Tag: indiana grand racing & casino

Quarter Horse Trainer Larry Sharp made his trip to Indiana worthwhile Saturday, Oct. 7, picking up the top three spots for qualifiers advancing to the ninth running of the $100,000 Governor’s Stake slated for Saturday, Oct. 21. Sharp saddled La Vencedora and Jockey James Flores to a neck win over his other entrant, Cappy, ridden by Shanley Jackson, and then BS Special, also ridden by Flores, in the other trial for a very solid one-two-three punch heading into the final.


La Vencedora and James Flores turned in an impressive dash to win the fastest of two trials heading to the $100,000 final of the Governors Stake Saturday, Oct. 21. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

La Vencedora and Cappy were the first two out of the gate, starting side by side and battling for the lead throughout the 350 yard dash. It took the majority of the stretch for La Vencedora to overtake her stablemate, inching forward late to win by a neck over Cappy in a time of :17.837 seconds. The top two were open lengths in front of the rest of the field that was headed up by Racanteur and Rolando Pina for third.

 La Vencedora came into the race with only one defeat in four outings. The freshman filly by Ivory James is now four for five and on a four-race win streak for owner Jon and Brant Barley. La Vencedora is inching closer to $400,000 in career earnings for her connections.


When Tommy The Train comes to town, it means one thing for his opponents – trouble. The three-year-old son of Freighttrain B is undefeated in five career outings at Indiana Grand spread out over the past 12 months. Guided by James Flores, he once again proved he will be the one to beat in the $100,000 final of the QHRAI Derby set for Saturday, Oct. 21.


Tommy The Train and James Flores give Trainer Larry Sharp his third win on the card Saturday, Oct. 7 at Indiana Grand in the QHRAI Derby trials. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post four, Tommy The Train and Flores had a less than desirable start from the gate on the sloppy surface, losing some momentum early on but quickly regained his composure and was right back in the thick of the race. The Missouri-bred gelding dug in gamely and emerged as the eventual winner by one and one-half lengths in a time of :19.795 seconds as the heavy favorite of the field. Ladys Freighttrain B and Berkley Packer finished a solid second over One Fantastic Gal and Luis Guerrero for third.

 Paying $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 across the board, Tommy The Train is now seven for 11 lifetime for his owners Brant and Jon Barley and Brad Sharp. Larry Sharp picked up his third training win of the night with Tommy The Train, who has accumulated more than $150,000 in career earnings.


Beach Treat and Harold Collins found an early path out of the gate and stuck to it all the way to the wire, posting the fastest trial of four on the program Saturday, Oct. 7 during the fifth of six all-Quarter Horse racing nights at Indiana Grand. The duo turned in a time of :17.926 seconds over a rain-soaked sloppy track to top 36 horses attempting to make the ninth running of the $150,000 Miss Roxie Little Futurity final slated for Saturday, Oct. 21.

Beach Treat and Harold Collins were surprise winners in the final trial of four in the Miss Roxie Little Futurity trials Sat. Oct. 7 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post eight in the nine-horse lineup, Beach Treat responded to early urging from Collins and got out of the gate swiftly to be the first name called by track announcer Bill Downes. DNA Bells Bay and Berkley Packer stayed close to Beach Treat early on but near the end of the 350-yard dash, Beach Treat began to lengthen his hold on the field. Beach Treat was a winner by one length over DNA Bells Bay while heavily favored Stone Cold Leader and Rolando Pina overcame a tough spot out of the gate with little room on the inside to rally up late for third.


Note: Story by Nancy Holthus, paddock analyst at Indiana Grand

Like all professional sports, safety measures are taken in an attempt to prevent injuries. Jockeys wear vests and helmets, while racetracks install specialized safety railings to help protect horse and rider from further injury. But realistically it is not a matter of if, but when injury will occur. No one will deny the dangers of the job of a jockey. The risks are evident, as they are chased by an ambulance during the running of each race. But injuries easily occur elsewhere – morning training, the paddock, during post parade, and the starting gate.

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino continues to implement new CTE protocols in regards to injuries sustained on the track. Several racing officials have already completed training regarding CTE procedures following incidents.

The National Football League is synonymous for injuries, but has specifically been in the headlines more recently regarding CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). CTE is defined as a neurodegenerative disease found in those who have sustained numerous head injuries – most commonly those involved in contact sports on a regular basis.

Football leads the sports world with CTE related injuries, though other sports like wrestling, hockey, boxing and rugby also pose great risks. While horse racing is not technically a “contact” sport, some would consider being thrown to the ground off a Thoroughbred traveling at a high rate of speed “contact.” That is just the most common example in the industry.


Everything lined up perfectly for Crafty Spector in the 17th running of the Gus Grissom Stakes Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. As a result, the five-year-old gelding took advantage of his surroundings and rallied home as the upset winner for owner-trainer John Haran.


Crafty Spector stretches out in the final strides of the $100,000 Gus Grissom to give jockey Alex Contreras his third win of the day at Indiana Grand Wed. Oct. 4. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Guided by Jockey Alex Contreras, Crafty Spector left the starting gate handily from the center of the pack in the 12-horse field. Evader and Jon Court grabbed the early lead on the inside and Derby Express and Malcolm Franklin sat to their outside to press the early pace in the one and one-sixteenth mile event. Contreras was able to keep Crafty Spector just to the outside of Calandave and Tommy Pompell in the early goings in fourth and stay close to the leaders down the backstretch.

 In the turn, Contreras began to ask Crafty Spector for a little more exertion, and he readily delivered. Maintaining a spot in the center of the track, the duo began to move forward with only Derby Express left to overtake in the stretch. Both horses dug in gamely to the wire, but in the end, it was Crafty Spector who crossed under the wire first by one and one-half lengths for the win over Derby Express. Operation Stevie and Constantino Roman rallied from off the pace to close well for third. The time of the race was 1:44.02.

 “I knew this horse had a little speed,” said Contreras, who recorded his third win of the day with Crafty Spector. “I talked with John (Haran) before the race and he said he wanted me to keep pressure on the front ones, which we were able to do. I wanted to stay close enough and the trip worked out perfectly. When it was time to go, I asked him and he got it done.”


It was an afternoon of upsets and leading the way was a freshman colt from the Gary Patrick Stable. Mo Money, ridden by 2017 Leading Jockey DeShawn Parker, rallied through traffic in the stretch to win only his second career race in the 19th running of the Crown Ambassador Stakes Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand.

DeShawn Parker had Mo Money in top gear across the finish line to win the $100,000 Crown Ambassador Stakes Wed. Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post five, Mo Money didn’t have many options as the gate sprung open and was perfectly content to follow along in the 12 horse field from the back of the pack, being on the receiving end of a lot of mud thrown up in front of him during the six-furlong race. However, Parker kept the two-year-old son of Caiman engaged in his race and brought him up into contention between horses around the final turn as Stone Sober and Tommy Pompell continued to lead the way.

Coming out of the turn into the stretch, Parker found an opening and slid Mo Money to the outside for some clearance and away he went. Mo Money picked up steam and rolled past his opponents, winning by three and one half lengths at the finish in a time of 1:11.72. Classy Score and Marcelino Pedroza also closed in well at the finish for second, just a neck in front of Santisteban and Rolando Aragon, who closed in well for third.


It’s always exciting when a horse “breaks its maiden,” but the win was just a little sweeter when Paisley accomplished it for owner-trainer-breeder Marvin Johnson. The two-year-old chestnut daughter of Drinkwiththedevil rallied in the stretch to win her first career race in the 20th running of the $100,000-added Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand.

Paisley rolled past her opponents to win the $100,000 Indiana Stallion Stakes Filly Division Wed. Oct. 4. The win was one of three on the card for Contreras. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

 Starting from the extreme outside post 11 in the starting gate, Paisley broke well but under the guidance of jockey Alex Contreras, did not rush to challenge the leaders. Instead, the freshman filly stayed along the outside in mid pack as Just Taylor and Fernando De La Cruz set the pace early on followed closely by Prompted and DeShawn Parker.

 The field tightened up from front to back around the only turn of the six furlong sprint, giving Paisley the opportunity to move up on the outside and get a clear shot in the center of the track as the field turned for home. Paisley didn’t immediately accelerate to the lead. But after a few strides, it was evident she was going to be tough to fend off in the final strides. Prompted became the only filly to catch late in the race and held on gamely as Paisley closed in, getting by in the final strides to win by three-quarters of a length over Prompted. Cook Memorials and Malcolm Franklin also closed from the back of the pack to finish third. The final time was 1:12.35.


Some of Indiana’s finest older females stepped onto the track for the 17th running of the $100,000-added Richmond Stakes Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. It came down to the wire to determine a winner but it was Joyous lady and Jockey Tommy Pompell who took home top honors.

Joyous Lady and Tommy Pompell finally caught Express Run and Jon Court (inside) to win the $100,000 Richmond Stakes by the margin of a head Wed. Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post six in the seven-horse lineup, Joyous Lady used just enough early speed to track the progress of the early leader Express Run and Jon Court. Bar Rag and Fernando De La Cruz also showed good early speed from the outside to secure the second spot and get into stalking mode. Down the backstretch, Court had Express Run well in hand to reserve just as much as he could for the second half of the one and one-sixteenth mile race.

“The trip worked out pretty good today,” said Pompell. “I thought there would be early speed from the one (Peyton’s Pass) but I looked over and she wasn’t there. And, I thought Bar Rag would show early speed from the outside. I had an advantage there because I have ridden her in the past. So when the five (Express Run) went on out for the lead, I wanted to let those two hook up.”

Pompell began getting Joyous Lady prepped to close in on Express Run around the final turn and at the top of the stretch, she had Express Run in her sights. However, Express Run was not showing any signs of slowing down. Pompell went to work on Joyous Lady and began to close the gap. It took the entire length of the stretch for Joyous Lady to finally overtake Express Run, but she was successful in accomplishing her goal in the final strides of the race, winning by a head over Express Run. The rest of the field finished many lengths back with Bar Rag pulling in third place. Joyous Lady stopped the timer in 1:43.92.


Royal Blessing and Alonso Quinonez rallied home in the stretch to win the 10th round of the $30,000 Don K. Memorial Starter at Indiana Grand Wednesday, Oct. 4. The duo covered the seven and one-half furlong turf race in a time of 1:31.28.

Royal Blessing and jockey Alonso Quinonez rallied past their opponents for the win in the 10th round of the $30,000 Don K. Memorial Starter Wednesday, Oct. 4 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post nine in the 10-horse lineup, Royal Blessing showed just enough early speed to find a nice spot in the center of the pack. Lanier and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. set the early pace from the inside with Logan Creek and Leandro Goncalves sitting right to their outside. Rhythm Park and Ricardo Santana Jr. also stayed close through the early stages of the race on the inside. Quinonez was aboard Royal Blessing for the first time, so relied on insight from trainer Brendan Walsh prior to the race.

“Brendan (Walsh) told me to let him out of there and let him relax and find his stride and go from there,” said Quinonez. “He then told me to ride my race. This horse is push button so he was easy to ride. He carries his head low when he runs, and Brendan had mentioned that. But he also said when I ask him, he will go, and he was right.”

Around the final turn, Royal Blessing began to make his move toward the leaders and had moved up to challenge Lanier at the top of the stretch. The duo continued to battle it out down the lane before Royal Blessing was able to pull away for the win by a margin of two and one-half lengths over Lanier. Rhythm Park settled for third.


At the beginning of September, Centaur Gaming hosted a weeklong fundraising campaign in support of disaster relief efforts for pets and animals affected by Hurricane Harvey. Over the course of the week, guests at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino donated a total of $24,890 to be split between the Houston Humane Society, San Antonio Humane Society and SPCA of Texas. Additionally, Centaur Gaming made a $10,000 contribution to the American Red Cross.

“Although Hurricane Harvey has long passed, the effects of the storm will be long-lived,” said Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming’s president and COO. “Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Centaur Gaming’s guests, we were able to send each organization a check for $8,297. Those funds will aid in providing shelter, medical attention, food, and supplies for the thousands of animals who were affected by the disaster.”