Stakes purses top $4.3 million for 2018 Thoroughbred season

A total of 35 Thoroughbred stakes will be included for the 2018 racing season at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. More than $4.3 million in total purses will be offered during the 120-day meet that begins Tuesday, April 17 and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.

Bucchero, multiple stakes winner at Indiana Grand, was one of two Indiana breds who competed in the Breeders Cup in 2017, marking a first for the Indiana breeding program. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

The 24th running of the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby, slated for Saturday, July 14, will once again headline the stakes schedule. Indiana’s richest horse race will be surrounded by five other stakes races on the card, including the Grade III $200,000 Indiana Oaks. Total purses for the evening will top more than $1.1 million.

The 13th running of the $200,000 Centaur Stakes, a Listed event, will highlight the turf stakes schedule. The race is set for Wednesday, Sept. 5 and will be accompanied by the $200,000 Indiana Grand, also a Listed event on the turf course. Indiana Grand hosted the most turf races in the 15-year history of the track in 2017 with 184 races contested over the seven-eighths mile turf course, including nine stakes races with purses in excess of $1.1 million. Nine stakes have once again been earmarked for the turf in 2018.

“We are heading into 2018 off another banner year of racing at Indiana Grand,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. “For the second straight year, we set new records for handle and attendance during our Indiana Derby, and for the first time, we had not only one, but two Indiana bred horses compete in the Breeders Cup. That is a major testament to the direction our state breeding program is heading, and it is so exciting to be a witness to this escalating growth.”

A majority of stakes races will be held on Wednesday afternoons. Kevin Greely, director of racing, has also moved several stakes races to Tuesdays for 2018, capitalizing on strong undercard programs that have developed at Indiana Grand on both of those days. Two Thursday racing programs have also been added to the schedule with Thursday, July 19 playing host to the $100,000 Ta Wee Stakes, an open three-year-old filly stakes race on the turf.

A full list of the 2017 stakes schedule can be found at www.indianagrand.com.