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Strong offseason has Golden Bears ready for 2022 football season

The rebuild of the Shelbyville High School football program was daunting enough for first-year head coach Brian Glesing. Then along came a pandemic.

“I’ve never seen anything like it or been a part of anything like it,” said the veteran coach who was hired to bring the Golden Bears back to winning ways after just one win in the three previous seasons. “You never knew what was going to happen week to week.”

Glesing and the Golden Bears finished an unusual 1-6 when 10 games are the typical minimum for a high school football season. Shelbyville had a trio of Hoosier Heritage Conference games cancelled due to COVID-19 and contract tracing protocols.

“I don’t know how we would have done in those games we didn’t play but our kids responded well to a choppy season,” said Glesing, who is about to start his 20th season as a head coach.

Glesing’s rebuilding phase enters year two Friday night when Shelbyville travels to Madison to face the host Cubs and the Salem Lions in a football jamboree. The Golden Bears’ regular-season opener is Aug. 19 at McKeand Stadium against Greensburg.

“I hope our school year gets off to a good start and our athletics don’t have to deal with (COVID-19) anymore,” said Glesing. “That’s the way it was (last year), our kids fought through that adversity. We finished our season with a great, competitive sectional game against Richmond but came up on the losing end. I thought our kids played hard and it was a culmination of a good first year.”

Glesing was hired with the reputation of a coach that resurrects struggling football programs. In just his second game last season, he helped Shelbyville end a 26-game losing streak with a 22-16 win over Richmond.

That would be Shelbyville’s only win of the beleaguered season but there certainly was a new “buzz” around the program as the offseason arrived.

“The biggest thing to take from last year to this year in year two is our kids know what to do now,” he said. “They know what to expect. They know how practice is run. They know how the weight room is run. There are no surprises. They know what to do. And the upperclassmen that went through last year can teach our freshmen.”

The offseason game plan was simple: get stronger.

“It’s about getting great work habits and establishing our attitude, character and effort,” said Glesing. “We have a core of kids that are doing that right now. They understand it takes hard work, it takes commitment in the offseason and in season, in the weight room, in the speed and agility program, and doing all those things to get where we need to be competitive on Friday nights.”

Glesing spent all of 2021 evaluating talent. That included a senior and a sophomore quarterback sharing playing time. Eli Chappelow, now a junior, instantly became the starting quarterback at the end of last season and he has embraced the role.

“Eli has done a great job in our offseason program,” said Glesing. “He has done a great job leading our team. He is only a junior but he is going to command our team. I am looking forward to seeing how he develops now that he is playing full-time varsity whereas last year he was only getting two quarters.”

 

 

Chappelow (photo) says he is ready for the responsibility.

“I am more prepared than last year where I was getting about half the reps,” said Chappelow. “I am a captain this year and I will embrace that role this year in the classroom and on the field.”

Glesing is still intent on building the program from within, eschewing the more common practice of scrimmaging or doing 7-on-7 work in the summer months with other football programs.

“I am old school when it comes to it,” he said. “I think too many schools do too much. They have to find that happy medium. When I played football, I didn’t want to put pads on in June and July. If you start putting pads on them in June and July and start practicing, they will be ready for it to be over when it comes October. We want our kids fresh when we start in August.”

Glesing admitted, though, that summer 7-on-7 work is in the program’s future as it keeps growing.

“We are still focusing on ourselves to get our program what we need to do before we can start doing those things,” he explained. “Hopefully, next summer we can do some 7-on-7s against other schools.”

Shelbyville typically would be spending the final week before the football season kicks off preparing for a scrimmage against Rushville. The Lions were not going to be able to participate in a scrimmage with the Golden Bears this season but had an opening in week two on their regular season schedule.

The Golden Bears jumped at the opportunity to add an old rival back to its schedule this season.

“It’s a closer drive for us (than Richmond) and it should be a bigger crowd,” said Glesing. “We are excited about that. I think both teams are excited about that game.”

Golden Bears golf secures first dual match win of season

Shelbyville’s girls golf program scored its first dual match win of the season Friday at Westwood Golf Course.

Led by Kate Linville’s 49, the visiting Golden Bears posted a 224-232 victory over New Castle.

Completing the Shelbyville scorecard Friday were Emmie Higgins (56), Madison Monroe (57) and Ava Essex (62).

Shelbyville traveled to Greensburg Saturday for its first 18-hole tournament.

The Golden Bears finished 15th in the Greensburg Invitational played at the Greensburg Country Club.

 

 

Linville led Shelbyville at 119. Higgins followed at 123. Monroe carded 130 and Ella Connolly finished at 139.

Center Grove captured the team title with a score of 318. Completing the top five were Franklin County (362), New Palestine (373), Richmond (376) and Mooresville (397).

East Central’s Rowan Pies shot 73 to be crowned medalist for the event.

Shelbyville returns to action Wednesday at Pendleton Heights.

Coach Michael Duke has seen a lot of basketball

Ask Michael Duke a basketball question about a girls team or player starting with the words, "have you seen?" 

 

Likely, he has.

 

High school basketball coaches are often scouting opponents and watching games on video to prepare for a game.  It seems unlikely that anyone watches as much basketball as Triton Central assistant girls basketball coach Michael Duke.

 

Coach Duke could be prepping for the Lady Tiger basketball program or an AAU team.  And he may be watching even more now after agreeing to a recent assignment to serve as a head coach for the 17U team of the Indiana Pride Girls Basketball Program.

 

 

Duke is back in a travel head coaching position full time after about a year away.

 

 

It seems like Coach Duke is always scouting, watching and taking notes on players and teams.  It can be particulary time consuming during Triton Central's long school season.  He says sometimes that takes away from time other AAU coaches use to track players to build their teams.

 

 

Duke has Cerebral Palsey.  He doesn’t feel it’s gotten in the way of his coaching aspirations.  And it didn’t stop his jump shot when he was younger.  That shooting ability prompted his desire to coach.

 

 

From coaching at Triton Central to coaching across other formats and regions with AAU Duke says he’s been able to reach kids and players.  That’s even when he’s willing to admit that he hasn’t pinpointed exactly why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shelbyville opens season with loss to Marauders at Arrowhead Golf Course

Shelbyville High School’s girls golf team opened the 2022 season Thursday at Arrowhead Golf Course with a 195-232 loss to Mt. Vernon.

Sophomore Emmie Higgins led the visiting Golden Bears with a 53. Higgins was followed on the Shelbyville scorecard by seniors Kate Linville (56) and Madison Monroe (59), sophomore Ava Essex (64), junior Ella Connolly (68) and senior Liv Rosales (69).

Izzy Vanheel topped the host Marauders with a nine-hole score of 43 to earn the medalist honor.

Also for Mt. Vernon, Emily Westfall shot 50 and Kalin Wallpe and Aubrey Trittipo each carded 51s.

Shelbyville was scheduled to travel to New Castle today for another 9-hole match then compete Saturday in the Greensburg Invitational.

Latigo wins $250,000 Governor's Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis

The 19th running of the Governor’s Stakes got a boost in purse money beginning in 2022 and is now the second richest race for Thoroughbreds in the state of Indiana. Latigo also got a boost, winning his first career stakes race in the $250,000 Governor’s Stakes Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis with Joe Ramos aboard for the first time.

As Latigo (photo) entered the starting gate, he was antsy but under control. He moved around quite a bit under Ramos but that only meant he was ready to roll once the gate opened. Latigo secured the top spot inside early but had to take a back seat to New Year’s Fever and Alex Achard, who took over setting the tempo in the one-mile event.

There were three clumps of horses down the backstretch with Firing Range and Gage Holmes joining the top two and then a gap back to the second flight, which included race favorite Mowins and Jon Court.

Heading into the final turn, Ramos pushed for Latigo to advance, and the gelding inched away from his opponents. In the stretch, the son of Jimmy Creed was on top by three lengths and coasted under the wire for the win, his fourth in six starts for 2022.

Mr Chaos and Rodney Prescott saved ground inside to move up for second over Cibolo and Manny Esquivel for third.

“He’s a really talented horse,” said Ramos. “I’ve been working him all winter, and it was nice to finally have the opportunity to ride him. He (trainer Randy Klopp) wanted me to try to lay close and today he just took off. I think he’s still growing as a horse and is gonna do big things.”

 

 

Latigo was overlooked by bettors, paying $18 for the win. The chestnut gelding increased his career earnings to more than $230,000 with the win. He was unraced at two and was making only his sixth lifetime start, reeling off three wins to kick off the racing season this spring in Indiana. Klopp trains Latigo for Spiess Stable. Roger Spiess purchased him out of the Keeneland January All Ages Sale in 2020 as a yearling for $8,000.

“We just decided not to run him as a two-year-old,” said Klopp. “Roger (Spiess) doesn’t believe in racing two-year-olds much. We generally get them broke, bring them into the track for about 30 days, and then take them home and turn them out so they can grow. It looks like that worked out for us on this horse.”

Latigo caught Spiess’ eye at the sale, but he also had the colt marked due to what he saw in the sale book.

“I liked the breeding and we do well with buying horses from the breeders (Deann and Greg Baer),” added Spiess. “We have liked him since we brought him into the track.”

Climber reaches new heights in $200,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes

It turned out to be an easy task for Climber as she elevated herself into stakes winning status Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

The sophomore filly scored the win in the 20th running of the $200,000 Indiana First Lady Stakes with Manny Esquivel aboard. The stakes is one of three that originated during the inaugural season of racing at the track in 2003.

Starting from post 8 in the 10-filly lineup, Climber (photo) had a little bit of a hike to head to the lead early in the one-mile event. Poetic Verse and Eddie Perez grabbed the top spot as Climber was content to sit on the outside in stalking position, flanked by Miss Luv Shack and Fernando De La Cruz on the outside and Lil Evie and Tommy Pompell on the inside.

As the field moved into the final turn, Esquivel asked the filly to accelerate and she responded, circling to the lead and putting lengths between her and the remainder of the field by the head of the lane.

In the stretch, Climber moved out to a five and one-quarter-length advantage to score the win, her third in six starts for 2022. Louder Than Words and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. found racing room in the final turn and moved up for second over Habuiah and Edgar Morales for third.

“I usually just let her do her thing,” said Esquivel, who has been aboard for all six of her starts this season. “She likes to fight (you) in the gate, so the main goal is just to get her relaxed. All the prep for the race goes to Genaro (Garcia). She’s been training really well for today. She broke on top today so all I really had to do was hang on.”

 

 

Climber was the second choice in the field, paying $7.80. The Divining Rod filly earned her second stakes win of the year, connecting in the $100,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes for fillies earlier this year. She now has more than $160,000 in career earnings after going winless last year at two. Genaro Garcia trained the Indiana bred filly for Bruck Murphy and Southwest Racing Stables, which is owned by Garcia.

“We purchased this filly privately last year from the breeder (Dawn Martin) after her first start,” said Garcia. “We saw her on the track and liked the way she moved. Last year, she seemed a little immature, so we made the decision to wait for her three-year-old year and that was probably the best decision. You could see over the winter that she was growing up and filling out and she’s doing much better this year.”

Climber has some breeding that would indicate potential success on the turf, but Garcia has noted the dirt seems to be her forte.

“She has a little breeding for the turf, and we tried her on it last time, but she didn’t run that well,” added Garcia. “She has shown us the dirt is better for her. She has a lot of heart, and we are excited about her.”

Brady Days leaving Southwestern after 16 years for new position at Mt. Vernon (Fortville)

Everyone knows about the difficulty employers have these days finding enough employees.  Brady Days announcement that he’s leaving Southwestern will impact the school system three-fold.

 

Photos in this story by Chad Williams Photography & Design

 

The 16-year head boys basketball coach of the Spartans also served as the assistant principal and athletic director.  But that is ending as Days has accepted a job in the Mt. Vernon school system.

 

 

Days says his daughter, Hayden, is nine and entering fourth grade at Carmel.  He expects the change will allow him more time with her.

 

 

 

The recent addition of the fieldhouse at Southwestern High School is one of a long list of items that Days says he’ll remember.

 

 

The coach in Days is willing to admit that working a basketball sideline may come up again down the road.  For now, he wants his players since 2007 to know what they mean to him.

 

 

 

The Spartans won three of the program’s five sectional titles during Days' 16 seasons as head coach.  The four-time Shelby County Coach of the Year also won two county titles and a Mid-Hoosier Conference title. His 155 wins easily ranks first on the school’s all-time list ahead of Indiana Basketball and Southwestern Hall of Fame member Marty Echelbarger.

 

 

Shelbyville High School announces All-Sport Passes and ticket information

Shelbyville High School has announced single-game ticket information and costs of Golden Bears’ All-Sport Passes for the 2022-2023 athletic season.

Shelbyville High School students will be offered a $10 All-Sport Pass for the upcoming school year. The pass will be accepted at all home athletic events excluding Hoosier Heritage Conference tournaments/invites and IHSAA tournaments.

Students can purchase a $10 pass at lunch through the athletic department.

All-Sport Passes allow entry to any regular season home contest of any sport. All-Sports Passes are not valid at tournaments or invites hosted by the Hoosier Heritage Conference or the IHSAA.

All-Sport high school passes will only be accepted at high school events. Tickets will need to be purchased to gain admittance at middle school and elementary contests.

High school All-Sport Passes can be purchased at the following prices:

  • Adult All-Sport Pass -- $90
  • Student All-Sport Pass -- $60 for students in grades K-8 only
  • Senior Citizen All-Sport Pass -- $75 (age 60 and older)

All-Sport Passes will only be a digital ticket and will need to be purchased online. Shelbyville High School Athletics has partnered with Eventlink to provide a friendlier way to purchase online. To purchase an All-Sport Pass, follow these steps:

Due to increased operational costs for athletic events, Shelbyville High School will be increasing their ticket price to $6 for adults and $3 for students in all sports except football and basketball. Football and basketball ticket price will be $6 for K-Adult.

For those not wishing to purchase an All-Sport Pass, you will have two options to purchase single-game tickets.

  • Purchase online in advance following the steps listed above, only selecting the game ticket instead of All-Sport Pass. Advance online tickets may be purchased for $6. Single-game online tickets will be available five days before the contest.
  • Purchase tickets the traditional way at the gate with cash. You also may use the school’s QR codes at the gate to purchase by credit card. Single-game tickets will cost $6.

HF Whoopi wins Gordon Mobley Futurity at Horseshoe Indianapolis

HF Whoopi beat the boys in the $200,400 Gordon Mobley Futurity Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

Guided by Edgar Diaz, the filly won the richest Quarter Horse race ever run in the state of Indiana.

Starting from post three, HF Whoopi (photo) and Diaz got a dream start and was on top in just a few steps out of the gate. They held steady during the 300-yard dash and hit another gear to stride out for the win in a time of 15.414 seconds.

Race favorite Royal Sin, the top qualifier from the trials, finished second for Juan Marquez over Streakindownthebeach and Rolando Pina for third.

 

 

HF Whoopi, who was the fourth fastest qualifier from the trials, paid $16.40 for the win. The Brimmstone daughter remains undefeated in three starts for trainer Jessica Vazquez and owners Campos Family Ventures of Connersville, Indiana.

“She always gives us her all,” said Vazquez. “She’s the type of horse you want in your barn.”

HF Whoopi picked up $120,000 for her victory in the Mobley Futurity and now has earnings nearing the $140,000 mark. She is the daughter of Firebawl, also an Indiana bred mare who competed in stakes action in Indiana before retiring to the brood mare ranks. David Campos and his daughter, Gladys, acquired HF Whoopi through a private transaction before her racing career began.

“We are extremely impressed with this horse,” said David Campos. “She has run well ever since we got her. This was incredible today.”

Extermynator wins Heartland Futurity at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Extermynator won his trial in impressive fashion to be ranked as the second fastest qualifier for the Heartland Futurity, but he proved he was up for task by winning the 13th running of the $145,200 event Saturday during the third All-Quarter Horse Day of 2022 at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

The purse was the richest ever offered for the stakes race.

Extermynator (photo) was strong out of the gate and held his ground against his opponents. Guided by German Rodriguez, the Tres Seis gelding fended off attacks from all sides in the final strides for the win by one half length over inside challenger Southern Seis and Jose Beltran.

WRs Hava Dasher and Juan Marquez won the tight photo for third over King of Woodbridge and Cristian Reyes. The time of the 300-yard dash was 15.389 seconds, just a few ticks off the stakes record for the Heartland Futurity.

 

 

Extermynator paid $12.80 for the win. The Bobby Cox bred gelding is owned by Gordon Timm, longtime owner for trainer Randy Smith.

“Gordy (Timm) and I bought this horse down at the Heritage Place September Yearling Sale,” said Smith. “Of course, without good owners and good help, we wouldn’t be here.”

Extermynator is now two for three in his young career. It was the first time German Rodriguez was aboard in a race as Juan Marquez, who rides first call for Smith, opted for the mount aboard WRs Hava Dasher, the quickest qualifier from the trials.

“He broke really fast, but a little to the left,” said Rodriguez. “After that, he got focused and finished it out. He’s actually a pretty chill horse. He was a little bit of a handful in the gate, but besides that, he’s a fun horse to ride.”

High Rolling Seize rolls to victory in Blue River Derby

Like father, like son.

Racing fans in Indiana witnessed numerous wins by Seize the Win and now his son, High Rolling Seize, is picking up where his sire left off, winning the 20th running of the $131,500 Blue River Derby. The same connections are behind their latest stakes winner with jockey Shanley Jackson, trainer Matt Frazier, and owner-breeder Glenn Graff taking home the title.

High Rolling Seize (photo) got a good break for Jackson from post two and Jackson went to work. He was in contention for the lead throughout the 400-yard dash and began to inch away from the opponents closest to him. However, it was the fast-closing Mr Michel and Erik Esqueda on the extreme outside that was the main threat late, but High Rolling Seize held on by a nose for the win Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville in 19.989 seconds.

Mr Michel finished second in the three-horse photo over Leaving with Fire and German Rodriguez.

 

 

It was the second career stakes win for High Rolling Seize, who paid $8 to win. The bay gelding earned his first win of the year and his fifth overall and increased his career bankroll to more than $266,000. He has yet to finish worse than third in 12 career starts for his connections and turned the tables on Mr Michel in the Blue River Derby, who defeated him by a head in last year’s Miss Roxie Little Futurity.

Shanley Jackson has been aboard for his last 10 starts and has recorded all five wins aboard him.

“He had a lot of spirit in him today, so I said, ‘Okay, he’s gonna run big,’” said Jackson. “He really finished well today, and I could tell he just really felt good, and he was ready to go. The main thing I need to do is keep him focused in the gates.”

When asked about the real tight photo with Mr Michel on the extreme outside, Jackson smiled and commented, “I knew we had it. We got this.”

For Frazier, it’s a pleasure to train a horse by the sire he won so many stakes races with. High Rolling Seize, and his younger brother, Seize Greatness, who ran in the Mobley Futurity earlier in the day, are giving Frazier’s team a lot to look forward to.

“His little brother (Seize Greatness) didn’t get a good break but he’s young and still learning,” said Frazier, who is based out of Lexington, Kentucky. “They will figure it out pretty soon. Both of these horses are very talented. This horse (High Rolling Seize) didn’t haul up really comfortably last time, so we made some changes today on the haul up and I think that really helped.”

Frazier and his dad, Dan, have trained horses for Glenn Graff for a long time. This is the second go round with this family after so much success with Seize the Win.

“All the horses we own, we sent to Matt (Frazier),” said Graff. “Without him, I’m not sure where we would be. We’ve got him and his little brother both scheduled for the Stallion Service Auction Derby (and Futurity) so we’ll be back to race.”

Piloted by an Angel soars to Jaguar Rocket Futurity win

Piloted by an Angel was the quickest in the trials and returned as the quickest in the final of the 18th running of the $127,400 Jaguar Rocket Futurity Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Piloted by Juan Marquez, the freshman sorrel filly remains undefeated in three starts for trainer Randy Smith, who scored the double in the race with his other filly, Our Louisiana Girl, finishing second.

Starting from the inside post one, Piloted by an Angel (photo) was ready for action when the gates sprung. Marquez kept the daughter of Paint My Pilot focused on her job and she responded, winning the 300-yard dash in 15.545 seconds. Stablemate Our Louisiana Girl and German Rodriguez finished a half length back in second over Jess a Lil Bit Hero and Cristian Aguiree-Erives, who won a tight photo with the fast closing We Be Flyin and L.D. Martinez on the outside for third.

 

 

Piloted by an Angel was the race favorite, paying $3.60 for the win. Bred by Dunn Ranch, the Indiana bred filly is closing in on $100,000 in career earnings as she keeps her race record perfect in three starts.

“She’s a really nice filly and has trained good the whole time,” said Smith. “She’s a whale of a filly. When we got back (to Indiana) and started getting her in schooling races, we found out she had a little speed. I thought the other filly (Our Louisiana Girl) ran a good race. I didn’t know which one of the two would win because they are pretty close.”

Piloted by an Angel is co-owned by Smith’s wife, Debbie, with SJC Inc.’s Sam and Tracy Cruz, who reside in Orange County, California. The owners were trackside for the trophy presentation.

“This is our first and only Quarter Horse we have this year,” said Tracy Smith. “We’ve had a horse in the past, but this is the only one we have right now. My cousin, Chris Duke, raised this filly from a baby. He’s the one that got us into this.”

Triton Central's Lizzie Graham selects IU South Bend to continue basketball career

There's no doubt that Lizzie Graham is comfortable in Triton Central green.  As she prepares for one more season as a Lady Tiger it appears she’s found a way to extend that feeling to her school and basketball career at the next level with a commitment to attend Indiana University South Bend.

 

 

Graham said her recent visit to the campus convinced her.

 

 

The 5’8” TC senior-to-be was second on the team in scoring at 12.1 points per game.  She also averaged 3.7 rebounds and two assists while shooting 39 percent from three-point range.

 

She says the style of play she’s accustomed to at Triton Central is similar to what the Titans feature.

 

 

Part of Graham’s comfort playing at the school she’s always known is having her dad, Bryan Graham, on the sidelines.  Although she notes even that has its occasional difficulties.

 

 

Sports fans have become accustomed to seeing athletes surrounded by family, teammates and coaches as they sign a letter of intent to play college sports.  Graham says there’s another side to that.  She had to tell everyone else who had interest that she wasn’t going to play for them.

 

 

With the college choice out of the way Graham can now settle in for her senior season at Triton Central.

 

 

Graham will join a program at IU South Bend that was knocked out of the last postseason in the NAIA Women's Basketball National Championship Opening Round by 12th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan, 65-64.  It marked the first NAIA Tournament appearance for the Titans since 2005.

 

The Titans 25-8 overall record was the program's second straight full season with 25 victories.

 

Keith Nations Stable named Barn Crew of the Month

Keith Nations Stable has been selected as the Barn Crew of the Month for June at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

The official presentation was made in the winner’s circle Wednesday on behalf of the sponsors, Indiana HBPA and Texas Corral.

Nations, a native of the Seattle, Washington area, currently has five horses stabled at Horseshoe Indianapolis. This is his second year stabling at the facility following a career that has taken him from coast to coast.

“I got started training horses in the Seattle area and then trained in California for seven years before relocating to the East Coast,” said Nations. “We relocated in 2013 and were based out of Parx, Delaware, and Monmouth and spent two winters in the Mid-Atlantic. It was just too cold for me, so we moved to Tampa and that is where our home is now. It works out well for us to come to Indiana to race during the summer and then return to Tampa for the winter.”

 

 

At one time, Nations had more than 70 horses in his barn, but he and his wife, Cheryl, are beginning to downsize and have kept one employee, Juan Martinez Rios, with them as they transition into their new racing circuit.

“Juan has been with us for 17 years,” added Nations. “He’s our only employee now. He’s like family to us. He’s very caring for the horses and goes above and beyond. He also keeps our barn looking great. We are very fortunate to have him.”

The Nations Stable received a $200 gift certificate to Texas Corral, located on State Road 9 just north of Shelbyville. They will also receive a banner on their barn to signify the excellent care of their barn while stabled at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Indiana HBPA provides the award each month to honor one stable on the backstretch for keeping a clean shedrow as well as excellent care of their horses.

Wiener Dog Racing postponed at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Extreme temperatures forecast for this weekend have resulted in changes for an event set for Horseshoe Indianapolis.

 

Central Indiana is predicting extreme heat indexes Saturday, July 23. As a result, the Wiener Dog races previously scheduled to coincide with the Quarter Horse racing program will be postponed and moved to Saturday, August 13. Quarter Horse racing will be held as scheduled Saturday, July 23 beginning at 10 a.m.

 

“We are facing some really dangerous temperatures and heat indexes for Saturday afternoon, so in the best interest of all the participants, we will postpone the Wiener Dog races to Saturday, Aug. 13,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing. “We will continue with our Quarter Horse racing program that begins at 10 a.m. and will take less time between races so we can complete the card before the expected height of the temperatures arrives and heat indexes climb to dangerous levels Saturday afternoon.”

 

The new date for the second annual Hot Diggity Dog Wiener Dog races will be part of the all-Quarter Horse racing day Saturday, August 13. Racing begins at 10 a.m. with Wiener Dog racing joining in on the fun at approximately 1 p.m. The Wiener Dog racing will be held between races with the top dogs heading back to the track for the $500 final. The top five dogs will share the prize money in the final.

 

The afternoon will also include a free Escape Room experience, plus several food trucks, winner’s circle promotions, Quarter Four contest courtesy of the QHRAI, and a drawing for an exclusive seating package during the AQHA Challenge Championships Saturday, October 22 will be held.

 

For more information on the new date for Hot Diggity Dog, visit the website at www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis.

 

 

Shelbyville begins stretch drive in "Quest For The Governor's Cup"

Harness racing continues Tuesday at the Shelby County Fairgrounds starting at 11:00 am.

 

After nine rounds of racing on the Indiana fair circuit, the "Quest for the Governor's Cup" now enters the stretch drive at the Shelby County Fair in Shelbyville, Ind. This week’s program represents one of four opportunities remaining for horses to bank valuable starts and points in hopes of qualifying for the Governor’s Cup Championships at the Indiana State Fair. Eight $3,500 divisions are carded each day.

 

Kruisin Kristen, a freshman that has tasted victory in each of her last four starts, headlines a trio of divisions offered for pacing fillies Monday. Owned and trained by Alvin Miller, the daughter of Tellitlikeitis-Portia Blue Chip has registered five wins on the fair circuit this year and currently leads the division in points. Jay Cross will guide Kruisin Kristen from post two in the day’s second race. Go Go Jacki Jo, a winner in each of her last two starts for trainer Leander Schwartz, leads a field of six in the first division. Check In Process, third in the standings, attempts to add her fifth win of the season in the third race.

 

In the freshman pacing colt division, Lil Joe Iv and M-M’s Tony are locked in a tight points battle, with only one marker separating the two. M-M’s Tony has reeled off four straight wins for Miller, the last a five-length triumph July 13 at Portland. The Tellitlikeitis gelding will line up in the second tier in Monday’s fourth race. Luck Be Withyou colt Lil Joe Iv will contest the next race, drawing post three in a field of six for trainer Terry Haimes. The two year old is a three-time fair victor, steered by Gerald Miller.

 

Sophomore trotting filly Double A Samantha looks to notch back-to-back wins for trainer John Merkel, and will attempt to do so on her home track. Last week in Portland the three year old won by six lengths with Brad Ferguson in the bike, stopping the clock in 2:03.1. She is currently fourth in the standings and needs three more starts to gain eligibility to the Governor’s Cup Championships. The Muscle Massive filly lines up fourth in race seven.

 

Babe’s Darla, top point earner in the sophomore pacing filly division, attempts to rebound from a disappointing fifth-place effort last week at Portland. The Straight Shooting-Bj’s Babe lass has collected four wins this season for trainer Carl Newland, and has drawn the rail in Tuesday’s fifth race. Al Perfection, currently second in points, also has the rail in race six, the second $3,500 division for filly pacers. The Scott Linville-trained three year old enters Tuesday with two wins in her last two outings, victorious by a head last week at Portland.

 

Tuesday’s finale features a pair of the top three-year-old pacing colts on the fair circuit. Points leader Virgins Beach Boy lines up fourth in the field of five for trainer Justin White. The Always A Virgin-Cantakerous gelding picked up his third fair win last week with Mike Peterson at the controls. Peterson will not guide Virgins Beach Boy this week, instead steering Always-A-Laser, a horse he trains and owns, from the outside post. Despite only making three fair starts to date, the Always A Virgin colt has registered two wins and a runner-up performance, good for fifth in points.

 

Doug Rideout built on his lead in the driver’s standings last week at Portland, piloting four winners and bringing his seasonal tally to 42. Jordan Ross is firmly entrenched in second place with 29 trips to the winner’s circle. Michael Detweiler ranks third with 13 victories, one ahead of veteran reinsman Cross. Rideout also enjoys a wide margin in the  trainer’s standings, sending out 47 winners to date. Mervin Schmucker continues to hold down second place with 19 training victories, and Leander Schwartz rounds out the top three with 12 scores. 

 

Listed below are the top eight point earners in each division, including ties, through eight rounds of the Quest. Points are tabulated by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. Horses earn a point for each start made on the fair circuit, with race winners awarded 50 points. A second-place finish merits 25 points, a third-place effort yields 12 points, eight points are awarded for fourth place and five points for fifth place. The top eight point earners in each division that have also made the prerequisite seven fair starts will compete in the $25,000 Governor's Cup Championships to be held August 11 at the Indiana State Fair. All horses that have made seven or more starts are designated below with an asterisk.

 

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace

Kruisin Kristen 281; Here We Go BB 243; Check In Process 239; Go Go Jackie Jo* 199; Virgins Big Money* 192; Tell Me Lies* 186; Live Your Life 180; Swartz Bros Elen 176

 

Two-Year-Old Colt Pace

Lil Joe Iv* 244; M-M’s Tony 243; Isitlikeittell* 202; Master Splinter 179; Mercy Rock* 157; Vel Big Bruiser 155; Vel Dwayne 138; Little Fighter 124

 

Two-Year-Old Filly Trot

If Not For You* 265; Tucky Girl 223; Cash In The Bank* 219; Unforgettable* 211; Sure Do, Edge Of Rejoicing* 167; Swartz Bros Donna 155; Youknowyoudid, Sure Do 154

 

Two-Year-Old Colt Trot

Help Dust* 295; Mr Knowitall 255; Prince Henry 236; Starlit Swan Song 198; Reckless Reviver 179; A Majorsmackin 155; Closed Deal 138; Brookview Dewey 137

 

Three-Year-Old Filly Pace

Babe's Darla 223; Al Perfection* 198; Velstraightdreamer* 163; Vel Goodgollymolly* 148; Zig Zag Zoom 143; Mystical Image 138; Lady Angel 102; Running On Faith*, Swartz Bros Jane 83

 

Three-Year-Old Colt Pace

Virgins Beach Boy 218; Vel Larry* 185; Vel Bitter Chip* 183; Riggins Revenge 129; Always-A-Laser 128; Vel Wemiss U Dean 117; Luckychris 86; Family Four Ever 65

 

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot

Crescent Beauty* 383; Walk With Me* 307; Fashion's Way* 231; Double A Samantha 129; Swan’s Lady* 103; First N Line 101; ABC Tucky 65; Tabsladyone 62

 

Three-Year-Old Colt Trot

Lonestar Fashion* 295; Hand Dover Dan* 269; Molly’s Jail 164;  Summit City Sonny 163; Vel Jail Bondsman* 135; Swartz Bros Sam 130; Muscle Dan 77; V-Keys Striper 59

 

Racing fans are encouraged to follow along and participate this season using #Quest4GovCup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Quest for the Governor’s Cup Locations and Dates

Complete - Round 1: Converse, Ind. - June 1 & 2

Complete - Round 2: Converse, Ind. - June 8 & 9

Complete - Round 3: Corydon, Ind. - June 16 & 17

Complete - Round 4: Converse, Ind. - June 21 & 22

Complete - Round 5: Frankfort, Ind. - June 27 & 28

Complete - Round 6: Frankfort, Ind. - July 4 & 5

Complete - Round 7: Kendallville, Ind. and Kentland, Ind. - July 9

Complete - Round 8: Portland, Ind. - July 13

Round 9: Shelbyville, Ind. - July 18 & 19

Round 10: Goshen, Ind. - July 23, 25 & 26

Round 11: Connersville, Ind. - August 1 & 2

Round 12: Portland, Ind. - August 6

Governor’s Cup Championships: Indianapolis, Ind. - August 11

 

Indiana fair races will be available via livestream this season through a partnership between the Indiana Standardbred Association and Indiana Standardbred Breed Development. Fans can watch fair racing by visiting the ISA website, indianaharness.com, on race days. Races will be archived on the website.

Live racing moved to 10:25AM Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis

A week of forecasts with high temperatures in the 90's and the heat index even warmer has prompted Horseshoe Indianapolis to move Wednesday's racing to earlier in the day.

 

Due to extreme heat forecasted for Wednesday, July 20, Horseshoe Indianapolis will move its 11-race program to begin at 10:25 a.m.

 

Approval was received for the post time move by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission Monday. The move will alleviate racing during the hottest part of the day Wednesday to assist with safe racing conditions for both the equine and human participants.

U.S. Attorney's Office files suit against alleging Wrigley Field renovations and expansion violated ADA

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois filed a federal civil lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs, alleging the team failed to ensure that recent additions and alterations at Wrigley Field were appropriately accessible to individuals with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

The lawsuit alleges that the team’s renovation, rehabilitation, expansion, and reconstruction of Wrigley Field – a multi-year undertaking known as “the 1060 Project” – discriminated against individuals with disabilities.  To facilitate the changes made by the 1060 Project, the Cubs rebuilt a sizable portion of the preexisting Wrigley Field facility, including demolishing and reconstructing the bleachers and tearing down most of the lower grandstand and rebuilding it.  These extensive changes were subject to the ADA’s requirements for design, construction, and alterations, the lawsuit states.

 

The lawsuit alleges that throughout the 1060 Project, the Cubs failed to provide wheelchair users with adequate sightlines as compared to standing patrons or incorporate wheelchair seating into new premium clubs and group seating areas.  In the general admission areas, the Cubs designed and constructed the wheelchair seating so that it is largely clustered in the last row of seating sections – in violation of the requirements of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design – and failed to remove architectural barriers to access in unaltered portions of Wrigley Field where it was readily achievable to do so, the lawsuit states.

 

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, names as defendants the Cubs and other corporate owners and operators of the Wrigley Field facility – CHICAGO BASEBALL HOLDINGS LLC, WRIGLEY FIELD HOLDINGS LLC, and WF MASTER TENANT LLC.  The suit seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief to remedy the alleged ADA violations.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Abraham J. Souza and Patrick W. Johnson represent the government.

 

“The Cubs rebuilt much of Wrigley Field and had ample opportunity – and a significant ADA obligation – to incorporate wheelchair seating and other accessible elements into the updated facility,” said John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.  “The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to ensuring equal accessibility for individuals with disabilities.”

Shelbyville High School's new sports performance center nearly complete

Shelbyville High School’s new sports performance center is nearing completion as the 2022-2023 school year is about to arrive.

“It’s kind of surreal honestly,” said Royce Carlton, Shelbyville’s strength and conditioning coach. “When I first thought about getting a new weight room, everyone said that won’t happen at Shelbyville. They won’t spend money on that.”

Carlton put together a presentation for the school board and the need was realized.

“The administration has been awesome,” said Carlton. “They have given me the freedom to design everything. I can’t believe it’s actually happening.”

Final touches are occurring this week before much of the equipment arrives for installation. Once completed, Carlton guarantees Shelbyville will have one of the top high school sports performance centers in the state.

 

 

“Once we get all the equipment and technology in here, we will be a top five weight room in (Class) 4A in the state,” said Carlton, who also serves as Shelbyville’s baseball coach. “There will not be very many facilities better than what we have.”

The high school’s current weight room offers 2,000 square feet of space. The new sports performance center is 8,000 square feet and was built along the west wall of the auxiliary gymnasium. The windows in the facility face J.M. McKeand Stadium.

The current weight room equipment will be shipped to the middle school to offer an enhanced weight room in that building. The sports performance center will feature all new equipment and technology.

“We have kind of a preliminary drawing once the equipment comes,” said Carlton of how the space will be utilized. “Of course, once it’s in we might move a couple things around. The company we went with, Pro Power out of Franklin, did a really good job of getting the layout organized and working with me on how the room will flow with the amount of athletes we have.”

Carlton envisions the new facility speeding up the workout process for athletes.

“When we have 50 or 60 kids in an undersized weight room, you are only getting about 50% of your work done with the time and space,” he said. “Now, partners of two can get stuff done and do more. After school, we can put two teams in here at the same time. We will get a lot more done and be a lot more efficient.”

 

 

With the new facility, Carlton now has a dedicated office on the north end with a window looking toward Arthur Barnett Field where the Golden Bears play baseball.

“I’ve moved offices like four times since I’ve been here,” smiled Carlton. “There is an office and a big storage room down there to keep things clean.”

The center is climate-controlled and includes windows for natural light, three television monitors and a dedicated speaker system.

“Hopefully we can start moving equipment in next week,” said Carlton. “There are a few things still to get from overseas that are taking a little bit of time. The rest of the month of July we should start slowly filling up with deliveries.

“I am very confident we will be ready to go that first full week of school.”

Thanks Mr. Eidson victorious in William Garrett Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis

The Hoosier State honored a legend and welcomed the first start of a West Coast invader Wednesday in the second running of the $100,000 William Garrett Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Garrett’s hometown of Shelbyville.

Thanks Mr. Eidson (photo) and Geovanni Franco turned in a stellar performance to win the event named in honor of the basketball legend William Garrett.

Thanks Mr. Eidson came into the race off a win at Churchill Downs and trailed early on as the two greys, Charcoal and Joe Talamo and Rockcrest and Florent Geroux went out for the early lead in the five-furlong sprint over the turf. Franco was able to get Thanks Mr. Eidson in a comfortable running spot and await the opportunity to advance in the stretch.

Both Charcoal, last year’s winner of the William Garrett Stakes, and Rockcrest battled each other early in the stretch. Thanks Mr. Eidson emerged from between trailing horses and got a clear running path to mow down the competition in the final strides, winning by three quarters of a length over Charcoal. Oceanic and Edgar Morales also closed to finish third in the sprint, clocked in 55.43 seconds, a new stakes record.

“We broke flat footed, but I got him in position,” said Franco, who rode on the California circuit before relocating to the Midwest following success at Oaklawn. “He naturally goes to the lead, but he didn’t go today so we were waiting and took advantage of the hole in the turn. He got more and more comfortable on the turf as we went, and I think that definitely helped.”

 

 

Thanks Mr. Eidson paid $5.80 for his trip around the track. The More Than Ready five-year-old was the favorite of the field in his first Indiana start. He has spent his entire racing career with John Del Secco’s Del Secco DCS Racing, based out of northern California, who purchased him as a yearling from the Keeneland Sales for $210,000.

“I grew up around Pleasanton (Golden Gate Fields), so I’ve been around horses my entire life,” said the young Del Secco, whose family owns and operates a construction company in the San Francisco area. “Our trainer on the West Coast (Jeff Bonde) and I picked out this horse together at the sale. We bought three or four that day. He has spent his entire career in California, but we thought he needed a little change of scenery, so we sent him to Brian (Lynch) in Kentucky.”

Del Secco is roommates with Brian’s son, Nic, at the University of Kentucky. The two are seniors at UK and share a passion for racing and shared a car ride up to Horseshoe Indianapolis for the Garrett Stakes.

“I flew in on the red eye overnight,” said Del Secco. “Brian (Lynch) told me he was going to run big, so I wasn’t going to miss this.”

Thanks Mr. Eidson has run in stakes before, but the Garrett Stakes becomes his first career stakes victory. The gelding, bred by Dell Ridge Farm, has four lifetime wins and boosted his career earnings to more than $343,000 with the Indiana win. He is now two for three in 2022 for his connections.

 

 

The Garrett family made the trophy presentation for the William Garrett Stakes (photo). Garrett’s nephew, James Jr., and Garrett’s great nephew, James III, were both in the winner’s circle to present the trophy to the connections of Thanks Mr. Eidson.

“I am ecstatic that Bill Garrett is remembered in this community with this race,” said Garrett Jr. “I thought it was a one-time thing when we came out last year, but to be invited back to represent the family again is a great honor. I hope it continues and I’m glad to see people look forward to this race.”

Garrett led the Shelbyville Golden Bears to a state championship victory in 1947. Garrett then went on to play for Indiana University as the first African American player in the Big 10. Although he was drafted by the Boston Celtics, he also was drafted into the U.S. Army. Following his military service, he played for the Harlem Globetrotters and was later a coach, educator, and athletic director in the Indianapolis area.

Garrett was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1974.

Creative Credit scores first stakes win in Clarksville Stakes

Creative Credit, ridden by Tommy Pompell, earned her first career stakes win in the second running of the $100,000 Clarksville Stakes Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville. The duo covered the five-furlong turf race in a new stakes record of 55.50 seconds.

Pompell had Creative Credit (photo) ready to go as soon as the gates opened and was on top from post three to battle early with Elle Z and Mitchell Murrill on the outside. Creative Credit held her ground throughout the one-turn event and in the stretch, she kept her advantage all the way to the finish line to win by three-quarters of a length over Elle Z. Cashable and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. finished third.

“I was told to go with the 6 and to not let her go off on her own,” said Pompell. “She’s a really fast horse, there’s not much instruction I need to ride her. She always breaks really well, and she did today, and she got me going and set me up so we could win.”

 

 

Creative Credit was a small surprise to bettors, paying $12.60 for the win. The chestnut mare is owned, trained and bred by Richard Finucane, who has a farm in Kentucky. She is the second generation to run for Finucane, who also campaigned her mother, Credit Crunch, to more than $220,000 in career earnings.

“She (Credit Crunch) set a track record here for seven-and-a-half furlongs on the turf,” said Finucane. “For as good of a racehorse as she was, she was a terrible brood mare. This is the only foal that survived.”

Creative Credit is doing more than surviving for Finucane. She earned her third straight win and is three for four in 2022. Her career earnings were just boosted to more than $146,000 with her win in the Clarksville Stakes.

“I told Tommy (Pompell), if she breaks like she did the other day, you know what to do, and he did,” added Finucane. “I literally train in my back yard. I’ve been racing for a long time and it’s always good to get a stakes win.”

WRs Valentino repeats in Bradford Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis

It was a bit of a roller coaster for the connections of WRs Valentino, but the veteran professional got his job done to win his second straight Bradford Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis Wednesday in Shelbyville.

The sometimes temperamental gelding got loose in the post parade, but jockey Juan Marquez climbed back aboard, and the duo turned in an impressive performance for the win.

Starting from the outside post 10, WRs Valentino (photo) got a great break from the gate, but there was a lot of firepower on the inside of him, including four opponents with six figure bankrolls.

One of those horses was the Canadian superstar Country Boy 123, who had back-to-back wins in the Bradford in 2019 and 2020. The biggest threat early on was from the center of the track as stablemate WRs Moonin Thewagon and German Rodriguez took over in the first few strides of the 400-yard dash.

Halfway down the stretch, WRs Valentino hit another gear as he always does and moved in front of the field for the win by a half length. On a New Note and Shanley Jackson finished second over WRs Moonin Thewagon to give trainer Randy Smith a trifecta finish in the race.

 

 

WRs Valentino was the favorite, paying $3.60. The now six-year-old son of Mighty B Valiant earned his 10th trip to the winner’s circle. He has yet to finish back of second in 18 career starts. Gwen and Randy Williams of LaCenter, Kentucky, were trackside to greet WRs Valentino following his sixth career stakes win. They also have a lot to look forward to from the family as the brood mare, WRs Kissandteller, is still providing foals for their racing operation.

“Right now, the little sister is looking really good,” said Randy Williams. “His lil sister (WRs Hava Dasher) set the fastest time in the Heartland Futurity trials. Plus we have a weanling filly at home we are excited about from that family.”

WRs Valentino is now six, but for the Williams family, they are hoping he is just getting started.

“WRs Special Shoe was the best horse we’ve ever had, and he ran until he was 10,” added Williams. “We made over a million in his career, so we hope ‘Valentino’ will keep going. Last fall, he had his checkup with Dr. Timm (Gudehus of the Caesars Entertainment Equine Specialty Hospital), and we didn’t have to have a thing done to him. Gwen led him in and out of the barn all winter at our farm and we saw he was ready to go back to the track, so we called Randy (Smith) and so far, he’s had two wins.”

WRs Valentino moved over the $400,000 mark in career earnings with his win in the Bradford. The Kentucky bred gelding has raced his entire career at Horseshoe Indianapolis and broke his maiden in his first start. Smith, Indiana’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer, has conditioned the horse from the start. He keeps the well-built beautiful gelding in top form for Williams, who named him “Valentino” because he was born on Valentine’s Day in 2016.

Harness racing returns to the Shelby County Fairgrounds July 18-19

Shelby County harness racing is scheduled for next week in the continued "Quest for the Governor's Cup".

Harness racing at the Shelby County Fairgrounds is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am on Monday, June 18, and Tuesday, June 19.

The Jay County Fair in Portland celebrated its 150 years with harness racing on Wednesday.

Points are tabulated by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. Horses earn a point for each start made on the fair circuit, with race winners awarded 50 points. A second-place finish merits 25 points, a third-place effort yields 12 points, eight points are awarded for fourth place and five points for fifth place.

The top eight point earners in each division that have also made the prerequisite seven fair starts will compete in the $25,000 Governor's Cup Championships to be held August 11 at the Indiana State Fair.

Racing fans are encouraged to follow along and participate this season using #Quest4GovCup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Quest for the Governor’s Cup Locations and Dates

Complete - Round 1: Converse, Ind. - June 1 & 2

Complete - Round 2: Converse, Ind. - June 8 & 9

Complete - Round 3: Corydon, Ind. - June 16 & 17

Complete - Round 4: Converse, Ind. - June 21 & 22

Complete - Round 5: Frankfort, Ind. - June 27 & 28

Complete - Round 6: Frankfort, Ind. - July 4 & 5

Complete - Round 7: Kendallville, Ind. and Kentland, Ind. - July 9

Complete - Round 8: Portland, Ind. - July 13

Round 9: Shelbyville, Ind. - July 18 & 19

Round 10: Goshen, Ind. - July 23, 25 & 26

Round 11: Connersville, Ind. - August 1 & 2

Round 12: Portland, Ind. - August 6

Governor’s Cup Championships: Indianapolis, Ind. - August 11

 

Interstatedaydream captures win in Indiana Oaks at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Interstatedaydream might not have looked at the quarter pole like the odds-on favorite she was for Saturday’s $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks.

She seemed to be struggling to keep even with 9-1 Runaway Wife. But when it mattered, Flurry Racing’s filly was at her best, easing away in the final eighth-mile to win Indiana’s signature stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 2 ¼ lengths at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

It was another 6 ½ lengths back to Runaway Wife’s stablemate, Silverleaf.

“Around the turn I kind of got a little worried, but she dug back in, and she looked like what we thought she was,” said owner Stanton Flurry. “We wanted to get another graded stakes under her belt and hopefully we can go onto bigger and better things.”

The Brad Cox-trained Interstatedaydream came into the Indiana Oaks off Pimlico’s Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on Preakness Eve. Saturday’s race was her fourth victory in six starts, with a second in last year’s Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga in her second start and a third in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland won by Nest, who in her next two starts was second in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks and the Belmont Stakes against males. The daughter of Classic Empire now has earned $468, 825 with the $117,600 paycheck.

 

 

“She was extremely well-spotted,” said jockey Florent Geroux, who also teamed with Cox and Flurry to win the 2020 Indiana Oaks with Shedaresthedevil, who in her next start won the COVID-delayed Kentucky Oaks. “Brad decided to run her in this race and pass on the heavy-heads on the East Coast and West Coast. Perfect spot. She won very nicely last time out at Pimlico, and it was nice to get another graded stakes on her resume.”

Not that there weren’t moments of worry when Corey Lanerie on Runaway Wife cruised up alongside around the far turn and into the stretch.

“She had to battle,” Cox said. “I was a little concerned when we straightened up (out of the far turn), and Lanerie looked like he had as much horse as we did. But she responded well. I think her class and her talent, how good she is, showed up late. She’s a good filly. She looked like she was 1-to-5. At the sixteenth pole or the quarter pole, maybe not, but it worked out.”

Interstatedaydream was closest in pursuit as her lightly-raced stablemate Patna carved out methodical fractions of 24.04 seconds, 48.26, 1:12.55 before giving away. The winner finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.78 over a track listed “good” and paid $2.60 to win as officially the 3-10 favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies.

Lanerie said Runaway Wife “ran great” and admitted that turning for home he thought, “the eventual winner, I didn’t think she was going to beat me. She was all out. I was just worried about someone else coming. My filly didn’t stop. He (Geroux) just must have kind of taken a breather and come back. Because she beat me pretty easy. I think my filly has a lot of upside.”

Told that Lanerie thought he had Interstatedaydream, Geroux said, “Corey didn’t just think he’d pass me – he really did pass me almost three-quarters of a length. The last eighth of a mile she gave me another kick, and I was very happy.”

The rest of the field was strung out with Sixtythreecaliber checking in fourth, followed by Patna, Napa Candy, and North County.

“Our filly ran good,” jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. said of Silverleaf. “She got a pocket trip right behind the winner and got a little graded stakes-placing on her. The winner is a nice filly. Turning for home, I thought Kenny’s other filly was going to draw off and run away from her. Brad’s filly gutted it out big time.”

Kenny McPeek, trainer of Runaway Wife and Silverleaf, said he was “thrilled with them. They ran super. That was a goal, to get black type on both of those fillies.”

Cox said Ontario-based Interstatedaydream could be considered for a stakes over Woodbine’s all-weather surface such as the Queen’s Plate for Canadian-breds against males.

“But I like the idea of keeping her on dirt,” he said. “I think our short-term goal could be possibly the Cotillion (at Parx). It’s a Grade 1. Saratoga, we’ll see. The Alabama would be an option as well. We’re going to let some of these fillies like Nest and (Kentucky Oaks winner) Secret Oath kind of duke it out maybe this summer and if the Cotillion comes up the way we’d like, that could be a good spot as well. We need to take a swing at a Grade 1 at some point, and that could be one I’ve kind of eyeballed.”

That kind of patience served Flurry and Cox well with Shedaresthedevil, now a three-time Grade 1 winner.

Said Flurry: “That’s kind of the motif that Brad has taught us: Be patient with them. Don’t try to throw them to the wolves every time there’s a race out there they fit in. Be patient, take your time between spots and they’ll reward you. Look at how we’ve done with Shedaresthedevil. That’s kind of the game plan we had in 2020, and it won us the Kentucky Oaks. It was a good finish today. I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.”

Flurry said Interstatedaydream is named for one of his favorite bands, the Oklahoma-based Turnpike Troubadours.

“There’s a line in one of their songs like ‘You ain’t nothing, just an interstatedaydream.’ I said, “That sounds like a really good horse name. So here she is.”

Actuator wins 28th running of the Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

It was a big step up into stakes action for Actuator, and the three-year-old colt handled it with ease, winning the 28th running of the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby Saturday. Ridden by James Graham, the $2,200 yearling purchase is now a Graded Stakes winner for his connections during a new record handle day of $7,201.564 for Horseshoe Indianapolis.

A field of eight entered the gate for Indiana’s premier Thoroughbred race. Trademark with Rafael Bejarano used their inside starting post to get the first lead followed closely by Indiana bred Mowins and Jon Court. Actuator and Graham sat right off Mowins on the outside through the first half of the race. Around the turn, Graham began to ask Actuator for more speed and joined the top two on the inside along with Best Actor and Florent Geroux on the outside to vie for the top spot heading into the stretch.

Actuator got the lead and began to pull away from the inside horses, but it was Best Actor who was closing with every stride and the main threat. Actuator dug in gamely in the final strides to hold off Best Actor by a half length for the win. King Ottoman and Horseshoe Indianapolis Leading Jockey Marcelino Pedroza Jr. ducked to the inside late to pass rivals for third.

“I could feel them creeping up his inside,” said Graham. “I knew he’d stay. His last work was fantastic. I’m just happy it paid off today. He doesn’t do everything he’s asked. He has to be told sometimes, which is a great thing.”

 

 

Actuator paid $8.40 for the win. The Bodemeister colt is trained by Michael McCarthy and owned by Jake Ballis’ Black Type Thoroughbred, Joe Ragsdale’s Rags Racing Stables, Rick Howard, and Gavin O’Connor, who initially purchased the colt as a yearling with his partners.

“Look, he was working really well over the past number of weeks since his run at Churchill Downs,” said O’Connor. “I spoke to Mike McCarthy this morning and I asked him - and I know he doesn’t like giving answers, no trainer does - but I said, ‘Mike,  can we be quietly confident going into today?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, Gavin. Absolutely. I think the horse is working lights out. I think you have a really fighting chance to be there today.”

Following his maiden-breaking victory at Churchill Downs, Ballis immediately made an offer to join in on the ownership of Actuator. The celebration for the connections of Actuator was put on hold due to an inquiry at the start and a jockey objection in the stretch, but no action was taken, and the celebration began for Actuator.

“I’ve been to Churchill the last two works since we bought the horse,” said Ballis, who now owns 70 percent interest in Actuator. “I told my wife and my other partners, it’s going to take a very good horse to beat us. Thankfully I was right. Michael and Justin have done such a good job with him. We brought a bunch of people here to Indiana and we’re going to have a lot of fun in the casino tonight.”

 

 

Actuator (photo) was bred by WinStar Farm in Kentucky. He has been prepping at Churchill Downs for his start in the Indiana Derby.

“I wasn’t really sure what happened (on objection) because I thought he kept a straight path,” said Justin Curran, assistant trainer for McCarthy, who won the 2018 Derby with Axelrod. “He ran like he was training. He had some very, very good works at Churchill.  He’s just maturing at the right time, and hopefully can progress from here. Big effort. I was very happy how he rated, obviously coming off a fast seven furlongs in a maiden at Churchill. He rated really well and kicked in at the end. That’s a very nice horse that was second. I know Brad was high on him. I think he’s on an upward curve, too. Hopefully two nice colts.”

Trainer Brad Cox, who conditions Best Actor, was pleased with his colt’s performance.

“Super big race,” said Cox. “He stumbled at the start. Got pinched a little bit, but I thought he ran a big race. Good horse. I wouldn’t trade spots. I think he’s a pretty good horse and he’s going to get a lot out of this.”

Actuator also got a lot out of his Indiana Derby performance. It was his second win in his fourth career start. He turned in two turf starts at Horseshoe Indianapolis last fall at two before returning to the track this season to become undefeated in two starts. Actuator now has in excess of $250,000 in career earnings.

“This is huge for him,” continued Graham. “Because he only does enough, we haven’t gotten to the bottom of him yet. Or Michael hasn’t gotten to the bottom of him yet. Walking on to the track the other morning before his last work for here, he just played. He’s not fully focused yet, which is a great thing because if he can keep doing that and progressing, we’re all going to be very happy at the end of the year.”

So, what’s next for Actuator following his first Graded Stakes win? McCarthy explained the team will develop a plan moving forward.

“Everybody was quietly confident,” said McCarthy by phone from California. “I thought his performance off the layoff was very, very good. The horse came back and trained well after his maiden score. Jake Ballis and his partners were very keen to get in on the horse. I thought there were bigger and better things to come with him. We’ll just enjoy this for right now. The horse has had a lot thrown at him the last five weeks. We’ll get him back to Churchill Downs and come up with a game plan with all the partners.”

Regarding the inquiry at the start, Rattle N Roll was shut off at the start and stumbled with Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard. The horse trailed the field the entire one and one-sixteenth mile distance.

“I’m really not sure (what happened),” said Hernandez. “I didn’t get to see a head on. Getting away, we got knocked around leaving there. We ended up catching I think the inside horse’s heel. We almost fell. The horse stumbled to his face. I lost both irons, and by the time we got everything back together, we were way out of it. He got knocked out the second jump; his race was over. After all that happened, going into the first turn, we were already 15 lengths behind the next to last horse. So you know from that point on, you’re just hoping they go really, really fast and they come back. He lost all chance at that point.”

As tradition would have it, the Indiana Derby pulled in a new record handle for the track for the seventh straight year. The 2022 Derby demolished last year’s Derby handle record by nearly $1 million, which was $6,292,387 compared to the new record of $7,201.564.

 

 

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