The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing got underway Tuesday, April 13 with Apron Strings and Tommy Pompell winning the season opener. The Indiana bred mare was one of three winners on the card for Trainer Randy Klopp, longtime Indiana horseman and Rushville, Ind. Resident.
Apron Strings got out of the gate well and tracked Long Legged Linda and Sant Sanjur through the early stages of the five furlong sprint before pressing forward and getting the lead midway through the stretch, holding on gamely through the wire. Archie’s Girl and Manny Esquivel closed well for second followed by Bold Concept and Joe Ramos, who moved up the inside through traffic to finish third.
Owned by Spiess Stable and Klopp, Apron Strings was making her first start of 2021 since taking the winter off from racing in Indiana. The Kodiak Kowboy six-year-old mare now has five wins in 12 starts.
Klopp also greeted Tale of Fame and Jockey Joe Ramos in the winner’s circle for the third race and Tapit’s Spirit, also ridden by Ramos, for the eighth race, giving Ramos a riding double on the card.
Newcomer Jose Batista also scored two wins on the season opener. The Panamanian native recently finished 10th in the jockey standings at Tampa Bay Downs and moved his tack to Indiana for the 2021 racing season. Batista connected with Gran Rojo in the second race followed by Day in the Country in the fifth race.
One Quarter Horse race was carded on the first program of 2021 with L.D. Martinez and Anthony Cunningham winning with Beach Shakin. The Indiana bred son of Escondido Beach scored his first career win in the race, his first of 2021.
A sizeable crowd was trackside for the season opener. Wagering for the nine-race card topped $1.7 million, outperforming opening day in April 2019 by nearly $400,000.
Live racing extends through Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Racing will be conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. In addition, six all-Quarter Horse racing dates are set on select Saturdays starting June 5 at 10 a.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30 beginning at 12 p.m. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.indianagrand.com.