Tag: quarter horse racing
It’s the first true test of Quarter Horse power for the 2018 racing season at Indiana Grand as the ninth running of the $84,800 Born Runner Classic takes the spotlight Saturday, May 26. Ten of the state’s best older horses will go to battle in the final race of the night at a distance of 400 yards featuring many champions from the Indiana breeding program.
The favorite of the field is Keen Liaison, a four-year-old daughter of Sixes Liaison. “Keenie” as she’s known in the Erin Thompson barn, had one previous start to prepare for the Born Runner Classic and had a bad start, which took her out of the race early on. Her regular jockey, Ronald Hisby, was involved in an incident on the track earlier in the day and was unable to ride. However, Hisby will be back aboard to ride Keen Liaison at odds of 3-1 from post two for owner James Black.
Keen Liaison and Ronald Hisby set the bar in the first of three trials for the upcoming $100,000 Sterlie Bertram Memorial Stakes Saturday, Sept. 16. The duo turned in the fastest time of :20.080 seconds heading into the Saturday, Sept. 30 final at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.
Starting from post six as the favorite of the eight-horse field, Keen Liaison had a good break and was all business from start to finish in the 400-yard dash. The three-year-old daughter of Sixes Liaison grabbed the lead early and could not be caught, winning the race by one-half length at the wire. Dreamers Liaison, also a son of Sixes Liaison, kept close the entire race for Rodney Prescott to finish second over Kid Cartel and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, who came out on top of a close photo for third.
Owned by James Black and trained by Erin Thompson, Keen Liaison paid $5.60, $4.00, $2.60 across the board. She is now four for five in 2017, just missing a perfect season by the margin of a nose earlier this year to finish second.
Owner Carolyn Bruce of Lawrenceburg, Ind. has experienced a lot of success in Quarter Horse racing in recent years. First, it was former Horse of the Year in Indiana Stinkin Rich, then last year, CB Come Fly With Me captured freshman filly honors with numerous wins. Now the youngest foal to hit the track from 2016 Broodmare of the Year Miss Scarlet looks to carry on the tradition.
Starting from post seven, Perfical, rallied out of the gate and had control of the $16,000 two-year-old maiden race from the start, scooting home to a three-quarter length easy win under jockey Juan Pulido. Got Sand in My Shoes and Cesar Esqueda finished second over Sixes Loaded to Fly and Harold Collins for third in the 250-yard dash over a muddy track. Owned by Bruce and trained by Joe Davis, Perfical was making only her second career start for her connections. The time of the dash was :13.751 seconds.
“We had her out at Remington this winter and she got a bad gluteal pouch infection,” said Davis. “By the time we had her cleared up, it was time for the (Oklahoma) Futurity trials but she really wasn’t back 100 percent. She ran a good race out there, though, so it gave us a sign she had some talent.”
A driving rainstorm didn’t deter Jess Kool Lady from displaying her best stride at Indiana Grand Friday, April 28. The three-year-old daughter of Apollitical Jess completed the 350 yard distance in a time of :17.384 seconds to establish the new mark.
Jess Kool Lady and jockey Giovani Vasquez-Gomez began from post two in the impressive field of 10 starters that included several stakes winners. The duo made their presence known early in the race and rallied home on the inside to win by one-half length over My Royal Wagon and Harold Collins. WH Kenny G and Rodney Prescott rounded out the trifecta.
Owned by Enrique Ibarra, Jess Kool Lady earned her third career win in four starts for trainer Victor Olivo. Olivo, who retired from riding in 2015, converted over to training last season and has already seen success from his small stable. Jess Kool Lady had two wins in three outings at Indiana Grand as a two year old last fall. Olivo then traveled to Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Derby trials at Remington Park in early March, turning in the fastest trial time before finishing fourth in the Grade III $250,000 final two weeks later.
Victor Olivo has been a successful Quarter Horse jockey in Indiana for the past decade. He won the title at Indiana Grand in 2012 and is currently ranked in second place on the list of all-time leading Quarter Horse jockeys at Indiana Grand. However, at the end of the racing season in 2015, he rode his last horse back to be unsaddled. He knew it was time to pursue another avenue in Quarter Horse racing.
Olivo took some horses to Hialeah to race this winter and went through the process to become a Quarter Horse trainer, receiving his license in Florida. He returned to Wilkinson, Ind. this spring as he always does, ready to race at Indiana Grand, only this time, he will have a different vantage point during the races.
“It’s more exciting I think to be a trainer rather than a jockey,” said Olivo. “And I get more nervous. As a jockey I was always relaxed and went into every race the same, whether it was a claimer or a stakes race. Now, they all feel like stakes races to me.”
Olivo didn’t wait long to visit the winner’s circle. He got his first training win with Carters Success in the final race Tuesday, April 26. He was mentored into training by Paul Martin. Olivo has been the jockey for all of Martin’s horses over the past four or five years, including the stable’s standout WH Design By Dash, who is nearing $300,000 in earnings. Martin also had an entry in the race, finishing third behind Carters Success with Rock This Candy Tree ridden by Cristian Esqueda.
It was another good year for Trainer Randy Smith in Indiana Quarter Horse racing. The Broughton, Ill. native pulled in nine of the 20 awards presented during the annual Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) banquet held Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 in Indianapolis.
Smith, who has back to back Leading Trainer awards from Indiana Grand in 2014 and 2015, was presented with 2015 Trainer of the Year, earning a belt buckle for his accomplishments. Horses from Smith’s barn started 249 times, producing 46 wins and purse earnings in excess of $1.1 million. Smith is the first Quarter Horse trainer in the history of Quarter Horse racing in the state of Indiana to surpass the one million mark in one season. In addition, he posted the most wins ever recorded in one year by a trainer (46) and most purse earnings ever accumulated in one season ($1,108,775).
Woop Dee Doo made his first start at Indiana Grand an impressive outing, winning by two and one-half lengths to turn in the fastest time of two trials for the Heartland Futurity Saturday, June 13. The evening was the first of six nights dedicated to all Quarter Horse racing at Indiana Grand, with all qualifiers for the Heartland Futurity returning for the seventh running of the $50,000-added final set for Saturday, July 4.
A heavy favorite in the race, Woop Dee Doo was guided perfectly out of the gate by Jockey Cristian Esqueda and got in front of the nine-horse field from the first jump. Esqueda kept the sorrel gelding focused on the wire and was only tasked with a little urging to get under the finish line first in a time of :15.301 seconds. Woop Dee Doo was a full two and one-half lengths ahead of his next closest competitor as WRS Hava Cupcake and Juan Guerrero finished second over The Louisiana Jewel and Rolando Pina, both starters from the outside.
“This colt (Woop Dee Doo) is easy to ride, he’s a fast horse,” said Esqueda, who finished among the top 10 Quarter Horse riders at Indiana Grand in 2014. “He was no problem at all to ride. He comes from a good trainer (Ricardo Martinez). He told me before the race if I got out in front to try to hand ride him and not push him, so that is what I did.”