Youth Racing Experience Winner to be announced soon

The Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) held their annual Youth Racing Experience event Saturday, June 11. Nine individuals from Indiana spent the day at the track learning what it takes to prepare and race a Quarter Horse at Indiana Grand.

The group began with classroom style sessions before venturing to the starting gate to learn the different jobs associated with getting horses in and out of the gate. Steve Peterman, Indiana Grand’s starter, provided an up close look at teaching young horses how to break from the gate so when they get to the races, they are more familiar with the process and with the assistant starters and their duties.

“The gates were my favorite part of the event,” said Savana Matricardi of Springville, Ind. “It was interesting how they worked with the horses to teach them about the gate.”

The group also received a special license from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission and learned all of the requirements for each individual to get a racing license. They also made a stop in the racing office to learn how races are put together and the procedures and regulations followed leading up to the draw of a race.

The Youth Racing Experience participants also learned about the care and veterinary services of race horses from a veterinarian, Dr. Jane McCreary. Her husband, John, a Quarter Horse trainer at Indiana Grand, provided instruction in the barn on how to saddle a horse and they learned other aspects of the care of racehorses, from the equipment to the everyday routines for proper health and wellness care.

The afternoon was reserved for a test that covered a lot of the areas the participants learned about during the day. A $1,000 scholarship was on the line for the top two participants that scored the highest on the test. Participants later enjoyed racing and were paired off with one of five trainers to walk through the entire process of racing a horse during the program.

Trainers lending their time and expertise to the Youth Racing Experience included Dicky Benton, Tony Cunningham, Joe Davis, Victor Olivo and Chaz Rechy.

“The test is basically the same as a trainer’s test,” said Vickie Duke, coordinator of the Youth Racing Experience for QHRAI. “It’s pretty long and requires some thought. This was an exceptional group of students this year. Last year, our candidate went on to win the national Youth Racing Experience title. I think we have a good shot to repeat that again this year with the caliber of students we had attend our event.”

The participant with the highest score will advance to the national event held during the 2016 Bank of America Challenge races which will be held at Los Alamitos in Southern California the weekend of Oct. 29, 2016. Each region will have representatives and the participants will once again learn about racing and take a test provided by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). The participant that scores the highest will receive an additional $3,000 scholarship. Second and third place are also awarded prizes in the amount of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

“I think the best part for me was hearing about all the different aspects to the racing industry,” said Hunter Duncan of Terre Haute, Ind. “There are so many jobs created at a track. I’m going to be a junior at Terre Haute South and I’m leaning towards business finance and marketing, and this might be an opportunity for me down the road.”

Participants for the 2016 Youth Racing Experience at Indiana Grand included Miriam Chowdry of Indianapolis, Gracie Conway of Muncie, Ind., Audrey Winter of Mooreland, Ind., Haley Masters of Shirley, Ind., Savana Matricardi of Springville, Ind., Garrett Conway of Muncie, Ind., Abby Kane of Terre Haute, Ind., Gianna Matricardi of Springville, Ind., Kimberlee Standeford of Atlanta, Ind., Skylar Kane of Terre Haute, Ind., Brady Oswalt of Marion, Ind., and Hunter Duncan of Terre Haute, Ind.

The winner of the 2016 Youth Racing Experience will be announced at the July board meeting for QHRAI. The meeting is set for Monday, July 11.