Tag: jon schuster

A victory in the 10th running of the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes had a double shot of success for trainer Mike Lauer. He saddled three for the stakes race and had a one-two finish with Obsolete and Triple A in the one mile race over the Rod Ratcliff Turf Course at Indiana Grand.

Obsolete and John McKee held off challengers from both sides to earn the win in the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes Wednesday, July 18. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from the extreme outside post 10, Obsolete was rushed out of the gate by jockey John McKee and was able to secure the third spot along the outside before the field reached the first turn. As expected, Ever Wonder and Eddie Perez moved straight out to the lead from the inside to set the tempo accompanied by Paisley and Jesus Castanon. McKee then took hold of Obsolete and was content to sit on the outside of Blue Hen Hockey and Alex Canchari down the backside as Ever Wonder continued to lead the way.

In the final turn, McKee began to call on Obsolete but did not make up any ground on the top two. However, that scenario changed once the field hit the stretch. Obsolete began to move forward and appeared to have her biggest rivals to her inside. Blue Hen Hockey fought her way through traffic and joined Paisley for the lead with Obsolete on the outside. The three were in a fierce battle before Obsolete got the advantage. She then received pressure from a hard-charging Triple A and Marcelino Pedroza on the outside. In the end, it was Obsolete by a head over Triple A for the win, her first attempt on the grass. Blue Hen Hockey held strong along the inside for third. (more…)

The racing program for the 24th running of the Indiana Derby, Indiana’s richest horse race, was kicked off by an official welcome from Rod Ratcliff, chairman and CEO of Centaur Gaming and Jim Brown, president and COO of Centaur Gaming after the first race. A surprise presentation was made to Ratcliff as Indiana Grand’s seven-eighths […]

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.


Hold On Angel and jockey Rodney Prescott made a decision early in the race to move to the lead. It would be a wise choice as the duo scored a gate to wire win in the 10th running of the $100,000-added Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes.

Hold On Angel and Rodney Prescott rally home by more than five lengths for the win in the $100,000-added Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes Wednesday, June 20. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post four in the reduced field of five, Hold On Angel hustled out of the gate and had the top spot all to himself as the field headed into the first turn of the one and one-sixteenth mile event. Hold on Angel was not pressured and continued to set the tempo until the turn. Sir Brogan and DeShawn Parker began to advance toward the leaders in the turn and were in perfect striking position for the stretch drive home.

However, Hold On Angel had plenty left and fought off Sir Brogan, pulling away to a five and one-half length win. Redyornothereicome and John McKee scooted around the turn on the inside and made a mild bid to finish third. The time of the race was 1:43.36, the second fastest in the 10-year history of the Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes.


Jon Schuster, longtime vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand, was honored by the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) during the first of six all-Quarter Horse racing nights in 2018. The special recognition award was presented to Schuster following the fourth race of the night.

Dianne Bennett, left, and Paul Martin, right, present Jon Schuster with a QHRAI Special Recognition award during the first all-Quarter Horse racing night of 2018. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

“I am truly surprised and so honored,” said Schuster. “I want to thank the QHRAI for this honor and for making my life better over the years. They have enthusiastically lifted up what we do here and made Quarter Horse racing so much better. It continues to grow every year.”

Paul Martin, president of the QHRAI, made the presentation. He was joined by Dianne Bennett, executive director of the organization along with James Noel, longtime director of QHRAI. Kevin Greely, director of racing, was also on hand for the presentation.

“We want to recognize Jon (Schuster) for his work with QHRAI over the years,” said Martin. “We appreciate all of his efforts and his friendship over the years to help promote Quarter Horse racing in the state of Indiana. This special recognition award symbolizes our gratitude for what he has done for us.”


Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand, was recently honored with the Hall of Distinction award at the annual Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA) banquet held Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Indiana Grand. The award is the highest honor bestowed on an individual from ITOBA. Schuster was the third recipient of the prestigious award.

From left, Peter Sacopulos, secretary of ITOBA, and Rachel McLaughlin, host of the ITOBA banquet, present Jon Schuster with the Hall of Distinction award during the annual banquet Sunday, April 15, 2018.

“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized by the folks in our game,” said Schuster, who has been with Indiana Grand in leadership roles since its inception as Indiana Downs in 2002. “We value their support and partnership. I had been alerted about a presentation, but I didn’t know exactly what the award was, and it was a nice surprise.”

A native of Indianapolis, Schuster graduated from Warren Central High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona. He is also a graduate of the prestigious

University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program.


Express Charge with apprentice jockey Edgar Morales charged home in the stretch to win the season opener Tuesday, April 17 at Indiana Grand. The race kicked off the 120-day racing season that extends to Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Express Charge and Edgar Morales rally home to win the season opener Tuesday, April 17. It was Morales’ first career start in Indiana. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post five in the nine horse lineup used early speed out of the gate to get good positioning along the inside as Gibsons Tricky Boy and DeShawn Parker rallied from the outside to secure the lead. Noble Sowle and Rodney Prescott also chose early speed tactics and tracked the top two on the outside during the five and one-half furlong event. In the stretch, Express Charge moved up for a one on one challenge with Gibsons Tricky Boy for the drive home. Midway through the stretch, Express Charge had a clear path in the center of the track and took over, rallying home for a one and one-half length victory over Gibsons Tricky Boy. Stringtown and Perry Ouzts used a late kick to finish third.


For the second straight year, Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will offer more than $1.5 million in Quarter Horse stakes during the 2018 season. A total of 19 stakes will be provided for the sprinters during the 120-day racing season that spans April 17 through Nov. 7, 2018. Most racing programs offer at least one Quarter Horse race at the conclusion of the Thoroughbred lineup, and six days have been reserved during the season for all Quarter Horse racing.

Keen Liaison was one of the finalists for an AQHA Racing Champions award following her three-year-old season at Indiana Grand last year. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

The ninth running of the $150,000-added Gordon Mobley Futurity and the tenth running of the $150,000-added Miss Roxie Little Futurity share the distinction of offering the highest purse money for the year. Both races are for Indiana sired and Indiana bred Quarter Horses, respectively, with the Mobley Futurity set for Saturday, June 16 and the Little Futurity included on the Saturday, Oct. 27 racing program. In all, eight stakes will offer purses in excess of $100,000 during the 2018 racing 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.


Peyton’s Pass showed how quickness pays off as she rallied to a nearly gate to wire victory in the 23rd running of the $100,000-added Merrillville Stakes at Indiana Grand Wed. Sept. 13. The race joins the Indiana Derby as the oldest stakes race in the history of pari-mutuel Thoroughbred racing in the state of Indiana. It was part of the lineup during the inaugural season at Hoosier Park in 1995 and was moved to Indiana Grand in 2013 when the track went to all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.


Peyton’s Pass and Eddie Perez were on cruise control as they passed under the wire in the $100,000 Merrillville Stakes Wed. Sept. 13 at Indiana Grand. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Peyton’s Pass was ready to go as the Steve Peterman starting gate sprung open, the four-year-old daughter of Pass Rush busted out of the gate on top and looked powerful on the inside as she was joined by Ourcinnamonansugar and Fernando De La Cruz on the outside for the race down the backstretch. Whistle Stop and Marcelino Pedroza were tracking the progress of the top two throughout the race and when the field turned for home, they were ready to pounce.

 In the stretch, several opponents tried their best to catch Peyton’s Pass but she was strong through the wire, winning by four lengths in a time of 1:10.36. Hay Little Bit and Alex Contreras rallied from the back of the eight horse field to finish second, less than a length ahead of Whistle Stop for third.