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.
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.
For owner and breeder C.W. Mullenix, racing in Indiana has been an investment that dates back to 1987. He brought the stallion Born Runner to the state from Oklahoma that year, which changed the landscape of Quarter Horse racing in the Hoosier State. Thirty years later, Mullenix continues to invest in the program from his farm in Carbon, Ind. and his latest graduate, Bono Rhythm, is carrying on the winning tradition. The two-year-old filly broke her maiden in the fifth running of the $44,080 Speed Sale Futurity Saturday, Oct. 21 at Indiana Grand.
Starting from post six, Bono Rhythm fired out of the gate for jockey Rodney Prescott and drifted to the inside, finding a path to follow during the 330 yard dash. Prescott kept after the petite daughter of Bono Jazz and held onto a short lead. In the final strides, Bono Rhythm was joined by Speranza Di Capi and Oscar Macias along the inside but was able to get to the wire first by the margin of a head over Speranza Di Capi. Race favorite Jessalilsecret and Berkley Packer rallied from the outside to close in for third. The time of the race was :17.201 seconds.
At odds of 17-1, Bono Rhythm paid $37.00, $10.60, $6.80 across the board for the win. It was her fourth career start and the first time she had hit the board in any of those tries for Mullenix and trainer Randy Haffner.
Tommy The Train proved how tough he really is in the 21st running of the $120,120 QHRAI Derby at Indiana Grand Saturday, Oct. 21. The three-year-old son of Freighttrain B didn’t have a perfect journey but was able to put together a trip that brought home the win, his fourth straight victory with Jockey James Flores aboard.
Starting from post two, Tommy The Train came out of the gate awkwardly and drifted in, catching some contact with Prudish Cartel in the process. Flores was able to get the gelding straightened up and he began to run during the 400-yard dash. Midway through the race, it appeared that Tommy The Train would kick into his familiar closing gear and pull away from the field, but he seemed to flatten out late in the race.
One Fantastic Gal and Luis Guerrero were in position to pounce on Tommy The Train in the late stages of the race, and they took advantage of the situation. They closed in to create an exciting finish and a tight photo at the wire. After a short deliberation, it was determined Tommy The Train was the winner by a nose over One Fantastic Gal. Cartels Justice and Jorge Torres finished third.
After just barely making the cut to compete in the final, LF Curly proved she was a legitimate contender as she rallied home the winner in the ninth running of the $188,200 Miss Roxie Little Futurity at Indiana Grand Saturday, Oct. 21. The two-year-old filly stunned the field of nine to fend off Be Afraid and Alonso Rivera at the finish for the win, the first of her career.
Starting from post six, LF Curly had no issues getting out of the starting gate and had a straight path during the 350-yard dash. The daughter of One Famous Versace had a nose in front early and was being pursued strongly by Be Afraid throughout the race. Be Afraid started closing the gap in the final strides of the exciting finish that awarded LF Curly the win by just a nose over Be Afraid. Fish Head and Luis Guerrero was also on the winning end of a tight photo for third, finishing just a nose ahead of Air Born Rio and James Flores for the show spot. The time of the race was :17.992 seconds
LF Curly, the slowest qualifier for the Roxie Little Futurity Final, was the second longest shot on the board, paying $49.60, $11.60 and $9.80. The small bay filly is bred and owned by Dan Frazier, who was in South Carolina to meet his latest grandchild and watched the race on television.
Trainer Larry Sharp had a lot to cheer about in the final strides of the 21st running of the Governor’s Stake. He saddled three for the final and two of them were battling it out in the final strides for the win. BS Special was able to fend off La Vencedora right at the wire for the mild upset, giving Sharp a one-two finish in the race.
Starting from post nine in the 10-horse final, BS Special had earned her spot in the final by winning her trial, but all eyes were on La Vencedora, the fastest qualifier and the most celebrated horse of the field. La Vencedora, winner of the Grade II $1 million Remington Park Oklahoma Bred Futurity earlier this year, had a mild misstep out of the gate right to the inside of BS Special, giving Jockey David Pinon the early edge in the 350-yard dash.
It was clear halfway through the race that the top two were the ones to beat. Side by side, BS Special and La Vencedora began their battle, and neither filly was giving in an inch. Jockey James Flores had ridden both fillies to victory in the trials and it was no surprise he chose La Vencedora in the final. He was aware that BS Special would give it her all en route to the finish line and it would take a big effort to get by her. Although La Vencedora closed in during the final few strides, BS Special was able to maintain control of the race, winning by just the margin of a head at the finish over La Vencedora. All American Ease and Cristian Esqueda maintained positioning on the inside to finish a comfortable third in the race that stopped the timer in :17.740 seconds.
Apollitical Man and James Flores were on a mission from the start and led the field of talented older horses from gate to wire to win the fifth running of the $85,480 Indiana Championship at Indiana Grand Saturday, Oct. 21. The race was one of five stakes races on the card to polish off the final all-Quarter Horse racing night of 2017 at the Central Indiana racetrack.
Starting from post six in the nine-horse lineup, Apollitical Man made his first start at Indiana Grand an impressive outing. Flores, who has been the regular pilot on the five-year-old gelded son of Apollitical Jess, knew he needed a quick, clean start, and that is what he got from Apollitical Man. Once on the lead, the duo never looked back, rallying home to a one and three-quarter length win in the 400-yard dash in a time of :19.641 seconds. Country Boy 123 and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez was able to fend off Stinkin Rich and Rolando Pina for the tight photo for second.
“He really repeated what he did in his last out,” said Flores, who scored his first of two wins on the card aboard Apollitical Man. “When he runs his race, he is hard to beat.”
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 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.
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.
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.
It took most of the 400-yard distance but HH Kentucky Krome proved to be the quickest at the end, earning the win in the 18th running of the $83,901 Quarter Horse Racing Association (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Derby Saturday, Aug. 26 at Indiana Grand. Ridden by Oscar Macias, the three-year-old sorrel son of La Jollaroid won the race in a time of :20.098 seconds.
Starting from post nine in the 10-horse lineup, HH Kentucky Krome was not the first horse who captured the attention out of the starting gate. Trophy Wife B and Cesar Esqueda got the early nod in mid pack while race favorite Gridiron Girl B and Rodney Prescott pressed on right beside her. It wasn’t until the final strides that the big chestnut appeared he might be a threat at the finish as HH Kentucky Krome hit another gear late in the race.
Powering up on the outside, HH Kentucky Krome was able to pass all of his rivals to earn the victory by a neck over Gridiron Girl B for second. DNA Dales Prospect and Cody Smith maintained positioning, just a nose back in the tight photo for third.