Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will host its fourth day of All-Quarter Horse racing Saturday featuring a 12-race card. The program begins at 10 a.m. and will conclude with the 19th running of the $83,580 Indiana Grand Classic.
Beach Mercedes (photo) has been tagged as the early morning line favorite in the field of 10 for the Indiana Grand Classic. The Escondido Beach six-year-old mare comes into the race off two second-place finishes in two outings for 2021 including a hard fought loss by a nose in the Born Runner Classic.
The Indiana-sired mare is owned and bred by Sheri Miller, who stands Escondido Beach. Randy Smith trains with Berkley Packer aboard. Beach Mercedes begins from post eight at odds of 9-5.
Joining Beach Mercedes as a favorite in the field is Valiantinecandyrocks, also trained by Smith. The five-year-old daughter of Valiant Hero looks for her second win in 2021. Lance and Tammy Finlinson own and bred the mare, who will start from post two at odds of 5-2. Sammy Mendez, Indiana Grand’s leading Quarter Horse jockey, is aboard.
The entire field for the Indiana Grand Classic, in post position order with jockey and odds includes: Shaw Island Senator (Shanley Jackson, 8-1); Valiantinecandyrocks (Sammy Mendez, 5-2); Shes Relentlesswagon (Edgar Diaz, 30-1); Relentless Chick (Erik Esqueda, 15-1); CC Moonflash (L.D. Martinez, 15-1); Beach Diva (Rolando Pina, 15-1); On A New Note (German Rodriguez, 4-1); Beach Mercedes (Berkley Packer, 9-5); Flyweight Carver (Dex Mitchell, 15-1); and My Pillow (Jose Beltran, 30-1).
Smith will saddle four in the final (Shaw Island Senator, Valiantinecandyrocks, On A New Note, Beach Mercedes) while Tony Cunningham saddles three (CC Moonflash, Beach Diva, My Pillow).
Also included on the card are five trials for the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Stallion Service Auction (SSA) Futurity and four trials for the QHRAI SSA Derby.
The Futurity will kick off the day featuring the return of Botticelli Beach in the second trial. The Escondido Beach filly is two for three this season, including an impressive win in her last start in the $190,000 Gordon Mobley Futurity. Owned and trained by Claudio Barraza, Botticelli Beach will begin from post two at odds of 3-5 with Jose Beltran aboard.
Beach Blast will kick off the first trial for the QHRAI SSA Derby from post one. The Escondido Beach sophomore is three for four this season and is currently on a three-race win streak that includes the $138,000 Blue River Derby and the $96,000 Harley Greene Derby. Randy Smith trains the talented sorrel gelding for Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson. Sammy Mendez gets the call aboard Beach Blast.
The QHRAI SSA Futurity and Derby will be featured on the next all-Quarter Horse day at Indiana Grand on Sept. 4. The Futurity will go for a purse of $191,747 while the Derby will offer a purse of $108,951.
Also included on the card will be the $75,000 Bob Woodward Memorial Classic and two Bank of America Regional Challenge Championship qualifiers. The John Deere Juvenile Challenge and the Q-Racing Videos Distaff Challenge trials will set up the finals slated for Sept. 20.
Qualifiers will advance to the finals of the Bank of America Challenge Championships on Oct. 23 at The Downs at Albuquerque. Indiana Grand is set to host the Bank of America Challenge Championships in 2022.