paddock was Trainer Marvin Johnson, who was seated aboard one of his paint ponies that he uses during morning training hours to take horses to and from the track. Johnson also escorted Barat around the paddock so that fans could see him in full attire, ready for racing.

HBPA’s “Grand Mornings at the Track” was hosted by Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing personality at Indiana Grand. In addition, several HBPA members were present to help answer questions, including trainers Tianna Richardville and Mike Lauer as well as owner Katie Duran. Mike Brown, executive director of HBPA, was also present for the morning session, which showcased horses training on the track during the entire event.

The next “Grand Mornings at the Track” is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 from 9-11AM. The event begins with free continental breakfast courtesy of the Indiana HBPA followed by a program. The June event will put the focus on a trainer, and the group will go to the backstretch for a tour of one of the barns.

Other “Grand Mornings at the Track” are scheduled for Saturday, July 23, featuring Track Man Roy Smith and Starter Steve Peterman followed by the August event slated for Aug. 20 that will take a look at the horse, featuring a veterinarian and blacksmith as guest speakers.