Tag: indiana grand racing & casino
The stands were a little fuller, the excitement was a little higher and the cheers were a little louder Tuesday, Aug. 14 during the sixth race at Indiana Grand. The race included first time starter, Distant Shore, who is owned by the Churchill Downs Racing Club. Approximately 75 members of the Club made the trip to Indiana to watch their horse race and break his maiden in the $31,000 two-year-old maiden race going five and one-half furlongs.
“This is our first time in the Racing Club and our first time to Indiana Grand,” said Linda Willett of Louisville, Ky. “My gosh, this is just unbelievable and I am thrilled to death. We were going to the races a lot this spring at Churchill and we got a letter in the mail so my husband and I decided to try it out. And Gary Palmisano has been so awesome with communicating the information about Distant Shore.”
Willett said her first encounter with Distant Shore was a “meet and greet” at the barn of Tom Amoss. There, she not only met the horse and the trainer, but she also met Palmisano, the Racing Club Manager, who was also in attendance for the debut of Distant Shore.
“We have 200 owners who put up $500 each to be in the Churchill Downs Racing Club,” said Palmisano. “This is Club Number 6. This is our first Club with Tom Amoss. We have people here from everywhere to watch, including Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky and we even have people watching online from Connecticut. It’s open to people everywhere across the nation.”
It was a great night for Trainer Ricardo Martinez as horses from his barn won three of the four trials of the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Futurity Saturday, Aug. 11 at Indiana Grand. Pritty, Nacho Binez and First Habits were all trial winners and recorded the top three times out of 33 entered in the Futurity trials.
Pritty rounded out the trials as the quickest on the night. After being slammed hard in the Heartland Futurity Final in her last start, Pritty rebounded and held her own out of the gate this time. Although there was mild bumping, she was able to use quick footing and get out in front of the field by open lengths, completing the 350-yard dash in a time of :17.568 seconds. With Yordanis Amaro aboard, Pritty, a daughter of Coronado Cartel, won by two and one-half lengths over Famous Cucuy and Alejandro Luna. Bully On the Beach and Fernando Fonseca-Soto finished third.
Owned by Miguel Lechuga, Pritty is now three for four lifetime, and completed a training triple for Martinez on the night. The chestnut filly will head into the $169,274 QHRAI SSA Futurity as the favorite.
The second fastest qualifier of the QHRAI SSA Futurity trials was the Martinez-trained Nacho Binez. Starting from the inside post one in the second of four trials, once again, he got a clean break from the gate and got an early lead for Sergio Ramirez, holding that advantage all the way to the wire in :17.761 seconds. Coronado Quiksilver and Rodney Prescott were closing in late in the race in the center of the track for second over Daddys Moe and Jose Beltran for third.
Beach Mercedes returned to her ultra-impressive form Saturday, Aug. 11 in the second of two trials for the Quarter Horse Racing Association (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Derby. The three-year-old daughter of Escondido Beach was the only horse in the trials to dip under the 20 second mark to advance to the $76,312 final set for Saturday, Aug. 25.
Beach Mercedes was revved up and ready to go from the gate for Sergio Ramirez. She busted out of the gate and was on top in the field of eight in the first few strides. Stablemate Rockys Candy Shop and Jose Beltran had tabs on the top filly and tracked along well from the outside, but they could not make up any ground on Beach Mercedes as she cruised under the wire by one and three-quarter lengths over Rockys Candy Shop. Bono Rhythm and Rodney Prescott maintained ground in the center of the track for third in the 400-yard dash. The time of the sprint was :19.782 seconds.
Beach Mercedes is owned and bred by Sheri Miller, who stands the multi-year Stallion of the Year in Indiana at her Miller Ranch in Shipshewana, Ind. Randy Smith, Indiana Grand’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer and current leader once again in 2018 trains Beach Mercedes.
“She’s an easy keeper and is easy going,” said Smith. “She pretty well stays in here (at Indiana Grand) most of the time. She’s exactly the type of filly you want in your barn.”
The National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) Qualifier is set for Saturday, Aug. 18 and there are still spots available in the contest. The entry fee for the handicapping challenge is $175, which includes Daily Racing Forms, programs, buffet, t-shirt and soft drinks.
The NHC Qualifier is now in its third season at Indiana Grand. The Qualifier is part of the NHC Tourney trail and is endorsed by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) which hosts the final in Las Vegas. The top three players from the qualifier at Indiana Grand will advance to the final, slated for Friday, Feb. 8 – Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. The final is held at Treasure Island on the Las Vegas strip and drew more than 600 entries in 2018. More than $2.9 million is awarded in prize money during the contest.
The NHC Qualifier winner from Indiana Grand in 2016 was Gary Russell of the Columbus, Ohio area. Russell advanced to the final day of competition. The 2017 winner was Scott Ksionzyk of Canada. Indiana Grand’s qualifier drew 66 entries during the inaugural year with 103 in the 2017 qualifier. So far, a total of 66 players have signed up to play in the 2018 qualifier.
Entries will be accepted up until the start of the contest Saturday, Aug. 18. Check-in and registration begins at 2 p.m. in Clubhouse Dining at Indiana Grand, which is on the second floor of the racing building. Individuals may elect to purchase a second entry for $150. Players are limited to two entries apiece and the contest is limited to 125 entries total.
Piedi Bianchi joined Bucchero last year to make history as the first two Indiana breds to ever compete in the prestigious Breeders Cup Championships held at Del Mar. The three-year-old daughter of Overanalyze has returned to her home state where she will take on a field of 11 in the 16th running of the $150,000-Guaranteed Indiana First Lady Stakes at Indiana Grand.
Piedi Bianchi trained at two under Doug O’Neill on the West Coast. Following her fifth place finish in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she shipped to Laurel Racecourse where she finished third in the Grade I Starlet Stakes. After taking some time off, the grey filly returned under the direction of Todd Pletcher and is based out of New York. She has one start at three, a third place finish against allowance company in late June. Her start in the $150,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes will be her first attempt in the Midwest.
Shipping in from her home base at Belmont, Piedi Bianchi arrived at Indiana Grand Tuesday, Aug. 7 in preparation for the stakes race, the seventh on the card Wednesday, Aug. 8. Tyler Gaffalione has been named to ride the filly for Steven Spielman’s Nice Guys Stables, Jack Bick and Jay Oringer.
Piedi Bianchi will start from post three at odds of 6-5 as the morning line favorite. The start in the Indiana First Lady Stakes will mark the first time Pletcher has raced at Indiana Grand since the 2013 Indiana Derby, finishing fourth with Micromanage for the Repole Stables, who have a strong connection to Don Dearth and Rhonda Day of Connersville, Ind. Their longtime stallion, Arromanches, was bred to the mother of Caixa Eletronica, the superstar horse owned by Mike Repole.
by Rose Flood, Hoosier Park Race Marketing Department
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to the $5,000 Saturday Shootout handicapping contest finale on Saturday, Aug. 4. Team Hoosier Park took home the victory for the second consecutive year. In its fourth edition, Team Indiana Grand traveled to Hoosier Park for the final showdown and put their handicapping skills to the test.
The contest featured races three through six at both Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand and players earned and accumulated mythical winnings based on their handicapping selections on the designated races from both tracks. The winning team split the $5,000 grand prize while the second place team received $1,000.
The five member team consisting of Sara Eldridge, Connie Harold, James Wilkinson, John Burnett and James Gosselin accumulated $284.00 for Team Hoosier Park compared to Team Indiana Grand’s tally of $230.60 to share the $5,000 Grand Prize.
The contest began in mid June with four preliminary rounds. Players selected one horse from four races at Hoosier Park and four races at Indiana Grand and accumulated the payouts on their selections when they finished first or second. After the final preliminary round Saturday, July 7, which was a Quarter Horse Night at Indiana Grand giving players an additional handicapping challenge, the top five players from each location advanced to the final, which rotates from year to year between Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park.
Wilkinson, who is from Elk Grove, Calif., came to Indiana five years ago to train Standardbreds. This is the third consecutive year he has qualified for the Saturday Shootout Final and represented Team Hoosier Park. Wilkinson also has 4 wins on the season as a trainer at Hoosier Park. (more…)
When Tez steps onto the track Tuesday, Aug. 7 for his first career race, it will mean more than a trip to the winner’s circle for his connections, GMB Racing. The two-year-old grey colt is named in honor of the beloved NFL player Cortez Kennedy who passed away unexpectedly last year. Kennedy never wore a New Orleans Saints jersey but the impact he made on the ownership and management of the New Orleans Saints organization, which is owned by Gayle Benson, owner of GMB Racing, was special. It’s a small way for those involved with the stable to remember their friend, who passed away at such a young age of 48.
Kennedy played his entire career for the Seattle Seahawks. He was noted by all accounts as a vital part of the organization, both on and off the field. The defensive tackle made eight Pro Bowls and started in 153 games during his tenure in Seattle. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and his number (96) was retired by the Seahawks. Following his retirement in 2000, “Tez” stayed very connected to football and even served as an advisor for a short time for the New Orleans Saints organization.
“Cortez Kennedy never played for the Saints, but he was very close friends with the Bensons (Gayle and Tom), the general manager, Mickey Loomis, and myself,” said Greg Bensel, senior vice president of the New Orleans Saints and racing manager de facto of GMB Racing. “We always try to name our yearlings with a certain theme. In 2017, we lost two really great guys from the NFL, Will Smith, in a horrific murder, and Cortez Kennedy due to a heart attack. We named one colt Ninety One, which was Will’s number, and the other one Tez, which was what everyone called Cortez Kennedy.”
The Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA) Fall Mixed Sale is set for Sunday, Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. The sale will be held in the receiving barn at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The deadline to enter is Monday, Aug. 13.
The Fall Training sale will feature all types of horses, from weanlings and yearlings to breeding stock, including broodmares, mares in foal and broodmare prospects. The sale is open to all horses and is not limited to Indiana breds. The sale will be limited to 60 horses with Indiana sired horses receiving preference in getting a spot in the sale.
All entries must be submitted to Duane Swingley Auctioneers, LLC by Monday, Aug. 13. The entry fee of $250 is due at time of consignment, payable to ITOBA. The commission fee for each entry, regardless of buy backs or sale price is $500, which includes the $250 entry fee. An additional five percent commission fee will be applied to any horse that sells over $10,000. Contracts are available through ITOBA’s Website at www.itoba.com.
Sometimes it pays to be patient. That’s exactly what transpired with apprentice jockey Kim Grews at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Aug. 1. Her first career mount was scheduled for the third race Tuesday. She was dressed and ready to go out when racing was canceled just before the third, so the South African native had to wait until the next day to ride, securing the mount aboard Allidoisdreamofyou for 2017 Leading Trainer Genaro Garcia. The timing was perfect all around as Grews scooted home to a victory in her first ever start.
Growing up in Capetown, South Africa, Grews accompanied a friend to a riding lesson at the age of four just to watch. She came home as a new riding student and was hooked on horses. She competed in show jumping, eventing and even Grand Prix show jumping before relocating to the United States 11 years ago. Her career path took her to William and Mary in Virginia where she received a degree in applied math and worked for five years in corporate America doing data analysis in the Ocala area. Although the pay was good, Grews missed the horses and purchased a show jumping horse that she imported from Denmark. Soon, connections led her to Carl Keegan’s barn, who gave her a shot to get on Thoroughbreds.
“If you are not around racing, you don’t realize the amount of jobs there are in racing,” said Grews. “I was very fortunate to have a really good mentor in Carl (Keegan) and was there for nine months. He told me I needed to get more experience at a racetrack, especially if my goal was to become a jockey and he set me up with Eddie Kenneally at Churchill Downs. Eddie took a chance on me too.”
Indiana Horsemen Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and Texas Corral of Shelbyville, Ind. have teamed up to provide “Barn Crew of the Month” at Indiana Grand. The second recipient this season is the team behind the Wayne Mogge Stable, who received the honor for the month of July.
The Mogge Stable is currently made up of 15 horses on the backstretch at Indiana Grand. Mogge relies on four members of his team to care for the horses. Rafael Nunez has been with Mogge for 18 years and serves as the main groom along with Alfonso Lopez, Jesus Valenzuela and exercise rider Victor DeLeon.
“I couldn’t do it without all of the guys that work for me,” said Mogge following the winner’s circle presentation by Brian Elmore, executive director of the Indiana HBPA. “They all work really hard and keep the barn looking great.”
Keeping a neat and clean shed row is one of the criteria for the selection of “Barn Crew of the Month.” The team of judges also looks for care of the horses as well as overall presentation of the stable.
For being selected as the July “Barn Crew of the Month,” the members of the Mogge Stable received $200 to Texas Corral, a co-sponsor of the promotion. Texas Corral is located off Exit 111 in Shelbyville on Route 9. They provide all types of fare, from steaks and ribs to a wide array of appetizers and drinks. The facility also stays open late to provide a nice option for racing fans following the races at Indiana Grand. (more…)