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.
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.
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.
BS Special from the Larry Sharp barn proved to be the quickest of 23 vying for a spot in the $50,000 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby final slated for Saturday, July 7. BS Special, ridden by Berkley Packer, won the first of three trials in a time of :20.065 to lead the top 10 into the final.
Starting from post four in the eight-horse trial, BS Special broke strong from the gate and got his momentum together for the final half of the 400-yard dash, cruising under the wire by one-half length to the victory. Fast Prize Karen and Rodney Prescott maintained ground along the outside for second while All American Ease and Shanley Jackson moved up the inside for third.
Owned by Duane Murphy, BS Special came into the trials as the richest three-year-old with more than $115,000 in earnings thus far in her career. The Freighttrain B filly is no stranger to success in Indiana. She was a winner in the $134,000 Governor’s Stake last fall at Indiana Grand for Sharp. The Barley and Sharp Farm bred filly is now six for nine lifetime.
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.
“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.”
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.”