Nine races featured on season opener

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.

Another contender to watch in the race is Bandito, who ships in from Kentucky with the Jose Fernandez Stable. Owned and bred by Calumet Farm, the three-year-old Creative Cause colt last raced at Gulfstream Park in early March. Earlier this year, he ran in back to back Grade II stakes at Gulfstream Park, including the $350,000 Holy Bull Stakes. Bandito, from the second crop of Grade I winner Creative Cause, will start from post 10 with jockey Jesus Castanon named to ride in the one-mile event.

Tagged as “Fast Track to Winning,” the 2018 racing season will be highlighted by a full stakes schedule. More than $4.2 million in Thoroughbred stakes purses will be up for grabs during the season. The highlight of the meet is the 24th running of the Grade III $500,000-guaranteed Indiana Derby set for Saturday, July 14. Indiana Derby Night will include six stakes races on the card, including the Grade III $200,000-guaranteed Indiana Oaks. The other major stakes race for the year will be the 12th running of the $200,000-listed Centaur Stakes, Indiana’s richest turf race, set for Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The track will also offer the second year for Indiana Grand’s racing club, Grand Gesture Stable. This year’s program will include 60 people with a one-time fee of $300 to own a share of a racehorse during the season.