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Sixteen trials scheduled for All-Quarter Horse Day at Indiana Grand

A total of 16 trials are set for the second all-Quarter Horse racing day of 2021 Saturday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville.

 

The seven-hour non-stop Quarter Horse card gets underway at 10 a.m. with four sets of trials filling up the 16-race program.

 

The 19th running of the Blue River Derby will be determined by four trials to kick off the program. A total of 37 three-year-old Indiana breds will compete to advance to the final set for July 24.

 

The Transmission, last year’s winner of the Jaguar Rocket Futurity makes his 2021 debut in the first race. The Freighttrain B colt, owned by Nicole Florida and trained by Ricardo Martinez, was two for two last year at two. He begins from post five at odds of 5-2 with Cristian Aguire-Erives aboard.

 

Trainer Randy Smith, who has 34 horses in during the card, will saddle the early morning line favorite in the second trial for the Blue River Derby. Fire the Cartel, owned and bred by Rose Bode, is one for two this year and will seek to advance from post seven at odds of 5-2 with Smith’s first call rider Sammy Mendez aboard.

 

Smith also will saddle the favorite in the fourth and final trial of the Blue River Derby. Beach Blast, who won the Harley Greene Derby in his last start, is the overwhelming favorite at odds of 4-5. He starts from post nine with Mendez aboard.

 

Moving to the Gordon Mobley Futurity Trials in the next four races, a total of 40 two-year-olds will seek a spot in the 12th running of the final, also set for July 24.

 

Six of the entrants already have a win on their credentials, including HH Jess Trippin in the final trial. The Jess Zooming filly won her debut in May at Indiana Grand for owner Larry Carter and John Myers, who also bred the Indiana-sired freshman. Paul Martin trains Cristian Esqueda is aboard at odds of 7-5.

 

The Jaguar Rocket Futurity will be set up with four trials as 34 vie for a spot in the July 24 final.

 

Trainer Tony Cunningham will saddle eight in the trials, including race favorite Bye Bye B Train (photo) in the first trial. Owned by breeder Pamela Hann, Bye Bye B Train was a winner by a neck in his last start. The Freighttrain B gelding will start from post four in the ninth race with L. Daniel Martinez aboard at odds of 6-5.

 

Cunningham also will saddle the early morning line favorite in the third trial as Ravin Stone starts from post two in race 11. The Brimmstone filly, owned by Katie and Glen Miller, was a winner in her last start. Martinez is assigned to ride at odds of 9-5.

 

The final set of trials for the all-Quarter Horse day is the Heartland Futurity. A total of 40 two-year-olds will vie over the final four races of the card, with Kiss Me At Midnight getting the nod as the early morning line favorite in the second trial, slated as the 14th race.

 

Starting from post four, Kiss Me At Midnight comes into the race off one start and one win, a dominant performance in maiden action. The Kiss My Hocks gelding is owned by Gordon Timm and Debbie Smith. Randy Smith trains the freshman, who will be ridden by Sammy Mendez at odds of 2-1.

 

The final race of the card gives BP CK Eagle the early nod from the Randy Haffner Stable. The Moonin the Eagle filly ships in for the first time from Remington Park for owner-breeder Bill Price. Cristian Esqueda is set to ride the grey freshman from post nine at odds of 7-5.

 

Indiana Grand will offer four more all-Quarter Horse racing days in 2021. All of the trials from Saturday’s card will feed into the next event on July 24, which also will feature Exotic Animal Racing. Ostriches, camels and zebras will take the track between races, a first-of-its-kind in Indiana.

 

Other all-Quarter Horse racing dates in 2021 include Aug. 14, Sept. 4, and Oct. 9.

 

The track also will host two Regional Challenge qualifiers for AQHA’s Bank of America Challenge. Trials for the John Deere Juvenile Challenge and the Q-Racing Videos Distaff Challenge are set for Sept. 4 with the finals scheduled for Sept. 20.

WRs Moonin Thewagon soars late to win Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby

WRs Moonin Thewagon and Sammy Mendez turned in an impressive win in the 12th running of the $112,240 Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby at Indiana Grand.

 

Starting from post six in the nine-horse final, WRs Moonin Thewagon broke in fourth as Paint Me Brown and Uriel Cervantes led the way early on. As the field moved into the second half of the 400-yard dash, WRs Moonin Thewagon was able to regroup and lengthen his stride, closing quickly for the win by a neck over Paint Me Brown. CC Moonflash and L. Daniel Martinez finished third. The time of the sprint was 20.05 seconds.

 

“When he broke, I hit him with my left hand and he veered in,” explained Mendez, who is on track again in 2021 to be Indiana Grand’s leading jockey. “I got him straightened out and tapped him with my right hand and he took off. This horse runs his heart out every time. He’s always steady in every race.”

 

WRs Moonin Thewagon is owned and bred by Williams Racing Stable of LaCenter, Kentucky. Randy Smith trains the talented grey son of Moonin the Eagle.

 

“You can’t hardly beat the PYC mares,” said Randy Williams regarding the dam of WRs Moonin Thewagon WRs Quick Wagon (PYC Paint Your Wagon). “We have his full brother at home and he’s grey too. We will have Randy pick him up this fall. The happiest day of the whole year is the day Randy (Smith) backs his trailer up to our barn and picks up the yearlings. Gwen (Williams) and I mess with them up to that point, but then Randy can deal with them.”

 

Smith and the Williams family have teamed up for numerous champions over the past few years. The Williams are strong components of the Indiana Quarter Horse circuit, and rarely miss a stakes race. WRs Moonin Thewagon was one of their top freshmen last year and looks like he’s returned to his previous form in 2021.

 

“He didn’t really grow a whole lot,” said Smith, who is Indiana’s top trainer for the past six years and is leading the standings again in 2021. “He seems more focused this year and more down to business. And, the distance didn’t hurt him. He seems to like a little more distance.”

 

WRs Moonin Thewagon is now five for seven lifetime and increased his career bankroll to more than $170,000 with the win. He has turned in all his starts at Indiana Grand and has been ridden every time by Mendez. The Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby is his second stakes win, adding it to the Governor’s Stakes win last fall.

 

The Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby is a precursor to the second all-Quarter Horse day set for Saturday in Shelbyville. A total of 16 races will be held beginning at 10 a.m. All 16 races on the card are trials for the upcoming stakes races set for the third all-Quarter Horse racing day at Indiana Grand on July 24.

Record-setting SHS softball season spurred on by four seniors

All the hype. All the runs scored. All the home runs.

 

Shelbyville High School’s softball season was only going to end one of two ways – with a great celebration or resounding disappointment at an opportunity lost.

 

The most powerful Golden Bears squad in history was left reeling after a 4-2 sectional-opening loss to Columbus North on May 25.

 

A record-breaking season came to an end that night at Shelbyville High School. And the careers of four well-respected seniors were closed.

 

“I can’t say enough about the four seniors we had, the leadership qualities that they had,” said Shelbyville head coach Mark Hensley well after the final out was secured by the Bull Dogs.

 

Katie Mathies (photo, second from left) hit .505 in her final season at Shelbyville. The corner infielder had career highs in doubles (15), triples (3), home runs (10) and runs batted in (42).

 

Addisenn Weaver (photo, far right), a catcher and third baseman, closed her career with a .462 batting average and career highs in doubles (11) and home runs (10) while driving in 36 runs.

 

The hard-hitting duo will continue their playing careers at the collegiate level next season – Mathies at DePauw University and Weaver at Valparaiso University.

 

Madison Campton (photo, far left) and Kaylie Phelps (photo, second from right) have anchored Shelbyville’s outfield since they arrived as freshmen.

 

Campton hit .269 this season with three doubles, seven home runs and 20 RBIs. For her career, she hit .290 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs.

 

Phelps batted .207 this year with two doubles, one home run and seven RBIs.

 

Campton will attend Ivy Tech this fall while Phelps is headed to DePauw.

 

“We’ve been looking at Addi’s leadership since she was a freshman. She’s been looked at like a captain since she was 14 years old,” said Hensley. “She is going to be a tough one to replace.

 

“Campton and Phelps are two-thirds of the outfield and (Mathies) is an anchor post at either first or third that has played out of her mind for four years. I am not sure how we will replace those four seniors. I am sure we will do what we can but they really are irreplaceable.”

 

Before looking ahead at the Golden Bears in 2022, the program record board needs updated.

 

The team set four records – runs scored (276 topped 246 in 2018), home runs (67 nearly doubled 36 in 2018), slugging percentage (.730 bested .577 set in 2017) and wins (24 is the new mark eclipsing 23 in 2015).

 

In just her second season in a Golden Bears uniform (the 2020 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic), junior Karissa Hamilton collected five program records.

 

Hamilton hit a team-leading .604, not enough to eclipse Hannah File’s record of .612 in 2017, but did set records for home runs in a game (3), home runs in a season (22), on-base percentage (.667), slugging percentage (1.494), and runs scored (57).

 

Hamilton’s 29 career home runs also is the new benchmark at Shelbyville.

 

Freshman pitcher Cheyenne Eads (10-4, 2.91 earned run average) tied the program record for strikeouts in a game with 16 against Mt. Vernon on May 4. Rylie Bringle also had 16 strikeouts in a 2009 game.

 

Hensley will have Hamilton for one more season before she heads south to the University of Kentucky and the entire pitching staff returns in 2022.

 

Along with Eads, rising junior Hailey Pogue (9-0, 2.50 ERA) and rising senior and Franklin College commit Brooke Lipperd (4-1, 2.83) will need to improve as the offense will not likely average 9.5 runs per game next season.

 

Hamilton, who split catching duties with Weaver, will likely assume a greater role behind the plate in her final year.

 

Kylee Edwards hit .442 as a sophomore shortstop this past season with nine doubles, five home runs and 44 runs scored. Ranked as a top 15 recruit in the Class of 2023 by Extra Inning Softball, she has visited both Alabama and Florida State in recent weeks and won the fielding competition at the Alabama softball camp.

 

Eads, who hit .361 in her varsity debut, played second base when not pitching. Lipperd and rising senior Kyra Rollo will push for playing time there as well.

 

Rising senior Kiley McIver hit .301 with nine home runs and 30 RBIs as both a first baseman and designated player.

 

That makes finding a strong solution at third base and two outfielders the top priority in the offseason.

 

“I am assuming it will take us several games into the season next year to figure out how to replace those four (seniors) just because they have been here so long and starters all four years they have been here,” said Hensley, who secured his 100th win as head coach of the Golden Bears this past season. “It’s going to be tough. We got to the point I know where they are going to be, I know how they are going to be there, and I know who will catch it. It will be hard to learn some new players coming into next year.

 

“We have some juniors that will be seniors now step up like Rollo, Lipperd and (Caitlyn) Richardson. Those are girls we are going to have to rely on next year that didn’t get a ton of playing time this year and they are chomping at the bit to show what they can do.”

 

Rising juniors Abby Brenner and Riley Maulden and rising sophomore Addysyn Wettrick will add to the outfield battle for playing time.

 

Hensley also has six experienced travel ball players arriving from the middle school program that finished 8-3 under the direction of the aforementioned record-setting File.

 

“I know we’ve got a couple of eighth graders coming in that might be able to step up and help in some regard,” said Hensley.

Pacers reach agreement with Rick Carlisle to become head coach

The Indiana Pacers announced Thursday they have reached an agreement with Rick Carlisle to become head coach. Per team policy, the terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 
 

Rick is a proven winner with a championship and will be a Hall of Fame coach,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. “He has demonstrated throughout his career an ability to build something with sustainable success. He has great respect for our franchise and our fans from his previous times here. We are very happy to welcome him back to Indiana.”
 
Carlisle will begin his second head coaching stint with Indiana after he guided the Pacers to a 181-147 (.552) record during four seasons from 2003-07. In his first season as Pacers head coach in 2003-04, Carlisle led Indiana to a franchise-record 61 wins, posted the best record in the Eastern Conference and reached the Eastern Conference Finals. His 181 wins stands as the fourth-most by a head coach in NBA franchise history. Carlisle was also an assistant coach for the Pacers under Larry Bird from 1997-2000.
 
“My sincere thanks to Herb Simon, Kevin Pritchard and the entire Pacers organization for the opportunity to come back to basketball's heartland,” said Carlisle. “My wife, Donna, daughter, Abby, and I are truly grateful.” 
 
Carlisle has completed 19 NBA seasons as head coach of the Detroit Pistons (2001-03), Pacers and Dallas Mavericks (2008-21). He has compiled an 836-689 (.548) record and will enter the 2021-22 season ranked 15th in NBA history in coaching victories. Carlisle was named NBA Coach of the Year after his first season in Detroit in 2001-02 and led the Mavericks to their first NBA championship in 2010-11. 

Puerto Rico wins World Jockey Challenge at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Puerto Rico jumped out of the gate with an early lead and never looked back, scoring their first title in the seventh annual World Jockey Challenge Thursday, June 24 at Indiana Grand. The team of jockeys from Puerto Rico bested nine total countries with the runaway win, completing the first nine races with 36 points.

 

The event began with a win by Joe Ramos in the first race aboard Down Home Kitten, trained by Paul Holthus. Sammy Bermudez finished second with Gamera and Jeison Gotay finishing fourth with Tuf Intensity for a total of nine points to kick off the contest. From there, Sammy Bermudez added two wins aboard Heaven Street, trained by Steve Asmussen, and Complete for trainer Kim Hammond. Jeison Gotay scored a win aboard Betcha for Genaro Garcia in the ninth race on the card to seal the title.

 

A total of seven jockeys represented Puerto Rico for the win. Additional jockeys on the team included Andrea Rodriguez, Orlando Mojica, Joshua Morales, and Edgar Morales. All seven jockeys contributed to the total points for their team.

 

Mexico finished second with 25 points followed by the United States with 17. Panama finished fourth with 16 points. Other countries participating in the annual event included Chile, Peru, Jamaica, and Ireland with all but one country getting on the board with points.

 

Eddie Perez, representing Mexico, earned 16 of the 25 points for his country with three wins. Quarter Horse jockey German Rodriguez also scored a win to give Mexico four wins on the day and match the win count with Puerto Rico. However, it came down to second, third and fourth place finishes by Puerto Rico to move into the lead for the title.

 

Other winners on the 10-race program included DeShawn Parker for Team USA and Andres Ulloa, who scored a win for Chile.

 

Team Puerto Rico was honored with the World Jockey Challenge trophy during a special winner’s circle presentation. The trophy is on display in the grandstand.

 

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand

Pearl Tiara shines in Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Fillies Stakes

Pearl Tiara and Fernando De La Cruz pulled away from the field for an impressive upset in the 13th running of the $75,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes, Filly Division, at Indiana Grand Wednesday.

 

The duo covered the one and one-sixteenth mile event in a time of 1:45.6 to score their second consecutive victory in 2021.

 

Starting from post three, Pearl Tiara (photo) broke well to get into early position as Found My Man and Sammy Bermudez set the early tempo. The leader was joined by Pearl Tiara at the midway point for a challenge with Pearl Tiara taking over in the final turn of the race.

 

In the stretch, De La Cruz asked Pearl Tiara for another gear and she responded, posting an eight and three-quarter length advantage at the wire. Diamond Solitaire and Alex Achard finished second with Verry Amelia and Santo Sanjur rounding out the trifecta.

 

Pearl Tiara paid $13.80 for the win. The homebred daughter of Majestic Harbor is now two for three in 2021. Overall, she has three wins in nine starts and increased her career bankroll to more than $119,000.

 

Pearl Tiara was born and raised by David Osborne, Loren Hebel-Osborne and Carol Hebel at their Deerfield Farm in Prospect, Kentucky. The sophomore filly is by their stallion, Majestic Harbor, who stood at Swifty Farms in Indiana before relocating to California.

 

Both Pearl Tiara and Diamond Solitaire, the second-place finisher in the Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Filly Stakes, were part of Osborne’s breeding operation and have grown up together.

 

Diamond Solitaire, who lost her mother two weeks after she was born, has truly shined on the track, nearing the $100,000 mark in earnings.

 

“Having Pearl (Tiara) and Diamond (Solitaire) finished one-two in the stakes race for Majestic Harbor is a thrill,” said Loren Hebel-Osborne. “And, this is the first time Pearl has beaten Diamond. We saw Diamond start moving toward her and thought she might catch her, but Pearl said, ‘not today.’ And, it marks the first stakes winner for Majestic Harbor.”

 

Majestic Harbor was named Leading First Crop Sire in California last year. The latest tag of stakes winning sire also makes him the current Leading Second Crop Sire for California as well.

 

“He earned leading first crop sire in California without a stakes winner,” said David Osborne. “Although it’s based on his Indiana foals, it is determined in the state where he currently stands.”

 

The Osbornes still have Pearl Tiara’s dam, Pearl Pendant, and she is currently in California back in foal to Majestic Harbor. In addition to sharing “jewelry-themed names,” both Diamond Solitaire and Pearl Tiara also share space when at the Deerfield Farm.

 

“These two spent the winter together and were in the same paddock and same barn,” added David Osborne. “So, they are very familiar with one another.”

 

Majestic Harbor’s first crop consisted of 10 foals, nine of which were fillies, including Diamond Solitaire and Pearl Tiara. Tim Glyshaw trains Pearl Tiara, who is not the first representative for the Osbornes. Glyshaw also trained Unreachable Star, second on the list of All-time Leading Indiana Sired money earners with more than $784,000 in career earnings.

Hard Luck Justice surprises in Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Hard Luck Justice seems to be changing his luck. The sophomore son of Harry’s Holiday earned his first stakes win in the 13th running of the $75,000 Hoosier Breeders Sophomore Stakes Wednesday, June 23 at Indiana Grand.

 

Hard Luck Justice had the extreme outside post nine in the one and one-sixteenth mile event, so getting away in mid-pack was a good spot for jockey Sammy Bermudez. Nobody Listens and Joe Ramos had the front, and Ramos had a big hold on the grey. Heading into the final turn, Bermudez began asking Hard Luck Justice to accelerate and he responded.

 

Midway through the turn, Hard Luck Justice had only one horse to run down and that was Nobody Listens. He was persistent in his pursuit and into the lane, he matched strides with Nobody Listens. Both horses dug in gamely and weren’t going to give in without a fight. Hard Luck Justice was able to get by Nobody Listens and moved on for the win by six and one-quarter lengths in a time of 1:46.24. Altered and Jermaine Bridgmohan closed in gamely for second with a nose advantage over third place finisher Lookin At Justice and Marcelino Pedroza Jr.

 

“In his stakes race last year, he was covered up and seemed intimidated,” explained Bermudez. “I think adding blinkers to him today was a big help. He moved really well around those horses. He was getting a little tired in the stretch, but he never gave up and he dug in all the way to the wire.”

 

Hard Luck Justice paid $20.80 for the win. It was his second career trip to the winner’s circle for trainer Lonnie Hinds and owner Joselyn Vanesa Salazar. The three-year-old gelding now has more than $75,000 in career earnings in only six career starts.

 

“We bought him at the sale as a yearling from Justice Farm,” said Hinds. “We had an unexpected delay last year. He shin bucked so we laid him off. He has been training really well leading up to this race and we thought he would like the distance.”

 

Hinds has been training Thoroughbreds full time for the past 20 years. Prior to that, he was a truck driver and worked around the Louisville, Ky. He’s always had an interest in horse racing and was able to make it a full-time career. In addition to his racing stock, which he trains on the grounds at Indiana Grand, Hinds has one yearling and one brood mare at his 20-acre farm in Columbus, Ind. This is her first foal, an Indiana bred yearling filly who will hopefully be on the track next year for Hinds at Indiana Grand.

 

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand

Glesing focused on character, attitude, effort in rebuilding SHS football program

The positive energy was palpable Tuesday night at McKeand Stadium at Shelbyville High School during the Golden Bears’ football camp for youth in grades 1-6.

 

Four stations, each with over 20 participants, were overseen by coaching staff and current Golden Bears. Each taught specific, basic skills in a fast-paced environment.

 

Meanwhile, new head coach Brian Glesing paced up and down the field overseeing all the action.

 

“Come with a smile, leave with a smile,” said Glesing in a hoarse voice about the goal of the camp. “We want football to be a positive influence in their lives and have a great experience.

 

“Football can be a great experience. It’s a tough sport to play and we want to make sure our kids are having a great experience.”

 

 

Nearly 100 campers participated Tuesday night, the second of the three-night camp that concludes tonight at the Golden Bears’ football stadium.

 

“That’s why we have this field,” said Glesing of staging the camp at McKeand Stadium rather than the practice area behind the middle school. “We want to get the parents to see what’s going on. They need to understand that the kids can trust us and that we can trust them and develop those relationships. That’s the whole goal.

 

“Me being new, I don’t know a lot of people in the community. I’m still the new guy so I am learning names and meeting parents. That’s how you build a program. It’s long term and that’s what we are looking for.”

 

Glesing is no stranger to rebuilding football programs. He has amassed 119 wins in 18 seasons which includes creating successful programs at LaVille, Clarksville and Floyd Central.

 

The veteran coach knew exactly what he was signing up for when he accepted the job at Shelbyville, which has won one game in the last three seasons.

 

“I started in February and in just those four months, we’ve come a long in a sense of attitude, effort and character,” said Glesing after Tuesday’s camp. “That’s the foundation we are looking for.

 

“We understand where we are at and I think our kids understand that. They want to build that foundation, not only for this season but for future teams. I think our kids are buying into that. We are not going to have a lot of them but they understand it takes work. The kids are figuring out they have to buy in for it to pay off in the end.”

 

 

Michael Clevenger was hired in 2018 to replace longtime head coach Pat Parks. Clevenger’s three-year run ended this past season with a 1-29 record. The Golden Bears were outscored on the field, 527-51, last year.

 

So the administration turned to Glesing, a Franklin Central graduate who has spent the majority of his coaching career in southern Indiana, to rebuild the program his way.

 

“Things are going great. The kids keep showing up and that’s a big deal,” he said. “I’m sure it’s a little bit of a culture shock for them. We are going pretty hard in the weight room. We are going pretty hard in our conditioning program. We have to establish those great work habits.

 

“As a kid and as a human being, you want to take the path of least resistance. We are not going to allow them to take that path. We will be tough on them, tough on them, tough on them so when we get to Friday nights they are physically and mentally ready to play.”

 

Glesing has no organized team practices or 7-on-7 workouts scheduled with any other high school football program. He also has no plan to get his players into pads during the month of July.

 

“Our emphasis, for us, is strength and conditioning … developing those work habits,” he explained. “In July, it’s mainly strength and conditioning. We will do some (organized team activities) on the field where we will be teaching a lot of our offense and defense. We will not go in pads.

 

“We will do a lot of teaching because not only is it new to our players, it’s new to my coaches too. Everybody is learning a whole new system.”

 

The first game of the 2021 season is Aug. 20 at Greensburg.

 

“I tell everybody to be patient,” he continued. “We will get there as far as getting those work habits and strength and conditioning. It doesn’t matter the Xs and Os. You can run a spread offense, power-I, you can run wishbone, you can run whatever offense you want to run but if you don’t have the work habits and the attitude and character and effort, it doesn’t matter.”

 

There is one change to the Golden Bears’ schedule in 2021. Franklin, Shelbyville’s week two opponent, was dropped with Richmond, 1-8 last season, filling that slot. The Red Devils will be the home opener for the Golden Bears on Aug. 27.

 

Then Shelbyville has seven straight weeks of Hoosier Heritage Conference opponents, which makes the rebuild that much tougher.

 

“This is a tough situation because we play in such a tough conference,” said Glesing. Four of the eight teams won at least seven games last season. “There are no cupcakes. It’s going to be tough but I think the community, the parents, the players, the staff and the coaches are buying in to what we are doing.

 

“Our success may not be measured in wins and losses. It really will not be. We want to win a game or two … that’s the goal. In four months our attitudes have changed. The kids are developing those habits to have a successful program.”

SHS grad delivers game-winning hit in Northwoods League

Duke University outfielder and Shelbyville High School graduate Damon Lux delivered the game-winning hit Tuesday for the Kalamazoo Growlers in a 4-3 victory over the Battle Creek Bombers.

 

The Growlers are members of the Northwoods League, founded in 1994, that allows collegiate players to experience life as a minor league and major league baseball player.

 

Lux recently joined the Kalamazoo, Michigan based squad and is hitting .375 in six games with six runs batted in.

 

The Growlers (10-12) and the Bombers (7-14) were locked in a 3-3 tie Tuesday when Lux came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.

 

“At first, I was going to go up and take until I got a strike,” said Lux in the Growlers’ post-game report. “But then when I got 1-0, I knew he was going to come back in with a fastball … I didn’t think he was going with a slider because he didn’t want to get behind. I saw a good fastball and I just tried to stay low and keep it up the middle.”

 

Lux fought off the inside pitch and hit Bombers reliever Dave Burgin. The ball rolled along the infield grass to third baseman Edward Johnson, who barehanded the ball but his throw to first base was not in time to beat the hustling Lux.

 

Lux turned to find his teammates giving chase to celebrate the team’s fifth-straight victory.

 

“I’m really liking it. This is my fifth day here and I’ve already gotten to know the guys quicker than my last summer in the Woods (with the Bismarck Larks in 2019). The guys are awesome,” said Lux.

 

The Growlers are sixth-year members of the Northwoods League which has expanded to 22 teams in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Canada.

 

The schedule includes 72 games over 77 days and provides the opportunity to play in front of Major League Baseball scouts, be coached by former minor and major league players and coaches, and play on teams with some of the best collegiate players from across the country.

 

Notable alumni of the Northwoods League include Max Scherzer, Curtis Granderson, Chris Sale, Drew Smyly, Andy Dirks, Allen Craig and Andre Ethier.

 

Video of Lux's game-winning hit can be seen at GIANT fm's Facebook page.

Purse increase announced at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino has announced purse increases for both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, effective Tuesday, July 6. The increase will add 10 percent onto all Thoroughbred overnights and roughly $1,000 to each Quarter Horse overnight and trials, which reflects approximately a six percent increase for the sprinters.

 

“We have had a great season so far in 2021 and we are pleased to announce this purse increase across the board for our horsemen,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing. “This boost is a direct result of elevated business levels that continue to be strong this year. We appreciate the support from our racing fans, and we are working hard to continue offering a solid, competitive program for both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.

 

The purse increase will go into effect two days before Indiana Grand’s biggest race of the season, the 27th running of the Grade III Indiana Derby set for Wednesday, July 7. A total of six stakes offering purses in excess of $840,000 will be provided during the late afternoon program beginning at 2:25PM. The Indiana Derby is joined by the Grade III Indiana Oaks on the card that has set new track all-source handle records the past three seasons. Stakes purses will remain at their current levels and will not be affected by the purse increase.

 

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand

Scott McClelland says Noblesville right fit, right time

Scott McClelland spent seven seasons at Morristown before departing for Indianapolis Brebeuf followed by a stop at Western Boone. 

 

The return to Morristown was highlighted by a 2018 1A state title.  But now a new destination, new challenge has prompted Coach Mac to accept the head coaching position at Noblesville.

 

McClelland was approved by the Noblesville School Board at its Tuesday meeting.  He says it’s the right fit at the right time.

 

 

McClelland is 246-169 in 18 seasons as a head coach with the 2018 state championship and two other sectional championships at Morristown in 2007 and 2019.  This latest six year stint at Morristown ends with a 117- 40 mark and three seasons of 20 or more wins.

 

He says he knew there was a good future when he returned in 2015.  He couldn’t have imagined winning it all.

 

 

Now a 4A challenge awaits at Hoosier Crossroads Conference member Noblesville.  The Millers play in a sectional that features Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern along with Fishers, Westfield and Zionsville.  The Millers have been competitive but still suffered first round eliminations for three consecutive seasons to Westfield (7 pts), Carmel (2 pts) and Hamilton SE (6 pts).  Before that, it was a five-point loss to Anderson in double-overtime four years ago.

 

 

As for the coach himself, McClelland says he’s learned a lot since he left Morristown the first time after the 2009-2010 season.

 

 

Morristown now must fill its head coaching position as well as its athletic director post.  Brian Graham accepted the athletic director / assistant principal post at Switzerland County.

Correas Stable named Indiana Grand Barn Crew of the Month

Trainer Ignacio Correas IV has raced at Indiana Grand frequently in the past on a ship-in basis, but 2021 marks the first year he has stabled on the grounds. His crew was recognized for their hard work in the shed row as June’s Barn Crew of the Month, presented by the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and Texas Corral.

 

Under the direction of assistant trainer Hiram Rosario, the Correas Stable members oversee 25 horses in Barn 16 at Indiana Grand. Each horse receives top care and the workspace is kept in great order, two aspects noticed by the selection committee and important for consideration for the award.

 

“Everybody works hard, and this is a good group,” said Rosario, who has worked for Correas for the past five years. “They are good people and do a great job.”

 

Correas, who also has 20 horses at Keeneland, is a native of Argentina. He began training in 2003, but his stable really took off in 2011. He has 12 members on his crew at Indiana Grand. Those who are part of the team include Salomon Cuida, Herlindo Fabian, Elizabeth Cuida, Jose Santizo, Emmanuel Santizo, Zoritza Patino, Marifer Garcia, Jomar Benitez and Jesus Torres.

 

The team at the Correas Stable received a $200 gift certificate to Texas Corral, located on the north side of Shelbyville. The entire team will enjoy a night out for steaks, seafood, and drinks as the recipient of the Barn Crew of the Month.

 

In addition to the gift certificate, a banner will be hung on the outside of the Correas barn to signify the award winners for the month of June.

 

A total of six Barn Crew of the Month awards will be presented during the 2021 racing season, which extends into November.

Track Superintendent's Field Day set for Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

After missing last season due to COVID-19, the 19th annual Track Superintendent Field Day is set to begin Sunday, June 13 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. The event kicks off with a reception at the Holiday Inn Express in Shelbyville followed by two full days of conference activity at Indiana Grand Monday, June 14 and Tuesday, June 15.

 

Moderated by Nancy Holthus, on-air paddock analyst at Indiana Grand, numerous industry experts will be scattered throughout the two-day event regarding surface and soil sciences, the latest in equipment used to maintain track surfaces, agronomic practices, and other tactical safety measures to assist track superintendents with their day to day routines.

 

“This year, we have over 70 tracks represented at the event,” said Roy Smith. “Due to continued travel restrictions, we won’t have anyone internationally like we generally do, but we will still have a good representation from tracks across North America. It’s a great time for us all to get together and share ideas and learn about the latest technology and equipment out there.”

 

Smith, who has been Indiana Grand’s track superintendent since 2015 and now resides in Morristown, Ind., is the founder of the Track Superintendent’s Field Day conference. This is the second time the event, which travels to different racetracks each season, has been hosted by Indiana Grand. The event made a stop in Indiana in 2016.

 

Several equipment displays will be trackside during live racing Monday, June 14 and Tuesday, June 15. The displays are open to the public.

 

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand

Two Shelby County golfers miss state finals cut at The Players Club

The high school golf season ended Thursday for Triton Central’s Oliver Gearlds and Morristown’s Asher Caldwell.

 

Both golfers failed to advance out of the Muncie Central Regional.

 

Gearlds and Caldwell each shot 12-over-par 48 on the front nine at The Players Club in Muncie. Caldwell finished one shot better than Gearlds on the back nine to post 91. Gearlds shot 92.

 

The top three finishing teams and the top five low individuals not on an advancing team qualified for the State Finals next week at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.

 

Hamilton Southeastern was crowned regional champion after posting a team score of 296. Cathedral (301) and Fishers (313) also advanced.

 

Cathedral’s Ryan Ford was the regional champion with a round of 4-under par 68.

 

The individuals that qualified for the two-day state finals tournament that starts Tuesday were Bellmont’s Winston Brown (68), Mount Vernon’s Sam McWilliams (69), New Castle’s Dillon Bergum (70) and Derek Tabor (72), and Tipton’s Maverick Conaway (75).

Maters N Taters wins William Henry Harrison Stakes at Indiana Grand

Maters N Taters has long been a fan favorite because of his name. He got a little more popular with an upset victory in the 18th running of the $75,000 William Henry Harrison Stakes at Indiana Grand.

 

Maters N Taters has tactical speed. The question was whether he could clear the front out of the gate from an outside post in the six-furlong event. The four-year-old Indiana sired son of Santiva quickly put those questions to rest as jockey Eddie Perez had him on the lead just a few steps out of the gate.

 

Oscar PQ and Alex Achard went with the leader early from the inside, but by the turn, he backed off as Maters N Taters crossed over to the rail to lead the way.

 

Around the turn, the field began to bunch up as they prepared to show their best stride in the stretch. Race favorite Double Tuff and Jesus Castanon led the pack behind Maters N Taters, but could not gain any ground on the leader.

 

Late in the race, it was clear Maters N Taters would be victorious over the sloppy surface, scoring the win by two lengths in a time of 1:09.78. Double Tuff finished second over Stop Hammertime and Joe Ramos for third.

 

Maters N Taters paid $44.20 and gave trainer Anthony Cunningham and owner Salvador Villalobos their first career Thoroughbred stakes win. The pair are prevalent in Quarter Horse racing in Indiana with Villalobos serving as Cunningham’s assistant trainer in the powerhouse barn of Indiana Quarter Horses.

 

“We bought this horse and one other Thoroughbred and a Quarter Horse off of Ron Brown last year when he said he was retiring,” explained Cunningham. “Sal (Villalobos) deserves all the credit with this horse. He has done all the work with him.”

 

Villalobos has worked for Cunningham for the past 10 years. Each winter, he returns to Mexico to spend time with family before rejoining Cunningham at Indiana Grand for the racing season.

 

Cunningham, who hails from Michigan and has a farm there, travels back and forth between two destinations and relies heavily on Villalobos for his expertise in the shed row at Indiana Grand.

 

“This particular horse stays here,” added Cunningham. “He has a little attitude and can be tough to be around at times. Sal has done a great job with him.”

 

The game plan as a long shot in the race worked out as planned. With early speed, Perez and Cunningham decided early on that would be their strategy.

 

“The plan was to make the lead and they let me take the lead easy today,” said Perez. “He’s got tactical speed and we wanted to use that to his advantage.”

 

It also was tactical to utilize Perez aboard Maters N Taters. Perez, a multiple Graded Stakes winning jockey with more than 2,500 career wins, knows the horse well and knows how to ride him.

 

“Eddie (Perez) had ridden this horse for a long time for Ron (Brown),” explained Cunningham. “That’s why we put him up.”

 

Maters N Taters is nearing $200,000 in career earnings. It was his fourth career win and his second stakes victory, scoring a win in the $100,000 Crown Ambassador Stakes as a two-year-old for Brown. Perez has been aboard for all four of his career wins in 18 outings.

 

Cunningham is currently ranked second in the leading Quarter Horse trainer standings yet again in 2021. Although he does have a few Thoroughbreds in his barn and had dabbled in Thoroughbreds in recent years, his main focus is on Quarter Horses.

 

“It’s a big deal to me to win a Thoroughbred stakes races because it is hard to do,” said Cunningham. “Thoroughbreds are a whole different ball game. I’m just fortunate I have a good horse and a great team behind me. Everyone worked hard to get this horse here today.”

 

Shy Money scores in Shelby County Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Shy Money got nearly all the cash in the 19th running of the $75,000 Shelby County Stakes. The win marked the first stakes victory for owner Paul King, who is also the breeder on the grey Unbridled Express four-year-old filly.

 

With earlier rain saturating the track and more rain lurking in the vicinity, Shy Money joined eight other females on the track for the Shelby County Stakes, which began the inaugural season of Thoroughbred racing at Indiana Grand. Ridden by Emmanuel Esquivel, Shy Money began her journey from post four and was in the lead down the backstretch, followed closely by race favorite Hungarian Princess and Sammy Bermudez.

 

In the stretch, Hungarian Princess began to make a move for the front spot and a battle ensued. Shy Money stood her ground and was able to fend off Hungarian Princess, just a three-year-old, at the finish line for the win by a nose in 1:10.35 over the sloppy surface. Sentimentaljourney and Jermaine Bridgmohan finished third.

 

The second choice in the race, Shy Money paid $7.40 for the win. It was her third straight win and her fourth in five career starts. Aaron West trains the Indiana sired filly for King, who was trackside to accept his first stakes trophy. King is relatively new to the business, purchasing his first horse in 2017. King and West began with Shy Money late last fall as a three-year-old with two starts in Indiana. They gave her the winter off and brought her back to the racetrack in mid-April.

 

“She (Shy Money) has a big heart,” said West, who has trained several Indiana champions in recent years, including Marina’s Legacy. “We are going to give her a break, now. She is undefeated sprinting, so we will keep her at that distance.”

 

Shy Money increased her career bankroll to more than $110,000 with the win. It was her first attempt in stakes action, and she is now three for three at the five-furlong distance.

 

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at www.caesars.com/indiana-grand

Bjorkgren out as Pacers begin search for new head coach

The Indiana Pacers announced Wednesday that Nate Bjorkgren will not be retained as the team’s head coach.

“The 2020-21 season was not what any of us hoped or anticipated it would be, and our results on the court certainly did not meet the standards for what our organization and our fans have come to expect,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. “We have determined this is the right time to move in a different direction, and on behalf of the Simon Family and the entire Pacers organization, I want to express my gratitude to Nate for his efforts leading our team. While we do not have a definite timetable for our search, we will move quickly to identify candidates who will make our team and our organization stronger.”
            
Bjorkgren was hired prior to the 2020-21 season and led the Pacers to a 34-38 record. He previously served as an assistant coach in Toronto and Phoenix.

Shelbyville pitcher, catcher honored with All-HHC award

Shelbyville senior pitcher Benny Thompson and junior catcher Charlie Rife were named to the All-Hoosier Heritage Conference Baseball Team.

 

Thompson (photo, left), signed to play baseball at Anderson University, led the Golden Bears with a 6-4 record and 2.46 earned run average. He had 79 strikeouts in 59.2 innings of work and threw two no-hitters this season.

 

Rife (photo, right) hit a team-leading .443 with eight doubles, three home runs and 28 runs batted in.

 

The 21-member All-HHC squad features nine seniors.

 

Also named All-Conference were Delta’s Mario Lopez (.422, 11 doubles, 21 RBIs); Greenfield-Central’s Grant Shepherd (.370, 5 doubles, 22 RBIs), Conner Sims (4-1, 2.67) and Gavin Atwood (.338, 5 HRs, 25 RBIs); Mt. Vernon’s Hunter Dobbins (.560, 10 HRs, 39 RBIs), AJ Swingle (9-0, 1.60), Joel Walton (.485, 13 doubles, 38 RBIs); Eli Clotfelter (8-1, 3.29) and Eli Bridenthal (.366, 21 runs); New Castle’s Aydan Decker-Petty (4-2, 1.42), Corbin Malott (.376, 32 runs) and Garrett Rusch (.299, 8 doubles, 23 RBIs); New Palestine’s Brendan Tabor (.365, 4 HRs, 24 RBIs) and Maddox Manes (.333, 5 doubles, 15 RBIs); Pendleton Heights’ Ricky Howell (4-3, 2.22) and Ryan Graham (.309, 21 runs); and Yorktown’s Jacob Pruitt (.506, 26 runs), Robby Hook (.314, 4 HRs, 23 RBIs) and Cole Temple (.397, 7 doubles, 21 RBIs).

 

Mt. Vernon head coach Brad King was named Coach of the Year.

 

Mt. Vernon won the conference title with a 12-2 record. The Marauders (26-6) won sectional and regional titles and will face Jasper (29-2) at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Jasper-hosted semistate.

 

Greenfield-Central (16-8, 11-3 HHC) was HHC runner-up ahead of Pendleton Heights (16-16, 8-6), New Palestine (15-16, 7-7), Yorktown (16-11, 7-7), Shelbyville (16-12, 6-8), New Castle (12-16, 5-9) and Delta (6-18, 0-14).

HHC honors three Golden Bears, head coach with postseason awards

A trio of Shelbyville softball players were recently honored by the Hoosier Heritage Conference with All-HHC distinction.

 

Seniors Katie Mathies and Addisenn Weaver and junior Karissa Hamilton were selected to the 20-player All-Conference squad from a Golden Bears team that finished HHC runner-up and a single-season record of 24 wins.

 

Mathies, who will play softball at DePauw University in 2022, hit .505 with 15 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs and 42 runs batted in as a corner infielder.

 

Weaver, a Valparaiso recruit, hit .462 with 11 doubles, 10 home runs and 36 RBIs as a catcher and third baseman.

 

Hamilton, signed to play at Kentucky, led the team with a .604 batting average, 11 doubles, 22 home runs and 55 RBIs as a catcher and outfielder.

 

In addition, Shelbyville head coach Mark Hensley (photo), who earned career win No. 100 late in the season, was named HHC Coach of the Year.

 

Also named All-HHC were New Palestine’s Sam Booe (16-1, 1.16 earned run average), Lexi Campbell (.379, 11 HRs, 42 RBIs), Kinsey Mitchell (.451, 33 runs) and Alanina Miller (.453, 32 runs); Yorktown’s Ainsley Phillips (.458, 13 HRs, 40 RBIs), Kaylyn Coahran (9-1, 2.76) and Alanah Jones (.347, 8 HRs, 30 RBIs); Mt. Vernon’s Madison Taylor (12-3, 0.65), Macey Cox (.436, 6 HRs, 33 RBIs) and Riley Hasseld (.438, 40 runs); Pendleton Heights’ Kylie Davis (.485, 16 doubles, 48 runs), Grace Scott (.398, 11 HRs, 37 RBIs) and Kieli Ryan (.465, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs); Greenfield-Central’s Caroline Gibson (.387, 9 HRs, 28 RBIs) and Meganne Wineinger (.521, 34 runs); Delta’s Sydney Stroble (.568, 6 HRs, 33 RBIs); and New Castle’s Madi Moffitt (.442, 10 HRs, 39 RBIs).

 

New Palestine won the HHC title with a perfect 7-0 record. The Dragons finished the season at 28-1.

 

Shelbyville followed at 24-5 (6-1 HHC) ahead of Yorktown (24-6, 4-3), Mt. Vernon (21-5, 4-3), Pendleton Heights (19-11, 4-3), Greenfield-Central (16-11, 2-5), Delta (10-17, 1-6) and New Castle (12-17, 0-7).

Piedi Bianchi named 2020 Horse of the Year

The Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA) typically honor the state’s top performers with a spring banquet. Due to restrictions associated with COVID-19, the banquet was canceled the past two seasons, but the state is still honoring the top performers of 2020 during the 2021 season at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

 

Top performers in each division are highlighted daily on the simulcast production, and to honor two of the state’s top awards, a special presentation was made Tuesday for the ITOBA/Indiana Breed Development Breeder of the Year and the 2020 Champion Indiana Horse of the Year.

 

Top breeding honors were awarded to Deann Baer and Greg Baer, DVM, breeders of the Champion Horse of 2020, Piedi Bianchi (photo).

 

The Baers have bred many winners in recent years. Hailing from Columbus, Indiana, the small breeding operation sends many yearlings to the sales in Kentucky where Piedi Bianchi was originally transported as a weanling.

 

Her current connections to Jay Oringer, Jack Bick, Al Bianchi Racing LLC, Adam Bayroff and Mike Maturo purchased the filly at the Ocala Breeders Sale during her two-year-old season and have reaped rewards since that time.

 

Piedi Bianchi won two of three starts at Indiana Grand in 2020. Overall, she has won six races in 24 starts with earnings of more than $650,000. The Multiple Grades Stakes placed daughter of Overanalyze has had success outside of the borders of Indiana, winning at Aqueduct and Del Mar with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders Cup Juvenile at two at Del Mar.

 

She most recently finished second in the Grade 3 Intercontinental Stakes at Belmont Park.

 

“We hope to get her back to where we started in November at Del Mar (Breeders Cup),” said Oringer, who was present for the awards ceremony. “Her career is winding down, but we hope she has a few more good races in her. Once she is done racing, she will be a brood mare and we are thinking Tapit. The baby should come out nice and grey.”

 

Oringer and his partners work hard to ensure every horse they have ever owned gets a good home after racing. A portion of the earnings from Piedi Bianchi goes to racehorse aftercare.

 

“It’s important to us to give to aftercare,” said Oringer. “We make sure all of our horses are taken care of after they are done, even if we have to claim them back.”

TC's Gearlds, Morristown's Caldwell qualify for Muncie Central Golf Regional

Morristown’s Asher Caldwell won a playoff to join Triton Central’s Oliver Gearlds in Thursday’s Muncie Central Golf Regional.

 

A trio of Hoosier Heritage Conference schools advanced out of Monday’s Greenfield-Central Golf Sectional played at Hawk’s Tail Golf Course in Greenfield.

 

Mt. Vernon won the sectional title with a team score of 316. New Castle was runner-up at 319 and New Palestine advanced with 330.

 

Shenandoah (350) and Greenfield-Central (352) rounded out the top five with all four Shelby County boys golf programs following.

 

Shelbyville finished sixth (361) ahead of Triton Central (366), Morristown (388) and Southwestern (408). Eastern Hancock (415), Blue River Valley (461) and Knightstown (incomplete) rounded out the sectional field.

 

New Castle’s Derek Tabor was the individual sectional champion with a 3-under-par 69. He finished one shot ahead of Mt. Vernon’s Sam McWilliams (70).

 

The top three individual finishers not affiliated with an advancing team also qualified for regional competition.

 

Shenandoah’s Jordan Zody and Gearlds each shot 78.

 

Caldwell and Triton Central’s Evan Uhls both finished at 81 – and only one could advance. Caldwell won the playoff to earn the third advancing position.

 

Ethan Apsley led Shelbyville with an 85. Matthew Bunton (87), Nolen Chaney (92), Elijah Baker (97) and Samuel Bunton (101) completed the Golden Bears’ scorecard.

 

For Triton Central, Griffin Sego finished at 97, Caleb Anderson shot 110 and Maxwell Ray posted 126.

 

Following Caldwell on Morristown’s scorecard were Sawyer Jones (97), Jordan Battles (104), Nick Stidham (106) and Collin Essex (112).

 

Tristan Pappano was the only Southwestern golfer to break triple digits. He finished at 99 with Ty Burchum (101), Justin Swift (101) and Caleb Pappano (107) closely behind.

 

Gearlds and Caldwell will join the regional field for an 8 a.m. start time Thursday at The Players Club in Muncie.

Indiana Grand sets record handle for Quarter Horse racing

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino recorded its highest all-sources handle during the first six All-Quarter Horse racing programs Saturday.

 

A total of $1,000,393 was wagered to establish a new track record.

 

The day featured 13 races, including two stakes races and trials for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby, with the top 10 heading to the $75,000 final set for June 28.

 

The seventh running of the $95,900 Harley Greene Derby was a good preview of 3-year-olds in the state with Beach Blast turning in a very impressive performance in the 350-yard dash.

 

Jockey Sammy Mendez rode Beach Blast to the finish line in 17.65 seconds. Owned by Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson, Beach Blast now has four wins in eight career races and increased his career bankroll over the $200,000 mark.

 

The second Quarter Horse stakes of the day was a first for both horse and jockey. Eric Esqueda guided Jess a Flyin Beach to his first stakes win in the $83,200 Born Runner Classic.

 

Starting from post two, the duo had good positioning early and was able to take over midway through the 400-yard dash to get a nose under the wire first for the win.

 

Owned and trained by Tony Cunningham, Jess a Flyin Beach earned his fourth career win and increased his career bankroll to more than $119,000.

 

“He’s been second or third in stakes action but never quite got his head in front at the wire,” said Cunningham. “He has a lot of class. He’s had some issues over the past couple of years but was able to put it all together today. I’m happy for Erik (Esqueda) to get his first stakes win. We have a great team and can’t do it without all of them.”

 

Earlier on the card three trials were held to determine the final field for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby.

 

The top 10 qualifiers are Cartel Creek (jockey Jose Beltran, 20.215 seconds); WRs Moonin the Wagon (Sammy Mendez, 20.261); Jess Over Yonder (Natasha Fritz, 20.358); Jess Good Reason SA (Uriel Cervantes, 20.45); Paint Me Brown (Uriel Cervantes, 20.473); CC Moonflash (L.D. Martinez, 20.532); Lone Cartel (L.D. Martinez, 20.603); Apollitical Tools (Giovani Vazquez Gomez, 20.623); Shez Bodacious (Cristian Reyes, 20.638); and AA Storm the Mozoomo (Eric Esqueda, 20.655).

Another first was recorded Saturday when trainer Shawna Martin scored her first career training victory with a win from Delightful Dahlonega, ridden by Cristian Esqueda).

 

The next all Quarter Horse Day at Indiana Grand is July 3.

Shakamak ends Southwestern's record-setting baseball season

Southwestern’s record-setting baseball season came to an end Saturday with a 10-1 loss to Shakamak in the semifinal opener at the Class A Morristown Regional.

 

The Lakers puts runs on the scoreboard in each of the first five innings Saturday morning and cruised into the championship game where it shut down Oldenburg Academy, 13-0.

 

Class A, No. 10 Shakamak (16-7) will face No. 5 Borden (22-6-1) at 1 p.m. this Saturday at the Mooresville Semistate.

 

And at the Laporte Semistate, No. 2 Washington Township (25-7) takes on unranked Cowan (15-13) at 11 a.m. Saturday.

 

The winners advance to the Class A State Championship Game at Victory Field in Indianapolis.

 

Anick Hartsell took his first and only loss of the season for Southwestern. The senior (8-1) was lifted after two innings and the Spartans trailing 3-0.

 

Matthew Clements took over but the Lakers kept the pressure on scoring one run in the third, two more in the fourth and four in the fifth to blow the game wide open.

 

Southwestern’s only run came on a Christian DeArmitt single in the fourth that scored Jordan Jones.

 

The Spartans finished 22-5, a school record for wins, and captured the Shelby County Tournament title, a share of the Mid-Hoosier Conference title and celebrated the program’s first sectional title since 1999.

Rooks breaks school record at state long jump competition

Motivation and adrenaline put Southwestern sophomore Lilly Rooks on to the school record board.

 

Competing in the IHSAA State Track and Field Meet Saturday at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Rooks took down the oldest girls track and field record at Southwestern with a personal-best attempt of 17 feet, 6.75 inches in the long jump.

 

That eclipsed the old record of 17-4 set in 1983 by Jeananna Gore.

 

Rooks entered the event off a regional best 17-3.25. Her new personal best helped her finish 13th at the state meet where she was seeded 20th.

 

Zionsville junior Michelle Nazarov won the long jump state title with a best attempt of 19-0.

 

On Friday at the IHSAA Boys State Track and Field Meet, also held at Ben Davis High School, Waldron senior Tyler Bowlby closed out his career with a 10th place finish in the long jump.

 

Bowlby set a new personal record on his first attempt, soaring 21-10. He nearly matched that in the championship flight with a distance of 21-9.25.

 

Bowlby did not automatically qualify for the state finals in regional competition but was added to the field and seeded 23rd.

 

Boonville senior Devin Mockobee won the state title at 23-3.75.

Southwestern seeking baseball program history at Morristown Regional

Chris Ingels knows he cannot counter the tradition that is Shakamak baseball.

 

The Lakers’ program has won two state titles and been state runner-up five times since 2008. The program’s 26 sectional titles are top 10 all-time in the state of Indiana.

 

What Ingels counters with is young men not afraid of the moment.

 

Class A, No. 7-ranked Southwestern, a program record 22-4 and sectional champion for the first time since 1999, takes on No. 10 Shakamak (14-7) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the first semifinal game of the Class A Morristown Regional.

 

“We are ready to go,” said Ingels Thursday. “I have guys that have played in regional soccer games and regional basketball games. They’ve played in big games. We’ve been in enough big games and enough big moments that it won’t be too much for us.”

 

The second semifinal pits No. 13 Oldenburg Academy (15-7) against unranked Traders Point Christian (8-13-1).

 

The championship game is set for 7 p.m.

 

Ingels and the Spartans collected their sectional trophy Monday afternoon which allowed the Southwestern coach the opportunity to travel to White River Valley to see Shakamak win its sectional title, 4-1, over Bloomfield.

 

“They are really good in every way,” said Ingels. “They put the ball in play against a really good pitcher from Bloomfield.

 

“They put a lot of pressure on them. The last four innings it felt like (Shakamak) was in complete control.”

 

Ingels will send Southwestern’s ace, Anick Hartsell, to the mound. The senior is 8-0 this season and excels at moving the ball around the zone.

 

Ingels’ only concern is his team doesn’t let one mistake turn into multiple ones because the margin of error to defeat the Lakers will be minimal.

 

A regional semifinal win sets up a possible rematch with Oldenburg Academy, who pounded the Spartans, 19-3, on April 17 at the South Dearborn Invitational.

 

In retrospect, Ingels believes that loss was a big catalyst to moving the season forward.

 

The Spartans had single conference games Thursday and Friday leading up to the invitational. Then South Dearborn stunned them in a 13-2 victory ahead of the game with the Twisters.

 

“We weren’t mentally prepared for that,” said Ingels. “We were immature how we approached that day. We were thinking a little highly of ourselves, got slapped in the face and didn’t handle it well. That knocked us back and we realized we had to approach things differently.”

 

Ingels credits a loss at Shelbyville a week later as helpful as well.

 

“That gave us some confidence,” he said of losing a late game lead against the Golden Bears. “A lot of little mistakes kept compounding on each other but we’ve been a lot tougher mentally and physically.”

 

Southwestern, Oldenburg Academy and Traders Point Christian are all seeking first regional titles. Shakamak has won 12 regionals.

First All-Quarter Horse Day features 13 races at Indiana Grand

The first of six All-Quarter Horse racing Saturdays takes place tomorrow at Indiana Grand with 13 races carded for the day.

 

Featured on the program will be two stakes, the 7th running of the $95,500 Harley Greene Derby in race 11 and the 12th running of the $83,200 Born Runner Classic in race 12.

 

First post for the day is 10 a.m.

 

Beach Blast has been tagged as the early morning line favorite for the Harley Greene Derby. The sophomore son of Escondido Beach makes his second start of the year off a second-place finish in the trials.

 

With three wins in six starts last season, the sorrel gelding is primed for another big year for trainer Randy Smith and owner Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson.

 

Sammy Mendez will guide Beach Blast from post one in the 10-horse lineup in the final at odds of 5-2.

 

In the Born Runner Classic, another Escondido Beach product has been selected as the early morning line favorite. Beach Mercedes, making her first start of 2021 from post eight, will be a big threat in the field of 10.

 

The six-year-old mare, owned by breeder Sheri Miller, has 10 career wins in 29 career starts under the direction of Randy Smith.

 

Sammy Mendez will ride at odds of 7-5.

 

The next All-Quarter Horse Day at Indiana Grand is July 3, followed by racing July 24, Aug. 14, Sept. 4 and Oct. 9.

Waldron's Bowlby, Southwestern's Rooks headed to track and field state finals

A pair of Shelby County athletes will compete Friday and Saturday in the Indiana High School Athletic Association State Track and Field Championships.

 

Waldron senior Tyler Bowlby, who will graduate Saturday morning, is one of 28 athletes competing Friday at Ben Davis High School, 1200 N. Girls School Road in Indianapolis, in the state long jump competition.

 

Bowlby, who set a new personal record in the regional competition at 21 feet, seven inches, is seeded 23rd in the event.

 

Boonville senior Devin Mockobee has the best postseason jump this year at 23-2.5. New Albany junior Ja’raylan Johnson follows at 23-2.25.

 

The boys long jump competition is slated to start at 3 p.m.

 

Southwestern sophomore Lilly Rooks qualified for the state long jump event with a leap of 17-3.25 at regional competition.

 

On Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ben Davis High School, Rooks is seeded 20th out of 27 qualifiers.

 

She will seek to break Southwestern’s oldest track and field record still on the record board – 17-4 set by Jeanne Gore in 1983.

 

Zionsville junior Michelle Nazarov is the top seed at 18-8. Six more participants have cleared 18 feet in the postseason, including Lake Central senior LaTreasure Johnson at 18-5.5.

 

The state track and field meet is traditionally held at Indiana University in Bloomington. Pandemic protocols forced IU to step aside as host for 2021.

 

Admission to the state track and field meets is $12.

Southwestern baseball to face Shakamak in regional semifinal

The Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Class A Morristown Baseball Regional field is set.

 

Tenth-ranked Shakamak (14-7) will face seventh-ranked Southwestern (22-4) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Morristown High School in the first semifinal game.

 

The second semifinal features 13th-ranked Oldenburg Academy (16-7) and Traders Point Christian (8-13-1).

 

The regional championship is scheduled for 7 p.m.

 

In the other southern Indiana Class A regional at Lanesville, ninth-ranked Loogootee (19-7) takes on 14th-ranked Tecumseh (17-13) in one semifinal and fifth-ranked Borden (20-6-1) battles West Washington (12-12) in the other semifinal.

 

The two regional winners will meet June 12 at either the Mooresville Semistate or the Jasper Semistate.

Duke baseball headed to Knoxville Regional

Duke University baseball will make its third-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance after being selected as the No. 2 seed in the Knoxville (Tenn.) Regional of the 2021 NCAA Baseball Championship.

 

The regional will run from June 4-7 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

 

 

Shelbyville High School graduate Damon Lux (photo) is a junior outfielder at Duke. He has appeared in 14 games this season, with one start, and is hitting .077 (1-for-13 with a double, a walk and two runs scored).

 

Duke (32-20) will open the regional against the No. 3 seed, Liberty (39-14), at noon Friday. The game will be broadcast live on the ACC Network.

 

Host and top-seed Tennessee (45-16) will face No. 4 seed Wright State (35-11) at 6 p.m. Friday.

 

The winner of the double-elimination NCAA Regional advances to a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional, which will run June 11-13 or June 12-14. The Knoxville Regional winner will face the winner of the Eugene (Oregon) Regional, which features No. 14 Oregon, Gonzaga, LSU and Central Connecticut State.

 

The College World Series will be played in Omaha, Nebraska, from June 19-29.

 

Duke’s 2021 NCAA Regional appearance marks the first time in program history that Duke will compete in the event in three consecutive seasons, having also reached regional play in 2018 and 2019. The 2020 national tournament was not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Duke earned the ACC’s automatic bid into the tournament after winning its first ACC title in 60 years following a 1-0 victory Sunday over North Carolina State.

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