Tag: indiana quarter horse racing

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 towered over the competition and will lead the top 10 to the final of the QHRAI SSA Futurity Sat. Aug. 25. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

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 cruised to victory under jockey Sergio Ramirez in the fastest of two trials for the QHRAI SSA Derby Sat. Aug. 11 during an all-Quarter Horse racing card. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

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.”


Trainer Ricardo Martinez came into the Heartland Futurity Final with three of the top four qualifiers, including two that were undefeated in two previous starts. Although the heavily favored entry Pritty ran into road trouble out of the gate, it was Packin Secrets that brought home the title to the Martinez barn and remains undefeated in three career starts.

Packin Secrets (inside) held off stablemate Chicazum and Yordanis Amaro for the win in the Heartland Futurity. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Surging out of the gate from post six in the 10-horse Heartland Futurity Final, Packin Secrets and Sergio Ramirez got a good jump on the field and got the early advantage. The Habits Secret gelding kept his mind on the task and rallied home the winner by a neck over inside invader Filthy Rich and Shanley Jackson. The Martinez-trained Chicazum and Yordanis Amaro stayed close on the outside for third followed by Pritty and Juan Galvan, who recovered to move in for fourth, putting all three of Martinez’s entries in the Heartland Futurity Final in the top four.


Undefeated Pritty and jockey Juan Galvan looks to be the horse to beat in the 10th running of the $81,600 Heartland Futurity Final at Indiana Grand Saturday, July 28. The race, slated as the ninth on the card, will be contested at 300 yards for two-year-old Quarter Horses.

Pritty and Juan Galvan have been tagged as the early favorite in the $81,600 Heartland Futurity Final Saturday, July 28 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Pritty completed the trials as the fastest qualifier in a time of :15.301 seconds. The chestnut daughter of Coronado Cartel comes into the Heartland Final tagged as the 3-5 favorite for owner Miguel Lechuga, who purchased the filly for $12,000 from the Heritage Place Yearling Sale last fall. Ricardo Martinez trains Pritty, who is seeking her third win in three career starts. She starts from post nine with Galvan back aboard.

One of the biggest threats to Pritty comes from stablemate Packin Secrets, owned and trained by Martinez. The gelding by Martinez’s Indiana stallion Habits Secrets, won his trial in a time of :15.794 seconds, the fourth fastest of the top 10 qualifiers for the Heartland Futurity Final. Sergio Ramirez is back aboard from post six as the second choice of the field at odds of 9-2.

Martinez, who is maintaining a 57 percent win average this year at Indiana Grand, will saddle three in the Heartland Final, including Chicazum. Selected as the third choice on the morning line, Chicazum will begin from post 10 with Yordanis Amaro aboard at odds of 8-1.


It was no surprise that Rockys Candy Shop was as dominant as he was in the 16th running of the $130,700 Blue River Derby Final Saturday, July 21 at Indiana Grand. The three-year-old son of Fantastic Corona Jr has been strong all season and rallied home in a gate to wire performance for his first stakes title.

Rockys Candy Shop and Jose Beltran established a new stakes record with their win in the Blue River Derby Saturday, July 21. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

It was a clean break for all 10 finalists in the Blue River Derby. Rockys Candy Shop broke from post one and had his racing game face on, surging to the early lead. Ridden by Indiana Grand’s leading Quarter Horse jockey this season Jose Beltran, the gelding maintained the top spot and shifted over halfway through the 400 yard dash to find a path to the wire more a little wider than the rail. In the end, Rockys Candy Shop was a dominant winner by three-quarters of a length. Beltran didn’t appear to ever ask the horse for more and pushed his fist in the air as soon as the duo crossed the wire to claim the victory. Jessalilsecret and Berkley Packer tracked Rockys Candy Shop the entire race to finish second over Atempting Love and Luis Guerrero, who closed in well for third. The time of the race was :19.745 seconds, a new stakes record for the Blue River Derby.


Tres My Heart was the seventh fastest qualifier of the field, but proved to be the quickest to the wire Saturday, July 7 to earn the win in the $50,000 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby. Ridden by Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, Tres My Heart stopped the timer in :20.020 for the 400-yard dash.

Tres My Heart gave jockey Giovani Vazquez-Gomez his first career stakes win Sat. July 7 in the $50,000 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Tres My Heart, making only her second career start, had a clean break from the gate and seemed focused from the start. The three-year-old Oklahoma bred daughter of Heart of the Cartel grabbed a short lead and became the horse that the rest of the field would have to catch in the final portions of the race. Several were closing in at the wire, but Tres My Heart held her ground, winning by a neck over Flight To La Jolla and Shanley Jackson. BS Special, ridden by Berkley Packer, rounded out the top three finishers.

“I had faith in her,” said Vazquez-Gomez through his wife, Jessica, who served as the interpreter. “She had many mistakes in her first start. She started in post three last time and ended up moving down and running in the one path. I saw that she had more in her that night. I’m not surprised she won.”

A surprise to the betting public, Tres My Heart paid $20.00, $7.60 and $2.80 across the board. She broke her maiden in the stakes race for her owner Maria Stephany Chaparro and her trainer Hector Sanchez.


It was a battle to the finish line for the talented field of seven in the 20th running of the $40,000 Bradford Stakes. The final nod was awarded to the small but mighty Woop Dee Doo, who covered the 400-yard dash in a time of :19.885 seconds.

Woop Dee Doo is now four for six over Indiana Grand’s racetrack. He earned his second stakes win Saturday, July 7 during the second all-Quarter Horse racing night of 2018. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post three, Woop Dee Doo and Sergio Ramirez were in tight quarters, right in between Encore and Gerardo Garrido to the inside and Tommy The Train and Berkley Packer on the outside. The trio exchanged some pretty strong bumps before both Encore and Woop Dee Doo were able to break away and find a straight path. Encore had the first lead, but Woop Dee Doo soon countered, getting the edge halfway down the stretch before pulling away to a one and one-half length victory. Encore was second, just a nose ahead of Tommy The Train.

Owned and trained by Ricardo Martinez, Woop Dee Doo is just under the $250,000 career earnings mark. The victory for the small but mighty Quarter Horse in the Bradford Stakes was his eighth career trip to the winner’s circle, giving him a perfect two for two record this season.

“We raced him here as a two-year-old and then as a three-year-old, we sent him to Oklahoma and he was second in the Heritage Place Derby,” said Martinez. “Last year, he battled sickness and didn’t really race very well for us, but he seems to have bounced back. He’s a very sound horse. We just have trouble finding races for him. We will pay him into the Championships and see how he does.”


Trainer Ricardo Martinez kicked off the second all-Quarter Horse racing night at Indiana Grand with a pair of wins in the Heartland Futurity Trials. Pritty, ridden by Juan Galvan, rallied home an impressive winner in near track record time followed by stablemate Packin Secrets, ridden by Sergio Ramirez, who was a winner in the second trial.

Pritty was well under wraps by jockey Juan Galvan in the first of two Heartland Futurity Trials Saturday, July 7 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from the outside post 10 in the first Heartland Futurity trial, Pritty rallied out of the gate and had the field at her heels from the start. The two-year-old daughter of Coronado Cartel surged to the lead and opened up on the field in the 300-yard dash, crossing the wire in a dominant time of :15.301 seconds. Filthy Rich and Shanley Jackson finished two lengths back in second followed by Martinez’s other trainee in the race, Chicazum, who finished third with Ramirez aboard.

Pritty is now two for two in her brief career. The chestnut Texas bred filly is owned by Miguel Lechuga. The race favorite, she paid $4.80, $4.40, and $2.80 across the board. Pritty was a $12,000 purchase from the Heritage Place Yearling Sale last fall.

“We bought her at Heritage Place and she has always looked like a promising horse,” said Martinez. “She won her maiden at Remington Park and then there were no races for her, so we’ve been waiting for the trials. After the final, we will see how she comes out of the race. She’s paid into the SSA (Stallion Service Auction) Futurity (at Indiana Grand), but we don’t know if it is too close to run her back, so we may send her to Texas.”


Kevin Cox, nationally known on-air racing analyst and handicapper, will make a special appearance at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino Saturday, July 7 as part of a special Quarter Horse Stakes Night. The evening is dedicated to all-Quarter Horse racing featuring the $40,000 Bradford Stakes, the $50,000 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby and trials for the upcoming Blue River Derby and Heartland Futurity. First post is set at 6:05 p.m.


Former NYPD Mounted Patrol Officer Kevin Cox, who is now known as the “Brooklyn Cowboy,” will make a special guest appearance during Quarter Horse Stakes Night Saturday, July 7 at Indiana Grand.

Cox, who hails from the New York City area and is tagged as the “Brooklyn Cowboy,” is well versed in all types of horse racing. A public handicapper for Saratoga Bets, he once gave out a $206 winner and has shown a flat bet profit several times He also provides the “Beatable Favorite” in his daily write-ups on social media and has more than 6,000 loyal followers on Twitter who use his bets daily.

 In addition to providing handicapping tips for others, Cox is a national renowned tournament contestant and a nine-time National Horseplayers Championship qualifier, finishing third in the country during the 2013 event. He provides on-air handicapping at Kentucky Downs and has conducted seminars across the United States from Santa Anita and Emerald Downs on the West Coast to Arlington in Chicago and the New York tracks. He was a cast member of the Esquire Channel’s “Horseplayers” reality show series that aired in 2014.

 Off the track, Cox is very involved in several charities. He is an advisory board member of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and Old Friends at Cabin Creek and owns a rescued greyhound racing dog. Prior to his commitment to horse racing, Cox served as a NYPD Mounted Officer and rode a descendant of Northern Dancer while on patrol.


The Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) hosted their annual “Youth Racing Experience” event at Indiana Grand Saturday, June 30. The program provides an extensive look at Quarter Horse racing in the state for teenagers with the opportunity to take home scholarship money at the conclusion of the program.

Students attending the 2018 “Youth Racing Experience” Saturday, June 30 were joined by adult leaders and jockey Sammy Bermudez following the race named in their honor at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

A total of eight girls from across the state of Indiana spent the day at Indiana Grand learning about Quarter Horse racing. Their day began at 8 a.m. with morning training on the track followed by trips to the starting gate, jockey’s quarters, barns and other various departments with guest speakers explaining the work that goes into preparing horses for competition and presenting a racing program at the track.

“I really enjoyed watching the exercise riders during morning training hours,” said Gabbi Paxson of Portland, Ind. “That is possibly something I would like to do one day.”

Paxson learned about the “Youth Racing Experience” from a neighbor and family friend, Theresa Myers, who was one of the adult volunteers for the event. Paxson is currently heavily involved in eventing with her Thoroughbred, which includes a three-part series of dressage, show jumping and cross country. Quarter Horse racing is another avenue for her to consider as a profession once she graduates from high school.