Local Sports

Jockeys, team members support PDJF at Indiana Grand

Indiana Grand team members, jockeys, horsemen and racing fans came together Thursday to celebrate and support the national weekend for PDJF Racing Across America and Back to School.

The event, celebrated at tracks across the nation this weekend, brings funding and awareness to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF). The event also marks the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in honor of National Disability Independence Day.

Jockeys participated in several events during the day in support of PDJF including a foot race from the starting gate. Quarter Horse jockey German Rodriguez closed in late in the 50-yard dash to overtake Dex Mitchell for the win with Sammy Bermudez, a three-time Jockey Foot Race winner, finishing third. Other participants included Elias Vallejo, Joe Ramos, Sammy Mendez, Danny Martinez and Andres Ulloa.

The popular Tug of War (photo) between the jockeys and the track crew was up next. The jockeys, who are undefeated against several different groups in the area, including the local firemen and the police, brought in what they hoped would be a secret weapon as Carl Brown, valet, stepped in as their anchor and put the end loop around his waist.

The opposing teams got in place. Three seconds into the pull, the rope broke right in front of Brown, sending jockey Natasha Fritz flying to the ground and sending the win over to the track maintenance crew.

Representing the jockey tug of war team were Brown, Edgar Morales, Rodney Prescott, Elias Vallejo, Giovani Vasquez-Gomez, Alex Achard, Sammy Mendez, German Rodriguez and Natasha Fritz.



All participants from both teams gathered for a group photo following the event. The teams joined Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing, for a check presentation of $2,500 from Indiana Grand to PDJF.

PDJF Racing Across America was co-sponsored by Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) with Back to School activities. The organization provided 10 backpack giveaways complete with water bottles and one iPad drawing. Logan King was the winner of the iPad as local kids prepare to return to school next week.


Ernie Gaskin, Dr. James Carmichael named to IHRA Hall of Fame

The Indiana Horse Racing Association (IHRA) recently announced the newest class of inductees into the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Ernie Gaskin, longtime Standardbred owner, trainer, and breeder, and Dr. James Carmichael (posthumously), longtime advocate, owner, and breeder in Quarter Horse racing, have been selected for the prestigious honor.

Gaskin (photo) came to the state of Indiana in the early 1990s and worked as the head trainer for Viking Meadows Farm in Carmel, Indiana. He and his wife, Darla, relocated to Anderson at the start of pari-mutuel racing to create and operate Crimson Lane Farm, complete with a training track, two training barns, a breeding operation and multiple outdoor paddock space.

Gaskin was one of the initial members appointed to the Indiana Standardbred Breed Development committee. The Vermont native has worked tirelessly to assist with projects in horse racing, including lobbying for casino gaming at racetracks, enhanced breed development funding, and overall positive solutions impacting horse racing.

Gaskin was recently added to the prestigious Hambletonian Society Board of Directors.

Gaskin is a two-time leading trainer at Harrah’s Hoosier Park (1997 and 1998) and was the track’s all-time leading trainer in wins for more than a decade. He has conditioned four Indiana Sires Stakes champions (Brooklets Hotshot, Hoosier Nat, Sapphire Martini, Jammin Joshua) with Jammin Joshua earning more than $1 million and now standing as a stallion in the state of Indiana.


Dr. James Carmichael


Joining Gaskin as an inductee is Dr. James Carmichael of Sullivan, Ind., who is being inducted posthumously. Dr. Carmichael, a longtime practicing veterinarian in Sullivan County, joined his father, Eugene, in creating Carmichael Stock Farm, a Quarter Horse breeding operation in the western part of the state. They raced across the country before Quarter Horse pari-mutuel racing came to Indiana in 1997.

In the 1970s, the Carmichaels purchased Jaguar Rocket to add to their breeding and racing operation in Indiana. The California-bred grey stallion was a stakes winner in the late 1960s, winning 10 of 40 starts before being offered for sale by a Hollywood director. His impact on the state of Indiana has endured the past three decades.

Jaguar Rocket is an inductee into the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana (QHRAI) Hall of Fame and has a stakes race named in his honor at Indiana Grand.

In addition to breeding and racing Quarter Horses, Dr. Carmichael also served on the board of QHRAI for more than a decade, an organization he stayed active in until his death in 2009. The Purdue Schools of Veterinary Medicine graduate also served on the Thoroughbred Breed Development Committee where he was elected chairman.

His wife, Jan, still resides on the family farm and maintains several horses on the property.

Both Gaskin and Dr. Carmichael will be inducted into the IHRA Hall of Fame during a special ceremony on Oct. 24 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Ind. Portraits of the inductees will be added to the display on the mezzanine level at Indiana Grand following the ceremony.

Gaskin and Dr. Carmichael join a list of 17 previous inductees into the IHRA Hall of Fame.

The Indiana Horse Racing Association, an Indiana Not-For-Profit Corporation, was founded in 2014 for the following purposes: Establishing and maintaining the Indiana Horse Racing Hall of Fame to recognize leaders in the Indiana horse racing industry; preserving the history, heritage and traditions of the sport; educating the public about the rich and colorful history of horse racing in Indiana and its many contributions to Indiana agriculture and Indiana’s economy.

The organization consists of six board members representing all three racing breeds in the state of Indiana.

IHSAA and Hudl announce partnership to revolutionize video and data exchange

The Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and Hudl are partnering to transform athletic departments, coaches, and athletes throughout the state of Indiana.

Over 130 high school athletic departments and 3,000 teams in the state are already using Hudl’s video, data and recruiting tools. Between Hudl Focus cameras and the implementation of statewide member school exchanges, Hudl and the IHSAA are working together to stay on the cutting edge with a first-of-its-kind partnership that will fulfill that promise of universal access to video and data – and ultimately give new insights and time back to teams to focus on their development.

“We are excited to bring this first-of-its-kind partnership with the Indiana High School Athletic Association,” said Greg Nelson, Vice President of Competitive at Hudl. “Our goal is to provide the technology for coaches, athletes and their athletic departments to perform at their best.”



Hudl is a leading performance analysis company revolutionizing the way coaches and athletes prepare for and stay ahead of the competition. Founded in 2006, Hudl offers a complete suite of products that empower more than 180,000 global sports teams at every level – from grassroots to professional organizations – to gather insights with video and data. Hudl’s products and services include online tools, mobile and desktop apps, smart cameras, analytics, professional consultation and more.

“The IHSAA is excited to have Hudl as a corporate partner in advancing education-based athletics through their cutting edge technology,” said IHSAA Commissioner Paul Neidig. “With the continued growth of livestreaming and broadcasting, member schools will be able to make access to video effortless for both teams and fans. The Hudl Focus camera system integrates seamlessly with the IHSAA Champions Network and IHSAAtv.org to provide a high definition livestream option for both member schools and fans.”

Hudl’s suite of video capture and analysis technologies will provide Indiana schools with everything they need to power their high school athletic programs. Hudl Focus, Hudl’s newest camera technology, is an auto-tracking camera that provides teams with HD video without requiring a cameraperson. Smart camera technology and livestreaming is in demand now more than ever; providing the ability for athletic directors to monetize their games while providing broader access to community fans.

Additionally, all game in Hudl Focus-equipped stadiums – whether you’re home, away or at a neutral site – will be automatically uploaded to your Hudl library with the Focus Exchange Network. This innovative use of technology will allow IHSAA schools to stay on the cutting edge by making access to video effortless for teams and fans.

Member schools in the IHSAA are encouraged to participate in a member school video exchange through Hudl for football, basketball and volleyball.

Duane Swingley honored by ITOBA at Indiana Grand

Duane Swingley, longtime horseman in the state of Indiana, was recognized by the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA) for his commitment to Thoroughbred racing. Swingley was honored Tuesday during a winner’s circle presentation during the races at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.

“Duane has dedicated a lot of years to the sport of horse racing,” said Tom Mosley, president of ITOBA. “Even before the first pari-mutuel race and even before the first slot machine, Duane has been committed to the betterment of the sport in our state.”

Swingley (photo) was joined in the winner’s circle by members of ITOBA along with Indiana Grand management for the presentation. The Selma, Indiana native received a plaque and belt buckle for more than 50 years of service to Indiana horse racing. Swingley also is a longtime board member for ITOBA and currently serves as first vice president of the executive board.

In addition to being an active trainer and owner, Swingley also owns and operates Duane Swingley Auctioneers. Each fall he handles the details of ITOBA’s Fall Mixed Sale. This year’s event is set for Oct. 16 beginning at 1 p.m. in the Receiving Barn at Indiana Grand.

Live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues through Nov. 8 at Indiana Grand.

Young SHS boys basketball team doing some growing up with busy summer

Considering the circumstances surrounding John Hartnett's young career as head coach of the Shelbyville Golden Bears, the summer just completed may be the most normal thing that's happened to him.


Varsity assistant Hartnett took over the program the day of a road trip to Columbus East the season before with the departure of then-head coach Ryan Mack.  And, last season, the Covid pandemic continued a less than normal stretch as the boys basketball coach.


But the summer, with a home league and team camp, has allowed for time to settle in with a team that will feature a great deal of youth this season.  Eight seniors were lost to graduation.

It will be a bigger Shelbyville team on the front line.  But it'll take time for youth to adjust to varsity basketball.

Shelbyville was 8-14 last season with a defense that surrendered 54.1 ppg.  The Golden Bears managed to hold 11 opponents at or below that average.  Getting this team to buy in defensively will be key.

The season is still months away.  Hartnett says he's happy with the summer that has been.  Maybe, considering what has been, he's relieved.














Brian Lewis named IHSAA assistant commissioner

Brian Lewis, athletic director at Jasper High School, has been approved by the IHSAA Executive Committee to become an assistant commissioner.

Lewis was one of 10 finalists interviewed for the position and fills the vacancy left a year ago by Paul Neidig when he was named the new commissioner. His appointment date is yet to be determined.

He will administer the sports of boys and girls cross country, boys basketball, boys and girls track and field and unified track and field.

The 37-year-old Lewis comes to the IHSAA after 15 years in secondary education, the last three years as the athletic director at Jasper High School in southwest Indiana. There, he provided administrative direction and oversight to 21 athletic programs.

Prior to that he worked five years as athletic director at Monrovia High School (2013-2018) and served as head football coach and teacher at Evansville Harrison (2009-2013), Columbia City (2007-2009) and North Vermillion (2006-2007) high schools.

Lewis has been an active member and served on several committees for both the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (IIAAA) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) from which he earned a certified master athletic administrators (CMAA) license. He was recently named to a three-year term on the IHSAA Foundation Board of Directors.

“I am pleased to announce that Brian Lewis has accepted our offer to serve as an assistant commissioner for the Indiana High School Athletic Association,” said Neidig in a media release. “Brian brings a strong background in education-based athletics to the association, along with an unbridled passion to serve student-athletes across our state. Brian is a rising star in our profession, and we are extremely fortunate to have him join the IHSAA team.”



During his career, Lewis has been a participant, head coach or administrator for IHSAA-member schools in Classes A, 2A, 3A and 4A from various areas of the state. He has served as a member of multiple IHSAA realignment and participation committees and has hosted 75 state tournament events at the sectional, regional and semistate rounds in various sports in recent years. He also has assisted in organizing the IHSAA Boys Basketball State Finals the last few years.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to have been selected as an assistant commissioner of the IHSAA,” said Lewis. “I have always been very passionate about education-based athletics and I look forward to serving the member schools and student-athletes throughout the state. I am excited to join commissioner Neidig, the assistant commissioners, and the entire IHSAA staff as we continue to promote Indiana high school athletics. We are all products of our personal experiences and I have been fortunate to learn from many great mentors, colleagues, and friends throughout my career. I would not be in this position without their help, guidance, and support over the years.”

Lewis played football collegiately for four years while graduating from Indiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education in 2006. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Education from Oakland City University in 2011.

Originally from Jasper, he is an alumnus of Jasper High School and was a starting running back on the Wildcats’ 2001 IHSAA Class 4A football state championship team.

Lewis and his wife, Brooke, an elementary school teacher in Jasper, have been married for 13 years. They have two children, Isabelle and Drew. He also is the grandson of the late former IHSAA commissioner C. Eugene Cato (1983-1995).

Former Golden Bear swimmer commits to Purdue

Former record-setting Golden Bear swimmer Grace Lux recently announced her verbal commitment to continue her academic and athletic career at Purdue University.

Now a rising senior at Fishers High School, located northeast of Indianapolis, Lux still holds multiple Shelbyville High School girls swim program records. She was a sectional champion in 2020 in the 100-yard breaststroke and finished 14th in the state championship meet.

As a freshman in 2019, Lux also qualified for the state meet in the 100 breaststroke where she finished ninth.

As a junior at Fishers, the state runner-up behind national powerhouse Carmel, Lux competed in three events at the state meet.

She placed seventh in the 100 breaststroke and 15th in the 200 individual medley, an event she was crowned Hoosier Heritage Conference champion in 2020, and was part of Fishers’ seventh-place finishing 200 medley relay team.

Lux is the daughter of Matt and Christina Lux.

Full house watches first ever Exotic Animal Racing event at Indiana Grand

A full house of racing fans came out to Indiana Grand Saturday to witness a first of its kind event in the state of Indiana.

The track hosted ostrich, camel and zebra racing during the third All-Quarter Horse Day for 2021.

Zebras were first to step onto the track. The four entrants were ridden by Indiana Grand jockeys and exercise riders with Amara Kranz scoring the win aboard Zebiscuit. Other entrants included Stripes with Francisco Quintero, Led Zeblin ridden by John Baker, and I’ll Be White Back ridden by Cristian Reyes.

Kranz noted in a post-race interview this was a bucket list item for her to guide a zebra in a race.

“They came out of the gate fast,” said Kranz, who is an exercise rider. “I’ve ridden some tough horses but never a zebra. I was just worried about hanging on.”

Four camels stepped into the starting gate next with Oh Camel Ye Faithful getting an early jump on the field and striding home to the win with jockey Natasha Fritz aboard. Other entrants included Hump Day with John Baker, Drama Dairy with Cristian Reyes and Humpty Dumpty with Bennett Greely.

“I just held on with my knees and set up a little and shot him his head,” said Fritz. “And then I just yelled ‘ye ye ye’ the whole way.”

The final event placed five ostriches in the starting gate. The birds started out of the gate and went all directions. Jose Ruiz was able to sit still and hold on as Emu-Ji ran the fastest to the finish line. Other entrants included Flightless Fred and Mandy Green, Ken the Kicker and Cristian Reyes, Ostri-Sized and Elias Vallejo and Two Toed Tony and German Rodriguez.

“I just held on and tried not to fall off,” said Ruiz.

Reyes, who rode in all three events, added, “It was really great. I didn’t know where the ostrich was going. I just tried to stay on.”

The event was provided by Hedrick Promotions based in Nickerson, Kansas. The group travels all across the country each season to provide the Exotic Animal Racing at racetracks and special events. They are headed back to the farm before loading up next week and heading to Nevada for their next show.

Botticelli Beach wins Gordon Mobley Futurity at Indiana Grand

Botticelli Beach was the quickest qualifier from the trials, and she turned out to be the quickest to the wire in the 12th running of the $189,500 Gordon Mobley Futurity Saturday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Starting from post two, Botticelli Beach (photo) and Jose Beltran got out of the gate ready to roll and led the entire way, posting a neck win in 15.640 seconds. High Rolling Seize and Shanley Jackson finished second followed by FE Stone Crusher and Sammy Mendez for third.

Botticelli Beach is now two for three in her brief career. She is owned and trained by Claudio Barraza, who purchased the filly through Miller Ranch’s Online Sale last fall. They visited the farm and picked the filly out of the field as one to add to their stable.

“I was super impressed with her today,” said Barraza, who is based out of Chicago. “She’s a little bit bigger than her sister (Shakeitonthebeach). In her first race, I actually thought she won that one too. It was so close. We have her paid into the Stallion Service Auction Futurity and the Futurity at the end of the season, so we’ll try to be back for those.”

Botticelli Beach joins her sister, Shakeitonthebeach, as winners in the Gordon Mobley Futurity. Shakeitonthebeach, campaigned by Randy Smith, won the 2019 edition of the stakes race.

Beltran has been aboard Botticelli Beach for all three of her career starts. She now has in excess of $110,000 in career earnings for Barraza.

The race was the final contest on the third All-Quarter Horse day of 2021 in front of a packed crowd. The next All-Quarter Horse racing day is Aug. 14 and will feature trials for the QHRAI Stallion Service Auction Futurity and Derby.

Beach Blast blasts field to win Blue River Derby

Beach Blast and Sammy Mendez have been nothing less than spectacular all season long. The duo earned their second Derby win this season Saturday, scoring the latest in the 19th running of the $137,700 Blue River Derby at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Starting from post eight, Beach Blast (photo) was out of the gate in a blink of an eye, putting a neck in front of the competition early on. Midway through the 400-yard dash, the sophomore hit another gear and pulled away from the field, winning by two and one-half lengths at the wire in 19.622 seconds, the second fastest time in Blue River Derby history.

Stone Lake and L.D. Martinez finished second over WH Imastreakinbeach and Jose Ruiz.

Beach Blast earned his third consecutive trip to the winner’s circle. He is owned by Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson and trained by Indiana Grand’s all-time leading Quarter Horse conditioner Randy Smith.

“We enjoyed watching him today that’s for sure,” said Smith. “We were just concerned about making him go straight. We’ve had a little trouble with that, but maybe we got him going now.”

Beach Blast is now six for 10 in his career. The Sheri Miller-bred son of Escondido Beach was purchased from the QHRAI Speed Sale as a yearling for $22,000. He now has more than $280,000 in career earnings.

Paint Your Legacy moves up for Jaguar Rocket Futurity Title

Trainer Randy Smith entered the winner’s circle to greet Carter’s Law as the winner of the 19th running of the $131,600 Jaguar Rocket Futurity, but left with Paint Your Legacy, his other entrant, as the title winner.

Ridden by Berkley Packer, Paint Your Legacy moved up for the win following a disqualification.

Starting from the outside post 10, Paint Your Legacy was in mid pack early on as Carter’s Law and Sammy Mendez took control a few strides out of the gate. As the finish line neared, Paint Your Legacy extended his stride and moved up to finish second, just a neck ahead of Zack James and Shanley Jackson.

The win marked the second of his brief career for Paint Your Legacy in five career starts. Ironically, the son of PYC Paint Your Wagon was also moved up from second to the win in his trial of the Jaguar Rocket Futurity. Paint Your Legacy is owned by Duke Racing LLC and is a homebred from the Duke family’s operation based in Whiteland, Indiana.

Paint Your Legacy turned in two starts this spring at Remington before shipping back to his home base in Indiana and joining the Smith barn. His win in the Jaguar Rocket Futurity now places him over the $80,000 mark in career earnings for his connections.

Prize Kiss edges All Out in Heartland Futurity at Indiana Grand

They finished one-two in the trials with All Out getting the edge. This time, it was Prize Kiss and jockey L.D. Martinez who got the nod at the wire to win the 13th running of the Heartland Futurity Saturday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Starting side by side in posts two and three, All Out and Berkley Packer got away from the gate in contention for the top spot early on as Prize Kiss to his outside began making a move forward midway through the 300-yard dash.

Prize Kiss (photo) matched strides with All Out who made one final surge to take the lead again, but Prize Kiss came back a second time to win in a head bob in a time of 15.586 seconds. BP CK Eagle and Cristian Esqueda finished third.

Prize Kiss, a longshot in the 10-horse field, paid $27.60 for the win. The two-year-old sorrel gelding, a son of Kiss My Hocks, is owned by Pamela Brickley Hann and Craig Zeneberg. Tony Cunningham handles the training duties for Prize Kiss, who broke his maiden in the stakes race.

“This horse is a really nice horse who is just coming into his own,” said Cunningham. “We bought him out of the Heritage Place Sale last fall (for $38,000). Pam Hann and Craig Zeneberg are great owners. They send us to the sale and trust us to buy them a horse.”

Prize Kiss, who was making his second career start, now has in excess of $75,000 in earnings. He was bred by Flag Ranch LLC in Oklahoma.

“He was a handful when we got him home,” said Cunningham. “He didn’t want anyone touching him. He was hard on everyone. Hard on the horseshoer. We couldn’t do much with him. But we took our time and he turned the corner and now he’s great and he’s coming around.”


Mojo Man motors home in inaugural Sent It In Army Stakes

Mojo Man came into Indiana for the first time with impressive credentials, including Graded Stakes experience. But he’s leaving with a new title as he scored his first stakes win in the inaugural running of the $65,000 Send It In Army Stakes Wednesday at Indiana Grand.

Mojo Man (photo) began his journey from the outside in the five-horse field and sat back as Rock N June Bug and Tommy Pompell set quick fractions of 22.03 seconds and 44.73. He was joined by Long Weekend and Jose Batista and Double Tuff and Jesus Castanon, who moved up between horses, in the only turn of the six-furlong race.

In the stretch, Mojo Man accelerated past rivals, picking them off one by one before moving comfortably under the wire for the win by two and one-quarter lengths. Double Tuff finished second over Long Weekend for third.

The final time of the stakes race was 1:09.35, which becomes the stakes record for the inaugural running of the Send It In Army Stakes.

The victory was the ninth in the career of Mojo Man, who has had 29 career starts. The six-year-old Stay Thirsty gelding has been with the James Divito barn since the beginning of his career. Owned by Dash Goff, Mojo Man now has in excess of $450,000 in career earnings.

The Send It In Army Stakes emerged from a movement on social media by Gabe Prewitt, Director of Racing for Caesars Entertainment. Approximately six years ago, Prewitt sent out a message on Twitter from Pompano Park regarding a wager asking racing fans to share their selections and “Send It In.”

As a result of that message, racing fans began using the moniker as a hashtag and the term caught on, creating a new following for Prewitt and horse racing. Followers began referring to themselves as the “Army” of bettors who completed the name.

Indiana Grand is the third property under the Caesars Entertainment Racing umbrella to host a stakes in honor of the term, joining Scioto Downs and Harrah’s Hoosier Park with a race named “Send It In Army.”

Prewitt was trackside to assist with on-air handicapping of the race as well as present the trophy for the inaugural running of the stakes.

Mundaye Call wins inaugural Clarksville Stakes

Mundaye Call and jockey Florent Geroux scored the win in the inaugural running of the $65,000 Clarksville Stakes Wednesday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville, Indiana.

The race is named in honor of the track’s Winner’s Circle Race, Sports, Pub off-track wagering facility located in Clarksville, Ind.

Mundaye Call (photo) showed early speed in past races, and Geroux used that skill to his advantage in the first few strides of the six-furlong event. Euphoric and Marcelino Pedroza were able to get the jump on Mundaye Call and took control on the front end, leaving Mundaye Call to the outside of Assertive Style and Edgar Morales along the rail, who held steady in second.

Geroux waited patiently before asking for more speed and, in the turn, he was able to move up on Euphoric for the stretch drive.

Once she had gotten a slight advantage, Mundaye Call moved into another gear, rallying home beside Euphoric until she was able to get the edge by three-quarters of a length at the wire in 1:09.4. She Can’t Sing and Declan Carroll finished third.

“She (Mundaye Call) always gives you high regards because she has great works in the morning,” said Geroux, who has been aboard in half her career starts. “She ran a great race today and I was very pleased with her performance.”

Mundaye Call is owned by Larry Best’s OXO Equine LLC and trained by Brad Cox. The four-year old daughter of Into Mischief scored her first win of 2021 after running earlier this spring at Keeneland and most recently at Lone Star. The well-traveled filly is now four for 10 lifetime and pushed her career bankroll to more than $250,000.

“Bernie’s (Flint) filly (Euphoric) was solid on the front end,” said Ricky Giannini, assistant trainer to Cox who oversees the string based out of Indiana. “When she got her head in front, she did her thing. She’s been here since last Saturday and we were able to train her here over the track. She’s a little tough to gallop, but we have good hands to keep her four feet on the ground.”

Live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues through Nov. 8 at Indiana Grand.

Friends of Ferdinand receives donation from Indiana Grand

Friends of Ferdinand is a longtime racehorse aftercare program located in central Indiana. Their mission of retraining and rehoming retired racehorses is vital to the Thoroughbred racing industry.

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, located in Shelbyville, Indiana, is proud to be an annual donor to the organization, which has placed many former racehorses into second careers after life on the track.

“The donation of $6,000 will cover the cost of placing two former racehorses into their next career,” said Wendy Brown, board member for Friends of Ferdinand. “We are thrilled to get this donation. Indiana Grand is so dedicated to the aftercare of horses, and we appreciate their support.”

Friends of Ferdinand, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, is the only Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance accredited operation in the state of Indiana. Located in Mooresville, Ind., hundreds of former racehorses have gone through their program and are now enjoying life as show horses, jumpers, trail horses, and even reigning horses. Since 2005, a total of 95% of the horses passing through their program are thriving in new careers.

“Without aftercare programs such as Friends of Ferdinand, many of our racehorses would not have the opportunity to find good homes at the conclusion of their racing careers,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand. “These horses still have a lot of value when their racing careers are complete, so providing this avenue into a new phase of their life is very important to the racing industry. We are very proud to support their efforts on an annual basis and value our partnership with Friends of Ferdinand.”

More information on horses currently available for adoption and other news about Friends of Ferdinand may be found at www.friendsofferdinand.com.

Quarter Horse Stakes, exotic animal racing Saturday at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will be featuring all types of action on the track Saturday, July 24 for the third All-Quarter Horse racing day of 2021. Action gets underway at 10 a.m. with four stakes on the nine-race card. The day includes Exotic Animal Racing featuring zebras, camels and ostriches during the program, a first for the state of Indiana.


More than $683,000 in purse money is set for the Quarter Horse card with the 12th running of the Gordon Mobley Futurity closing out the day in the ninth race. Botticelli Beach, the quickest qualifier from the trials, has been tagged as the heavy favorite in the field of 10 and will start from post two. Ridden by Jose Beltran, the Escondido Beach filly makes her third start in the $189,500 final for owner-trainer Claudio Barraza. The other favorite in the field is High Rolling Seize from the Matt Frazier barn who starts from post one with Shanley Jackson aboard at odds of 3-1.


Beach Blast will headline the field for the 19th running of the $137,700 Blue River Derby set as the eighth race. The sophomore son of Escondido Beach has been outstanding this season, winning two of three starts, including the Harley Greene Derby, and topping the list of qualifiers for the final. Owned by Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson, Beach Blast seeks his sixth career win and his third career stakes win for Trainer Randy Smith. The sorrel gelding starts from post eight with Sammy Mendez aboard at odds of 4-5.


Other stakes on the card include the 13th running of the $132,240 Heartland Futurity as Race 6 and the 19th running of the $131,600 Jaguar Rocket Futurity as Race 7. All Out from the Tim Eggleston Stable gets the early nod as the favorite in the Heartland Futurity. He starts from post two at odds of 9-5 with Berkley Packer aboard. The two-year-old son of Coronado Cartel is owned and bred by Richard Joneson of Oklahoma.


Carters Law of the Smith barn has been selected as the early morning line favorite in the Jaguar Rocket Futurity. The Carters Cartel filly, owned and bred by Gordon Timm, starts from post seven with Sammy Mendez aboard at odds of 6-5.


Exotic Animal racing will be held after Races 5, 7 and 9. Zebras will be the first to take the track around 12:10 p.m. followed by Camel racing after the seventh race at approximately 1:25 p.m. The final exotic animal race will feature five ostriches following the final race of the day with an estimated post time of 2:40 p.m. All animals will begin from Indiana Grand’s starting gate with jockeys and exercise riders competing aboard the special racing participants at a distance of approximately 100 yards.


A special Meet and Greet with the animals will be provided from 4 – 6 p.m. Friday, July 23 in the track maintenance area. The zebras, camels and ostriches will be on display for up close viewing free to the public. Owner Joe Hedrick of Kansas will be available for questions about the animals that travel across the nation each year to compete in the unique racing events.

IHSAA releases 2021-2022 sports calendar

The Indiana High School Athletic Association has released its 2021-2022 sports calendar with first practice dates, first contest dates, tournament draw dates as well as postseason tournament dates.

Girls golf teams can conduct their first practice of the 2021 season on July 30, with first contest dates commencing three days later.

Golf sectionals begin on Sept. 17.

All other fall sports – boys tennis, cross country, soccer, volleyball, football and unified football – start Aug. 2 with official games following two weeks later on Aug. 14, except for football.

The high school football season kicks off on Aug. 20.

Unified flag football state tournament draw is Sept. 20. Sectional games start nine days later.

Both boys and girls soccer sectional draws are Sept. 26, with boys tennis draw one day later. Soccer sectionals begin Oct. 4. Tennis sectionals commence on Sept. 29.

The volleyball tournament draw is Oct.3. Sectionals open on Oct. 12.

The football state tournament draw is Oct. 10. Sectional games follow on Oct. 22.

Cross country, which does not have a state tournament draw, begins sectional competition on Oct. 9.

For more information, visit www.ihsaa.org.

Other key dates for the 2021-2022 year:

  • Oct. 18 – first girls basketball practice
  • Oct. 25 – first girls swimming practice
  • Nov. 1 – first wrestling practice
  • Nov. 8 – first boys swimming and boys basketball practices
  • Nov. 15 – first gymnastics practice
  • Feb. 14 – first boys and girls track and field practices
  • March 7 – first unified track practice and first softball practice
  • March 14 – first girls tennis, boys golf and baseball practices

Adjustment made to pre-pitch sequence in high school baseball

High school baseball pitchers who do not receive signals from the catcher must now simulate taking a sign with one foot on the pitcher’s plate before proceeding with a pitch.

This addendum to Rule 6-1-1 was the lone rule change forwarded by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee and was subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors. The baseball committee’s annual rules meeting was held June 6-8 in a virtual format.

A pitcher leaning forward to receive a sign from the catcher is fundamental to the pre-pitch phase of the game as it indicates to both the batter and the players in the field that the ball is about to be put in play and is the typical signal for any runners on base to begin taking their leadoffs.

Further, most high school baseball coaches deliver their defensive play calls – including pitch selections – from the dugout, which allows a pitcher to throw toward the plate abruptly (“quick pitch”) and catch opposing batters by surprise. This new mandate within Rule 6-1-1 forces the pitcher to pause, providing ample time for all participants to prepare for the pitch.

“While this rule change might appear to be a small change, the significance of what it represents is huge!” said Elliott Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee. “We have been extremely fortunate that our Baseball Rules Committee recognizes that the high school game is in wonderful shape and that is because our coaches and umpires around the country teach the necessary skills and arbitrate the appropriate rules to make the game fun, exciting and educational.”

The NFHS Baseball Rules Committee also spent part of its rules meeting compiling its Points of Emphasis (POEs) for next season. The five POEs, which prioritized healthy and safety and sportsmanship during the 2022 season, are as follows:

  • Monitoring Excessive Celebration
  • Wearing Equipment as Intended by Manufacturers
  • Safety of Coaches Sitting on Buckets Outside Bench/Dugout Area
  • Umpiring Procedure for Lodged Ball
  • Sportsmanship

“Points of Emphasis are used in an educational setting and fashion,” Hopkins said. “The rules committee is telling the baseball community that these topics – elaborately choreographed celebrations, wearing of equipment inappropriately, sitting on buckets, understanding the lodged ball and a call for increased positive sportsmanship – are paramount in education-based athletics. This is a wonderful game that allows an abundant number of participants to find a role on the team, and we want students to want to play for their school and be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

A complete listing of the baseball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Baseball.”

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys with 482,740 student-athletes in 16,170 high schools nationwide. The survey also indicated that 1,284 girls across the country play high school baseball.

Player equipment changes part of high school softball rules revisions

Two significant player equipment changes involving the wearing of head coverings and beads were among the rules revisions approved in high school softball for the upcoming 2022 season.

These changes along with six other rules revisions were recommended by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) Softball Rules Committee at its June 14-16 meeting held in a virtual format and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In Rule 3-2-5b, language that previously prohibited hard items to control the hair, including beads, has been removed from the rules book. The committee did not believe that the use of hard items, such as beads, presented an injury risk to other players. In contrast, the prohibition of such items has been interpreted as adversely affecting one’s cultural backgrounds.

In addition, head coverings worn for religious reasons in high school softball no longer will require prior approval from the respective state high school association. The revised Rule 3-2-5c states that “head coverings worn for religious reasons must be made of non-abrasive, soft materials and must fit securely so that it is unlikely to come off during play. Head coverings worn for medical reasons require state association approval.”

The Softball Rules Committee is the seventh NFHS sports rules committee that has modified rules this year related to religious and cultural backgrounds. In addition to softball, participants in volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey and spirit will be permitted to wear religious headwear without prior approval from their respective state associations. In swimming and diving, for religious reasons, competitors will be able to wear suits that provide full body coverage without obtaining prior state association authorization.

“The NFHS, in its effort to be a learning organization and one that is founded on the basis of inclusion is striving to work with our young participants in our efforts to celebrate the beautiful diversity that continues to increase,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, NFHS executive director, in a recent The NFHS Voice. “We are excited about that and want to support that. And while we will always strive to keep kids safe and keep games being played the way they were designed to be played, we do want to recognize the importance of a young person’s identity.”

In other changes to high school softball rules, new ball specifications will be required effective January 1, 2025, for high school competition. Balls manufactured with current specifications will be permitted for use through 2024. The change in 2025 will occur in compression and weight/circumference for balls in fastpitch competition. The changes in the way the requirements are specified do not represent a difference in ball performance but allow for better control over the manufacturing process.

A change also was made in Rule 8-2-6 regarding a batter-runner being called out for interference. A runner now will be considered outside the running lane if either foot last contacted the ground completely outside the lane.

“Based on previous wording, some umpires established their ruling on whether the runner’s foot was on the ground or in the air when the interference occurred,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. “The new wording more adequately describes the intent of the rule and will provide more consistent enforcement.”

A new article and penalty were added to Rule 3-6 regarding damaged bats. Article 21 states that “batters shall not use a damaged bat that was previously removed from the game by an umpire.” And the accompanying penalty is as follows: “The batter shall be called out and the offender and head coach shall be restricted to the dugout for the remainder of the game.”

Other high school softball changes for 2022 include the following:

  • Rule 1-2-1 – Bases for first, second and third may be designed to disengage from their anchor system. This language was added to Rule 1 where all field equipment rules exist. Similar language is already addressed in Rule 8-8-14 EFFECT, which states that a runner reaching a base safely will not be out for being off the base if it becomes dislodged.
  • Rule 3-5-3 – New language defines what is permissible attire for coaches during a game.
  • Rule 6-2-2 – The following language was moved to a Note to provide support to keep pitchers legal but removed the discrepancy in penalties from Rule 3-2-9: “A pitcher shall not wear any item on the pitching hand, wrist, arm or thighs which the umpire judges to be distracting to the batter.”

A complete listing of the softball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Softball.”

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, fastpitch softball is the fifth-most popular sport for girls with 362,038 participants in 15,877 high schools nationwide.

Field event safety, uniform changes highlight track and field/cross country rules revisions

Two rules revisions involving the competitor’s uniform, along with procedural changes in several field events designed to reduce the risk of injury, highlight rules changes in high school track and field and cross country for the 2022 season.

These changes were among the rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field and Cross Country Rules Committees and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Similar to a number of other NFHS rules committees, the Track and Field and Cross Country Rules Committee altered its rules regarding head coverings worn for religious reasons.

Rule 4-3-1b(8) now states that “head coverings worn for religious reasons are not considered hair devices; must not be made of abrasive, hard or unyielding materials; and must be secured to the body and/or uniform.”

The change clarifies that there is no need for prior authorization from the state association for religious headwear.

The Track and Field and Cross Country Rules Committee is the eighth NFHS sports rules committee that has modified rules this year related to religious and cultural backgrounds. In addition to track and field, participants in volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, spirit and softball will be permitted to wear religious headwear without prior approval from their respective state association. In swimming and diving, for religious reasons, competitors will be able to wear suits that provide full body coverage without obtaining prior state association authorization.

The other change in the track and field uniform concerns the uniform bottoms. Beginning next year, the manufacturer’s logo/trademark/reference on the uniform bottom may be larger than 2.25 square inches around the waistband.

“In track and field, uniform bottoms are increasingly being purchased by the athlete and not school-issued,” said Julie Cochran, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field and Cross Country Rules Committee. “It is becoming more difficult to purchase some garments without the logo completely around the waistband. Since allowing larger logos around the waistband has no bearing or impact on the race or event, the committee determined the change would minimize issues related to logo/trademark/reference on uniform bottoms.”

Rule 6 concerning rules for field events has been completely re-organized to assist coaches, officials and participants in following the rules.

As part of these revisions, the rules clarify that running in the direction other than how the event is conducted in prohibited during warmups, with the exception of high jump. The articles more clearly organize warmups, competitions and conclusion of all field events with a focus on risk minimization.

“The NFHS Track and Field and Cross Country Rules Committee accomplished two years of work in one via Zoom this year,” said Cody Inglis, chair of the NFHS Track and Field and Cross Country Rules Committee and assistant director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. “The committee was focused on enhancing the two great sports of track and field and cross country with the unique experiences that education-based athletics provides more than a million student-athletes around the country each year. This year, the focus of the committee was on building upon the foundation set by previous rules committees in continuing to enhance fair, safe competition that can be easily officiated. We are pleased that with the rewrite of Rule 6 that it will allow a rules book that can be more easily used by coaches, officials and others to make these great sports even better.”

One change was approved in Rule 8 related to cross country and another in Rule 9 regarding records. A note was added to Rule 8-1-1a stating that “a single wide line, if used on turns, should utilize other methods of markings (natural or artificial boundary markers, or signposts with large directional arrows) to assist the runner in identifying the course route.

“Since a single wide line may not be the shortest route, this change clarifies that other methods of marking a course should be used with a single wide line to help identify the turns and route of the course,” Cochran said.

A change in Rule 9-3-2 and other related rules clarifies when measurements for record attempts in the vertical jumps should be taken.

The final revision was approved in Rule 5-10-6 NOTE, which clarifies when each exchange zone is to be used.

A complete listing of the track and field and cross country rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Track & Field/Cross Country.”

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, outdoor track and field is the second-most popular sport for boys and the No. 1 sport for girls with 605,354 and 488,267 participants, respectively.

Cross country ranks No. 6 for boys and girls with 269,295 and 219,345 participants, respectively.

In addition, there are an additional 150,253 combined participants in indoor track and field.

Morristown names new athletic director, boys bball, soccer coaches

Morristown filled major vacancies in the high school athletic department as the new school year quickly approaches.


The Shelby Eastern school board approved Yellow Jackets assistant boys basketball coach Collin McCartt as the new head coach.  McCartt fills the vacancy left by the departure of Scott McClelland to Noblesville.


McCartt has been an assistant for the program for the last two seasons.  He has been a head coach at North Putnam, Morgan Township and Prairie Heights.


Meanwhile, Eric Screeton joins Morristown as its new athletic director.  Screeton comes to Morristown from Manchester High School where he’s been AD for three years after years in the classroom as a social studies and PE teacher.



Austen Clark was approved as the new Morristown soccer coach. He is a 2007 MHS graduate, served in the Marine Corps from 2007-2017, and has various backgrounds of soccer experience. He has been the assistant soccer coach the last three years.


Troubled Justice now a stakes winner at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Patience is a virtue and for the connections of Troubled Justice, a year delay in racing has turned out to be the key that has unlocked two trips to the winner’s circle in two starts. Troubled Justice and Sammy Bermudez scored a win in their latest journey in the 13th running of the $75,000-added Snack Stakes at Indiana Grand.


“Greg (Justice) actually hand picked this horse out of his yearlings as the one to keep,” said Trainer Aaron West. “He did that once before and that horse also turned out to be a stakes winner.”


Troubled Justice started his race from post one in the eight-horse field over the turf running one mile. Nobody Listens and Joe Ramos were to their outside and shot straight to the lead as expected and kept the field at least two lengths off of them the entire way until the top of the stretch.


Around the final turn, A Few Too Many and Tommy Pompell saved ground by moving up the rail while Bermudez had Troubled Justice moving at a quick pace to join Nobody Listens for the stretch drive. Nobody Listens didn’t give up without a fight. He held onto the top spot as he was joined by the other two, but midway through the stretch, Troubled Justice had built up some pretty impressive momentum, striding by for the win by two lengths over Nobody Listens. A Few Too Many held strong for third.


“I had to move him a little in the turn because I didn’t want the speed to stay out there by himself,” said Bermudez of Nobody Listens. “I didn’t want to be too late to catch him. This is only the second time I’ve been on him, just in his two wins, and he has no problems. He’s good in the post parade and he’s good in the gate. I thank Aaron (West) and the owner for this opportunity.”


The opportunity Bermudez is referring to was being in the right place at the right time. In his first start, the scheduled jockey called off and Bermudez picked up the assignment, scoring the win. That effort led to him being aboard for the Snack Stakes and the duo are now two for two in their young career.


“Sammy (Bermudez) has ridden for me in the past,” added West. “There is never a doubt that he is going to give it his all when he rides, especially on a first-time starter, like in this horse’s first start. He listens and has done a great job with him.”


Bermudez was also greeted in the winner’s circle by his mother, who just arrived from his native Puerto Rico the night before.


“It’s really special to have her in the winner’s circle with me,” said Bermudez. “She has come up once a year the past couple of years to watch me. I love it.”


Troubled Justice is owned and bred by Greg Justice’s Justice Farm. The Indiana bred son of Dominus now has nearly $65,000 in career earnings in only two starts. Both West and Justice agreed to hold off on launching the gelding’s career until this season.


“He was so big, we just decided to be patient and wait,” said West. “We were two works away from running last year and we shut him down. Greg (Justice) has been good to work with on this horse and agreed to give him some time and just wait.”

Voodoo Justice works her magic in Ellen's Lucky Star Stakes at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

Voodoo Justice caught the eye of trainer Tony Duran for good reason. Although it’s taken some time to get her straightened out, she is now blossoming into a good racehorse and can now add stakes winner to her credentials. Guided by Orlando Mojica, the sophomore filly won the 13th running of the $75,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes Wednesday, July 14 at Indiana Grand.


Mojica was given the green light to advance to the front from the start of the one-mile turf race, and when he saw no one else was going to seize the opportunity, he sent Voodoo Justice straight out to the lead. Tuckyourtaleandrun and Edgar Morales moved up into a stalking position on the outside early in the race, but Voodoo Justice had complete control of the tempo moving down the backstretch.


In the final turn, several opponents began to make their move to overtake Voodoo Justice, but she held her ground. With horses surrounding them, Mojica asked her for another gear in the lane and she gave it to him, pulling away to a one and three-quarter length win at the wire in a time of 1:39.74. Taperinea and Andres Ulloa won the tight five-way photo for second over Swift Temple and Emmanuel Esquivel who finished on the extreme outside of the pack for third.


“Tony (Duran) told me if she broke well and no one else made the lead to go ahead, so that’s what we did,” said Mojica, who is a three-time leading rider at Indiana Grand. “I just wanted to make sure we were in good position early so it worked out. I want to thank Tony and Katie for this opportunity. This was the first time I’d ever been on her today. She can run. She never gave up.”


Owned by Tony and Katie Duran’s Rancho Monarca LLC, it was the third career win for Voodoo Justice and her second in five starts for 2021. The Indiana bred daughter of Harry’s Holiday, bred by Justice Farm, increased her career bankroll to more than $109,000 with the win.


Although the Durans raise a lot of their horses, they do buy a few at the sales each year. They bought Voodoo Justice as a yearling at the Fasig Tipton October Yearling Sale for $20,000, and they are now seeing their investment pay off.


“I saw her in the ring and she looked phenomenal,” said Tony. “She looked like a racehorse. But when we got her home we really had trouble with her. All last year, we could not get her to relax. But she’s finally coming around and beginning to relax. She’s always had a lot of ability. It was just a matter of putting it all together. I have really good help and that makes all the difference.”


The turf is not really in her breeding, but Voodoo Justice has now won both her starts on the grass this season. She joins several past stakes winners that have emerged from Rancho Monarca.


“The state that I’m from in Mexico is where all the monarch butterflies migrate every winter, so that is why we named our stable Rancho Monarca,” explained Tony. “Michoacán is where they all migrate too.”


The Durans have two places for their racehorse operation. Locally, they have a farm where their brood mares and babies stay while the remaining members of the stable travel south to their farm to prepare for the Indiana racing season.


“This filly went to Florida for the winter,” added Duran. “I take all the racehorses to Florida. Again, I couldn’t’ do it without all the great help I have in the barn. They work hard.”

File to continue collegiate softball career at University of Louisville

Hannah File’s collegiate softball career will continue at the University of Louisville.

The 2017 Shelbyville High School graduate made the move official Wednesday, announcing her decision on Twitter.

File has two years of eligibility left after playing two-plus seasons at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She graduated in December of 2020 with a degree in Chemistry and Business.

In 2019, File started all 61 games for James Madison, who won the Michigan Regional before being swept by eventual national champion UCLA in the super regional round of the NCAA tournament.

The Dukes finished 51-10 that season while File hit .315 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 39 runs batted in.

James Madison was 43-14 during File’s freshman season in 2018. She hit .282 in 21 games.

The Dukes were 13-6 in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college sports. File was hitting .389 with four doubles, two triples, four home runs and 17 RBIs.

College athletes were granted an extra year of eligibility which allows File to play two more seasons while pursuing a master’s degree.

File spent this spring contemplating offers from a number of Division I colleges and universities and served as Shelbyville Middle School’s softball coach, leading the team to an 8-3 record.

Louisville, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), finished the 2021 season with a 21-28-1 record (15-21-1 vs. ACC opponents). The Cardinals’ season ended with a 4-3 loss in the ACC Tournament to Duke.

Louisville was 35-23 in 2019 under head coach Holly Aprile and played in a NCAA regional championship game.

Aprile is 66-64-1 in two-plus seasons at Louisville.

Mr. Wireless connects in Grade 3 Indiana Derby

It was a flawless connection for Mr. Wireless and he made all the right moves to dominate the 27th running of the $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby. It was the second win in three years for trainer Bret Calhoun in front of a packed house with the all-sources handle soaring to a new record of $6,292,387.

Starting from post six, Mr. Wireless (photo) wasted no time getting out of the gate for jockey Ramon Vazquez. Three horses were across the track heading into the first turn with Mr. Wireless widest of all. Vazquez backed off of WW Crazy and Victor Santiago and allowed them to move onto the lead while Starrininmydreams and Luis Saez, who were between horses, backed away into third.

Down the backstretch, Mr. Wireless moved up on the outside of WW Crazy by the halfway mark of the one and one-sixteenth-mile race. The sophomore son of Dialed In waited patiently until Starrininmydreams moved three wide to press the pace, making Mr. Wireless move on and take control of the race.

In the stretch, Mr. Wireless had Starrininmydreams to his outside and Sermononthemount to his inside but was able to shake loose, drawing off to a three and three-quarter-length advantage at the wire. Sermononthemount and James Graham finished second over favored Fulsome and Florent Geroux, who moved up late to finish third.

“I am really confident in my horse,” said Vazquez. “I know my horse is getting better and better. So, I just put my horse in a good position. When I asked him the last quarter, he gave me everything he has. He’s going to be a good horse.”

Mr. Wireless paid $9.80 for the win. After going unraced at two, he is now three for five in his career. The Grade 3 Indiana Derby marks the first career stakes win, and he doubled his career bankroll to more than $360,000. Jon Lapczenski and John Kerber’s JIL Stable own Mr. Wireless, who was homebred by John and Iveta Kerber.

“John (Kerber), the breeder, is a lot older and our group has gotten to learn from him and jump in on some of his horses,” said Lapczenski, who lives north of Oklahoma City. “He’s actually won the Iowa Derby and the Indiana Derby in the last six days. Bret (Calhoun) called me Monday morning and asked me, ‘What do you think of the spot?’ I said, ‘I think it’s great. There’s only one horse, and they (the public) just basically think we basically have no chance. We know this horse just keeps getting better and better. We were pretty confident.’”

Calhoun, a native of Texas, brought a stable to Hoosier Park in the first few years of pari-mutuel racing in the mid-1990s when he first started training. Since that time, his operation has grown to prominence with numerous Graded Stakes wins, including two in the Indiana Derby.

“I thought this horse was on the improve,” said Calhoun. “I also thought Fulsome was on the improve. I didn’t get to see the replay; I’m not sure what happened to him. I have a lot of respect for that horse. Obviously, I was very concerned about him. I didn’t know how much farther we could go, but he took it to another level today.”

Calhoun continued, “He’s got to keep moving forward. He hasn’t done much wrong in his career. He’s got a really good two-turn record. We don’t think he has any distance limitations. He’s gotten better and better. He’s a horse who was really hard to get to the races, just to get him fit and ready. I know his family pretty good. I’ve trained his family. His sister, Ain’t No Elmers, was the first one. Mentally and physically they were slow developers. He was the same. You have horses like that, a lot of times they just keep getting better and better.”

Hailed as Indiana’s biggest summer sporting event, the Indiana Derby featured numerous ancillary activities, including five $1,000 Indiana Derby Megabet Win Wager drawings. Of the five, only one correctly chose Mr. Wireless as the winner. Charles Beacom of Shreveport, Louisiana, cashed in for nearly $5,000 with the wager, which was sponsored by the Indiana Thoroughbred Alliance.

Soothsay scores in Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Indiana Grand

For the first half of Wednesday evening’s $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks, the owner and trainer of Soothsay were just hoping to get a piece of the pot in order to cover the cost of shipping from California to Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.

That’s what a bad start will do for you and Soothsay broke in the air and found herself last of nine 3-year-old fillies heading into the far turn. But Soothsay (photo), with a savvy ride from jockey Flavien Prat, turned on the jet engines, flying through the stretch to mow down the competition for a neck victory over 40-1 shot Moon Swag.

Lady Aces was another head back in third and Marion Francis yet another neck back in fourth.

“She was really tense in the gate,” Prat said. “I couldn’t get her to relax. She broke in the air … To be honest, usually when you break like that, it’s pretty much game over – at least for the win. So, I was just trying to regroup, to give her a chance at least in the first turn to save ground. Because the way she broke, I wasn’t able to gain ground. I tried to cut the corner again at the quarter pole, and she really dug in.”

The daughter of Distorted Humor covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.36 while forced to close into a tepid pace set by Lovely Ride, who carved out soft fractions of 24.71, 48.88 and 1:12.44 then weakened to finish fifth. Will’s Secret, the Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher and 2-1 favorite, never seriously threatened in finishing sixth, followed by Sweet Pearl, Malloy and Li’l Tootsie.

Soothsay paid $8.00 to win as the second choice, $4.20 to place and $3.40 to show. Moon Swag, the second-longest shot in the field, returned $20.80 and $11.80, with Lady Aces paying $7.20 to show.

It was the third victory in four lifetime starts, all this year, for Soothsay. That includes a victory in the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks in her second start, followed by a second in that track’s Grade 2 Summertime Oaks.

If she didn’t have much seasoning going into the race, Soothsay sure came out a more-seasoned filly. Not only was it her first time racing outside Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella’s Santa Anita Park base, but it was the first time she faced more than three rivals in a stakes (she ran against six horses in her maiden win).

“Well, to be a good sport, I told Flavien, ‘Hey give them guys several lengths and make it a real contest,’” Mandella joked by phone. “No, at that half-mile pole I was praying, ‘Please pick up some money so we can pay some expenses.’ But Flavien Prat showed what a star he’s become. He got off bad. He just sat there so cool, didn’t lose any more ground than he had to. Just such a great ride.

“Her stakes races here were such small fields. It wasn’t like she got a lot of experience. But she sure ran (like she had), other than getting away bad. But I think that was just sitting in the gate a long time. Their patience wears out sometimes, and it looked like that’s what happened, and she kind of just blew when they opened it. But she sure ran like a pro the rest of the way.”

Mandella started getting excited when Soothsay kicked into gear on the far turn.

“When she made that big move around the field going into the second turn, I thought, ‘Boy, that really looks impressive, but I hope she doesn’t come up short from such a big effort to make it up,’” he said. “When she straightened away in the stretch, she looked like she was very composed and still had her act together. The stride and power she has, I felt pretty good at that point.”

Soothsay, who now has earned $431,800 with the $115,200 payday, has already matched the three wins of her mom, the Bernardini mare Spellbound. The winner of Santa Anita’s Grade 2 La Canada, Spellbound also was trained by Mandella and owned by the partnership of Ramona Bass, Adela Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm. Soothsay runs for the Raydeltz Stable of Bass, Dilschneider and Claiborne’s Dell Hancock.

Taylor Cambra, assistant to Mandella, made the journey to Indiana with Soothsay.

“I thought it was going to be a really long drive home,” Hancock said. “But her mother ran like that. Spellbound won the La Canada running like that, so I thought, ‘Well, maybe she’ll be like her mother.’ But I didn’t think it would really happen. When they got to the three-eighths pole and she was really moving. I thought, ‘If she can be third, she can at least pay for the shipping.’ And then we started riding really hard from the quarter pole home. I’m so proud of her. So proud.”

The Brendan Walsh-trained Moon Swag came in off of a third-place finish in a Churchill Downs allowance race easily won by Lovely Ride. Moon Swag closed well from mid-pack under DeShawn Parker to take the Indiana Oaks lead with an eighth-mile to go before getting caught in the final strides.

“Everything went perfect,” Parker said. “I had a good trip from the outside. Turning for home, I felt I had plenty of horse. She tried hard. I thought I had it, but they were running.”

Lady Aces, who also shipped in from California after finishing third in the Summertime Oaks, balked at loading and held up the start. She pushed the early pace and hung in valiantly.

“Normally she’s never like that,” jockey Umberto Rispoli said of the loading difficulties. “She always goes into the gate pretty straight. At the three-eighths pole, she doesn’t give me anything. At the top of the stretch, she switched leads. Once when Flavien came next to me, we had contact with each other, and she just woke up and started to run.”

Trainer Peter Eurton, speaking by phone, said of Lady Aces: “It was such an odd-run race. When the 10 (Moon Swag) came up to her, maybe it bothered her a little bit and it seemed like she lost contact with the race, and here comes Flavien with the favorite and she re-engages herself. I’m just very proud of her. She’s got a lot of growing up to do. She got a little hot, I noticed. For all intents and purposes, it was a very good effort.”

Will’s Secret loomed at the quarter pole but couldn’t sustain any momentum.

“She made a little run up between horses,” said jockey Jon Court. “I thought she was just going to come flying like Flavien Prat’s horse. I thought it would be he and I down the lane with our two fillies. But he went on to win the race, and I just kind of flattened out, ran kind of even. I’m disappointed. I thought she’d be double tough here. Worst-case scenario, I didn’t think she’d be off the board.”

Juddmonte Farms impressed with Fulsome heading into Indiana Derby

A funny thing happened on Fulsome’s way to becoming a turf horse.


After four starts on grass with moderate success, rain at Keeneland forced an allowance onto the sloppy main track. Fulsome splashed home to a 3 1/2-length score and tonight is the odds-on favorite to extend his unbeaten streak on dirt to four races in the $300,000 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.


Owned by breeder Juddmonte Farms, Fulsome has stepped up each time he’s run on dirt, taking the Oaklawn Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths and Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Matt Winn (photo) by 3 3/4 lengths in his past two starts. Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux will attempt to win their second straight Indiana Derby, teaming last year with Godolphin’s Shared Sense (who makes his 4-year-old debut in the $85,000 Michael G. Shaefer Memorial on today’s undercard).


“He was a good-looking colt. But the dam had also been a really good-looking mare who didn’t live up to expectations as a racehorse,” said Juddmonte Farms manager Garrett O’Rourke. “She threw some lovely lookers, some of whom were temperamental and also didn’t live up to expectations. So, we started to lower our exceptions, even though he was a nice colt.


“… He did show (stakes) ability on the grass, and luckily it rained a lot in the springtime when he was supposed to run on the grass. He showed a new dimension and hasn’t looked back since. We started to raise our expectations with each run. He’s performed very, very well, especially his last race was a big jump forward. But he’s bred to be a dirt horse, so we shouldn’t have been surprised… He’s just backed up to be what the pedigree suggests he should be.”


Still, it’s understandable that Fulsome started out on grass. His mom, the Distorted Humor mare Flourish, is a half-sister to Juddmonte’s outstanding turf mare and $1.4 million-earner Tates Creek. Of course, another half-sister to Flourish is Sight Seek, a seven-time Grade 1 winner on dirt who earned $2.4 million.


“I think it’s a family that can probably run on turf and dirt,” O’Rourke said. “Until you try them, you don’t know which one they’ll excel the most on. He has a style of running, ironically, that is more similar to a turf style. I’m sure that’s probably what Brad was seeing, because he finishes really, really well. But he finishes better on the dirt, it seems, than he did even on the turf.”


It’s been a bittersweet year for Juddmonte. The farm is having a big year, including Mandaloun’s close second in the Kentucky Derby – which could wind up being a victory if Medina Spirit is disqualified over a medication infraction. Juliet Foxtrot became a Grade-1 winner, and Set Piece recently won Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes.


But there’s also great sadness around the operation after the Jan. 12 death of Juddmonte founder Prince Khalid bin Abdullah.


“The foundation of everything at Juddmonte obviously was built by Prince Khalid,” O’Rourke said. “His goals were always to be competing in the top venues with the top trainers, the top jockeys and as such he gave them top horses. This was a crop of 3-year-olds we felt ran very, very deep. From the time they were foals, we had banked on it as being a special crop. It’s a great tribute to Prince Khalid.”


Fulsome will break from the rail in the field of seven 3-year-olds.


“I hope post doesn’t play a big role in the outcome,” Cox said. “But anytime you’re down on the inside, it’s a little bit of a concern. But Florent has ridden him and got along very well with him in his last run. Hopefully things work out for a good trip and he can get the job done. I’m excited about what he’s done over the last few months, moving forward on the dirt.”


Only one trainer has won back-to-back runnings of the Indiana Derby: Bob Baffert in 2009 (Misremembered) and 2010 (3-year-old champion Lookin at Lucky, the Preakness winner).


Comparing Fulsome to Shared Sense, Cox said: “They’re very comparable. Fulsome might be a horse that is capable of being a little closer to the pace. We found out that Shared Sense just didn’t want to be rushed early, more of a come-from-behind horse. Fulsome probably has a little more speed, being an Into Mischief… We don’t know if Fulsome has reached his full potential yet or not, but both horses are very sound, good movers and seem to be able to handle two turns and beyond a mile and a sixteenth, a mile and an eighth very, very well.”


Cox also will attempt to become the first trainer to win the Indiana Oaks in consecutive years, if Churchill Downs allowance-winner Marion Francis can follow eventual Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil’s Indiana Grand success last year.


“It’s a very deep race,” Cox said of the Indiana Oaks’ field of 11, headed by Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Will’s Secret and Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks winner Soothsay. “She’s going to have to step up and forward. She’s a very consistent filly that ran a big race last time at Churchill.”


The Indiana Derby was Shared Sense’s first stakes victory. Aspirations for the COVID-delayed Kentucky Derby last year evaporated with a fifth place in the Ellis Park Derby. But Shared Sense rebounded to take the Oklahoma Derby (G3).


“We could have gotten into the Kentucky Derby, but we decided against it,” Cox said. “We pointed for the Oklahoma Derby, and it worked out well.”


The Schaefer is Shared Sense’s first start since a third in Aqueduct’s Nov. 28 Discovery (G3). Cox said the time off was planned simply to give Shared Sense a break after going non-stop for a year.


“It was time to let him drop his head and he a horse for awhile,” he said. “I actually didn’t even nominate him to this race. I supplemented him. I was thinking he’d be ready maybe middle of July, late July. But he just got ready so quick. His works, honestly, have moved forward. He’s worked better than he did as a 3-year-old.”


Shared Sense is the 5-2 favorite in the field of nine, which also includes the Cox-trained Plainsman, winner of his last two races.


Also from the Cox barn: Texas stakes-winner Raven’s Cry in the $85,000 Indiana General Assembly for fillies and mares on turf and Oaklawn allowance-winner Matera in the $85,000 Mari Hulman George Memorial for fillies and mares on dirt.


Matera was a $1.4 million yearling by Tapit who is out of the same mare (Miss Macy Sue) as Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map and the exciting young stallion prospect Not This Time.


Maker seeks another stakes off another claim


Mike Maker has made a career out of turning horses he’s claimed into stakes winners and graded-stakes winners. In the case of Exulting, whom Maker will send out in today’s $85,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial, he’ll try to do it twice with the same horse.


Owner Michael Hui claimed Exulting for $62,500 two years ago, and the gelding promptly won the $250,000 Oaklawn Mile in his first start for trainer Mike Maker. A year later, Hui and Maker lost Exulting in a $10,000 claiming race. Then a year after that, Hui got Exulting back in a $7,500 claiming race.


Exulting is gunning for his first stakes victory since the Oaklawn Mile. He comes into the Schaefer off of three straight wins.


“He was a good claim for him,” Maker said of Exulting and Hui. “Then he was running cheap. We tried to get him back a couple of times and got ‘out-shook.’”


He said, “I’ll retire him if he’s no good. And if he’s good, we’ll keep him. Turned out he’s good.”


Is Exulting as good as this go-round as his first time in the barn?


“I don’t know about that, but he’s pretty good,” Maker said.


Maker also has the 7-year-old Monarchs Glen, a $62,500 claim by Hui in March, in the $85,000 Jonathan B. Schuster for older horses on turf. Stretching him out to 1 1/2 miles in Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Louisville Handicap didn’t work out with Monarchs Glen finishing last of 14. He came back to win a second-level allowance race with an optional $62,500 claiming price. The gelding was in for the “tag,” but no one took him off that last-place performance.


Pirate’s Punch has puncher’s chance


Pirate’s Punch will try to get his mojo back in the $85,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial. The 5-year-old gelding won a pair of Grade 3 stakes at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park last summer to earn a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.


Louisville-based trainer Grant Forster said he knew going down the backstretch that Pirate’s Punch wasn’t himself that day. Sure enough, he would up having surgery to remove a knee chip after the Breeders’ Cup.


In his only start this year, Pirate’s Punch finished sixth in Monmouth’s Salvatore Mile, a stakes he won in 2020.


“He got a little tired, kind of as expected,” Forster said. “The track was a little dead that day, and he was wide on the first turn. But he got a ton out of it. We’re just trying to get back on our winning ways with him, hopefully on Wednesday. But he’s coming into the race well.


“We’re just building him back slowly to hopefully have a good rest of the year. He’s come back and he’s trained great. We’re looking forward to having him back in on Wednesday. It’s certainly no easy spot for a non-graded stakes. But when you have nice horses you have to run against nice horses.”


Forster also has Microcap in the Mari Hulman George Memorial for fillies and mares. A $30,000 claim in January, Microcap won a Fair Grounds allowance race and most recently was fifth in Churchill Downs’ new Shawnee Stakes.


“We were trying to get her in allowance races, and couldn’t get in,” he said. “We took a swing at the Shawnee. We expected to be on the lead and ground broke away from her when she broke, and she ended up being last. But I expect her to bounce back with a big race. We’re excited about both of them on Wednesday.”

California fillies fly in via FedEx for Indiana Oaks

Air travel for horses has become much more complicated with the Texas Sutton equine charters temporarily shut down. But California’s Soothsay and Lady Aces made their way to Indiana Grand via FedEx for today’s $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks.


French-born Flavien Prat comes in from California to ride Soothsay and Italian product Umberto Rispoli will be aboard Lady Aces.


Soothsay captured the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks in her second career start, then was second in the track’s Grade 2 Summertime Oaks. She’s trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, who also trained her mama, the graded-stakes winner Spellbound.


“She runs hard every time,” said Taylor Cambra, Mandella’s assistant trainer. “There was really no excuse in her last race. She ran well. She just got beat by a better horse that day. She’s still young and still developing. We’re hoping she still has a lot more gears to her. She’s maturing and growing up. We’ll do our best to keep her fresh, get her ready and see what she’s got.”


Trained by Peter Eurton, Lady Aces finished third in the Summertime Oaks, also in her third start.


“This is a good spot,” said Thomas Dubaele. “There was nothing really in California. Hopefully she’ll like the track. I see it might rain. We don’t have rain, really, in California, so we don’t know how she’ll handle that. She’s training well, eating well, looks happy. She’s a very nice filly. The race came up pretty tough. We’ll take a shot. Umberto really likes this filly, or he wouldn’t come all the way here to ride her.”


Not only will the fillies be facing a new racing surface, they’ll be facing a full field for the first time with the Indiana Oaks attracting 11 entries. By contrast, the Santa Anita and Summertime Oaks had only four starters apiece.

WRs Valentino gets the nod in $50,000 Bradford Stakes at Indiana Grand

It was a race to the finish from four of Indiana’s top older Quarter Horses with WRs Valentino and Sammy Mendez getting the right rhythm at the finish for the win by a nose in the 23rd running of the $59,720 Bradford Stakes Tuesday at Indiana Grand.


The race marked the third win in a row for the five-year-old.


The field of 10 broke from the gate with WRs Apolliticalivory and German Rodriguez getting the early edge. He was joined by WRs Valentino to his inside with Country Boy 123 and L.D. Martinez lurking in the shadows. Valiantinecandyrocks and Jose Beltran were close throughout as well.


As the field neared the wire, it became a three-horse battle with WRs Valentino (photo, center) timing the wire just right for the win over Country Boy 123, who had won the race the two previous years. WRs Apolliticalivory was between them, just a head back in third while Valientinecandyrocks was visible in the tight photo, one-half length from the winner.


WRs Valentino had been selected as the favorite in the field, paying $4.20 for the win. The gelding by Mighty B Valiant is owned by Randy and Gwen Williams’ Williams Racing Stable of LaCenter, Kentucky. He earned his eighth career trip to the winner’s circle and pushed his career earnings tally to more than $340,000. Randy Smith trained the gelding since day one and he has become one of the favorites in the barn for Randy and Debbie Smith.


“He’s quite a horse,” said Randy Smith. “He is very focused. He follows the same routine as the others. He’s in and out (from the Smith’s local farm). He’ll get some pasture time and then we’ll get him ready for the next one.”


WRs Valentino is now two for two in 2021. He polished off his four-year-old season with a win in the Indiana Championship. He now has four career stakes win for the Williams family.


“He’s like me, the older her gets the tougher he gets,” said Randy Williams. “He’s all business and walked out and got the job done. Those top three in that race, you could have thrown a blanket over them. Those are some nice horses. We appreciate Indiana Grand a lot. Gwen and I have raced a lot of different places, but we enjoy coming up here. It’s a beautiful track and the purses are getting better all the time.”


The Williams family have an extensive breeding operation in western Kentucky that produces stakes winners each year. They have a half-sister to WRs Valentino by Apollitical Blood they hope to make the trip up and see next summer at Indiana Grand.


The next all-Quarter Horse day is July 24 with a first post of 10 a.m. The afternoon card will feature exotic animal racing with ostriches, camels and zebras added to the card between races. The card will feature four stakes races with purses nearing the $500,000 mark for the day.

Alexander, Collins inducted into Indiana Quarter Horse Hall of Fame

The Quarter Horse Association of Indiana (QHRAI) celebrated two new inductees into the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Saturday at Indiana Grand.


Noel Alexander, longtime owner and breeder, and Harold Collins, jockey, were officially honored for their outstanding service and dedicated service to the Indiana Quarter Horse industry.


Alexander, a native of Monticello, Indiana, has been involved in Quarter Horse racing in and around Indiana for 60 years. He competed at the smaller tracks in Indiana, including Wabash Valley Downs in Terre Haute and the Muncie Fairgrounds, before the implementation of pari-mutuel Quarter Horse racing in 1997 at Hoosier Park.


Running under the farm’s name of DNA Quarter Horses, Alexander (top photo) has had a lot of success over the years at Indiana Grand. He is currently ranked among the top 20 all-time leading owners at the track.


Coady Photography photos

Former jockey Harold Collins was inducted into the Indiana Quarter Horse Hall of Fame Saturday at Indiana Grand in Shelbyville.


Collins, a native of North Carolina, completed his stellar riding career in 2018 with 787 wins and earnings in excess of $7 million. He is second on the list in all-time leading purse earnings for a Quarter Horse jockey and holds the record for most jockey titles at Indiana Grand, winning the top spot five times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013). He also has the most career stakes victories of any other Quarter Horse jockey in Indiana Grand history.


Collins still holds the record for the 100-yard dash, a mark he set in 2010 aboard Courvilles Bluff in .06776 seconds. Standout horses during his career in Indiana include Air Born Leader, Eyes Got Hope, One Tough Dude and Sum Fun for Magic.


Both Alexander and Collins were recognized during the second all-Quarter Horse racing day Saturday at Indiana Grand for their achievements and induction into the Hall of Fame with commemorative plaques. Members of the QHRAI were on hand to make the presentations for 2020.


QHRAI also honored several other award recipients from 2020. The awards, generally provided during the annual banquet, were delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions earlier this season. Those receiving awards and honored in the winner’s circle included Randy Smith, trainer; Samuel Mendez, jockey; German Rodriguez, sophomore jockey; Erik Esqueda, rookie jockey; Sheri Miller, breeder and owner; and Matt Frazier, small stable.


Each recipient was awarded a belt buckle for their success in 2020 in Indiana.

Calhoun looking to repeat in Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand

Two years ago Bret Calhoun captured the $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby with Mr. Money at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.


The trainer will try to top that this year, shooting for a sweep in Wednesday’s Indiana Derby with Mr. Wireless and the $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks with Lovely Ride.


Like Mr. Money, Lovely Ride is owned by the Allied Racing Stable of Madisonville, Kentucky, entrepreneur Chester Thomas.


Calhoun’s two 3-year-olds come in with somewhat similar form, both having raced four times and improving with each start.


Mr. Wireless, a son of 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In and out of a mare by the deceased Super Derby winner Arch, finished fifth in his debut sprinting. Put in longer races, Mr. Wireless won both an Oaklawn Park maiden and allowance race by a nose, then was second in the Texas Derby by three-quarters of a length at 14-1.


“He loved the two turns,” Calhoun said recently at Churchill Downs. “Really impressive races. He’s a very, very gutsy horse. He’s got a lot of try to him. He ran very well in the Texas Derby, a sloppy mess there. He got away just a hair tardy and that put him in bad position going into the first turn. He got fanned pretty wide and got beat a half-length or so. I think if a couple of things here and there had gone a little different that he might have won. He was good enough to win that race. We’re hopeful he can step up a little bit and fit in these graded stakes.”


By contrast, Mr. Money had already won a pair of graded stakes at Churchill Downs before coming to Indiana Grand.


“Obviously Mr. Money was a much more proven horse going into the Indiana Derby,” Calhoun said. “I trained this horse’s half-sister, and that family develops a little later. They’re a little slow maturing physically. I think you’ll see more and more from this horse in the future. He’s going to get better and better.”


Lovely Ride was a well-beaten second in her debut racing 4 1/2 furlongs at Lone Star Park. She followed with a professional maiden victory and even better-looking allowance triumph at Sam Houston before taking a Churchill Downs’ second-level allowance by 6 1/2 lengths. Off that, Bill Downes has made Lovely Ride the 4-1 third choice in the Indiana Oaks’ field of eleven 3-year-old fillies, behind favored Kentucky Oaks third-place finisher Will’s Secret and Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks winner Soothsay.


“Interesting filly,” Calhoun said of Lovely Ride. “Very pretty filly that’s got quite a bit of pedigree. We started her off at Lone Star, and she was just an average second that day. She had some issues bugging her at the time, so we gave her plenty of time off. She was a little bit immature physically as well. We started her back on an easier trail. Ran her at Houston, and she ran very well. So, we brought her to Churchill, and we felt pretty good about our chances going into the allowance race.


“I know she’d never faced anybody, really, and been running on a much softer circuit. Nobody gave her much of a chance here. There were some pretty good fillies in there, been running in grades stakes, coming in thirds and fourths. It was a very good test for her, and she passed with flying colors. So, we’re pretty hopeful she can step up in graded-stakes company as well. She hasn’t done much wrong in her life, and she’s thriving right now.”


Among the fillies Lovely Ride defeated in her last start was Indiana Oaks contender Moon Swag, who before that was third in the Fair Grounds’ Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes and fourth in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland.


Thomas purchased the Tiznow broodmare Lovely Lil while she was carrying Lovely Ride, making him the breeder of record.


“Everybody says I don’t know how to spell patience,” he said with a laugh. “But I have patience with my horses and know they need time here and there. So, we gave her the right time, brought her back nice and easy. She annihilated the field, not once but twice before we brought her to Kentucky to do the two-turn thing. That was a nice race she won at Churchill.


“We’re excited to be going to Indiana. We got lucky and won the Indiana Derby. Now we can hopefully get lucky and win the Indiana Oaks. That would be pretty cool. It’s going to be nice to be back at the track now that things have opened up again.”


Thomas said he was offered “some pretty serious money” for Lovely Ride after her last victory.


“I felt like she had bigger and better things to do, that she would accomplish,” he said. “So, we decided to hang on to her. Hopefully we made the right decision. We’re very hopefully she’ll win a graded stakes. That goes hand in fist. When you start winning graded stakes versus allowance races, especially with fillies, they become more and more valuable. It’s already worthwhile. Bret calls them my pets, but it’s always nice to see these homebreds do well.”


Gabe Saez, who rode Mr. Money, has the mount on Lovely Ride. Ramon Vazquez rides Mr. Wireless.


Stewart bring in Oaks favorite Will’s Secret


Willis Horton Racing’s Will’s Secret is the 5-2 favorite in the $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks off a pair of thirds in the Kentucky Oaks and Keeneland’s Ashland Stakes, Grade 1 success that followed her winning Oaklawn Park’s Grade 3 Honeybee and the Martha Washington. She breaks from the rail, with 3-1 second choice Soothsay, the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks winner, to her immediate right in the starting gate.


“The filly ran third in the Oaks and she’s training well. So, we’re excited about running her there,” said trainer Dallas Stewart. “There are going to be some nice fillies in there. (But) she’s run against the best. She’s shipped around and run well.”


Will’s Secret is a daughter of the Three Chimneys Farm stallion Will Take Charge, the 3-year-old champion of 2013 for Horton.


Stewart co-bred and co-owns Indiana Derby candidate Starrininmydreams in partnership with WinStar Farm under a foal-sharing arrangement. Stewart owns the mare, Boy Crazy, while WinStar provided the breeding to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.


“He ran third in the Lexington (at Keeneland), and he just got outrun in the Pat Day Mile,” Stewart said. “But our horse is nice, and he’s trained well. We’re excited to see how he matches up.”


Boy Crazy, whom Stewart trained and co-owned with a client, ran only once, finishing fifth in the $30,000 maiden-claiming race. She’s been far more successful as a broodmare.


While getting into the breeding side of the horse industry has been known to bust a trainer, Stewart has done well. Boy Crazy produced Saint’s Fan, who won a $100,000 Louisiana-bred stakes, and $211,107-earner Diamond Crazy, also a Louisiana-bred.


“We just did it for fun, like with one horse,” he said of his family, whose band of three broodmares includes a sister to Boy Crazy. “We started off in the Louisiana program. (Boy Crazy) had just been phenomenal for us.”


Full Charge provides Calumet another challenge in Indiana Derby


Full Charge is 12-1 in the Indiana Derby’s morning line and comes into the 1 1/16-mile stakes off victory in a 1 3/16-miles maiden race. But owner-breeder Calumet Farm in the Brad Kelley era has no problem taking a shot at big races and doesn’t get caught up in the horses’ odds.


Indeed, several notable Calumet upsets have been the 2021 Wood Memorial with Bourbon winning at a whopping 72-1 odds, 2020 Personal Ensign with 9-1 Vexatious over champion Midnight Bisou and the 2018 Pat Day Mile with 39-1 Funny Duck.


“It’s a big step up in class,” said Jack Sisterson, private trainer for Calumet, though the farm uses other public trainers as well. “It is a short field. It’s that time of the year where if your horse is doing well, which he is, you’ve got to take the opportunities where they come with these big 3-year-old races.”


Full Charge, also by Will Take Charge, has improved dramatically with each of his four starts.


“He’s a 3-year-old who has improved with each start we’ve had him,” Sisterson said. “He was a lovely 2-year-old, just sort of immature and needed to grow into his frame. Thanks to Calumet for allowing me to back off him as a 2-year-old.


“We got him started down at Gulfstream going three-quarters of a mile. He finished last, but when he hit the wire, Corey (Lanerie) gave him a slap on the shoulder and he galloped out in front. We were optimistic that he’d move forward as we stretched him out, would put his best foot forward. And he hasn’t disappointed us since, really. We’ll let him tell us whether he’s good enough or not.”


In his three maiden races in Kentucky, Full Charge finished third, then second, then won by five lengths at 1 3/16 miles at Churchill Downs.


“We don’t win first time out,” Sisterson said. “We train to where the horse is going to improve with racing and hopefully not regress with racing. We like to have a two- or three-year good campaign with horses. He doesn’t have a flashy way of going. He might come off the bridle at the three-eighths pole, but he’s a grinding type that seems to get better as the distance gets farther for him. If we can hit the board with a homebred, it helps the mare and the progeny. I’ve got his 2-year-old brother. It’s fun to see him progress in the direction he’s going.”


Adam Beschizza, aboard for Full Charge’s past three races, has the return mount.


“He’s still a very young, unvarnished horse,” Beschizza said. “He’s a horse where you have to squeeze the lemon on him the whole time. He’s still very green and raw. If you saw his maiden win at Churchill, I had to get to working on him at the three-eighths. Once he gets the message, he seems to knuckle down, still very workmanlike. Mr. Kelley likes these big challenges, and he’s never been too far wrong before with some of these maiden (winners). He’ll take his chance.”


Full Charge “has had plenty of shots at the dart board now,” the jockey said. “He’s got plenty of experience. So, let’s hope he’s got it together and can take that next step forward. You’ve got to be in it to win it, and we’ll take a chance. I think he’ll run well, anyway.”


Amoss among trainers with horses in Indiana Derby and Oaks


Tom Amoss, perennially among the Indiana Grand leaders, also has a horse in the $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby (Sermononthemount) and the $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks (Li’l Tootsie).


Sermononthemount was claimed for $50,000 last March, then was non-threatening in a Delta Downs allowance race. Amoss dropped him in for $30,000 claiming at Churchill Downs, seeking to take his best shot for a big purse. He got the win and no one took the horse. The barn got more ambitious and put Sermononthemount in the Prairie Mile in Iowa, finishing a decent third.


“This horse is definitely improving,” Amoss said. “I think that last workout on June 30 (five furlongs in 1:00.20) is pretty indicative. We’re absolutely taking a chance in a race like this. I like supporting Indiana Grand. I’ve been going there for years. But yeah, we’re taking a shot.”


Li’l Tootsie (photo) has won three of six starts, most recently a six-furlong second-level allowance race at Churchill Downs. But her first victory came at the Indiana Oaks’ 1 1/16-mile distance.


“She’s one of the best horses I’ve got in my barn,” Amoss said. “We are stretching her out, so we’ll see what happens. But she’s a very, very good horse.”

Court seeking to add Indiana Oaks win to his credentials

If not the kingpin of Indiana Grand, jockey Jon Court was once the kingpin of Indiana racing – back when Hoosier Park was the state’s only horse track and ran a Thoroughbred meet.


Court’s last of three titles in Indiana came in 1998. But at age 60, he retains his ability and drive to continue to compete on the tough Kentucky-Oaklawn circuit. Look no further than Court riding the Dallas Stewart-trained favorite Will’s Secret in Wednesday evening’s $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.


Owned by breeder Will Horton, Will’s Secret comes into the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Oaks off a third place in the Kentucky Oaks at 26-1 odds and an earlier victory in Oaklawn’s Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes.


“Will’s Secret, she really performed incredible in the Oaks this year,” Court said. “I was in the perfect spot. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. She kicked in and was just third best that day. She’s great to ride, and I’m just excited that we’re going in the Indiana Oaks, and I just want to make all the connections very happy and we’re celebrating in the winner’s circle.


“… The fact that we won the Honeybee at Oaklawn really set us on the path to the Oaks and solidified our entry to run in the Kentucky Oaks. It was exciting from that day forward. She’s been fun from the get-go. And then when you get the top level of success that you get to experience in the game from time to time, it’s just the icing on the cake.”


Will’s Secret will break from post 1 in the field of eleven 3-year-old fillies.


“Basically, the pressure is all going to be on the outside,” Court said. “I’m just going to let her break, run away from there and position where we can get the best strategy to work favorably for us.”


Since he began riding races in 1980, Court was won stakes in five decades (including taking the Indiana Derby at Hoosier in 2002-2003 during a span when the jockey had relocated to California). Overall, he has 4,122 wins and more than $109 million in purse earnings. He continues to ride occasionally at Indiana Grand, but his summer focus is three hours away at Ellis Park in Henderson, Kentucky.


“I’d been in and out of Kentucky during my career,” the jockey said. “But when Indiana started racing, I came and set some roots and pretty much became the king there at Hoosier Park on the Indiana circuit. Those stats still hang pretty well today. It helped me open the door to get more solid footing on the Kentucky racing circuit. It’s just been a fun ride ever since. I’m not going anywhere. I plan on sticking around.”


Indeed, how does he do it at age 60, competing against jocks who could be his grandkids?


“A lot of people ask me how I do it, and I sometimes wonder that myself,” Court said. “I just spend enough time on my knees praying and eating right, trying to live right and just keep showing up every day with the right attitude to ply my skills – and it’s all good.”


A case could be made that Court fosters one bad habit: His affinity for off-track action. While he certainly has had his share of injuries on the track, Court had shoulder surgery in 2018 after a motorcycle accident, which came two years after sustaining broken ribs while water-tubing.


“I’ve been an adrenaline junkie my entire life,” he said. “I love riding racehorses. That’s my No. 1 top priority, and I’ve been blessed to be able to make a living off of it. But I’ve also been on motorcycles and done some other activities that are probably not always healthy; sometimes you get a little carried away … I’ve had my fair share of injuries, no doubt about that. But I’ve been able to bounce back and get back into the game – something I’m very fortunate to do. But I am by far more cautious of my other activities now.”

Botticelli Beach tops list in Gordon Mobley Futurity Trials at Indiana Grand

In only her second career start, Botticelli Beach not only broke her maiden in her Gordon Mobley Futurity trial but she topped the standings for the top 10 headed to the $150,000 final on July 24 at Indiana Grand.


Starting from post two, Botticelli Beach (photo) took control of her trial early on, soaring to a two and one-quarter-length win at the wire of the 300-yard dash with Jose Beltran aboard. FE Stone Crusher and German Rodriguez finished second over Jesses Beach and Berkley Packer for third.


The time of the dash was 15.432 seconds.


Botticelli Beach is owned and trained by Claudio Barraza. The grey filly is out of Sheri Miller’s mare, Botticelli Shake, who won two races for Miller during her career. She has turned into a good brood mare for Miller Ranch, located in Shipshewana, Ind., where Indiana’s top sire, Escondido Beach, also stands.


“We actually saw this filly as a yearling at Sheri’s farm,” said Barraza. “We started bidding on her online. She’s bred well. She’s a full sister to Shakeitonthebeach, a stakes winner here. She gets really antsy but she’s getting better all the time.”


The second fastest trial was won by High Rolling Seize, ridden by Shanley Jackson. The Seize the Win gelding was able to move into the lead from post nine midway through the trial and kept on running, winning the race by one and one-quarter lengths.


Nachor Favorite and Cristian Aguirre Erives finished second. My Royal Candy and Jose Ruiz were third in the sprint recorded in 15.553.


High Rolling Seize is owned by breeder Glenn Graff of Indiana. He is a product of Seize the Win, the standout multiple stakes winner who also was campaigned by Matt Frazier. He was placed up to first in his last start, giving him two wins this season in three outings.


Other trial winners including Stormi Spirits and Cristian Reyes for trainer Tim Eggleston in a time of 15.948 and Exosphere ridden by Giovani Vasquez-Gomez in a time of 15.717 for Jessi Vazquez, Giovani’s wife.


The full field headed to the Gordon Mobley Futurity, with jockey and time, includes: Botticelli Beach (Jose Beltran, 15.432); High Rolling Seize (Shanley Jackson, 15.553); Nachor Favorite (Cristian Aguirre Erives, 15.715); Exosphere (Giovani Vasquez-Gomez, 15.717); Party Time Beach (L.D. Martinez, 15.724); FE Stone Crusher (German Rodriguez, 15.744); Krystal Stone (Rolando Pina, 15.786); ER Stone Chargin (Natasha Fritz, 15.812); Jesses Beach (Berkley Packer, 15.823); and Clovis Two Sox (Cesar Esqueda, 15.841).

Carters Law rules in Jaguar Rocket Futurity Trials

Carters Law turned in the fastest trial time of four during the Jaguar Rocket Futurity Saturday at Indiana Grand.


A total of 34 two-year-olds were seeking a spot in the $100,000 final slated for July 24, and Carters Law established herself as one of the favorites.


Carters Law (photo) came into her trial with a maiden-breaking victory, which made her a favorite of the field. The grey daughter of Carters Cartel was up to the task, placing herself as a contender throughout before moving into the top spot for the win by three-quarters of a length in 15.475 seconds.


Mr Michel and Jose Beltran finished second over Independent Eagle and Shanley Jackson for third.

Carters Law, trained by Randy Smith, is owned by breeder Gordon Timm. Ridden by Sammy Mendez, she is now two for two in her brief career.


The second fastest time trial was recorded by Zack James of the Ron Raper Stable. The Ivory James freshman, ridden by Shanley Jackson, was quick out of the gate and on top in the blink of an eye, rallying home to a one and one-quarter-length win in 15.551.


Tooyahbooya DHD and Erik Esqueda finished second over All Star Beach and L.D. Martinez for third.


Zack James recorded his first career win in the trial. He is owned by Tina and Kevin Cleary and was bred by the Cleary family.


“This horse eats and sleeps all the time,” smiled Raper, who has eight leading trainer titles to his credit at Indiana Grand. “He wastes no energy around the barn. He’s a perfect gentlemen until he gets around another horse and then he wants to run. He definitely likes to run.”


Other winners in the Jaguar Rocket Futurity trials included Ravin Stone from the Tony Cunningham barn, who earned his win in 15.763 with L.D. Martinez aboard, and Paint Your Legacy, with Berkley Packer in the saddle, in a time of 15.612.


The full field headed to the final of the Jaguar Rocket Futurity, with jockey and time, includes: Carters Law (Sammy Mendez, 15.475); Zack James (Shanley Jackson, 15.551); Mr Michel (Jose Beltran, 15.583); Paint Your Legacy (Berkley Packer, 15.612); Ravin Stone (L.D. Martinez, 15.763); Tooyahbooya DHD (Erik Esqueda, 15.766); DNA Secret Fighter (German Rodriguez, 15.825); All Star Beach (L.D. Martinez, 15.840); Bye Bye B Train (L.D. Martinez, 15.888); and Stoney Beach (Erik Esqueda, 15.901).


Trainer Tony Cunningham, who had 28 horses in the 16-race card, will saddle five in the final while Randy Smith, who had 34 horses total in the all-Quarter Horse card, will saddle three.

All Out impressive in Heartland Futurity Trials

All Out may have come into the Heartland Futurity Trials flying under the radar, but he came out as the official one to watch for the upcoming $75,000 final set for July 24.


The freshman son of Coronado Cartel won the final event on the 16-race card Saturday for all-Quarter Horse racing that set a new all sources handle record of $1.201 million for the sprinters at Indiana Grand.


Starting from the outside post 10, All Out (photo) and Berkley Packer broke well but not on the lead. As the 300-yard dash played out, the freshman colt found his winning stride, stretching out to roll right on by his opponents for the win by three-quarters of a length in 15.491 seconds. Prize Kiss and L.D. Martinez finished second over BP CK Eagle and Cristian Esqueda for third.


Owned by breeder Richard Joneson of Oklahoma, All Out won his debut at Indiana Grand two weeks ago. He is now two for two in Indiana for trainer Tim Eggleston.


The second fastest trial was won by Kiss Me at Midnight and Sammy Mendez. The gelded son of Kiss My Hocks grabbed the lead early and held on strong throughout for the win by one length in 15.571. Illegal ID and Jose Beltran finished second over Secret Senator and German Rodriguez for third.


Kiss Me at Midnight is owned by Gordon Timm and Debbie Smith. He is now two for two in his young career and was one of four wins on the card for trainer Randy Smith.


Other trial winners included MG Love My Macho, ridden by Giovani Vasquez Gomez in 15.751 and J Corona Extra and Jose Beltran in a time of 15.767.


The top 10 qualifiers advancing to the Heartland Futurity Final, with jockey and time, includes: All Out (Berkley Packer, 15.491); Kiss Me at Midnight (Sammy Mendez, 15.571); Prize Kiss (L.D. Martinez, 15.606); BP CK Eagle (Cristian Esqueda, 15.617); Illegal ID (Jose Beltran, 15.731); MG Love My Macho (Giovani Vasquez-Gomez, 15.751); Secret Senator (German Rodriguez, 15.755); Corona Extra (Jose Beltran, 15.767); Alota Lovin (Sammy Mendez, 15.780); and BV Blaze of Glory (Shanley Jackson, 15.852).


Randy Smith will saddle three in the final.

Beach Blast tops Blue River Derby trials at Indiana Grand

Beach Blast, the standout three-year-old from the Randy Smith Stable, topped the list of 37 starters Saturday seeking a spot in the upcoming $100,000 Blue River Derby final with a time of 19.628 seconds.


The sorrel gelding won the final trial of four to advance as the likely favorite in the Blue River Derby final on July 24 at Indiana Grand.


Starting from post nine, Beach Blast had a little contact coming out of the gate, but jockey Sammy Mendez quickly got him out of trouble and headed down the track. The Escondido Beach sophomore kicked in halfway through the 400-yard dash and powered his way into the lead, scoring the win by one and one-half lengths.


Stone Lake and L.D. “Danny” Martinez finished second over Beach Diva and Erik Esqueda for third.


It was the second straight win for Beach Blast, who is now five for nine lifetime. His last start was a win in the Harley Green Derby in early June for owners Keith Bode of Columbus, Ind., and Brock Hutchinson of Indianapolis. Beach Blast, bred by Sheri Miller and purchased as a yearling for $22,000 from the QHRAI Speed Sale, now has in excess of $200,000 on his card.


“If we can get him to turn his head and run, there’s no telling how fast he’ll go,” said Smith. “We are trying to get him to run straight. We are working on that. We knew last year after his second start that he was going to be a racehorse. And, he just keeps getting better and better every time he races.”


Smith kicked off his day with a winner in the first trial as Rock Candy Almighty scored an upset. The PYC Paint Your Wagon gelding was up to 35-1 at one point before the race but being overlooked by bettors didn’t deter him or jockey Jose Beltran.


The duo broke from the gate and were side-by-side with stablemate Beach Runaway and German Rodriguez to their inside. In the final strides, Rock Candy Almighty lengthened his stride and pulled in the win by a neck over Beach Runaway. WH Imastreakingbeach and Jose Ruiz finished third.


The time of 19.981 was ranked fourth fastest overall for horses advancing to the Blue River Derby final. The gelding is owned by breeders Lance and Tammy Finlinson of Greenwood, Ind. Rock Candy Almighty paid $28.80 for the win.


“This horse seems to have been slow to get started and is coming on as a late bloomer, just like his sister (stakes winner Valiantinecandyrocks),” said Lance Finlinson. “Jose rode Rocky’s Candy Shop for us in several stakes wins, so the combination of Randy (Smith) and Jose (Beltran) is a good fit for us.”


The other trial winners were Nocatchinga Corona (photo) and Erik Esqueda from the Tony Cunningham barn and Jess Bringin It On from the Paul Martin Stable.


“As a two-year-old, she was just coming up short for the distance, and she had a couple of really rough trips last year,” said Smith. “She is a full sister to Jess Z Bob, so we’ve always liked her.”


The full field of qualifiers for the Blue River Derby, with jockey and time), includes: Beach Blast (Sammy Mendez, 19.628); Stone Lake (L.D. Martinez, 19.841); Beach Diva (Erik Esqueda, 19.975); Rock Candy Almighty (Jose Beltran, 19.981); Beach Runaway (German Rodriguez, 20.036); Jess Bringin It On (Cristian Esqueda, 20.075); Heza Fast Kisser (Cristian Aguirre-Erves, 20.183); Nocatchinga Corona (Erik Esqueda, 20.321); WH Imastreakingbeach (Jose Ruiz, 20.334); and Eagle Force 1 (Jose Beltran, 20.367).


Randy Smith will saddle four in the final while Tony Cunningham will saddle three.

Added wagering incentives set for 2021 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

The Indiana Derby, the state’s richest horse race, just got a boost for the 27th running of the event Wednesday, July 7. A special All-Stakes Pick 4 will be featured on the final four races of the card, ending with the Derby in Race 12 sporting a $100,000 guaranteed pool.


“The Indiana Derby is our biggest program of the season and we wanted to do something to enhance the event,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of  Racing at Indiana Grand. “Our Pick 4 has really taken off this season with the reduced takeout of 15 percent, so by adding a guaranteed pool to the wager, it will give bettors added incentive for those final four stakes races on our card.”


In addition to the All-Stakes Pick 4, two other Pick 4 wagers will be offered in Race 1 and again in Race 5. The popular Pick 5, with an industry low takeout of 11.99 percent, begins with Race 8 and goes through the end of the card.


Another wagering scenario may play out for Indiana Derby Night. The track is currently facilitating a carryover of $143,471.91 in the Straight Fire 6 (Jackpot Pick 6). If the wager does not get hit during the Tuesday, July 6 card, then Indiana Grand will offer a mandatory payout on the wager during the Indiana Derby program. The Pick 6 is set to begin in Race 7, which is also the start of six stakes for the night.


Indiana Derby Day will feature numerous activities to complement the racing program, including five $1,000 Megabet Win Wagers on the Indiana Derby, courtesy of the Indiana Thoroughbred Alliance. The twilight card will also feature a $500 Indiana Derby Hat Contest, Cigar Rolling Station, $1,000 Derby Warriors Handicapping Contest, Strolling Entertainment, and a community food booth featuring sno cones and cotton candy with all proceeds going to the Shelbyville High School Girls Basketball program. Free parking and free general admission will be provided for all racing fans with ample seating available on a first come, first serve basis.

Apply for reserved hunts starting July 6

Beginning July 6, hunters can apply for a variety of reserved hunts online by visiting on.IN.gov/reservedhunt.

The online method is the only way to apply for the hunts listed below. No late entries will be accepted. Applicants must possess a hunting license that is valid for the hunt for which they are applying.

Hunters will be selected through a random computerized drawing. Applicants will be able to view draw results online within two weeks after the application period has closed. An email will be sent to all applicants when draws have been completed.

Applications for the following hunting opportunities open July 6. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 9:


  • Dove Hunts: Applicants may select the desired date and property. Due to inclement spring weather, other crops may have been planted in place of or along with sunflowers. Participating properties include Atterbury, Goose Pond, Jasper-Pulaski, Kankakee, Kingsbury, Pigeon River, Glendale, J.E. Roush Lake, Willow Slough, Blue Grass, and Winamac Fish & Wildlife areas (FWAs).
  • FWA Waterfowl Hunts: Participating FWAs include Goose Pond, Hovey Lake, Kankakee, Kingsbury, LaSalle, and Willow Slough. Province Pond Wetland Conservation Area, managed by J.E. Roush Lake FWA, will also participate.
  • FWA Deer Hunts: Participating FWAs include Deer Creek and Fairbanks Landing. 
  • State Park Deer Hunts: State Parks participating include Chain O’Lakes, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial. Trine State Recreation Area and Cave River Valley Natural Area will also participate.  
  • Military and National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Deer Hunts: Properties participating include Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Big Oaks NWR, and Muscatatuck NWR. Muscatatuck NWR will host one reserved firearms deer hunt for youth.
  • Indiana Private Lands Access (IPLA) Hunts: IPLA will offer deer, waterfowl, and game bird hunts. Applications for the deer and waterfowl hunts will be accepted July 6 through Aug. 9. Applications for the game bird hunts will be accepted Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.  Applicants may select the date(s) and location when applying. 
  • Pheasant Hunts: The application period for pheasant hunts will open Aug. 16 and close Sept. 30. Additional information about these hunts will become available at a later date.

Please note that only one application per hunt is allowed. No changes can be made once an application is submitted.

The application process is now consolidated into the license system website along with CheckIN Game and HIP registration. An online account is not required to apply, but a Customer ID number is needed.

In this system, hunts without a registration fee will follow the same process as those with a fee. To register for hunts with no fee required, applicants will be asked to “Add to Cart,” “Proceed to Checkout,” and “Place Order.” If the transaction total is $0, the applicant will not be asked to enter credit card information. Applicants must “Place Order” to finish their application.

To view draw results, applicants can log in to their license system account or click “View hunt draw results” at on.IN.gov/reservedhunt. From there, applicants should select “Click here” under Reserved Hunts to see the status of registered hunts. The link will show only upcoming hunts that an individual has registered for. Logging into their online account is required to see the full history of past hunt registrations.

More information is available at on.IN.gov/reservedhunt.

Several looking to upset in the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby

Juddmonte Farms’ Fulsome is the No. 1 horse in the field of seven 3-year-olds for Wednesday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. That’s both his post in the starting gate and where he stacks up before the 1 1/16-mile stakes.


“Look, this race has an absolute standout in Fulsome, (proven, won four of his last five for trainer Brad Cox and a horse that has accomplished more than anybody else in the field),” said trainer Tom Amoss, who will try to pull the upset with Sermononthemount. “I see the one horse as the horse to beat here.”


Of course, where Cox and jockey Florent Geroux want the 4-5 Indiana Derby favorite to be No. 1 is at the finish. But they have no worries about Fulsome, winner of Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes in his last start, drawing the rail when post positions were set Thursday.


“He can adjust; we’ll be fine,” said Cox, who in his Indiana Derby debut last year teamed with Geroux to win the 1 1/16-mile stakes with Shared Sense.


“I mean, he’s come from off the pace. Sometimes he’s up closer,” Geroux said. “I have no idea where he’s going to be. He’s very versatile. It’s not a big deal for him. We’ll be saving ground around the first turn is all I can tell you.”


Jon Lapczenski and John Kerber’s 5-2 second choice Mr. Wireless, second in the Texas Derby in his last start, will start from the far outside in post 7 under Ramon Vazquez.


“I think that post is fine,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. “Obviously it gives us some options from out there. I wouldn’t have minded being in a little closer to the rail. But the 7 is fine. It’s not a very big field, and it should give us some options into the first turn. He’s got some tactical speed, and he’s raced up close in most of his races. He didn’t get away too sharp last time, was fanned pretty wide and it cost us a little bit.”


Trained by Amoss, Emil Cerullo’s 10-1 Sermononthemount won a Churchill Downs’ $30,000 Prairie Mile Stakes on June 4. He’ll be ridden by James Graham, who was aboard for the Churchill race.


“One of the interesting things about the race is there is a real lack of pace,” Amoss said. “That doesn’t necessarily help my horse. I know we’re taking a shot, but he is an improving horse. I like the idea of there being a little more distance. I think the most interesting thing about the race is the real lack of pace and where everybody is going to be positioned.


“You look at these horses – nobody likes a front-end horse, and somebody is going to be. I think the pace is going to be slow early, and it’s really going to hurt anybody who thinks they’re going to close deeply. I really think that the beginning of this race, and how it unfolds, has a lot of say about the finish,” added Amoss.


Graham said Sermononthemount, “tries his butt off every time, so you have to take a little bit of a shot – and he’s doing good. What if Fulsome has a bad day? And hopefully we have a good day. It’s open. It’s very, very open. Give it a shot and see what happens.”


Trainer Jack Sisterson sounds like he’s got a candidate for the lead in Calumet Farms’ Full Charge, who will be jumping up from a five-length maiden victory at 1 3/16 miles to graded-stakes company. Full Charge, who drew post 6 and is 12-1 in Bill Downes’ morning line, will be ridden by Adam Beschizza, who was aboard for the Will Take Charge colt’s past three starts; a third, then a second and then the big victory.


“With the short field, the draw is perfect,” Sisterson said. “I’ll look and see what sort of speed is in the race and how we approach it tactically. I’ll leave it up to Adam how he wants to ride him. But he seems like a horse that wants to be forwardly placed, and distance isn’t an issue for him. And he’s a 3-year-old that has improved with each start.”


Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Convention won a maiden and allowance race at Sam Houston earlier this year. He ran a competitive fifth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, in the Oaklawn Stakes won by Fulsome, after which he was a well-beaten fifth in the Prairie Mile. Francisco Arrieta, who teamed with Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen to win two races at Ellis Park Thursday, has the mount.


Convention drew post 4 and is 15-1.


“He’s a nice horse that I’ve never gotten the best out of, but has shown glimpses of it,” Asmussen said. “This is an excellent opportunity for him to step up.”


Starrininmydreams, the 6-1 third choice off finishing third in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Stonestreet Lexington, and Indiana Grand maiden winner W W Crazy (30-1) also were entered.

Chipofftheoldblock scores first stakes win in Brickyard Stakes

Chipofftheoldblock is proving that age is a good thing. The four-year-old son of Ready’s Image is now on a three-race win streak and earned his first stakes title in the 25th running of the $75,000 Brickyard Stakes Wednesday at Indiana Grand.


Chipofftheoldblock has soared to new heights this season with two five-plus-length wins coming into the Brickyard Stakes. He was the early morning line favorite and lived up to his status in the six-furlong event.


Starting from the outside post in the 11-horse lineup, Chipofftheoldblock came out of the gate ready to go and found the spot that jockey Marcelino Pedroza hoped for, just off the leaders in third. Mr Manning and Orlando Mojica also left alertly from the outside to challenge Flowerpecker and Sammy Bermudez for the top spot.


Around the final turn, Pedroza tipped Chipofftheoldblock three-wide around the top two and was leading the way at the top of the stretch. The only horse at that point to watch out for was Double Tuff and Jesus Castanon, who began closing ground. However, Chipofftheoldblock continued to stretch out with his big stride, winning the race by one length over Double Tuff. Flowerpecker held for third.


“He’s one of the best Indiana breds I’m riding right now,” said Pedroza. “He didn’t mind the muddy track today, but I still think he’s better on a normal track. We were sitting right off the leaders, and when I moved him, I had a lot of horse. I knew Double Tuff would be closing in, but my horse held on and got the job done.”


Chipofftheoldblock is now 6-for-17 during his career. He pushed his career bankroll over the $229,000 mark with his first stakes win for owner Penny Lauer. Penny and Mike Lauer, the trainer, bred the Indiana-bred gelding from a mare in their operation, Mizzen My Momma by Mizen Mast.


“We raced this horse’s mother (Mizzen My Momma) but I wanted to keep her because I love Mizzen Mast mares,” said Lauer, who is the track’s all-time leading stakes winning trainer. “He is a half brother to Drinkatthecreek (finished fifth in the Checkered Flag Stakes on the same day.)”


Chipofftheoldblock had two wins last season but Lauer stopped with the sophomore in September. During that break, he recovered from a minor injury and was castrated, which has made the difference in the big horse with a big personality.


“He hurt his hind foot last year, so we backed off with him,” said Lauer. “He’s a big growth colt so he just now seems to be coming around. He’s a very charismatic horse, so we keep him with our string at the Training Center. He just shipped up this morning and will head back to Louisville tonight.”


Lauer has 30 at Indiana Grand with an additional 12 stabled at the Training Center. With a majority of Indiana breds in his barn, they mainly race at Indiana Grand each summer.

Ever Wonder wins Checkered Flag Stakes at Indiana Grand

Ever Wonder and Eddie Perez made it a gate-to-wire win in the first running of the $75,000 Checkered Flag Stakes Wednesday at Indiana Grand.


The duo covered the six-furlong sprint in a time of 1:09.25 to set the benchmark for the new stakes race at Indiana Grand.


Starting from post five, Ever Wonder was on top of the field of eight in the first few jumps with open lengths to the field behind her. Serena Beck and Santo Sanjur left the gate from the outside post to get good early positioning and was joined by Hungarian Princess and Sammy Bermudez as they tracked Ever Wonder on the front end.


The remainder of the field was gapping behind the top three in the early stages of the race.


Perez kept the six-year-old mare focused as they made their way around the only turn of the race. In the stretch, the daughter of Jersey Town was strong, remaining at task and drawing away with every stride. She hit the wire eight-and-one-half-lengths ahead of the field for the win, her first of the year and her first career stakes title.


Hungarian Princess finished second over Serena Beck on the sloppy surface.


“We got the lead nice and easy today,” said Perez. “And, she always has a big finish. She tries hard every time. She’s a nice little mare.”


Perez was the first jockey aboard her when she broke her maiden in her very first start at Indiana Grand in 2017. He has guided her to victory in seven of her nine career wins.


Ever Wonder was the favorite of the field, paying $4.20 for the win. She is owned by Mast Thoroughbreds and trained by Robert Gorham and has been with the stable her entire career.


“We bought her as a weanling,” said Gorham. “It’s actually a funny story. We were two barns over and Henry Mast, my longtime partner, said ‘that’s that Indiana filly” going through the sale. I told him we’ll just tip our hand and buy her, so we bought her sight unseen.”


Ever Wonder increased her career bankroll to more than $269,000. The Indiana bred was purchased as a weanling for $5,000 from breeder Dawn Martin.


“She trains lightly,” added Gorham. “She’s a three-quarter horse, so we always train her between five-and-a-half and three-quarters, and they just try to find the right spots for her. She is a mature mare running against some three-year-olds today, so that helped. But she always tries. She tries right down to when she gets tired.”