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Shelbyville High School announces All-Sport Passes and ticket information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HF Whoopi wins Gordon Mobley Futurity at Horseshoe Indianapolis

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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


Extermynator wins Heartland Futurity at Horseshoe Indianapolis

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

High Rolling Seize rolls to victory in Blue River Derby

Like father, like son.

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Piloted by an Angel soars to Jaguar Rocket Futurity win

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Graham said her recent visit to the campus convinced her.

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 


Keith Nations Stable named Barn Crew of the Month

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

Wiener Dog Racing postponed at Horseshoe Indianapolis

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Two-Year-Old Filly Pace

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

 

Two-Year-Old Colt Pace

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

 

Two-Year-Old Filly Trot

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

 

Two-Year-Old Colt Trot

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

 

Three-Year-Old Filly Pace

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

 

Three-Year-Old Colt Pace

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

 

Three-Year-Old Filly Trot

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

 

Three-Year-Old Colt Trot

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

 

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

 

Quest for the Governor’s Cup Locations and Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 12: Portland, Ind. - August 6

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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


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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Shelbyville High School's new sports performance center nearly complete

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Creative Credit scores first stakes win in Clarksville Stakes

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

WRs Valentino repeats in Bradford Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Quest for the Governor’s Cup Locations and Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 12: Portland, Ind. - August 6

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

 

Interstatedaydream captures win in Indiana Oaks at Horseshoe Indianapolis

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Actuator can justify O'Connor's faith in $2,200 yearling in Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Gavin O’Connor, then working with the young Thoroughbreds at WinStar Farm, just had a feeling about a bay son of 2012 Kentucky Derby runner-up Bodemeister. He decided that after spending years working to identify diamonds in the rough for his bosses’ clients, maybe it was time he took a gamble on such a horse for himself.

 

That horse is Actuator, the 7-2 second choice in Saturday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The 5-2 favorite is Rattle N Roll, a Grade 1 winner last year who in his last start won Churchill Downs’ off-the-turf American Derby a week ago.

 

The 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby will be Actuator’s first start for Jake Ballis’ Black Type Thoroughbreds, which bought 75-percent interest after Actuator’s 7 1/4-length maiden victory June 8 at Churchill Downs off an eight-month layoff. It was a “wow” performance, made more jaw-dropping by Actuator’s original purchase price: $2,200 by O’Connor and his partners.

 

“We did the weaning process at WinStar, and I got a bunch of babies into my barn. Actuator was one of them,” said O’Connor, a sixth-generation horseman from Ireland who now manages Grantley Acres farm. “There was something about Actuator that really caught my eye from the get-go. I followed him along and he just kept popping out at me time and time again. I felt I had to do something about this, because I loved the horse so much. I was tired of being the person who had made multiple calls before on really good horses, and I wanted to have the opportunity to put my name to a good horse that I believed in.”

 

When WinStar put the year-old youngster in Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s 2020 winter mixed sale, O’Connor called up his friend Rick Howard, saying, “Look, Rick. I think we’ve got something special here. I’m not sure what we’ll have to pay for him.”

 

Howard allocated $20,000 to try to buy the colt. O’Connor couldn’t make it to the sale and got another friend, Margaux Farm’s farm trainer Dermot Littlefield, to bid. It proved short work: for the bargain-basement price of $2,200, the partnership of Howard, Joe Ragsdale’s Rags Racing and O’Connor had the colt O’Connor so loved.

 

“Gavin had the inside scoop,” Howard said. “He always thought the horse was something special. He was out there talking to him every day when (Actuator) was at the farm. This is his baby… He just blossomed from a gangling 2-year-old into a beautiful, strapping 3-year-old.”

 

Out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Rocket, Actuator’s name is the result of a Google search by Littlefield’s wife, Danielle, for words interfacing with rocket. An actuator is one of the components that makes a rocket work. 

 

With a pair of thirds on grass in Indiana last year, Actuator made the rocket analogy salient in his first start for trainer Michael McCarthy a month ago.

 

“I’d say half of Louisville heard me roaring,” O’Connor said of watching the race with McCarthy’s Churchill Downs assistant, Justin Curran. “It was an emotional rollercoaster, unbelievable.”

 

Chris Pipito, watching the race on television from Lexington, also thought it was unbelievable. He immediately called Ballis, the former University of Houston basketball player now in horse racing full-time, including his Black Type Thoroughbreds.

 

“I was sitting at home at my desk working,” Ballis recalled. “I had the races on, but I wasn’t paying attention. My buddy Chris Pipito, who is a jockey agent, he’s very sharp and knows every horse in the country. He called me and said, ‘Hey, did you just see this horse McCarthy ran?’ I went back and watched the replay immediately. 

 

“We have a 2-year-old with Michael, and I’ve had a relationship with him for a long time, going back to when he worked for Todd Pletcher. I sent him a text congratulating him and said, ‘Hey, do you think something can get done with this horse?’ He said he’d let the owners know, and I made him an offer the night of the race. The deal was done within 24-36 hours.” 

 

While undisclosed, the purchase price was well over a hundred times what the original owners paid in February 2020.

 

“They hit a home run,” Ballis said. “They did a heck of a job purchasing the horse. He’s a big, beautiful horse. When people buy privately, the first thing they do is go back to see what somebody paid. They think they can put a valuation on a horse that way. I don’t, because the market two years ago, three years ago is different than it is today. Just because somebody paid $2,000, $5,000, to me it doesn’t reflect what their value is today. It’s the same as if they paid $500,000. The market changes, and the way he performed, to me demanded a substantial increase in what they paid.

 

“Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round, and he is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time. Same thing with Michael Jordan. He got cut from his freshmen team when he was 15 years old, and he ends up being the greatest basketball player of all time. There are so many horses people miss, they don’t like. This and that problem. I don’t know if he had any problems as a yearling. But he didn’t have any when we purchased him. I feel very, very lucky to buy the horse.”

 

If Black Type had to dig deep in its pockets, consider that Ballis’ partnership didn’t have to weed through a lot of slower horses to get to him.

 

“Our program is geared toward stakes races,” he said. “When you buy the 2-year-olds and yearlings, you don’t know how they’re going to be. But when you buy off the track, yeah, we think this horse is a Saturday horse. And our partners, that’s what they want. And you don’t have to wait very long to get the partners action. So there’s a value in buying privately, where you only have to wait three, four, five weeks to run.

 

“This has been so much, even though we haven’t run in a race yet.”

Texas Derby winner King Ottoman looking for starring role in Indiana Derby

King Ottoman went from being a footnote to the headline when he captured Lone Star Park’s $300,000 Texas Derby on Memorial Day. Now Three Chimney Farms’ 3-year-old colt can take another step toward building his own resume in Saturday’s $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

King Ottoman (photo), to be ridden by meet-leading jockey Marcelino Pedroza, is the 5-1 fourth choice in the field of 10 horses entered in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby. First post is 12:20 p.m. with the Indiana Derby set for 6:40 p.m. as the last of 12 races.

“He’s obviously a very talented horse,” said King Ottoman’s Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. “We always thought very highly of him, and were surprised in the races he got beat in. So it was great to see him put it all together in a race that meant so much to me (living in nearby Arlington).

“The Indiana Derby is a good opportunity. It’s a graded stakes, and we want that in his resume – and expect him to run even better than he did in the Texas Derby. We expect him to finish off his 3-year-old season well but be even better as an older horse.”

King Ottoman has been best known as the workmate for 2-year-old filly champion Echo Zulu in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Oaks. The role of work partner of a top horse often is as unglamorous as it is important, while decidedly short of fame. The workmate must challenge its stablemate to ensure the better-known horse gets enough out of the workouts. At the same time, the workmate must also be of stout mind to handle the competition.

“He’s also a product of my parents’ training center,” said Asmussen, referencing Keith and Marilyn Asmussen’s El Primero training facility outside of Laredo, Texas, where many of the trainer’s horses get their early lessons on being a racehorse. “He handles (things) extremely well, and he obviously has a good level of ability. He’s had a temperament that you were very comfortable with having him be around her – and having enough ability that she’d get something out of the works with him. But I think it’s his time to come into his own.”

 

 

King Ottoman certainly is familiar with big race days, just not the featured attraction but rather maiden races. He finished fourth in his first two starts, which came on the undercards for the Grade 2 Risen Star in New Orleans and the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. He subsequently ran third in the maiden race that kicked off the Kentucky Derby program.

The performance was good enough that Asmussen jumped King Ottoman into stakes company. King Ottoman repaid the confidence by wearing down the leaders late to take the Texas Derby by a head under meet-leading rider Stewart Elliott.

“It was a quickly run maiden race and it was a one-turn mile,” Asmussen said of the Derby Day race. “I think he’s better suited for farther. But it was a good time, quite a bit of traffic with a full field. With the timing of it, we felt he had gotten enough out of the race to take the chance in the Texas Derby – and proved right.”

Asmussen is well familiar with King Ottoman’s sterling pedigree, having trained both his mom and pop. The colt is a son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and out of Tapit mare Shook Up, who finished second in the 2015 Kentucky Oaks.

“Huge pedigree,” he said. “A son of Curlin, very big-bodied horse, obviously getting considerably better with his races. Definitely don’t believe we’ve seen the best of him yet.”

Pedroza will be aboard King Ottoman for the first time.

“When you have a horse trained by Steve Asmussen, he’s just won the Texas Derby and he’s in great form right now. He’s probably going to be one of the favorites,” Pedroza said. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to ride the horse, and let’s see. Hopefully the home team can get it done.”

Pedroza is working on his fourth Indiana riding title, all since 2017. He’d love nothing more than to be able to add the track’s biggest race to his record.

“That would be great,” he said. “You always want to win. This is where I’m riding the most right now. It would mean a lot to win an Indiana Derby. I’m just fortunate to be in it. If you get the job done, even better.”

The Indiana Derby field (with jockey/trainer and morning line odds in post position order): Trademark (Rafael Bejarano/Victoria Oliver, 15-1), First Glimpse (Orlando Mojica/Carlos Silva, 20-1), Mowins (Jon Court/Michael Lauer, 15-1), King Ottoman (Marcelino Pedroza/Steve Asmussen, 5-1), New Year’s Fever (Rodney Prescott/Brandi Steele, 20-1), Rattle N Roll (Brian Hernandez Jr./Kenny McPeek, 5-2), Best Actor (Florent Geroux/Brad Cox, 4-1), Actuator (James Graham/Michael McCarthy, 7-2), Un Ojo (David Cohen/Robertino Diodoro, 6-1), Fowler Blue (Sonny Leon/Doug O’Neill, 8-1).

Cox hopes to continue winning streak during Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

As the two-time reigning Eclipse Award champion trainer, Brad Cox wins a lot of races at a lot of places. That includes Indiana Derby Day at Horseshoe Indianapolis, where the Louisville product keeps a sizable division much of the year.

Cox has won at least one of the six open stakes that headline Indiana’s most important race card each of the past five years. That includes two stakes apiece in 2019-2021 and three in 2018 after starting his streak with a sole victory in 2017.

The 43-year-old trainer hopes to keep his Indiana Derby Day mojo going Saturday with 2-for-2 Best Actor (photo) in the $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby and the duo of favored Interstatedaydream and Patna in the $200,000 Grade 3 Indiana Oaks.

Cox swept both graded stakes in 2020 with Shared Sense taking the Indiana Derby and Shedaresthedevil the Indiana Oaks. In that surreal racing season that emerged amid COVID, Shedaresthedevil captured the delayed Kentucky Oaks in her next start, defeating champions Swiss Skydiver and Gamine in the process.

“It would be nice to sweep them again,” Cox said recently at Churchill Downs, adding with a laugh, “that’s the goal. But we feel we’ve got a good shot in both races. It’s been a big day where we normally can be effective. We’re not maybe as spread about as we normally are, trying to have a runner in every stakes. But we’re going to be active in the graded stakes.”

Seven of those 10 winners during Cox’s Indiana Derby Day surge have been ridden by Florent Geroux, including the sweep with Shared Sense and Shedaresthedevil.

“It’s very simple,” Geroux, who will ride Gary and Mary West’s Best Actor and Flurry Racing’s Interstatedaydream for Cox, said of their success on Indiana Derby Day. “Those horses are extremely well-spotted. Most of the time they are the heavy favorite or one of the top choices. It makes my job a lot easier.”

 

 

Best Actor captured his debut at Oaklawn Park at 1 1/16 miles, then took an off-the-turf, one-turn mile allowance race at Churchill. He’s the 4-1 third choice in the field of 10 behind 5-2 favorite Rattle N Roll (who won last Saturday’s off-the-turf American Derby at Churchill Downs) and 7-2 Actuator, a “buzz” horse since romping in a very fast run maiden race.

“It is back a little quick, back in four weeks off a big run,” Cox said of Best Actor’s four-length victory on June 12. “But he did bounce out of it in good order and had two works since. He looked great this morning.

“… He took a little while to come around, but he really showed us a lot  in his first run at Oaklawn going long first time, showed the ability to stay on. Brought him here to Churchill. It took us a little while to find the right race for him, the off the turf race he performed really well going a one-turn mile. He was up close to a very hot pace, finished up well. I truly believe he’s a two-turn horse, based on pedigree, physically and how he trains. So back around two turns I think will only be a benefit. We’re hoping the best is yet to come. I feel like it is. This will be a great opportunity for him to step in deeper water and hopefully perform well.”

Geroux wasn’t aboard for Best Actor’s races, but he has worked him in the morning.

“He always seemed to be a nice horse,” he said. “Rattle N Roll will be the favorite, he ran last week – beat me in the American Derby (with Geroux second on Kuchar). He won a nice race, and they say he’s come back well. But he’s coming back in one week, so that’s a question mark.

“I also like the horse of Michael McCarthy’s (Actuator). He won very easily last time, very impressive. It’s only his second race this year. Same as my horse, there’s a lack of experience.”

Interstatedaydream is the 9-5 favorite in the Indiana Oaks’ field of eight 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Classic Empire has won three of five starts, most recently Pimlico’s Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan, with her defeats a second in Saratoga’s Grade 2 Adirondack last year behind the multiple stakes winner Wicked Halo and a third in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland Stakes won by Kentucky Oaks and Belmont Stakes runner-up Nest.

“She’s a nice filly obviously,” Cox said. “She showed a lot off the layoff this winter, ran a good race in the Ashland. I thought we did the right thing in not pressing forward to the Kentucky Oaks and letting her come around. It was six weeks to the Black Eyed Susan, which I think came up a really, really good race. She was up close, did a lot of the running, stayed on well, came out of it in good order.

“We thought this would be a race where we wouldn’t have to ship her a long way, and hopefully add another graded stakes to her resume. She’s a good filly, and hopefully this is the next step toward bigger and better things down the road.”

Juddmonte Farms’ Patna makes her first start around two turns in the Indiana Oaks. With Geroux riding Interstatedaydream, Horseshoe Indianapolis meet-leader Marcelino Pedroza picks up the mount.

“I kind of thought she might be a two-turn horse,” Cox said. “This is a great opportunity to give her a chance. I’ve very happy with the way she’s been training. She’s a Juddmonte filly; they all have pedigrees. So obviously placing would be huge for her and her family.”

McPeek gives nod for Rattle N Roll to run in the Indiana Derby

Trainer Ken McPeek’s plan all along for Lucky Seven Stable’s 3-year-old colt Rattle N Roll was to run in either Saturday’s $300,000 Grade 3 Indiana Derby or the $250,000 Iowa Derby. He just had an unscheduled stop in between.

Rattle N Roll, the winner of Keeneland’s Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity last fall, comes into the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis off a two-length victory in the $200,000 American Derby at Churchill Downs just last Saturday.

After the American Derby, McPeek raised the possibility of running back in the Indiana Derby or the Iowa Derby, whose field had been drawn that morning. While he wanted to see how Rattle N Roll bounced out of the race, McPeek on Wednesday declared it all systems go to run in the Indiana Derby, for which Rattle N Roll is the 5-2 favorite in the field of 10.

Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount.

“He’s going to Indiana,” McPeek said.

 

 

As a turf race, McPeek had no interest in the American Derby for Rattle N Roll. But, the afternoon before entries were taken, Churchill Downs announced its July 2 grass stakes would be run on dirt in order to give its new turf course’s root system more time to mature.

Mike Mackin, who heads his family’s Lucky Seven Stable, heard the news and wasted no time calling McPeek.

“Kenny was planning on breezing him Saturday,” Mackin said. “I said, ‘Look, what if we just run him on Saturday? It’s here. He likes the track. If he’s ready, since they’re off the turf, why not?’”

Echoed McPeek: “We didn’t breeze him last weekend. We chose to run him instead of work him. We weren’t intending on running in the American Derby because it was a turf race. When it came off, Mike Mackin suggested slipping him in there. We’re basically using the American Derby as a workout for Indiana.

“It looks like it’s another good spot for him. We want to keep him in the Midwest. I realize it’s unconventional, but I’ve always been looked at as unconventional so I’m OK with that.”

Even has he prepared to run Rattle N Roll in the American Derby, McPeek was thinking ahead to this Saturday. He entered him in the Iowa Derby last Saturday morning before running that afternoon.

“We wanted to see how it unfolded out there and wanted to see what the Indiana and Iowa races looked like,” he said. “This is an easier ship, especially in this heat.”

McPeek noted that he won Churchill Downs’ 1 1/2-mile Louisville Handicap with Vettori Kin six days after the Brazilian-bred horse finished third in an allowance race.

“Woody Stephens won the Belmont back on five days,” he said, referencing the late Hall of Fame trainer winning the 1982 Belmont Stakes with Conquistador Cielo five days after taking the Metropolitan Mile. “In other eras, it was no big deal. It seems like everyone wants to put four to six weeks in between races now. When horses are doing well, I’ve never been scared to run ‘em. And he’s doing exceptionally well. I’ve always been one where I’d rather run them than work them.”

McPeek said a big consideration was “after he raced, how quickly he ate up. He knocked it out that night. He’s been killing the feed tub. I think that’s the ultimate sign how well a horse is doing, how well they’re eating. The faster they eat, the faster they run.”

Rattle N Roll started off his 3-year-old season with a pair of sixth-place finishes sandwiched around a fourth in three major Kentucky Derby preps. He was entered in the Kentucky Derby but did not draw in the race, which was famously won by another late-running “also-eligible” who got in at the last minute in 80-1 Rich Strike. In his three starts since, Rattle N Roll finished second in a tough allowance race and third in Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Matt Winn before taking the American Derby as the favorite.

“It was good to finally see him run well,” Mackin said. “Not that he hadn’t run well in the others. It’s just the races didn’t set up all that well for him.

“… It was a good race Saturday. But he’s eating up and bounced back and doing well. It’s a short van ride, so we’re taking a shot. When Rattle N Roll won the Breeders’ Futurity, he had broken his maiden just two weeks earlier. He’s shown he can bounce out of a race well and run on a short time in between races. There really aren’t a whole lot of options for him until mid-August or so.”

McPeek also is wheeling back the duo of Runaway Wife and Silverleaf in just over a week each in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Oaks. Runaway Wife comes back eight days after finishing a close second in a Churchill allowance race while Silverleaf resumes racing nine days after rolling to a nine-length maiden victory.

FTA baseball crowns summer champions

Future Tiger Athletics recently crowned its summer baseball regular season and tournament champions in Fairland.

The Cubs (main photo) captured both regular season and postseason championships in the 6- to 8-year-old division, which includes kid pitch and coach pitch.

The division had four teams – Cubs, Reds, Orioles and Yankees. The Reds were crowned runners-up in the division.

Representing the Cubs in the photo were (front row, from left): Jamison Landis, Rodger Gonzalez Siegel, Mason Blair and Hayden Davis; (second row, from left) Oakley Turner, Darren Leavelle, Jacoby Baldwin, Gavin Ploog and Josiah Mapes; (third row, from left) coaches Dave Ploog, Dutch Jennings, Bob Mathews and Pat Mapes.

In the 3- to 5-year-old division, the Mets were crowned regular season champions. There were six teams in the division – Mets, Braves, Rockies, Royals, Pirates and Red Sox.

 

 

The Mets (photo above) are (front row, from left): James Mohr, Joseph Mohr, Quinnyn Skipton, Anderson Brown, Max Martin, Kyelyn Skipton and McKenna Smith; (back row, from left) coaches Andrea Mohr, Ben Mohr and Kris Skipton. Not pictured is Myla Martin.

 

 

The Red Sox won the postseason tournament title.

The Red Sox (photo above) are (front row, from left): Natalie Emsweller, Sophia Barnhill, Wyatt Perfield, Zander Mapes, Nash Sutherland, Hunter Bangel and Evalynn Robinson; (back row) coach Doug Sutherland. Not pictured are Mara Ruby Lockett and coach Zach Lockett.

Career win No. 6,000 moved DeShawn Parker into elite group of jockeys

Growing up following his father working at horse tracks in Ohio, DeShawn Parker was told he would be too tall to be a jockey.

That was over 6,000 wins ago.

On June 21 aboard For Mama, Parker captured career win No. 6,000 at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville to join an esteemed list. The Ohio native became the 21st jockey to reach 6,000 career victories.

“It is crazy. It’s a crazy number,” admitted Parker. “To be honest with you, it hasn’t even sunk in yet. I never really kept up with my numbers but once you hear it a couple of times, it’s ‘Wow.’”

Russell Baze has nearly 13,000 career victories to lead all jockeys but after that, the list includes such greats as Laffit Pincay Jr., William Shoemaker, Pat Day, Chris McCarron and Angel Cordero Jr.

“Those are crazy names. That’s an honor,” said Parker.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Parker spent his youth tracking his father’s footsteps from track to track.

One day Daryl Parker was working as an outrider at Latonia Race Track just south of Cincinnati and let his son take his mount and ride with another horse back to the barn.

“That was a thrill,” said DeShawn. “I made them run the whole way back.”

 

 

Parker literally grew up in the industry as a hot walker, groom and exercise rider before becoming a jockey. He was 16 years old when he loaded his first mount into the starting gate.

“I rode two that day actually,” he recalled. “I didn’t do any good but it was a thrill. I wasn’t even trying to be a rider at the time. I wanted to ride and get that out of my system because I thought I was going to be too tall. I was going to ride the first couple of races and that would be it.

“Then I rode my first two, I was named on a couple more after that so I started to like it.”

His tender age meant he had to put his career on hold once school went back in session. There was no getting around that according to his father.

“I had to stop riding to go back to school. My dad told me the main thing was get my high school diploma,” said Parker. “So I went back to school for that year.”

With the help of a teacher, Parker barely set foot in a classroom his senior year.

“I got lucky and had a teacher that was a race track fan, he went to the track all the time,” he said. “He ended up helping me out. He got my school work and worked it out with all the teachers to where I could miss school and he would collect all my work. The principal didn’t even know. The only time I was ever at school was when I took my exams.”

Parker cleared one hurdle to get more saddle time but there was another hampering his family. Daryl Parker was now a steward, an official for racing.

“At the time, he was steward so he had to basically step out of the box every time I rode a race,” explained Parker. “When I got to riding more horses, I had to leave … it was either me riding horses and he not have a job. So I ended up going to West Virginia.”

The typical teenager was in school all day. Parker, with schoolwork in tow, was racing across the state line in West Virginia.

“When I got to West Virginia, I really started picking up more mounts and winning more and more,” he said. “I got to ride for the leading trainer in the nation for awhile and win a lot of races. I ended up doing so good in West Virginia it was crazy. A couple of years I was the leading rider in the nation.”

Parker’s agent eventually started lobbying for him to come to Shelbyville.

“I was doing so good in West Virginia, but the money started getting less and less so finally I did,” said Parker. “I had to leave home; it was so convenient (in West Virginia). I am thankful I did come here. The racing is good and the money is good here. I love the people here.”

Parker earned career win No. 5,000 at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia in 2016 before moving his racing career to central Indiana in 2017. Three years later, he captured the leading rider title.

Reaching 6,000 career wins was inevitable this season but a dry spell but the quest on hold.

“It seemed like it took forever to get there,” he said. “Normally, I can win two or three races a week. The last two weeks I couldn’t win a race. I had a bunch of seconds and they were running well, I just couldn’t win a race.”

On June 21, Parker raced across the finish line with Wicket Intent in the third race of the card for win No. 5,999, and he had a strong horse still waiting for him.

For Mama started in heavy traffic and could not shake loose. Parker kept the three-year-old gelding behind the leaders waiting for an opening.

 

 

“I knew I had a good shot but the only thing is when I turned for home I had nowhere to go,” he said. “Finally, a little hole opened and she bust through there and I knew I got the race. But then I looked over my shoulder and saw another horse coming. I wasn’t really sure she hung on, but when I heard (track announcer John Dooley) say I got it, the pressure just fell off my shoulders … the relief.”

Parker rode For Mama over to the winner’s circle to celebrate the milestone victory that was bittersweet without his father.

Daryl Parker died from cancer in the spring of 2021.

“In the winner’s circle, I got a little teary-eyed. I always want my dad to be here,” he said. “I wish he was here. It was a thrill to get it over. Now I can say I’m there and I don’t have to worry about it.”

 

 

Parker sees no need to slow down now but the next phase of his life is clear to him.

“To tell you the truth, I will keep riding as long as I’m winning,” he said. “After I decide to stop riding, I want to be a steward like my dad. Whenever I feel like I have had enough, that’s my plans.”

Piloted by an Angel flies atop Jaguar Rocket Futurity Trials

Three trials were contested to determine the final field for the $100,000 Jaguar Rocket Futurity final Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

It was Piloted by an Angel who flew to the top of the leaderboard among 30 starters as the fastest qualifier in 15.506 seconds.

The Jaguar Rocket Futurity will be one of four Quarter Horse Stakes finals on the July 23 racing card featuring more than a half million in stakes purses.

Piloted by an Angel and Juan Marquez were able to get an early lead in the 300-yard dash and fought their way to the wire for the win, one length ahead of R Sweet Maggie May and German Rodriguez to give Indiana’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer Randy Smith a one-two finish. Jess A Lil Bit Hero and Cristian Aguirre-Erives finished third.

Piloted by an Angel is now two for two in her young racing career. The daughter of Paint You Pilot is owned by Smith’s wife, Debbie, and is moving in the right direction for the Smith barn.

“She started out pretty tough,” admitted Smith. “But she seems to have gotten her mind focused now.”

 

 

The Smith Stable also has the second quickest qualifier on the day as Our Louisiana Girl scored a win for Marquez and Smith. The freshman sorrel filly was out of the gate like a rocket to catch the top spot early and was well under wraps by Marquez under the wire in a time of 15.621. CV Struttinforakiss and Edgar Diaz finished second over GV Diamante and Giovani Vazquez-Gomez for third.

Out Louisiana Girl also is two for two in her career. Owned by Debbie Smith and bred by Gordon Timm, the daughter of Duponte brings in a second generation of winners for Smith, who also trained her mother, My Louisiana Rod, to four stakes wins and more than $220,000 in career earnings.

“They are a whole lot alike, which is a good thing because this daddy can make them pretty tough,” said Smith in the comparison of My Louisiana Rod with her daughter Our Louisiana Girl. “We’ve had a tough time getting foals from that mare. This is the only one we have so far, and she didn’t get back in foal again this year.”

The final trial winner for the Jaguar Rocket Futurity was Dashtraxx, who dashed to the wire late to score the win by a nose over Flashin Five Bar and Juan Marquez. Ridden by Rolando Pina, the Valiant hero son earned his first career win after finishing second in his racing debut during the first all-Quarter Horse racing day. The gelding is owned by Steve Mullins and trained by Tim Eggelston, who had two qualifiers earlier in the day in the Mobley Futurity Trials.

“From day one, I’ve told the owners he was going to go on when he gets older and be a good one,” said Eggleston of Dashtraxx closing kick. “He’s a really nice horse and I’m glad to have him in the barn for Steve (Mullins), who brought this mare at Heritage Place and foaled her out in Indiana.”

Mullins, a native of Clinton, Tennessee, has been associated with horses and racing all his life. After taking a break a few years ago, he’s now back in the business with a good prospect for Indiana.

“He (Dashtraxx) ran ‘em down in his first start to finish second and he did the same thing today to get the win,” said Mullins. “We bred the mare back and have a half sister to this horse coming up and she’s back in foal, so we’ll have another one next year.”

Royal Sin top qualifier in Mobley Futurity Trials at Horseshoe Indianapolis

A full slate of 16 trials kicked off the second All-Quarter Horse racing day at Horseshoe Indianapolis with six divisions of the Gordon Mobley Futurity run to determine the top 10 finalists.

Out of 57 starters, Royal Sin (photo) was the top qualifier in a time of 15.473 seconds to lead the way into the $150,000 Mobley Futurity final set for July 23.

Over a rain-soaked track from storms the night before, Royal Sin, guided by Juan Marquez, got out of the gate quickly and led the entire 300-yard dash for the comfortable win by two and one-half lengths ahead of VRs Powerful Beach and Erik Esqueda. Packin Billy and L.D. Martinez finished third.

Royal Sin is now two for two in his young career. The son of My Royal Wagon is a homebred for owner Brian Gunder, who also campaigned his mother, Euro Blazin, in the Indiana stakes circuit. Randy Smith, Indiana’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer, conditions Royal Sin.

 

 

The second fastest qualifier was in the final trial for the Mobley Futurity as AJK Forgiven and Jose Beltran came charging hard at the end to score the win in 15.489. Dirty Wagon and Marquez finished second over HF Stone Sober and Esqueda, who moved up for third.

After missing the win by a nose in both of his previous starts, AJK Forgiven broke his maiden for trainer Sacramento Chavez and owner Jose Chavez, who also bred the Mo Zoomo filly.

Other trial winners on the day were Secret Horn, HF Whoopi, Jess Tempted and Seize Greatness.

Secret Horn was a winner for jockey Rolando Pina and trainer Tim Eggleston in 15.584. HF Whoopi was a winner for jockey Edgar Diaz and trainer Jessi Vazquez in 15.622. Jess Tempted and Shanley Jackson won for trainer Ron Raper in 15.890 while Seize Greatness, also ridden by Jackson for trainer Matt Frazier, won in 15.818.

Seize Greatness made his first trip to the winner’s circle for his connections and was the final qualifier heading to the final. The colt also broke his maiden in the trial and brings pretty impressive credentials into the Mobley final. He is by Seize the Win, who was campaigned during his racing career by Frazier and breeder-owner Glenn Graff to multiple stakes wins and earnings of nearly $400,000 before stepping into the breeding shed.

“They have all got the best mindset, just like their dad (Seize the Win),” said Frazier. “He (Seize Greatness) is still intact because the clients (Graffs) own his father and he’s such an easy horse to be around. It was the same way with his dad. The first time the colt raced he was looking and wandering around, but he seems to have figured it out today. He has a lot to learn, but we think he may be even better than his full brother (High Rolling Seize). He’s definitely quicker out of the latch.”

Rolling Seize was Indiana’s two-year-old Colt/Gelding champion from 2021. Jockey Shanley Jackson also rode High Rolling Seize last year as well as sire, Seize the Win, for Frazier and Graff.

WRS Hava Dasher quickest in Heartland Futurity Trials

It took the last of seven trials in the Heartland Futurity to determine the top performer Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

WRS Hava Dasher (photo), hailing from Williams Racing Stable, turned in the fastest time of 15.492 seconds to lead the way into the $75,000 final slated for July 23.

Guided by Juan Marquez, who had six winners on the day during the 16-race program, WRS Hava Dasher dove out early for the lead and held her own through the 300-yard dash before easily stopping the timer in 15.492, one and three-quarter lengths ahead of second-place finisher The Political Sign and Cristian Aguirre-Erives. RC Soldier and Giovani Vazquez Gomez finished third.

It was the second career start for WRS Hava Dasher, who broke her maiden in the trial. The homebred daughter of Apollitical Blood is a half brother to Indiana standouts WRs Valentino, a four-time stakes winner including this year’s Horseshoe Indianapolis Overnight Stakes.

 

 

The win also was the final of seven wins on the card for trainer Randy Smith, equaling his own record for most wins by a trainer in one day. Two-year-olds from the Smith barn won four trials in the Heartland Futurity. Others winners from the barn were Jupyter, ridden by German Rodriguez, Extermynator, ridden by Marquez, and You Fly Baby Fly and Marquez.

Extermynator was the second quickest among the finalists for the Heartland Futurity while You Fly Baby Fly was the third fastest to advance.

A newcomer to the Indiana scene was a winner in one of the Heartland Futurity Trials as Southern Seis and Jose Beltran turned in an impressive performance for the win in 15.525. The sorrel daughter of Tres Seis was a $30,000 purchase by trainer Blas Juarez and his daughter Zareth. She had four previous starts at Remington before shipping up to win her second career race in the Heartland Futurity.

“As soon as we purchased her (Southern Seis), I knew right away she was special,” said Blas Juarez, who is based out of Fairmount Park in East St. Louis. “My daughter owns her, and our intentions have always been to bring her here for the stakes.”

Other trial winners included Maysa and Rolando Pina in 15.543. The Coronado Cartel filly is trained by Tim Eggleston. The other trial winner was Hes Legendary out of the Ron Raper barn. Shanley Jackson guided the Hes Relentless gelding to a win in 15.562.

Hungarian Princess rules in Checkered Flag Stakes

Hungarian Princess and Sammy Bermudez rallied home to their second straight stakes victory Wednesday in the 26th running of the $100,000 Checkered Flag Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville. The duo was unstoppable, winning by more than four lengths for the title.

Hungarian Princess drew an inside post and broke from post two in the eight-horse lineup. Bermudez had her focused early on and was able to get into position down the backstretch in second, following early race leader Everyotherwon and Marcelino Pedroza Jr.

Around the turn, Hungarian Princess began to make her move and took control of the race. She was well in hand heading into the stretch and was under a hand ride to the wire for the win in 1:11.0. Chandana and Rodney Prescott finished second over Wellington Wonder and Joe Ramos, who closed well for third.

Hungarian Princess paid $6 as the second favorite of the field. She is now two for two this year and is trained by Marvin Johnson for Tiffany Johnson and Nicholas Goings’ Swifty Farms Inc. The four-year-old Pataky Kid filly is now nine for 16 lifetime with earnings of more than $443,000.

 

 

Bermudez has been aboard for every one of her starts and has now guided her to five career stakes wins.

“She’s older and more mature, but she still has the same running style,” said Bermudez. “When she has a horse in front of her, she pins her ears and goes after them. That is her way of taking on the challenge. Once she gets on the lead then she will relax a little.”
Bermudez and Johnson talked before the race about the early speed and Johnson noted Bermudez followed the plans perfectly.

“I hated our post position we drew, but Sammy was able to maneuver her outside and not get caught in behind horses early on,” said Johnson. “He rode a super race. She is a very nice filly and super to be around. She does everything we ask of her. I’m very privileged to have her.”

Johnson had two in the race. He also trains third-place finisher Wellington Wonder, who was a longshot in the race.

“I was very pleased with the way she ran too,” added Johnson. “A couple more jumps and she was getting to the second place horse in there.”

Everyone heard Nobody Listens in Brickyard Stakes

Nobody Listens had everyone’s attention Wednesday in the 26th running of the $100,000 Brickyard Stakes at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

The flashy grey gelding, ridden by Joe Ramos, used a power move early and was on his way to his first career stakes win.

The outside post 11 didn’t deter Nobody Listens (photo) a bit. The four-year-old gelding rallied out of the gate on top from the extreme outside and had plenty of room to cross over to the lead. Trained by Marvin Johnson, the gelding kept up his momentum around the turn and in the stretch with nobody closing in. Nobody Listens hit another gear and pulled away from the field for the win by six lengths in 1:10.03.

Flowerpecker and Emmanuel Esquivel finished second over Meetmeinkingston and Romero Maragh for third.

 

 

Nobody Listens was the second choice on the board, paying $6 to win. He is owned by local residents Matt Kwiatkowski, Jason Kaylor and Roger Browning. Kwiatkowski and Browning have owned him since he began his racing career. It was the second stakes win this year for the Kaylor, Kwiatkowski and Browning partnership. Earlier this season, they connected with Too Bad Justice in the Sagamore Sired Stakes, also trained by Johnson and ridden by Ramos, who has been aboard Nobody Listens in 13 of his 14 career starts.

“It was a good post for us,” said Ramos. “We took the blinkers off a couple starts ago and it’s made a big difference. With the blinkers on he was confused about when to run. He came out of the gate well and when we were in the stretch, I checked where they (other horses) were, and I asked him. He took off just like he did out of the gate. He’s got a lot of speed and he can run all day. I want to thank the owners and Marvin (Johnson) for letting me ride him. Plus, my mom (Glory) was here today from Puerto Rico. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Nobody Listens increased his career bankroll to more than $282,000. He is now two for four with two second place finishes in 2022. He has only finished off the board twice in his career.

Good Time Stoli earns top spot in Blue River Derby trials

Good Time Stoli was celebrated Thursday as the top qualifier in the Blue River Derby Trials at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville. He bested 30 other three-year-olds over four trials to advance to the upcoming $100,000 final slated for July 23.

Good Time Stoli (photo) and Giovani Vazquez Gomez got out of the gate quickly and maintained good positioning throughout the 400-yard dash. In the end, he was able to win by one and one-half lengths to break his maiden and earn the victory in a trial-topping time of 20.125 seconds.

Chicks Zuma and Jose Ruiz closed for second over ER Stone Chargin and James Flores for third.

Good Time Stoli was making his seventh career start for Dianne Bennett’s Bennett Racing Stable of Franklin, Ind. Bennett also bred the sorrel son of Duponte. Jessi Vazquez is the trainer and is fresh off a stakes win in the Horseshoe Indianapolis QHRAI Derby earlier in the week with Rock Candy Blue.

“We’ve had a lot of setbacks due to the equipment,” said Vazquez. “He’s just a big horse and it’s hard to find stuff that fits. His last race, his blinkers fell off, but he ended up finishing third. Giovani just knows what to do. He’s familiar with him and all the horses in our barn.”

The second quickest trial of the night was turned in during the first event as Leaving With Fire and German Rodriguez rallied to win in 20.186. Trained by Indiana’s all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer Randy Smith, The Coronas Leaving You gelding took a few steps to get going before getting the lead and winning by three-quarters of a length over High Rolling Seize and Shanley Jackson. Stablemate Sweet Beach and Juan Marquez finished third.

When asked about the difference in Leaving With Fire from last year, Rodriguez said, “He can go 400 yards now, and he used to only be able to go 350. He broke out of the gate a half step late and then caught up and dominated today.”

Leaving With Fire is owned by Smith’s wife, Debbie, and the Indiana bred was raised by Randy Haffner. It was the second career win in eight starts for Leaving With Fire, who will be one of three in the Blue River Derby final.

“This horse (Leaving With Fire) is a little bit hit or miss,” said Smith. “He has a few issues that we have worked on and hopefully, he’s starting to come around.”

 

 

Other trial winner on the night was the return to the winner’s circle by Mr Michel, who won four of seven starts last year at two, including the Miss Roxie Little Futurity. Reunited with jockey Erik Esqueda, the flashy sorrel gelding came rolling home in the final strides to nip Jesses Beach and Rolando Pina at the wire in 20.265. FE Stone Crusher and Juan Marquez finished third.

It was the first win of the year for Mr Michel, who has one previous start in May at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The Claudio Barraza trained son of Kiss My Hocks was a $17,500 purchase from the QHRAI Speed Sale as a yearling from breeder Mark Michel. To date, he has in excess of $150,000 in earnings.

“I wasn’t super confident coming in because every horse in the race has a good shot and can pull out the win,” said Esqueda on Mr Michel. “I got him on the right lead to get him focused. He was able to close in at the finish.”

The final trial winner was guided to victory by James Flores, who flew in for the trials. Flores teamed up with Chico Beach for the win following a delay at the start and an eventual scratch by heavily-favored Carters Law.

Chico Beach followed Lexus Beach and German Rodriguez early on before finding another gear late and getting the edge by a head for the win in 20.554 to become the 10th and final qualifier for the Blue River Derby final. Stormi Spirits and Rolando Pina finished third.

Trained by Julio Almanza, Chico Beach earned his second win of 2022 for owner Leonardo Daniel Almanza. The homebred son of Escondido Beach is now two for six after being lightly raced as a freshman.

“This horse (Chico Beach) really knows how to finish,” said Flores. “Being moved out of the gate hurt him. I think he wasn’t focused as much as he was before the scratch. He broke out of the gate flat footed, but then he picked back up enough which is where it helped him being a good finisher comes in.”

The finalists for the Blue River Derby final, in order of time with jockey includes: Good Time Stoli (Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, 20.125), Leaving With Fire (German Rodriguez, 20.186), Mr Michel (Erik Esqueda, 20.265), High Rolling Seize (Shanley Jackson, 20.294), Jesses Beach (Rolando Pina, 20.302), Sweet Beach (Juan Marquez, 20.350), Chicks Zuma (Eddie Aceves, 20.398), FE Stone Crusher (Juan Marquez, 20.437), ER Stone Chargin (James Flores, 20.536), and Chico Beach (James Flores, 20.554).

Smith saddles three for the final (Leaving With Fire, Sweet Beach and FE Stone Crusher) while Julio Almanza saddles two (ER Stone Chargin and Chico Beach).

The Blue River Derby trials are a precursor to the special All-Quarter Horse racing program July 2 at Horseshoe Indianapolis. A 16-race program, all trials, gets underway at 10 a.m. featuring the Gordon Mobley Futurity, the Jaguar Rocket Futurity, and the Heartland Futurity. All finalists will advance to the third All-Quarter Horse racing day set for July 23 featuring stakes purses in excess of $500,000.

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