Local Sports

GIANT fm announces high school football broadcast schedule for 2023 season

GIANT fm will again be the home for high school football broadcasts in Shelby County.

WSVX, based in Shelbyville, will broadcast seven Shelbyville High School football games and a pair of high-profile Triton Central High School games as part of the regular-season broadcast schedule announced Monday by GIANT fm.

Local broadcasts heard on 96.3 fm, 1520 am and the GIANT fm app will include a one-hour pre-game show ahead of the nightly contest as well as a game recap following each contest that includes interviews with head coaches and a look at pertinent scores from around the state.

Week One

GIANT fm will travel east to Greensburg High School for the season opener against Shelbyville, and new head coach Scott Fitzgerald, on Aug. 18. The game will be the first played on a new artificial turf surface installed at Greensburg this summer. Pre-game is at 6 p.m. with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.

Week Two

The broadcast on Aug. 25 will include another first – Shelbyville will host Rushville on its own new artificial turf at 7 p.m. at McKeand Stadium. Pre-game begins at 6 p.m.



Week Three

GIANT fm travels to Class A defending state champion Indianapolis Lutheran for an Indiana Crossroads Conference battle with Triton Central. Pre-game is at 6 p.m. with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

Week Four

GIANT fm will follow Shelbyville on the road to New Castle on Sept. 8 and Greenfield-Central on Sept. 15 for Hoosier Heritage Conference games.

The New Castle game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. with pre-game on air at 6:30 p.m.

Week Five

The Greenfield-Central game is slated for a 7 p.m. start time.

Week Six

On Sept. 22, Yorktown visits Shelbyville for a 7:30 p.m. HHC kickoff. Pre-game airs at 6:30 p.m.

Week Seven

In a preview of a potential Class 2A, Sectional 39 matchup, Triton Central travels to Indianapolis Scecina for a 7 p.m. contest on Sept. 29.

Week Eight

The final two regular-season broadcasts involve the Golden Bears.

Shelbyville hosts Mt. Vernon on Oct. 6 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Week Nine

Shelbyville closes out its regular-season schedule on Oct. 13 at Pendleton Heights. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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Carter Bell, Chloe Coons crowned Derby Days champions

MORRISTOWN – Carter Bell captured his second Derby Days racing championship while Aubrey Longwell was denied back-to-back titles.

Bell (photo, right), the 2021champion, defeated Alex Anderson to be crowned the 2023 champion Saturday in Morristown, Bell, the son of Will and Julia Bell, bested a field of 14 competitors in the 75th edition of Derby Days.

Anderson is the son of Aaron Anderson and Kyra Peoples.

Longwell’s bid for consecutive title in the girls race was derailed by Chloe Coons (photo, left), the daughter of Terry Coons and Desara Brush.

Longwell is the daughter of Andy and Ashley Longwell.

There were 19 girls entered into the girls field that raced down U.S. 52 to the finish line in downtown Morristown. All competitors were either Cub Scouts from Pack 222 or Girl Scouts from Troop 340.



The two-day Derby Days festival kicked off with an Adult Derby Days race Friday on North St. Taylor Blakley (photo, far left) bested the field to earn the championship trophy.



Strange Brew Band performed Friday on the stage set up at Morristown High School. Saturday’s events featured the P.O.G. Run, a downtown parade and vendors and food trucks.



Andrew Young took the stage Saturday night to perform for the crowd and a large fireworks show closed out the festivities.

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Successful coach, teacher ready to serve as Waldron's new athletic director

Brad Peterson brings a wealth of coaching knowledge with him to Waldron as its new Athletic Director.

The Fort Wayne native was hired just after the most recent school year ended to replace Alex Engelbert, who accepted the principal’s position at St. Bartholomew Catholic School in his hometown of Columbus.

Peterson attended Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran High School where he later returned as a teacher and cross country and track and field coach.

Success led him to being part of a start up college track and field program at Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne and a stint as the track and cross country coach at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas.

Peterson returned to teach at Angola High School before moving to Indianapolis. Now he is ready for the challenge of his first “true” administrative role.

“I don’t know if challenge is the right word because I love this aspect of the job, but in a smaller community you have to meet people. You need to meet people,” said Peterson. “I want to do that. There may be others that don’t enjoy that aspect of the personal relations but I need to build a personal relationship with all the members of the community. They all will know who you are and how you treat people.

“I think that’s important in making a good impression and letting everyone know I care … letting everybody know I am not just here for a minute and leaving. I am somebody that is committed to the school and the community. I want to be a good role model to everybody in the community.”



Peterson has developed state championship runners in small school environments and he believes Waldron can follow suit. He also wants to empower the school’s coaches that he will support them at all times.

“As a college head track and cross country coach, I was responsible for everything,” said Peterson. “I really want to teach my coaches at Waldron that way of you are responsible for your team. You are responsible for your physicals. You are responsible for your schedule. I will help you and aid you in any way I can.”

Peterson also will serve as Waldron’s assistant principal and he is excited to work with principal Mark Shadiow and the administrative staff.

“Discipline has never been an issue with me,” he said. “I am looking forward to that aspect and learning from a good principal. Mark Shadiow has already given me a lot of good advice and how we will deal with things and break it down. I think we will work very well together.”

Peterson is anxious to meet students and start recruiting for the athletic department’s various sports teams.

“One of the first things I will be doing is walking the halls,” he said. “I will know every kid quickly at a school like this. I will definitely recruit. I know we share athletes in the same season and I am glad they already do that. Some bigger schools don’t allow that, and I get that too. There will be a lot of recruiting going on (in the halls).”

Waldron’s first day of the 2023-2024 school year is Aug. 8.

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New Southwestern athletic director excited to be back in small-school setting

Scott Shepherd is returning to his roots as the new Athletic Director at Southwestern High School.

The Linton, Indiana, native recently accepted the position at Southwestern after working several years with the athletic departments at North Central, Pike and Ben Davis in Indianapolis.

“When I saw the Southwestern job open up, I threw my name in and gave it a shot,” said Shepherd. “You never know if you got a real legitimate shot. Sometimes you are just going through the motions and other times they are really giving you a legitimate chance.

“It was a great interview process. I am really, really comfortable and happy where I am at.”

Shepherd is one of four new athletic directors hired this year at Mid-Hoosier Conference schools.

“Four of the seven schools have turnover there. We just had our first meeting with the group,” said Shepherd. “Our friends over at Hauser and North (Decatur) and South Decatur are very graciously helping us new folks along and getting us up to speed as quickly as they can. Their knowledge will be invaluable.”

Morristown, Waldron and Edinburgh also have recently hired new athletic directors.

Shepherd replaces Collin Rigney, who returned to his alma mater as Dean of Students at Greensburg High School. His departure from Southwestern created two position openings – athletic director and assistant principal at Southwestern Elementary School.



Shepherd is in the unusual position of being only the athletic director in a small-school environment.

“I have that unique situation and I am really excited about it,” said Shepherd. “I get to focus 100% of my efforts on everything athletics, everything from the game-day experience, making sure the kids are getting out of it what they need to get out of it, and making sure our facilities are where we are wanting them to be. “I get to solely be zeroed in on all of that and that is my passion. That is what I want to be doing.”

Shepherd originally attended Indiana State University out of high school to study Geology.

“My original path was going into Environmental Geology,” he said.

With a newborn daughter, Shepherd realized he needed a career that would not have him traveling five to six days a week.

“It was follow that path and be on the  road or switch up and be there for my family. It really wasn’t much of a decision,” he said. “I decided to pivot over to a teaching degree. That led me to my first teaching job at Attica Junior Senior High School.”

Shepherd taught and coached track and field at Attica before the family moved to Indianapolis. He left teaching for an insurance opportunity but found himself being drawn back to athletics.

“I was doing fine with it but it wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing,” he said. “I realized I needed to get back where I am happy. It dawned on me that I wanted to get back into the athletics side of things. I wanted to do athletic director type of stuff. So I got my master’s degree in 2017 from Ohio University.”

Shepherd contacted highly-regarded North Central athletic director Paul Loggan for advice. In a matter of minutes, he had an internship with the athletic department.

“I was hoping maybe he would give me five minutes of his time and talk to me,” said Shepherd. “Instead, he opened the door up and said can you be here at 7 a.m. tomorrow and we can start your internship. He let me right in and took me under his wing and gave me the opportunity to make connections with so many people. I got so much of a benefit from him. He not only gave me that start but also solidified that this is where I want to be. This is what I want to be doing.”

That experience led to athletic department roles at Pike and Ben Davis.

“All the while as I was going through that was to get that first athletic director’s job and take an athletic department and really help shape it and move ahead,” said Shepherd.

In his short time within the southern Shelby County school system, Shepherd is already enamored with being back in a small-school environment.

“It is the family atmosphere. You kind of feel that the whole community is banding together around these kids,” he said. “When you are in those smaller communities, you tend to get that feeling. People that don’t have kids in the school but will still show up to every basketball game all winter long because they care what is going on at the school. You feel like you are part of a family.

“That is the part that is sometimes missing at some places. It’s what I’ve really enjoyed so far, in just a couple of weeks time, really getting to experience that and being welcomed in already.”

Shepherd’s entire life is in transition. The family will be moving to Shelby County soon. His oldest daughter graduated from Indiana University in December and is moving in preparation for her first job.

His second child will be attending Indiana University this fall and will be moving to Bloomington.

Shepherd’s youngest daughter will be coming to school daily with her father. She will be an eighth grader at Southwestern.

“She is really looking forward to that small school environment. It is much better suited for her,” said Shepherd.

Southwestern’s first day of school is Aug. 8.

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Dewey named USL W League Divisional Player of the Year

The USL W League announced Tuesday its Divisional Players of the Year with a list that featured Indy Eleven midfielder Sam Dewey as the Valley Division honoree.

Dewey (photo, right), a Triton Central graduate, played in nine matches during the Eleven’s championship run, starting all of them. She shared the team lead with nine goals, including a hat trick in Indy’s record-breaking 16-0 win against St. Charles FC on June 30. The Indianapolis native also added an assist in the USL W League Semifinal victory.



Prior to her time with the Eleven, Dewey was a standout at Xavier, earning BIG East Midfielder of the Year accolades in 2018 and a spot on the United Soccer Coaches All-East Region Third Team.

Indy Eleven defeated NC Courage U23 in the USL W League Final on Saturday in front of a record crowd to finish their second season 12-1-1.

Indy is 22-2-3 in the club’s two seasons, reaching double-digit wins and earning a playoff berth each year.

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Tachas Secret's talent no secret in Blue River Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

It’s no secret how talented Tachas Secret is. The three-year-old filly scored her first career stakes win Saturday in the 21st running of the $133,100 Blue River Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville.

Ridden by Fernando Morin, Tachas Secret (photo) had the far outside post 10 in the Blue River Derby Final. When the gate sprung, she was right with the field but went unnoticed early in the race. Midway through the 400-yard dash, she got the signal from Morin to pick up the tempo. She sprinted away from the field for the win by two lengths.

A four-horse photo brought CV Struttinforakiss and Edgar Diaz into second over Seize Greatness and Shanley Jackson.

“She stood in the gate and broke right with them today,” said Morin through interpretation by trainer Ricardo Martinez. “When I asked her, she responded and just left them. She is an amazing filly.”

Tachas Secret was the favorite of the field, paying $5 for the win. The Habits Secret sophomore is owned by Ricardo Martinez, who also bred the filly. Chris Duke of Duke Racing LLC owns the filly, who is now five for nine in her career.

Martinez is in a unique position as he raced both the sire and dam of Tachas Secret. Habits Secret, a multiple stakes winner for Martinez, retired to stallion duty at Dr. Roger Beam’s Midwest Equine and Veterinary Hospital in Trafalgar, Ind. He’s one of the most underrated stallions in the state.

In 2018, he was the No. 5 freshman-leading Sire in the Nation and has 87 percent winners from his starters. Despite his multiple stakes winning foals, there aren’t many foals by the sire. Habits Secret is a secret weapon for Martinez, who continues to keep a few mares to breed to the stallion.

“I raced this filly’s mother, Sin Tachas Angel, a few times here and she won for me,” said Martinez. “But the important part of her was I knew she was really well bred, so I wanted to keep her as a brood mare. I really didn’t want to sell this filly, but Chris (Duke) called me up and asked several times to buy her. He told me if I’d sell her, I could keep her to train, so it worked out for both of us.”

Tachas Secret more than doubled her career bankroll with the win in the Blue River Derby. She now has nearly $150,000 on her card with five career wins. And Martinez knows there is a bright future ahead for this filly.

“She loves this distance (400 yards),” added Martinez. “Last year at two, there just wasn’t enough distance for her. She is right where she needs to be now.”



Jaguar Rocket Futurity

Undefeated in three starts wasn’t even in the conversation for Trixs Are For Kids this past winter. The striking grey filly trained alongside the others from the Tim Eggleston barn, but as racing season neared, she just kept on excelling and is now a stakes winner for her connections, winning the $140,000 Jaguar Rocket Futurity Final Saturday.

Starting near the center of the track in post four, Trixs Are For Kids (photo) and Rolando Pina used their normal running style and were out of the gate in a flash, taking over the top spot in the 300-yard dash. She was accompanied by the other grey in the field, Eagle Flybye and L.D. Martinez on the outside and HH Express 19 and Francisco Quintero on the inside.

The trio ran side-by-side down the lane. In the final strides, Trixs Are For Kids was able to hit another gear and moved into the lead, winning by one-half length in 15.418 seconds. Eagle Flybye was second in a close photo with stablemate HH Express 19. Both horses are trained by Tony Cunningham.

“She broke hesitating today, but once she got out of the gate, she got into a rhythm and stayed in that same rhythm to the wire,” said Pina, who had three winners on the card. “There were several horses that broke together, and they seemed to all be in the same rhythm. My filly felt comfortable once we got rolling today.”

Trixs Are For Kids was the favorite, paying $6.20 for the win. The One Sweet Jess filly is owned by Brian Langworthy. Although Langworthy and his wife, Teri, have been horse owners since the mid-1990s, the win with Trixs Are For Kids marked their first career stakes win.

“We bought this filly from a recommendation from Tim (Eggleston),” said Langworthy. “We had a horse back in the 90’s and that whetted our appetite for racing. We went a few years without owning horses but the past seven years, we have had one or two each year. Our main focus is barrel racing, but we enjoy having a racehorse, especially one like her.”



Heartland Futurity Trials

A big win for first-time starter Cleave put the freshman on top of the 10 qualifiers headed to the $147,520 Heartland Futurity Final set for Aug. 12. Guided by Germarius “G” O’Neal, the gelding was a winner by a nose in a time of 15.408 seconds, the quickest out of five trials.

Starting from the center of the second Heartland Futurity Trial, Cleave had a battle on his hands from the start. Six horses were bunched together with Cleave making his way in the middle of the pack. As the wire neared, he began to get an advantage on the ones to his outside but there was one left to his inside, Kid Kwik and Diego Villamil Bocanegra, who also had momentum to the finish line.

The two horses hit the wire together and after further review of the photo finish, Cleave had the advantage by a nose. One Relentless Fling and Fernando Morin earned the show spot in another three-horse photo for third.

“I just rode this horse (Cleave) to the gates yesterday,” said O’Neal, who started his riding career last year in Indiana and earned his first win in November. “I learned as much as I could about him and immediately noticed this colt had talent. We were in between a lot of horses, but I think that’s what made him run. He was able to break loose there at the end. I thought we had it, but I looked over and saw Diego (Villamil Bocanegra) right there, so I didn’t know for sure.”

Cleave was making his first career start for trainer Ollie Matthews. Therefore, he wasn’t even in the conversation for wagers in the race, paying $95.20 for the win. The black son of Lota PYC is a homebred from Steve Whiting’s Whiting Ranch of Texas.

Other trial winners in the Heartland Futurity were Brillant Speed (Oscar Macias), Swackhammer (Antonio Rodriguez) Lucky Favorite (Giovani Vazquez-Gomez) and HG Favorite Energy (L.D. Martinez).

The Heartland Futurity will be joined by the Gordon Mobley Futurity for the third all-Quarter Horse racing Day on Aug. 12. The late morning start of 10:45 a.m. will also feature trials for the Quarter Horse Racing Association of Indiana Stallion Service Auction Futurity and Derby.

Gordon Mobley Futurity

Red Headed Beach blazed down the track Saturday to lead the field of 10 qualifiers into the $188,900 Gordon Mobley Futurity Final.

Red Headed Beach and Rolando Pina began from post one and as the gate sprung open, they were authoritative to take the early lead. The sorrel filly took over and finished ahead of the field by open lengths to record the fastest time of four trials in 15.418 seconds.

Im Jess a Belle and Daniel Martinez finished two lengths back in second over Drag N My Wagon and Jose Ruiz for third.

It was the first career win for Red Headed Beach in her second start. She returned $5.60 for the win to her backers. A homebred by Sheri Miller, Pattie Marshall owns the Escondido Beach freshman. Tim Eggleston trains the youngster.

“The Marshalls bought the mare in foal at one of the Miller sales, and my wife, Keli, actually foaled her out,” explained Eggleston. “She was ornery as a baby, but she has really changed now. She is very professional. She just needed that first race because she was pretty green, but she broke sharp today and raced well.”

Along with getting a temperament change, Red Headed Beach also changed her will to run. Pina, who works for Eggleston, noted the team didn’t always have high hopes for her starting out.

“At first she never showed it (speed) and after I worked her a couple times, I didn’t think she would be a racehorse,” admitted Pina. “But in her first schooling race, it all turned around. She really ran down the track and showed us what she can do. She’s very mellow to work around and to ride. She doesn’t argue.”

Red Headed Beach will be joined by another Eggleston trainee as a trial winner for the Mobley Futurity Final. Pina and Eggleston teamed up for a win from Jess Takin on Cash. The sorrel gelding got out of the gate quickly and led the entire 300 yards for the win in 15.791, fourth fastest for the final. Jess a Riot and Shanley Jackson held their ground inside for second in a close photo with Nachor Secret and Fernando Morin for third.

Jess Takin on Cash is now undefeated in two starts. Paying $3.40 for the win, he is owned by Gregg Farris and was bred by Mark and Teresa Myers.

“We actually bought this horse out of the QHRAI Speed Sale last fall (for $7,000),” said Eggleston. “He was a good looking horse and the Myers (Teresa and Mark) always do a good job raising their horses. He caught my eye because of his color and size, and I thought his value was great. He’s going to be a good horse. Rolando (Pina) never hit him, he just let him run. He’s going to get better, too.”

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Overtime goal leads Indy Eleven to USL W League Championship

Alia Martin scored in the 99th minute to earn Indy Eleven a 2-1 victory Saturday over NC Courage U23 to secure the 2023 USL W League Championship at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.

For her efforts, Martin was named the USL W League Final MVP.

The game was played in front of an announced crowd of 5,419 to set the record for the most attended women’s soccer match in Indiana history.

Martin’s match-winning goal, which was her second in consecutive games after scoring the late go-ahead goal in the 3-2 National Semifinal win over San Francisco, was her second of the season.



The play started with Katie Soderstrom, who secured the corner kick for Indy. Grace Bahr’s service found Annika Creel, who redirected the ball back into the center of the 18. Martin made the most of her second chance and connected on a bicycle kick over the top of the outstretched Courage keeper.

After a scoreless first half, it was Indy Eleven that broke the stalemate with Addie Chester on the right flank. Chester played a short ball in to Maddy Williams who laid it off for a one-two ball to Greta Kraszula. Kraszula’s ball back into the box found Williams who played the ball across the goal and into the lower right corner.

It was her ninth goal of the season, which ties the team high alongside Sam Dewey, a Triton Central graduate.


For more on how Samantha Dewey came to play for Indy Eleven, go to https://shelbycountypost.com/sports/698709/former-tc-soccer-star-leads-indy-eleven-into-usl-w-league-championship-match


NC Courage evened the score in the 75th minute when Mia Oliaro found Lauren Martinho off a cross.

Indy Eleven finished the 2023 season 12-1-1.

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Jon Schuster remembered during Indiana Derby Day at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Jon Schuster, longtime Vice President and General Manager of Racing at Horseshoe Indianapolis, is remembered annually for his contributions to the Indiana horse racing program.

He is honored each year during the state’s biggest day of racing on Indiana Derby with the $100,000 Jonathan Schuster Memorial race. He is also remembered through an annual scholarship donation in his name. His daughters, Abi (Schuster) Mangone and Rachel Schuster, are always trackside to assist with the trophy presentation of the Schuster Memorial as well as a check presentation during the event.

Schuster, a native of Central Indiana and resident of Shelbyville, was a graduate of the Racetrack Industry Program (RTIP) at the University of Arizona. Since his passing in 2019, Horseshoe Indianapolis has donated $2,500 into the scholarship fund in memory of Schuster to assist other aspiring students looking to advance into horse racing industry jobs.

“We are so honored to be included in the race each year for our father,” said Abi (Shuster) Mangone. “The Racetrack Industry Program was so important to our dad, and he would be thrilled knowing a donation was being made in his name to that program.”

Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing, joined Abi and Rachel for the special presentation following the race. Jockey Gerardo Corrales and assistant trainer John Lynde of the Mike Maker Stable teamed up for the win with Me and Mr. C in the Schuster Memorial and were also present for the check presentation.

“We miss our dad so much and being able to come back every year and be part of this presentation means everything to us,” added Rachel Schuster. “Our dad dedicated his whole life to horse racing. That was his passion. We are glad his name is remembered annually during Indiana Derby with both the race and this scholarship.”

This is the fourth year a donation has been made to the program at the University of Arizona. The program prepares and educates students interested in all types of employment in the racing industry, from racetrack management to state governing positions such as stewards, placing judges, and racing office staff.

“I’m actually a graduate myself of the RTIP so I know how valuable this program is to our industry,” added Halstrom. “We wanted to do something that would be beneficial in Jon’s name each year, and by awarding scholarship money to this program, we feel other students can follow in the footsteps of Jon and be future leaders in racing.”

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Former TC soccer star leads Indy Eleven into USL W League championship match

A hard tackle on an even harder synthetic turf field in the Netherlands nearly derailed Samantha Dewey’s playing career.

Three surgeries and just short of two years of rehabilitation later and the former Triton Central record-setting goal scorer is back playing for a soccer championship.

On Saturday at 2 p.m. at Carroll Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, Indy Eleven (8-1-1) hosts NC Courage U23 (11-0-1) in the United States Soccer (USL) W League championship.

Dewey, Indy Eleven’s leading scorer despite missing several weeks to rest her surgically-repaired right knee, is still not at 100% but has been a force for the squad since returning late in the season.

Indiana’s prep goal-scoring leader after tallying 257 career goals at Triton Central had a hat trick in Indy Eleven’s regular-season finale win over St. Charles FC that secured the USL W League’s Valley Division title.



In the playoff opener, Dewey (photo) produced a back heel shot into the goal to give Indy Eleven a 2-0 lead on the way to a 3-0 victory over Flint City AFC. She followed that with her team’s only goal in a 1-0 victory over Minnesota Aurora FC which pushed her team lead to nine goals scored this season.

Indy Eleven qualified for Saturday’s championship game with a 3-2 victory on  July 14 over San Francisco Glens SC at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.

A little older now, a little wiser and a little more appreciative about even playing the game she loves so much, Dewey is embracing her role with Indy Eleven.

“I didn’t know if I would even play this summer,” said Dewey Thursday afternoon. “Or if I would play without pain. I am enjoying the moment.

“I am doing what I love everyday so I can’t complain. I will continue to do it as long as I can in whatever capacity that looks like.”

After a stellar playing career at Xavier University, Dewey signed a professional contract to play in Seville, Spain. A worldwide pandemic shut down her first professional soccer season before she ever played a match.

Dewey moved on to a professional team in the Netherlands until a knee injury proved to be much worse than initially feared.

“It was an awkward tackle and I landed on the ground on my knee,” explained Dewey. “It was a hard turf field and it was cold in the Netherlands. I continued playing but I finally had to come off.”

Physical therapy did not work and a first surgery only made the injury worse, according to Dewey. She was in constant pain as she tried to rehabilitate and get back to her Heerenveen squad in the Netherlands.

Another surgery finally made the knee feel better. A third surgery was required to remove two titanium screws that were bothering her while training for her return.



The Indy Eleven head coach is Paul Dolinsky, someone Dewey knew from her club playing days with Indiana Fire. He suggested Dewey join Indy Eleven and a contract was finalized despite her not yet being fully healthy.

“I didn’t do their inaugural season (in 2022) but that would have been cool,” said Dewey. “This second season has been pretty cool to be a part of. A year-and-a-half (of recovery) is a long time coming. I wasn’t sure if I would ever play again. It’s been a roller coaster emotionally for me.”

Despite her years of experience, including internationally, Dewey was admittedly nervous making her Indy Eleven debut so close to home. She played around 70 minutes of the first match and 65 minutes in the second one but her knee became swollen and she had to shut down once again.

“Things are headed in the right direction now,” she said. “I think I could play a full 90 minutes since it is the championship. I am still working on being able to play every week all game long but I am feeling great in terms of being out there and playing.”

As to her playing future, Dewey is unsure at this point. Indy Eleven is continuing to grow its soccer standing as a professional organization which means Dewey could continue playing.

In the meantime, she has been offered a full-time coaching position within the Indiana Fire organization.

“I’m not really looking to play in Europe. It would have to be the right opportunity,” said Dewey. “At this point in my life and my career, I am staying closer to home.”

And if her playing time with Indy Eleven comes to an end, Dewey fits right into the organization as a potential coach on the field or strength and conditioning coach off it.



Dewey’s younger sister, Rachel (photo), also is part of the Indy Eleven roster. An injury in practice earlier this season sidelined her for the year. She is now preparing for her final collegiate soccer season at Western Kentucky as a graduate student after closing out her career at Xavier, where she also played with her older sister – just as they did at Triton Central.

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Franklin College's Faught Stadium hosts Shelbyville and Franklin in football scrimmage

Shelbyville put on the pads for a Tuesday football scrimmage against an old regular season foe.

The Golden Bears and Franklin Grizzly Cubs were longtime non-conference football opponents until the series ended in 2020. The programs met at Franklin College’s Faught Stadium for a series of 7-on-7 and 11-man football scrimmages with a month to go before Indiana’s season opens on August 18.

First year head coach Scott Fitzgerald said he was anxious to see how his team would react.

Shelbyville has a veteran leader in returning senior quarterback Eli Chappelow. But it’s been a busy summer of adjustment with changes in philosophy, style of play and terminology.

Following the scrimmage, several coaches from both sides who have Franklin College ties met for a group picture under the scoreboard.  Fitzgerald says working out at Faught Stadium was special for him.

Shelbyville opens the 2023 football season on Aug. 18 at Greensburg, who is switching its football field to artificial turf this summer.

The home opener is one week later on Aug. 25 against Rushville.

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IHSAA Executive Committee approves several fall postseason tournament sites

The first official day of the Indiana High School Athletic Association fall sports season is July 28. That is the first day high school girls golf teams can start practicing for the upcoming season.

The remaining fall sports begin on July 31.

Following the IHSAA’s recent Executive Committee meeting on June 22 in West Baden, Indiana, postseason tournaments for several fall sports were approved.

Girls Golf

The golf programs at Shelbyville and Southwestern will compete in the Greensburg Sectional played at the Greensburg Country Club.

Golfers from Morristown and Triton Central will compete at Hawk’s Tail Golf Course in the New Palestine Sectional.

Girls Soccer

Shelbyville will be a Class 3A sectional host in 2023. The six-team sectional also will feature East Central, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon, New Palestine and Richmond.

The sectional champion will advance to the Carmel Regional.

Triton Central will host a six-team Class A sectional which includes Knightstown, Morristown, Muncie Burris, Union County and Wapahani.

Knightstown will be the regional host for the Triton Central Sectional champion.

Boys Soccer

Shelbyville will head north for sectional competition at the Class 3A New Palestine Sectional. The field includes Connersville, East Central, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and Richmond as well as the Golden Bears and Dragons.

The sectional champ moves on to the Carmel Regional.

The Class A Indianapolis Lutheran Sectional includes Southwestern.

The Spartans will compete against Central Christian Academy, Hauser, the host Saints, Indiana Math & Science Academy, Irvington Prep and Victory College Prep.

Waldron also is assigned to the Lutheran Sectional but has not fielded a team in recent years.

Morristown is part of the six-team field at the Knightstown Sectional that also includes Oldenburg Academy, Seton Catholic, Union County and Wapahani.

Both sectional champions at Lutheran and Knightstown will advance to the Knightstown Regional.


Shelbyville will travel west to Franklin for 2023 sectional competition.

The Class 4A sectional hosted by the Grizzly Cubs also will feature Columbus East, Columbus North, East Central and Whiteland.

The sectional champion qualifies for the Bloomington North Regional.

Triton Central will host a Class 2A sectional tournament with Eastern Hancock, Indianapolis Scecina, Irvington Prep and Riverside in the field.

The sectional champion advances to the Cascade Regional.

All three Shelby County Class A volleyball programs will compete in the Waldron Sectional along with Edinburgh, Jac-Cen-Del, Oldenburg Academy and South Decatur.

The Waldron Sectional champion qualifies for the Edinburgh Regional.

In other IHSAA Executive Committee news:

  • Approved Kipp Academy as a provisional member for another year before full membership will be considered.
  • Approved MTI School of Knowledge as a full member and eligible for state tournament participation in the 2023-2024 school year.
  • Approved three-year provisional membership periods for Mooresville Christian Academy, GEO Next Generation, Purdue Polytechnic North and Seven Oaks Classical School.
  • Shelbyville High School’s baseball program was issued a warning after a student-athlete participated in games without an approved transfer on file. The student-athlete was declared ineligible until a completed transfer report was submitted and ruled upon. All contests that student-athlete participated in were forfeited.

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Golden Bears Golf Benefit enjoys excellent turnout, great weather

The 2023 Golden Bear Golf Outing to benefit the Shelbyville High School basketball and football programs fielded 31 teams at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

The Law family and Cagney’s Pizza King once again served as major event sponsors. Nine-Hole sponsors were Joe and Theresa Harlan, Bruce and Amy Van Cleve, Zotec Partners and “Z” Shirts.

Corevision sponsored lunch for the participants and Bishopp’s Appliances provided the beverage cart.

The Conley team claimed first place in the scramble with a score of 51. Team organizer Jordan Conley was a standout athlete at Greenfield-Central but has numerous local connections.

“I grew up playing sports against (SHS varsity basketball coach) John Hartnett,” said Conley. “We have been great friends since grade school and played several years together on adult basketball teams. We were happy to come over and play today.”

The Conley foursome included (photo, from left): Brent Kramer, Dustin Smith, Jordan Conley and Ross Morgan.



The Law family contingent of Dave, Scott, Jeff and Nick Law finished in second place with a 53. Olinger Insurance with players Keith Limpus, Jay Young, Logan Young and Scott Worland was third with a 54.

“Longest Drive” winners were Chris Jurrema and Brent Kramer.

Craig Scifres and Tyler Bowlby took home awards for “Longest Putt.”

“I continue to be extremely thankful for the tremendous support that people give to this event each year,” said Hartnett. “The outing brings in funds that allow us to do so much for the basketball and football players. Everyone here is very generous and we love seeing so many friends come back each year. It is always an enjoyable reunion.”

Scott Fitzgerald is entering his first season as Shelbyville’s varsity football coach, however he has been involved with SHS football at every level since coming to the high school in 1999, including 14 years as offensive coordinator. Fitzgerald’s team of fellow staff members Pat Parks, Drew Parsley and John Werbe finished just behind the leaders with a respectable 55.

“We had a fantastic day on the course today,” said Fitzgerald. “It was great to see some guys we haven’t seen in a while. Thank you to everyone who came out and played and sincere thanks to all the sponsors. I truly appreciate all your support. Also, special thanks to coaches Hartnett and Parsley for the endless hard work they contribute to this event each year.”

A total of 155 players participated in the event.  

SHS football program, new head coach wrap up youth football camp

For Shelbyville football to regain its winning ways, a focus on youth development is key.

On Wednesday, the three-day Shelbyville Golden Bears Youth Football Camp closed out on the football program’s practice field behind the Shelbyville Middle School.

“It’s been great,” said new Shelbyville football head coach Scott Fitzgerald. “We’ve had over 80 kids here every day. The kids were excited and that’s the biggest thing.

“We got out here and did a little bit of football. We showed them some drills and some things they needed to do and some things they needed to work on. We played a little ‘Bear Ball’ and did an obstacle course today and the kids really enjoyed that. When the kids leave here and they are sweating and they are tired, I know we have done a good job.”

Fitzgerald is no stranger to Shelbyville football. A longtime assistant coach during the Patrick Parks era, he has been coaching at the middle school level in recent seasons. But with the resignation of Brian Glesing after two seasons in Shelbyville, Fitzgerald returns to lead the program that has won just three games since Parks retired after the 2017 season.



“We are really putting an emphasis on the elementary program this year and here forward,” said Fitzgerald. “This is what we really have to invest in and make sure us as coaches and the players are all investing with this group.

“With us practicing right next to them, we are going to make sure every day we are getting out here and making sure we are getting to know the kids even more. We will make sure (their) coaches have everything they need. I think we have some really good guys but some don’t have backgrounds in football, but we will make sure we give them all the tools they need.”

Fitzgerald praised the work ethic of the varsity football players, many of whom were helping instruct this week at the camp.



“We have had a fantastic summer,” said Fitzgerald. “I am so proud of these guys and the way they are working. I can’t ask for anything more.

“We come out of that weight room and the guys are wasted for the lack of a better word. They are so tired because they pushed it. They have been pushing in that weight room each and every day. The coaches have been in there. I couldn’t do this without the assistants we have here. The guys have had the excitement and the energy in there and that’s what we really have to have.”

The Golden Bears have two opportunities next week to put the pads on and get instant feedback as to their progression this offseason. On Tuesday, Shelbyville will scrimmage Franklin Community at 5:30 p.m. at Franklin College’s Faught Stadium.

On Wednesday, Shelbyville will participate in a 7-on-7 workout at Greenwood Christian at 6 p.m.



The football program is taking full advantage of a new 8,000-square-foot weight room and will soon have a new artificial turf playing surface to utilize at McKeand Stadium (photo).

“I don’t know any different right now,” laughed Fitzgerald when asked about the inconvenience of not having a varsity field to hold practices. “This is where I’ve always been anyway. We’ve always come out to the practice field so it has not been a big inconvenience. We have room to work. We have a lot of space out here anyway.

“Hopefully, (the varsity field) is done by Aug. 1. That is the date they gave us. If it is done by Aug. 1, we can get out there and have practices and really start getting after it.”

Shelbyville opens the 2023 football season on Aug. 18 at Greensburg, who is switching its football field to artificial turf this summer.

The home opener is one week later on Aug. 25 against Rushville.

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New examples of false starts adopted in high school track and field rules

In an effort to more clearly define false starts in high school track and field events, two new starting violations have been adopted for the 2024 season.

In Rule 5-7-4c, the previous language which required participants to remain motionless after assuming the set position prior to the starting device being fired, has been replaced with the following:

“If a runner leaves their mark with a hand or foot after the ‘set’ command but before the starting device is fired.”

In addition, a new violation in (d) calls for a violation “if a runner leaves their mark with a forward motion without the starting device being fired.”

Further, a new NOTE in Rule 5-7-4 states that “extraneous motion before the device is fired does not necessarily require a false start to be charged unless the criteria in the rule are met. If the starter thinks the movement creates a situation of unfairness to any of the competitors, the starter may cancel the start with the command ‘stand up,’ or if the device has been fired, recall the race as an unsteady or unfair start and redo the starting procedure.” This NOTE was also added to Rule 8 regarding cross country.

“The rules committee felt that these changes offer a clearer definition of a false start and will help add consistency in how false starts are officiated,” said Julie Cochran, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee.

This change to rules relating to false starts was one of 11 rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 12-14 meeting in Indianapolis. The recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

A significant change was approved by the committee in Rule 6 regarding field events. In the discus, shot put and javelin, athletes will be permitted to apply tape to their fingers as long as the fingers are not taped together, and all fingers can move independently. The specific language approved by the committee is as follows:

“Tape may be used on the hand and fingers provided that no two fingers are taped together. The tape may be continuous and connect to the wrist, but all fingers must be able to move independently. A wrist wrap used in lieu of tape is acceptable and is not considered an artificial aid.”

In other changes to field events, further definition related to breaking ties was added to Rule 6-3-2b. To address the situation when two or more tied competitors withdraw from the competition/jump-off at the same time, the committee added the following language to determine first place:

Rule 6-3-2b(4)(b) states that “if all competitors eligible for a jump-off withdraw from the competition before the jump-off begins or at a height change, those competitors shall tie for first place, and any team points shall be added together and divided equally among the tying competitors.”

In addition, a NOTE was added to the rule stating that an athlete who withdraws from a jump-off concedes the higher place, but the withdrawal does not negate the athlete’s performance in that event up to the point of withdrawal. In addition, withdrawing from a jump-off is not unsporting conduct.

Another field event change was approved for Rule 6-2-2, stating that in the high jump and pole vault, one minute shall be allowed for the first trial of a competitor first entering the competition. The committee noted this additional language clarifies how the rule is to be interpreted and adds support to the official’s decisions when a competitor enters the vertical jumps after the event has started.

In other changes to Rule 5-Running Events, some of the specific language regarding track markings in Rule 5 was deleted and replaced with the following general statement: “Staggered markings are dependent on the geometry of each individual track.” In addition, a NOTE was added to the rule stating that a competent surveyor should determine the lane staggers. The same language was added to Section 9 regarding indoor track and field.

In other Rule 5 changes, a clarification was provided to the section on hurdling infractions. It is an infraction if a competitor knocks down or displaces any hurdle by hand. The addition of displacement of any hurdle was added to give guidance to officials when ruling on infractions.

In Rule 4 regarding “Competitors and Competition,” state associations will be permitted to allow participants in a high school track and field meet to compete in more than four events, effective with the 2024 season.

Rule 4-2-1 stating that a competitor shall not compete in more than four events, including relays, remains intact; however, a NOTE was added to the rule for flexibility for state associations as follows: “State associations may adopt different participation limitations, not to exceed six events.”

Cochran said the addition of this state association adoption adds flexibility for state associations. Ultimately each state will determine the number and type of events best suited for its state and student-athletes – not to exceed six total events.  

Other rules revisions approved by the Track and Field Rules Committee include the following:

  •          Rules 8-1, 8-5: Clarifies the cross country course layout and reorganizes the rule.
  •          Rule 9-6-1: New rule offers guidance on the relay exchange zone for indoor track and field.
  •          Rule 3-8-1: With technology advancements, changed the requirement for two appointed officials when FAT timing is used to one appointed timing official.  

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

According to the 2021-22 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, track and field is the second-most popular sport for boys with 569,262 participants in 17,070 high schools nationwide, and it is No. 1 for girls with 456,697 participants in 17,028 schools.

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Changes in pitching delivery requirements approved in high school softball

Beginning next year, pitchers in high school softball will be allowed to disengage both feet from the playing surface if the pivot foot is not replanted prior to the delivery of the pitch. Previously, the pivot foot was required to remain in contact with the ground.

This modification to Rule 6-1-2c of the NFHS Softball Rules Book headlined a set of seven rules changes recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at the committee’s June 11-13 meeting at the Conrad Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“When examining the survey responses, the NFHS Softball Rules Committee recognized that a majority of the membership were in favor of this change,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. “An additional topic the committee discussed was whether a pitcher gains an advantage by having their pivot foot airborne vs. having it remain in contact with the ground. Our rules have traditionally allowed for flexibility to accommodate the differing skill levels of high school athletes. This change allows for exploration of different styles of pitching during student-athletes’ developmental stages.”

In another change, Rule 1-8-6 now permits electronic information to be transmitted to the dugout from anywhere outside of live ball area. This reflects current technology and still requires that electronic devices are used in the dugout but no longer stipulates where the video is recorded or how it is transmitted.

Beginning January 1, 2027, softball uniforms may display only the player’s name, school name or nickname, school mascot and/or school logo as part of Rule 3-2-3. An additional uniform change for the 2024 season was approved in Rule 3-2-5, which more clearly defines what can be worn on the head to be consistent with other NFHS sports.

Changes to Rule 3-2-7 clarify where wristbands with a playbook/playcard attached can be worn. The equipment is only permitted to be worn on a player’s wrist or arm, and pitchers must wear it on their non-pitching arm, prohibiting wristbands from being worn on the belt.

The NFHS Softball Rules Committee further clarified the list of approved and non-approved substances to be used as drying agents for the pitcher in Rule 6-2-2. The rule specifies that dirt is not considered a foreign substance and does not have to be wiped from the hand prior to contacting the ball. Acceptable use of drying agents under the supervision and control of the umpire includes powdered rosin or any comparable drying agent listed on USA Softball’s certified equipment website.

According to the most recent NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, fast-pitch softball is the fifth-most popular sport for girls with 362,038 participants in 15,877 high schools nationwide. The survey also indicated an additional 6,602 participants in slow-pitch softball.

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Big effort by Nobals in William Garrett Memorial at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Trainer Larry Rivelli didn’t know if Nobals would win the $100,000 William Garrett Memorial Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis. But he was confident that any rival would have to run down Patricia’s Hope LLC’s 4-year-old gelding to win.

Nobals (photo) went to the front. End of story. But he had to earn the victory, with the odds-on favorite under pressure early while rattling off fast fractions before prevailing by 1 1/4-lengths over the oncoming Charcoal. Millionaire Just Might loomed up in mid-stretch but weakened late to finish a neck back in third in the field of eight older horses.

Ridden by E.T. Baird, Nobals covered the five-eighths of a mile over firm turf in 57.83 seconds after fractions of 21.73 and 46.63, the last eighth-mile going in 12.20. The Kentucky-bred son of Noble Mission paid $3.80, $3.00, and $2.40.

“It kind of went the way we thought it would unfold,” the Chicago-based Rivelli said by phone. “We just had to make sure we got out of harm’s ways. E.T. did a good job. He’s not really a fast, fast horse out of there. It takes him a couple of strides to get going. But you give him a breather — I don’t know who was riding the 9 (Eduardo Perez on fourth-place Shimmer Me Timbers) but they were riding us pretty good, shoving pretty good to keep up with us. I thought that might have softened us up a little bit, but he’s a pretty nice horse. He’s moving forward.”



Nobals hadn’t raced since taking Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at 38-1 odds on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. Baird, who also rides the turf sprinter One Timer for Rivelli, was on Nobals for the first time.

“That’s Larry’s style (going to the lead),” he said, adding of Nobals, “On form, he looked like he was that type of horse. But from what he showed, and in the races he’s run good, he’s been on the lead. He’s a nice horse, definitely. He’s fast and he has enough speed to hold there, and he responded well and he hung in there.”

Sold for $3,500 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky’s fall yearling sale, Nobals won his debut at Presque Isle in 2021 and afterward was sold privately to Vince Foglia’s Patricia’s Hope LLC. The William Garrett was his eighth victory, with two seconds, in 15 starts, earning $783,274 while racing at 10 tracks. Nobals has won six stakes over turf and all-weather surfaces, including the historic Arlington-Washington Futurity held for the final time with Arlington Park’s closure.

“These races, these five, 5 1/2 turf sprints and he’s partial to the Polytrack as well — there’s a zillion $100,000, $200,000 races,” Rivelli said. “We’ll just try to scope out a good plan for him to get him to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint if we can. The thing is, we have two similar horses in that category, One Timer and him. So, we’ll obviously try to keep them away from each other and keep up the success we’re having with these sprinters.” 



Members of the William Garrett family were trackside to present the trophy for the third running of the event. James Garrett Jr. and his wife, Tonita, along with their son, James Garrett III, were trackside for the presentation.

The race is named in honor of Shelbyville basketball legend William Garrett, who led the Shelbyville Golden Bears to a high school state championship in 1947. Garrett went on to play at Indiana University as the first African American in the Big Ten. He later served in various capacities, from a coach and educator to a high school and college administrator before his death in 1974.

“We are honored to represent the family each year for this race,” said James Garrett Jr., nephew of William Garrett. “This is a very nice honor for our family, and we appreciate being included to remember Bill in this way.”

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Verifying validated in Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

The hype proved to be right on target for Verifying. The Kentucky Derby starter earned a Derby win one state over, taking the 29th running of the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby Saturday with three-time leading jockey at Horseshoe Indianapolis Marcelino Pedroza Jr. aboard.

Verifying (photo, right) was ready to go when the gate opened. From post five, he made his presence known early in the one and one-sixteenth mile race, moving into a stalking spot just off race leader Transect and Gerardo Corrales.

Verifying was patient with Cagliostro to his inside in third as the field turned down the backstretch. Not much changed in positioning until the field got to the final turn. Verifying began to make his move on Transect and powered forward. Georgie W and Alex Achard moved three wide with Luan Machado using the same tactic at the back of the five-horse pack around the turn.

In the stretch, Verifying took over and went to battle first with Transect on the inside. Cagliostro and Edgar Morales were looking for a hole inside but had to wait a few strides before getting through. Raise Cain was in full gear on the outside and joined Verifying to the wire, making a valiant effort to get by him in the final strides but just couldn’t get there. Verifying was a winner by a nose over Raise Cain. Cagliostro moved up the inside and finished one and three-quarter lengths back for third.

“He was just like we wanted,” said Pedroza of Verifying. “I waited as long as I could. When we turned for home, I asked him. He was playing with me a little bit. But when I went left-handed, I kind of moved out a little bit and he felt (No. 2) and he gave me another gear just to hang on.”

Verifying was the people’s choice, paying $3.20 for the win. The Justify colt, bred by Hunter Valley and Mountmellick Farm of Kentucky, is owned by Michael Kuessner’s Westerberg LTD, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Jonathan Poulin. Brad Cox trains the talented sophomore, who earned his second win of the season and his third overall in nine starts.

“It was a little stressful, but he got the job done,” said Cox, who maintains a string of horses annually at Horseshoe Indianapolis under the management of assistant trainer Ricky Giannini. “He ran well. Marcelino (Pedroza Jr.) put him in a great trip. He responded. He felt some pressure late from the 2 (Raise Cain) and finished up well and was able to stay in front at the wire.”

Verifying is from the first crop of Triple Crown winner Justify. He was purchased for $775,000 from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale and now has nearly $750,000 on his card. He also becomes a Graded Stakes winner with his effort in the Indiana Derby.

“His race today has justified Brad’s belief in this horse, said Charlie O’Connor, director of sales for Coolmore America. “He’s always believed he is a Group 1 winner, a Group 1 caliber horse. Today has proven the distance is right for him. Being by (Coolmore America stallion) Justify, Justify had a Group 1 winner today at Belmont. He’s a great sire. We believe in the sire a lot, and this is just another indication that this horse and this sire are very good.”



Brad noted the potential of Verifying and thinks he is just getting started.

“Big pedigree,” said Cox. “We need to get a Grade 1 out of him. I think he’s a Grade 1 horse. The (Kentucky) Derby is a throw-out. His run in the Blue Grass was a really good run. Once again, I think there’s a Grade 1 in him. I’m not certain when and where or what distance. But it was just good to get him back in the win column. He showed a lot of class and determination late, and hopefully we’ll build off of this.”

Pedroza Jr. (photo), a native of Panama, adds another Graded Stakes win to his credentials. With more than 1,400 career wins, he has earned three leading rider titles in Indiana. He concentrates his business each summer in Indiana while still fulfilling business at other tracks in the Midwest.

“It means a lot,” added Pedroza Jr. “I’ve been here five, six years, been riding here long enough. To win this race, the most important at the track, it means a lot.”

The Indiana Derby capped off a full day of racing, featuring eight total premier races with purses extending beyond the $1.1 million mark. The day also brought in another record Indiana Derby Day handle for the fourth straight year with $7,980,494.45. Non-comingled handle was still coming in at press time, but the final total is expected to be over the $8.5 million mark.

“It’s been a great day of racing with a lot of competitive action on the track,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing. “We always look forward to providing a good show for fans on this day and it did not disappoint this year. Several of the races were determined in photo finishes, people were having fun with all the ancillary promotions going on, and it was a fantastic way to showcase our racing product to the world. We are elated with the results.”

$200,000 Indiana Oaks

Grade 1 winner Defining Purpose was the most accomplished 3-year-old filly in the $200,000 Indiana Oaks and she also had the speed to secure a good trip. The result was a 1 1/4-length victory over odds-on favorite Taxed in the Grade 3 race at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

Taxed, coming off an impressive victory in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico on Preakness Eve, broke on the rail, found herself last of the seven competitors for much of the race, was forced to come wide in the stretch and could only chip at Defining Purpose’s margin.

“She had the speed to put herself in position, and that’s what it looked like on paper,” said jockey Brian Hernandez, winning the Indiana Oaks for a third time. “There were a couple of fillies that were a little faster on the first turn. But when she’s able to get the trip like she did today, when she was able to cruise to every pole on her own terms, she’s got a pretty good turn of foot turning for home.”



Defining Purpose (photo) won Keeneland’s prestigious Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland at 20-1 odds in April. The Indiana Oaks was her first start since she finished seventh in an inordinately strong Kentucky Oaks on May 5. It also was her first start since being purchased privately by Japan’s Northern Farm.

“I think the spacing is a big deal for her,” said trainer Kenny McPeek, winning the Indiana Oaks for a second time after taking the 2013 edition with Pure Fun. “We spaced her race coming out of Oaklawn and then didn’t run her until the Ashland. And this race, we spaced her race again. She just runs a bit stronger with a little bit wider gap. Admittedly, I like running them, and maybe that’s not her game. We might sit on her until the Cotillion (G1 at Parx on Sept. 23). But I was impressed with her.”

Longshot Sandra D., who came into the race off a maiden victory, went to the lead and set a tepid first-quarter mile (24.12 seconds) that became a dawdling half-mile (49.06) and six furlongs (1:14) before giving way. Hernandez was content to track Sandra D. before taking over rounding for home. Taxed was making her move under Rafael Bejarano but had too much to do.

Taxed, with Rafael Bejarano up, finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of California invader Lily Poo, who beat fourth place Merlazza by a head under jockey James Graham. Flamand, Cloak of Mercy and Sandra D rounded out the field.

Trainer Randy Morse was visibly upset after Taxed’s defeat.

“When they walk like that and you’re — what was she, 12 lengths back? — it’s pretty hard to win,” said Morse. “She circles the field and how wide was she? Very wide. That’s racing. And that’s a good filly that won. When they’re going (slow) like that, it’s hard to pass them. That’s trotting horse time 1:14 and you’re back that far?”

The Equibase chart put Taxed four lengths back on the backstretch, but it surely seemed much more for Morse watching the race unfold.

“When she drew the inside (moving from post 2 to the rail with the scratch of Cotton Candy Annie), that’s why I told him, ‘You’ve got to get her out of the gate,’” Morse said. “You can’t sit back there and they’re walking on the front end and you’re back umpteen zillion lengths.”

Bejarano did not comment.

Defining Purpose, 8-5 in the morning line but who was dispatched as just over 2-1 by the betting public, finished up 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.83. She paid $6.40 to win, $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. Defining Purpose now is 4-0-1 in nine starts. The winner’s purse of $117,600 brought her earnings to $673,788.

The dark gray daughter of Cross Traffic had finished in front of Taxed two of three times over the winter at Oaklawn Park, including winning the Years End Stakes to wrap up their 2-year-old seasons. Both fillies were drilled in the Grade 3 Honeybee won by the well-regarded Wet Paint, after which McPeek sent Defining Purpose to Keeneland. Taxed stayed at Oaklawn, finishing second in the Fantasy (G3) won by Wet Paint. But under Churchill Downs’ revised points qualifying system, Taxed missed making the Kentucky Oaks and instead ran in the Black-Eyed Susan.

“Taxed ran big but it looked like she had a little bit of a troubled trip,” McPeek said of the Indiana Oaks runner-up. “Our filly, when she’s fresher, she shows a little bit more speed, which gives her a much better chance because she’s in good position.”

Hernandez credited McPeek and his Churchill Downs assistant Greg Geier for figuring out that more time reaps rewards with Defining Purpose.

“And she came to this race a little stronger, she’s getting to be a little bigger filly,” the jockey said. “That was a pretty good performance today.”

Defining Purpose now has two ties to Indiana. Her dam, Defining Hope, is a multiple stakes winner at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The Indiana sired filly by Strong Hope had five wins during her racing career, four of which were stakes victories. She won all five races under jockey Malcolm Franklin for trainer Barbara McBride and owner Colette Marie Vanmatre, a first-time racehorse owner of the standout filly who went on to year-end honors in Indiana. Vanmatre is the breeder on Defining Purpose.

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Granitz Stable ready for Indiana premier races during Indiana Derby Day at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Trainer Tony Granitz made a bet seven years ago that paid off handsomely.

The Illinois native for years had been a fixture in Chicago horse racing. But he handicapped the Indiana racing and breeding programs and projected a winner, moving his base to Horseshoe Indianapolis.

The results speak for themselves. Granitz is perennially among the leaders in the overall track standings and also among the leading owners and trainers of Indiana-bred horses. That’s on display Saturday as Granitz has three horses in the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Handicap for 3-year-old fillies and two horses in the $100,000 Snack Handicap for 3-year-olds. Both races are for registered Indiana-breds competing at a mile on turf. The five horses are part of Granitz’s large stable based most of the year in Indiana and the winter at Tampa Bay Downs.

“I’m building up my string,” he said. “I own part of about 20 of them, and mine are all Indiana-breds. I invested well in the program, with living here and Tampa in the winter. But we also have some nice Kentucky-bred 2-year-olds we bought in the sale.”

Lucky J Stables’ Star Wisher is the 3-1 favorite in the Ellen’s Lucky Star’s full field of 12. She’s 2 for 3, the defeat a third-place finish last fall in a tough Keeneland allowance race won by the well-regarded Heavenly Sunday. 

“Star Wisher was training really great in Ocala over the winter,” Granitz said. “When she got up here, she got real sick with coughing and mucous. So, we missed some time with her, and didn’t get her first race of the year until June. But she won really impressively. The saddle slipped that day, too. She went to the lead. Marcelino Pedroza tried to get her to relax, but the saddle slipped up on her neck. As he told me, he was so close to her ears that he just kept telling her, ‘You’re doing great. You’re doing great.’

“Saturday we have to overcome the 12 hole, but there’s a lot of speed inside of us. We’re hoping the pace is good and that she can sit right in the pocket. Marcelino loves the filly. We’re excited because her owner (Cal Johnston) will be here, and it will be the first time he’s been able to see her run.”

The consistent Wildcatjustice (12-1) runs for the first time on grass, for which she is bred, after winning an off-the-turf allowance race in her last start.


“She’s training really well, and she’s run some really good races here,” Granitz said. “She’s Indiana-sired, too, but we’re trying her against the big girls. I’m hoping she takes to the turf, and we’ll see what happens.”

Izforever is 30-1 in the morning line, but her one win in five starts was also her only turf start. She also adds blinkers.

Backyard Justice is the Snack’s 9-2 second choice, with a maiden win and seconds in his three grass starts. Spotonjustice, an Indiana-bred stakes-winner sprinting, makes his turf debut after fading to ninth in the 1 1/16th-mile Hoosier Breeders Sophomore.

“He’s run great the last two times,” Granitz said of Backyard Justice. “The last time I thought he should have won. He got in a little tight and got checked. But I believe he’s going to run a big race. We’re really looking for a big effort from him on the grass and going two turns.”

Spotonjustice, he said, “He has never been on the grass. But he’s kind of a horse who doesn’t like dirt in his face. So I wanted to try him on the grass and see if he breaks good. He drew a good post (the rail), and he gets Orlando Mojica on him, so I’m excited about that. He rides the grass really well here. Hopefully, he can get the horse out and keep the dirt out of his face. He’s an Indiana-sired horse, so there are some good spots down the road for him.” 

Granitz co-owns Wildcat Justice, Backyard Justice and Spotonjustice.

The 5-2 favorite in the Snack is the George Leonard-trained King Ice, owned by Louisville attorney Ron Hillerich and Churchill Downs-based owner-trainer Bernie Flint, who trained King Ice’s broodmare sire, Unbridled Express. King Ice is a son of 2015 Travers winner Keen Ice, the only horse to defeat Triple Crown winner American Pharoah as a 3-year-old. 

“He’s really coming into his own, and I think his better days are ahead of him,” Leonard said. “He’s a solid, muscled-up horse - a giant rock of a horse. I like him a lot.”

King Ice won the Indiana Futurity in his last start at 2. In two races at 3, he has a pair of seconds by a head in an allowance race and the Hoosier Breeders Sophomore. King Ice returns to the grass for the first time since his first two career starts. Leonard also is putting the blinkers back on after taking them off for one race. James Graham comes from Ellis Park to ride.

“He ran his first few races with blinkers, and we’re putting blinkers back on,” Leonard said. “It just looked like he was better with the blinkers. I ran him at Indiana against open company on the grass in his first race, then I ran him at Kentucky Downs, then we went to the dirt. And now we’re back on the grass again. I think he’s better on dirt, but I think he’s going to be as good on grass. His first couple of starts on grass, he ran in really tough races.

“In his last race, he got out of the gate super slow, was way behind and left way too much to do. He never did that before, and still almost got up. We’re thinking with the blinkers back on that he’ll break and stay closer.”


Marcelino Pedroza looking for big day, capped by Verifying 

With Belmont Park, Delaware Park and Prairie Meadows also offering multiple stakes Saturday, the national leaders among jockeys are spread all over the country. Marcelino Pedroza — tied for the meet lead with Fernando De La Cruz with 38 wins apiece heading in Friday’s racing — has every intention of capitalizing on their absence, including riding 8-5 favorite Verifying in the $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby for trainer Brad Cox.

Verifying narrowly lost Keeneland’s Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass and the Grade 3 Matt Winn at Ellis Park, with a tiring 16th in the Kentucky Derby sandwiched in between. With Verifying’s regular rider, Tyler Gaffalione, in New York Saturday, Cox turned to his go-to Indiana jockey.

Pedroza’s prior experience with Verifying is working him one time over the winter in New Orleans.

“I liked him as soon as I got on,” the three-time Indiana meet champion said. “He showed in the morning what he’s shown in the afternoon. He’s been running with really tough horses like Tapit Trice. Disarm is a nice horse, too. He’s just getting beat, and hopefully we get the job done Saturday.”

Pedroza is named to ride in 10 of Saturday’s 12 races, including all six stakes. That includes Oaklawn stakes-winner Merlazza in the $200,000, Grade 3 Indiana Oaks and Lone Star’s Ouija Board winner Juncture in the $100,000 Indiana General Assembly for Cox; Grade 1-placed Strong Tide in the $100,000 Jonathan B. Schuster Memorial on turf for trainer Mike Lauer; Evangeline Mile winner Five Star General for Grant Forster in the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial; and Lil Kings Princess for John Ortiz in the $100,000 Mari George Hulman Memorial.

“It means a lot,” Pedroza said of being so well-mounted for Indiana’s biggest day of horse racing. “Normally a lot of jockeys come from out of town, and we ride a few. To have the opportunity to ride this caliber of horses on this day, and especially in the Derby, it means a lot. Hopefully, it works out the way I want, and the way Brad wants.”

Indiana Derby Day, the state’s biggest day of horse racing, will be complemented by numerous activities, including a Virtual Reality Jockey Station, cigar rolling station to the first 500, $600 Indiana Derby Hat Contest, $2,500 Indiana Derby Legends Handicapping Contest, and a drawing for one $3,000 Megabet across the board on the Indiana Derby. A total of eight premier races are on the program featuring purses in excess of $1.1 million.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with ample seating both indoors and outside on a first come first serve basis. Free parking and free general admission offered to guests of all ages on the racing side. Reservations are still available in the Clubhouse by contacting Beth Litteral at (317) 421-8801.

For more information, visit the website at www.caesars.com/horseshoe-indianapolis/racing-promotions or follow the track on Twitter @HSIndyRacing.


DeVaux hoping Cagliostro transforms into graded-stakes winner in Indiana Derby

The 3-year-old colt Cagliostro, who runs in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis, is named for Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, the 18th Century Italian adventurer, magician and occultist who enthralled Parisian high society until the French Revolution ended the party.

Trainer Cherie DeVaux is hoping that in a span of about 105 seconds Saturday about 6:40 p.m. that Cagliostro will be transformed from maiden winner into a graded-stakes winner who can compete against the top echelon of 3-year-olds the rest of the year. No magic or mysticism required — though Cagliostro might have to run the best race of his life to defeat 8-5 favorite Verifying in the 1 1/16-mile stakes.

“He’s going to be tough to beat,” DeVaux said. “But Cagliostro has been training really well, and I’m looking forward to see how he runs here.”

With the exception of an eighth-place finish in the 1 3/16-mile TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby, Cagliostro has improved every race. At 8-1 in the morning line, he could be the value play in the anticipated field of eight 3-year-olds, with No. 9 Georgie W expected to scratch. Edgar Morales will be aboard Cagliostro for the first time.

“We gave him a chance to run in the Louisiana Derby,” DeVaux said. “At the top of the stretch, he’d made a run and it looked like he might be right there. We gave him one shot to try to make it into the Kentucky Derby, but I think it was a little far. He’s a big horse, and after the Louisiana Derby he did a bit of growing and we gave him some time.”

DeVaux brought Cagliostro back in a one-turn mile allowance race June 3 at Churchill Downs, closing well to lose by only a head to the promising Scotland.

“He just seems more effective at the two turns, but maybe not two turns at the longer distances,” she said. “The mile and a sixteenth seems perfect.”

DeVaux, in her sixth year as a trainer after being an assistant to Chad Brown, kick-started her career by developing young fillies to where they accrued residual value as broodmares.

“Last year was the first year where my clients and I thought it was a good time to dip our toes into the colts, to try to spend a significant amount of money on colts,” she said.

Those clients include a partnership spearheaded by her husband, prominent bloodstock agent David Ingordo. They set a budget and purchased a pair of colts, including Cagliostro for $385,000 at the April 2-year-old-in-training sale in Ocala, Fla. The Upstart colt races in the names of Ingordo, Talla Racing, James D. Spry, West Point Thoroughbreds and Nice Guys Stables.



“When we saw Cagliostro, he’s a really good-looking individual,” DeVaux said. “He had a nice breeze - not a ‘wow’ 9.4 (seconds for an eighth-mile) - with a good gallop-out. He was the first one we purchased. He’s a Florida-bred, and that might have been one reason he didn’t go for an exorbitant amount of money. But he was a nice, athletic individual.”

Cagliostro finished sixth while sprinting in his racing debut at Saratoga last summer.

“He trained well, but you could tell that mentally it was going to take him a while to put it together,” DeVaux said. “… He banged a shin before a race at Keeneland, so we had to scratch him and regroup from there.”

Off almost five months, Cagliostro rallied to easily win a maiden race at the Fair Grounds at 1 1/16 miles in his second start. He backed that up with a second by a neck in an allowance race at the same distance to earn a shot at the Louisiana Derby.

“The one thing about him is he’s been quite immature,” DeVaux said. “That’s something we’ve had to keep a close eye on. He can get quite cheeky here and there about things. He’s maturing both physically and mentally, and it’s reflected on his race record.”

A victory Saturday would be big not only for Cagliostro but for his trainer. Cagliostro would be DeVaux’s second graded-stakes winner, following Gam’s Mission, a Grade 3 winner in 2021 and 2022.

“When you can win a graded stakes with a colt it really picks up everyone’s head,” she said. “My crew is young. You have to prove yourself; nothing is given to any of us. A lot of my success so far has been with fillies. It’s a big deal, those (3-year-old) races…. To get a win like that, it would be special just to have. But as far as developing your career, people take notice.”

DeVaux has topped her prior year’s numbers each season she’s been a trainer, even during COVID. With 28 victories and $1.85 million in purse earnings so far in 2023, she’s well on her way to surpassing last year’s 35 victories and $2.69 million in purses.

“There have been challenges, but the one aspect I’m most proud of is that our stable has a really good core group of employees and team members that have grown with us,” said DeVaux, who trains about 80 horses in Kentucky and New York. “It’s been really exciting, and I’m proud with how things have gone. We really try to keep in mind that we have to work hard every day. And no matter how big we are, we have to treat each horse as an individual and work together.

“We’re going into our sixth year. If you would have asked me even three years ago if we’d be here today, I might not have been so positive. But we keep chugging along.”

Love and Money and Bout Time

DeVaux also has the duo of Love and Money and Bout Time in today’s $100,000 Clarksville Stakes for fillies and mares at five-eighths of a mile on turf.

“They have two different types of running styles,” she said. "Love and Money is speed; and we’ve trained to change that to no available. The Jacksons (Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who race as Lael Stables), have been great in being patient with her. We tried to stretch her out when we first purchased her. She almost blew the turn because all she wants to do is go as fast as she can as far as she can. The five furlongs for her seems to be a good distance. She tries every time; she’s a beautiful filly. She’s won a couple of races for us, and it’s time to get her back into stakes company.

“Bout Time is already a stakes-winner at Monmouth, then she came off form. So we freshened her and she’s come back well. She had a nice race back at Churchill (third in an allowance race) so hopefully she keeps moving forward.”

The 5-2 favorite in the field of 12 is Oeuvre, who has won 11 of her 19 starts while winning stakes on both turf and dirt.

Also today is the $100,000 William Garrett for males at five furlongs on turf. The 8-5 favorite in the field of 10 is Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint winner Nobals, trained by Larry Rivelli, who also has 4-for-5 Act a Fool in the Indiana Derby.

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Local jockeys prepare for Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Indiana Derby is the biggest horse race in the state, so naturally, jockeys who participate day in, day out at Horseshoe Indianapolis want to be included in the race.

This year, several local jockeys will vie for the title in the 29th running of the Grade 3 $300,000 race Saturday, including Marcelino Pedroza Jr., Orlando Mojica and Eddie Perez, who are based in Indiana on a full-time basis.

Pedroza Jr. (photo) is a three-time leading jockey in Indiana and is currently leading the standings once again in 2023. He has secured the ride aboard Derby favorite Verifying, who begins from post five at odds of 8-5. The son of Justify was a starter in this year’s Kentucky Derby and looks to add a stakes win to his credentials from the race.

Although Pedroza Jr. has not ridden Verifying in a race, he has experience with the horse, who is trained by the nation’s top trainer in purse earnings this year Brad Cox. Cox keeps a string of horses each season at Horseshoe Indianapolis in Shelbyville under the care of assistant trainer Ricky Giannini.

“I’ve worked him (Verifying) a couple times down at Fair Grounds this past winter,” added Pedroza Jr. “I’ve never ridden him in a race, but I’m very familiar with him. I’ll just go into it like it’s a regular day (as far as preparation). But it feels good to be riding in the Derby.”

Pedroza Jr., who has more than 1,400 career wins since arriving in the United States from his native Panama, will make his third start in the Indiana Derby. He guided King Ottoman to a third place finish last year.

“I’ve ridden in the Kentucky Derby, so it’s always an honor to ride in a Derby in any state,” said Pedroza Jr. “I’ve been here for many years and this race is one I really want to win. I thank Brad (Cox) for giving me this opportunity on such a nice horse.”



Orlando Mojica (photo) will also guide one of the favorites in this year’s Indiana Derby as he climbs aboard Act a Fool for the first time from post three at odds of 6-1. The three-year-old Oscar Performance colt is currently on a four-race win streak. This will be the first time Mojica has ridden the colt for trainer Larry Rivelli.

“Larry is a good trainer and always has his horses ready and fit,” said Mojica. “I’ve never ridden this horse, but I’ve ridden against him and been behind him. He’s a nice horse. I know what he can do. We will see what happens. You never know. It’s only numbers on the page.”

Mojica began his riding career in 2000. He has secured leading rider titles at several tracks, including Hoosier Park and Ellis Park in addition to his three titles at Horseshoe Indianapolis. With more than 2,600 career wins, the multiple Graded Stakes winning jockey would love to add one more title to his credentials.

“This is home and I’ve been riding here a long time and ridden in this Derby several times,” added Mojica. “I’m just glad to have this opportunity to ride in the Derby. It sure is nice to be riding in it again this year.”

Indiana Derby Day, the state’s biggest day of horse racing, will be complemented by numerous activities, including a Virtual Reality Jockey Station, cigar rolling station to the first 500, $600 Indiana Derby Hat Contest, $2,500 Indiana Derby Legends Handicapping Contest, and a drawing for one $3,000 Megabet across the board on the Indiana Derby.

A total of eight premier races are on the program featuring purses of more than $1.1 million.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. with ample seating both indoors and outside on a first come first serve basis. Free parking and free general admission offered to guests of all ages on the racing side.

Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email. Go to shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Electronic communication devices to be permitted in high school baseball

The use of a one-way communication device between a coach in the dugout and a team’s catcher for the purposes of calling pitches will be permitted in high school baseball beginning in 2024.

This change to Rules 1-6-2 and 3-2-5 was one of five rules revisions approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 4-6 meeting in Indianapolis. The recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The new rules prohibit coaches from communicating with any other player besides the catcher on defense and with any player while batting. The coach must also be in the dugout when using the communication device.

“This change is consistent with the growth of the game and is indicative of a measured and responsible approach to enable technology into our level of competition,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS Director of Sports and Educational Services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “The committee has made these changes to maintain the balance between offense and defense; increase the pace of play; and will responsibly manage technology so there is no advantaged gained by schools that have more available resources than some of their contemporaries. Creating a level playing field is paramount to education-based athletics.”

Game management by umpires was addressed with a change to Rule 10-2-3h. The edit removes spectators’ behavior from the umpire-in-chief’s jurisdiction when deciding to forfeit a contest. Only infractions by players, coaches or team/bench personnel are under the umpire’s jurisdiction. The committee agreed that poor behavior by spectators should be handled by game administration.

“This change is a complementary rule to support schools’ game management role in addressing unacceptable behavior and will allow the umpire to focus on the action and players on the field,” Hopkins said.

Rule 1-6-1 was added and designates a wristband with defensive shifts, pitching choices or game directions as non-electronic equipment and must be a single, solid color and worn on the forearm. Pitchers’ cards must not be white, gray or a distracting color and worn on their non-pitching arm.

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

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Act a Fool might not be another Two Phil's but Rivelli would settle for Indiana Derby win

Trainer Larry Rivelli harbors no illusions that 4-for-5 Act a Fool can measure up to the ability of his Kentucky Derby runner-up and $1.5 million-earner Two Phil’s, who impressively won the June 24 Ohio Derby only to sustain a career-ending injury.

But Rivelli will be plenty thrilled if Act a Fool proves good enough to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Indiana Derby at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Act a Fool is co-owned by Vince Foglia’s Patricia’s Hope LLC, the majority owner in Two Phil’s.

“There’s not much sting with Two Phil’s,” Rivelli said of his stable star’s premature retirement. “It was bad luck and stuff happened. But he’s going to have a career as a stallion, hopefully a really successful one. We just ended up retiring him a couple of races earlier than we probably would have, that’s all.

"As far as this horse, he’s got to step it up a little bit. But he hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s time to take that next jump. His last race, the Hawthorne Derby, was a little bit of a jump. There were a couple of horses in there better than the horses he’d beaten before. He kind of ran them off their feet. It wasn’t even close. He was in front and never looked back.”

Hence, Rivelli makes no bones about his tactics: Make ’em catch Act a Fool, who has been on or very near the early lead in all his victories, expanding his margin through the stretch. The pace those days was moderate, if not pedestrian, so the question remains if Act a Fool is best on the lead or just towered over his Hawthorne rivals and found himself in front by being more athletic.

“He definitely can race outside of one or behind one,” Rivelli said. “(But) I’m going to send him to the lead and let those guys figure it out. I’ll be in front, I promise you that."

Act a Fool’s wins have all come at Rivelli’s home track of Hawthorne Race Course since a disastrous debut Jan. 13 over Turfway Park’s Tapeta surface, when he faded to last of 12, beaten 60 lengths. Act a Fool won three races on dirt at the Chicago track by 16 1/2 lengths before rolling to a 4 1/2-length romp in the $100,000 Hawthorne Derby at 1 1/8 miles over yielding turf.

“I’ve always thought he was a pretty nice horse,” Rivelli said. “We ran at Turfway and had high hopes that day, and he just didn’t run at all. I don’t know what it really had to do with. We went back to the drawing board, and I put him in at Hawthorne. It’s obviously an easier venue, and he hasn’t lost since.”

That he thrived on grass was not a surprise, with Act a Fool being a son of turf standout Oscar Performance.

“I don’t know if it’s dirt, turf, if he likes one better, but he’s certainly taken care of the competition there pretty easily,” Rivelli said. “Much deeper waters here, but he definitely warrants a shot to see if he can hang with these kinds of horses.”

Rivelli also is running Patricia Hope’s speedy turf sprinter Nobals in Friday’s $100,000 William Garrett Stakes. Nobals — a $3,500 yearling purchase for his prior owner and winner of Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint at 38-1 odds in his last start — is the 8-5 favorite in the William Garrett.

Lobo-trained Transect seeks first stakes in Indiana Derby

Trainer Paulo Lobo hopes that the sensational young stallion Gun Runner adds to his stakes-winning progeny when OXO Equine’s Transect runs in Saturday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby.

 Transect — bought for $300,000 as a weanling in 2020 well before Gun Runner’s first runners hit the track — is 3 for 4. Lobo considers the 10th-place drubbing in the slop for New York’s Gotham (G3) a throw-out. Transect bounced back with a front-running victory in a mile allowance race at Horseshoe Indianapolis in his two-turn debut. He’ll break from the rail under Gerardo Corrales, who is 2-for-2 on the chestnut colt.

“Nice colt,” Lobo said. “He’s improving a lot. The way he has trained and the way he won at Indiana, I think he can go longer.” As far as his potential, “Let’s wait until Saturday. Everybody is waiting for Saturday, me, the owners, the manager to see how good this colt might be.”

Lobo also has In Love in the $100,000 Jonathan B. Schuster Memorial for older horses on grass and Justify My Love in the $100,000 Indiana General Assembly for fillies and mares on turf. Both Brazilian-bred horses are owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud RDI and started out racing in Argentina.

In Love went from winning a restricted stakes at Kentucky Downs in 2021 to taking the Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile in his next start. He has yet to replicate that lofty achievement, but Lobo is hoping In Love follows the path of his 2020 Keeneland Turf Mile winner Ivar, who captured last year’s Schuster in his first start of the year.

Like Ivar, In Love comes into the Schuster off a freshening — just not as long — since he struggled home in Keeneland’s April 14 Maker’s Mark Mile (G1). Ivar used last year’s Schuster as a launching pad to finish second in three Grade 1 races and fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf in four starts before retiring to stud.

“In Love is doing well,” Lobo said. “Let’s see if he can do what Ivar did last year.”

Justify My Love won a Churchill Downs allowance race in her third U.S. start last fall and comes into Saturday’s race off a close third in another Churchill allowance won by Henrietta Topham, the 3-1 favorite in the Indiana General Assembly’s full field of 12.

“She is coming from a very good race at Churchill Downs and she’s also doing very well,” Lobo said. “I like her. She won at Churchill, was third by a head at Churchill in a very tough allowance. Now she’s ready to try a little bit tougher race.”

Heartyconstitution on roll heading into Mari Hulman George

The hunch bet in Saturday’s $100,000 Mari Hulman George could be Heartyconstitution, given the stakes falls during the week of July 4. Of course, she’s also the favorite, riding a three-race win streak into the 1 1/16th-mile race for fillies and mares.

Heartyconstitution, a daughter of promising young WinStar Farm stallion Constitution, races for owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Highlander Training Center in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Trainer Joe Sharp scratched out of last Saturday’s Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Ellis Park to give Heartyconstitution an extra week from her last race. Heartyconstitution shipped to Penn National to win the $100,000 Lyphard Stakes on turf June 3 for Pennsylvania-for horses. That followed allowance victories on dirt at Churchill Downs and turf at the Fair Grounds. Overall, she’s 4-2-1 in eight starts as she seeks her first stakes victory against open company. 

“I think she’s a little better on dirt than she is the grass, as much as ‘dual surface’ as she’s shown she is,” Sharp said. “The numbers just suggest she’s a touch better on dirt. She is very good on grass as well. I mean, she’s just one of those fillies you could run her down asphalt and she’d give you the same effort. She just isn’t really particular. She’s a racehorse. She doesn’t get her feelings her hurt easily. I just think she’s a touch faster on the dirt.”

Having won sprinting and around two turns, on turf and dirt, “she’s shown a hearty constitution,” he said.

“That being said, her owners have shown hearty constitution in the fact that they’ve been very patient,” continued Sharp, who is married to former standout jockey Rosie Napravnik, who oversees the couple’s farm operation outside of Louisville. “They gave her the time she was asking for last summer. She showed a lot of talent as a 3-year-old. We had a little bit of a respiratory issue when we took her to Saratoga. We tried all the things you can do in the barn to help get her over it. At the end of the day, the only thing that was really the answer was time.

“Being that she was on the East Coast, we took her back to my place, and Rosie rehabbed her there. We brought her back, and the owners didn’t have any timeline on her as far as an agenda was concerned, which makes my job a lot easier. She was able to tell us when she was ready. We made our first start at the Fair Grounds and being patient has paid them dividends by letting her put a three-race win streak together.

“They did a great job at Highlander. When she came in as a 2-year-old and we were working her at Oaklawn, she was top of the list, top of the barn. With that, she put a lot into her first few races and her body said she needed a little time to grow up some more. She’s a big filly. We gave her that, and she’s turned into a really nice mare.”

Lovell looks for Just Might to rebound in William Garrett

With 11 wins and 27 top-three placings, millionaire Just Might would need no apologies if he began tailing off at age 7. However, Michelle Lovell, the gelding’s trainer and co-owner and co-breeder with Griffon Farms, doesn’t believe it’s Father Time as much as the unforgiving nature of turf sprints that led to Just Might being beaten in his last six starts in a career where he’s won nine stakes.

The Churchill Downs-based Lovell is hoping win No. 10 comes in Friday’s $100,000 William Garrett Stakes at five-eighths of a mile on turf at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

“I thought it was a nice little spot,” she said. “He’s doing awesome, he really is. He’s training very well, he’s really healthy. He’s been in some pretty good races. He’s messed his opportunities up, being a little rambunctious in the gate. He cannot break flat-footed (and expect to win), and when he does, he has a hard time of it. Especially the races he’s been in because they’re very competitive. We’re trying to find that spot where he can get a win again because he’s doing excellent, as good as he ever has.

“There’s no margin for error in turf sprints, and he causes his own problems. He’s run well tracking speed, so that’s not a problem. But if he breaks bad, you’re giving everything up. It’s all about the break.”

Just Might is Lovell’s first million-dollar earner in a training career the former jockey launched in the latter part of 2003 with a horse named Mick and Bubba. The gelding is out of a Texas-bred mare named Dynamite Babe, who died giving birth in 2017 to a full sister to Just Might, both being by Justin Phillip.

Dynamite Babe, a starter-allowance horse who won nine races, was owned and bred by Dr. Robert Griffon and trained by Lovell.

“She got cheap, and we lost her in a claiming race, and we claimed her back,” Lovell said. “We won with her after we claimed her back and I talked to my owner about breeding her. He really wasn’t interested, but I said, ‘Let’s go halves, and I’ll pay everything just like you. Let’s have some fun. She’s been good to us.’ He agreed and she gave us four winners. She was a queen, had some nice babies.”

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Nobody Listens repeats in Brickyard at Horseshoe Indianapolis

Nobody Listens and Joe Ramos had the loudest roar in the final strides of the 27th running of the $100,000 Brickyard Wednesday at Horseshoe Indianapolis. The grand grey gelding powered home in a time of 1:09.55 for the win and earned back-to-back victories in the Brickyard, his third premier race win of his career.

Starting from post two, Ramos had a straight shot to get Nobody Listens to the top spot in a matter of steps. They were joined by New Year’s Fever and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. on the outside.

Nobody Listens had his full attention locked in on the six-furlong sprint and maintained a speedy pace through the single turn race. In the stretch, he had opened up on the field by more than two lengths as the late chargers got in gear.

Latigo and Orlando Mojica led the biggest charge from the center of the track, but Nobody Listens had the advantage, fending off Latigo by a head at the wire. Fortin Hill and Gerardo Corrales finished third a half-length back, also in a late closing push.

“He is one of my favorite horses,” said Ramos, who has been aboard for all 11 wins. “I see him every day. He was calmer today and more relaxed in the paddock and even in the post parade. I think he may be maturing a little. He’s usually the type that will start jumping around in the post parade, but he didn’t do that today. I started talking to him and getting him ready for the race. Once we broke out of the gate, he was the same horse I have always known. He took off.”



Nobody Listens was the favorite, paying $4.60 in the 12-horse lineup. The flashy grey son of Conveyance earned his 11th victory in 23 career starts. Overall, he has only finished off the board four times in his career. Tim Eggleston oversees the training duties. Matt Kwiatkowski, Jason Kaylor and Roger Browning have owned the five-year-old since acquiring him from the Ocala Breeders Two-Year-Old Spring Sale in 2020 for $40,000. Since that purchase, he has brought in nearly $500,000 in career earnings, joining an elite group of Indiana breds with a half million on their card.

“He caught Brandon Stauble’s eye at the Ocala sale,” said co-owner Roger Browning, who is a native of Shelbyville. “We have had good luck with horses from the Dodds (breeders Karen and Greg Dodd of Southern Chase Farm), so we made arrangements to have Brandon bid on him and we got him. He’s just the type of horse you always want to have. He wants all the attention and he’ll whinny when we walk in the barn because he knows we have carrots. It’s not too often when you find a horse like him. He can run on the turf, dirt, synthetic. He’s just a great all-around horse.”

Browning, who is retired from construction, and his partners, Kwiatkowski and Kaylor, both State Farm Insurance agents, have traveled with the horse wherever he runs. They were rewarded with their trip to Turfway Park this spring when Nobody Listens won the $125,000 Big Daddy Stakes, earning the win by a neck with Ramos aboard.

“All of these races are exciting, but that win at Turfway was especially great because it was unexpected,” added Browning.

For Ramos, it was an especially good day. In addition to his win aboard Nobody Listens in the Brickyard, he won two other races earlier, scoring his 500th win of his young career aboard Undismayed.

Now up to 502 wins, Ramos was the leading apprentice jockey at both Horseshoe Indianapolis and Belterra in 2019. He also won the Leading Jockey title at Horseshoe Indianapolis last season. The native of Puerto Rico is always quick to be thankful for his success.

“First and foremost, I thank the Lord,” added Ramos. “I am very grateful that the Lord keeps me healthy and lets me do what I love to do. Plus, I’m very thankful to this team for opportunities like this. Riding good horses for owners and trainers like this is a blessing.”



$100,000 Checkered Flag

Hot Little Thing and Alex Achard blazed home to win the 3rd running of the $100,000 Checkered Flag Wednesday. The duo closed in gamely for the win in a time of 1:09.61.

Hot Little Thing (photo) began her journey from post seven in the 12-horse lineup but had quick steps out of the gate, getting a good early position in the early stages as Carimba and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. used their inside post to their advantage for the lead. Poetic Verse and Eddie Perez joined them to press the pace in second on the outside with Hot Little Thing lurking in third.

Midway through the lone turn of the race, Achard moved Hot Little Thing three wide to prepare for the stretch drive. Once in the stretch, Carimba proved she was a worthy competitor despite her long odds. She went to battle with Poetic Verse, who was also not backing down. The two fillies battled all the way to the wire. Hot Little Thing kicked into another gear late and had the best momentum, getting up for the win by a neck at the wire over Carimba. Poetic Verse was another neck back in third in the three-horse photo.

“I just wanted to make one move with her,” explained Achard, who has been aboard for all five of her career wins. “She is a sprinter, so she is intense. But I was very pleased with the start and the pace. She dug in late, and she was really brave.”

Hot Little Thing was the favorite of the field, paying $6.20 for the win. The chestnut daughter of Army Mule is owned and trained by Brian Lynch and is a recent acquisition by the Australian born owner-trainer. He purchased her this spring from the Keeneland April Horses of Racing Age Sale for $125,000.

The win in the Checkered Flag is the second premier win for her at Horseshoe Indianapolis. She won the $100,000 Back Home Again in Indiana last fall and overall, now has five career wins in eight starts, only missing a top-three finish once in those efforts. She increased her career bankroll to more than $220,000 with her latest win.



$59,200 Bradford Stakes

Mr Michel is now a stakes winner at the age of two, three and four. The multiple stakes winner just added another title to his credit Wednesday, winning the 25th running of the $59,200 Bradford Stakes.

Mr Michel (photo) began his journey from post one for jockey Edgar Diaz. He was out of the gate in a flash and had an early advantage during the 400-yard dash. Hooked on Jordan and Jose Ruiz along with Oscar Mike and Martin Munoz were in a battle in the center of the track as the tightly-bunched field moved down the stretch.

In the final strides, Mr Michel stretched out and got a comfortable advantage at the wire, winning by one and one-quarter lengths at the finish line in 19.949 seconds.

Hooked on Jordan finished second in a three-way battle over Oscar Mike for third. High Rolling Seize and Shanley Jackson were also close in the photo to finish fourth.

It was Diaz’s first win aboard the talented Mr Michel. It was also his second start aboard him, which assisted Diaz in his Bradford stakes winning performance.

“He broke well and got out of the gate good,” said Diaz through translation with trainer Claudio Barraza. “Halfway down the stretch, he started picking up more and more. I think the gate work really helped him today.”

Mr Michel was the favorite, paying $4.60 for the win. The sorrel son of Kiss My Hocks is now a seven-time winner for owner Alberto Valadez. He increased his career bankroll to more than $273,000.

Named after his breeder Mark Michel, Mr Michel made his mark as a two-year-old, winning the $198,000 Miss Roxie Little Futurity. He came back last year at three and earned a win in the $110,000 QHRAI Stallion Service Auction Derby. Now as a four-year-old, he adds another stakes win to his credentials with a win in the Bradford Stakes.

“I have told the owner all along to never sell this horse,” added Barraza. “He’s one of those special horses. He is a champion.”

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DNR accepting applications for reserved hunts

Applications for reserved hunts are open and hunters can apply online until August 6.

According to a release from the DNR, the only way to apply for the hunts listed below is online. There are also no late entries accepted and applicants must have a valid hunting license for the hunt they are applying for. 

Hunters can apply for a variety of reserved hunts online at the DNR Reserved Hunt Information webpage.

The Indiana Private Lands Access (IPLA) program has also now moved to reserved hunts and is no longer available through the self-service sign-in system.

Kessler selected Class A All-State by Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association

Morristown High School’s Grant Kessler was one of two pitchers selected to the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association’s 2023 Class A All-State Team.

A total of 11 baseball players were named Class A All-State.

Kessler, a Mount St. Joseph commit, was one of the top strikeout pitchers in the state in 2023. The left-hander registered 142 strikeouts in 62.1 innings pitched for the Yellow Jackets and amassed 346 strikeouts over his three varsity seasons at Morristown.

Kessler also was recently named Class A All-State by Prep Baseball Report (PBR) Indiana.

Also named Class A All-State were Union City pitcher Camden LaFuze, Southwood catcher Mo Lloyd, Barr-Reeve first baseman Seth Wagler, Barr-Reeve second baseman Levi Lester, Shakamak third baseman Brady Yeryar, Loogootee shortstop Drew Walker, Bloomfield shortstop Brett Sherrard, Borden outfielders Dylan Toler and Garrett Schmidt, and North Daviess outfielder Elliott Park.

Notable Class A athletes named Honorable Mention were South Decatur’s Devin Pate and Avery Seegers and North Decatur’s Nolan Burkhart.

The Class 2A All-State Team included South Adams pitcher Owen Wanner, Eastern (Greentown) pitcher Corbin Snyder, Forest Park pitcher Clayton Weisheit, Illiana Christian pitcher Kevin Corcoran Jr., Cardinal Ritter catcher Jake Dill, Cascade catcher Logan Gibbs, Bluffton first baseman Braxton Betancourt, Frankton second baseman Bradyn Douglas, Southwestern (Hanover) third baseman Jordan DeAtley, North Judson shortstop Quinton Frasure, Illiana Christian shortstop Isaac VanderWoude, Heritage Christian outfielder Andrew Wiggins, Delphi outfielder Chase Long, and Lapel outfielder Owen Imel.

Earning All-State honors in Class 3A were Western pitcher Mitchell Dean, Fairfield pitcher Alec Herschberger, Connersville catcher Chance Bentley, Western first baseman Mitchell Dean, Mishawaka Marian second baseman J.J. Oliver, John Glenn third baseman Bryce Hannah, Andrean shortstop Mason Barth, South Bend St. Joseph outfielders Jayce Lee and Zachary Stawski, and John Glenn outfielder Joe Chrapliwy.

The Class 4A All-State Team included Noblesville pitcher Bryce Riggs, Penn pitcher Adam Lehmann, Castle pitcher Cameron Tilly, Mooresville catcher Hogan Denny, North Central first baseman Charlie Baker, Munster second baseman Kevin Hall Jr., Lake Central third baseman Josh Adamczewski, Center Grove shortstop Drew Culbertson, Franklin outfielder Max Clark, Northridge outfielder Gavin Collins, North Central outfielder Micah Rienstra-Kiracofe, and Fisher outfielder Jack Brown.

Notable Honorable Mention selections were New Palestine’s Blaine Nunnally and Wes Stiller, East Central’s Sam Bond and Brayden Rouse, and Whiteland’s Drew Helton.

The IHSBCA received nominations from member head coaches with final results determined by membership voting to determine the 2023 All-State designations.

Academic All-State

The IHSBCA announced the 2023 Academic All-State Team and it included two Shelby County baseball players.

Southwestern’s Jonah DeArmitt and Triton Central’s Avram Rund were honored as Academic All-State.

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Unsold for $14,000, G1-winner Defining Purpose proves a bargain heading into $200,000 Indiana Oaks

Kenny McPeek loved what he saw after breeder Colette Marie VanMatre sent Defining Purpose — the 8-5 favorite for Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Indiana Oaks at Horseshoe Indianapolis — the trainer’s way to get the filly started as a 2-year-old.

McPeek’s enthusiasm increased with each passing day. So when VanMatre asked about getting some partners to join her in racing the filly, McPeek priced her at a total valuation of $100,000. It was only later that McPeek — himself among those buying into the filly through his Magdalena Farm partnership — saw that Defining Purpose had been bought back as a “short” yearling for $14,000 after not reaching her predetermined minimum selling price at Keeneland’s 2021 January bloodstock auction. 

Still, that didn’t faze McPeek. After all, the Lexington product elevated his career by winning big races with horses purchased at bargain-basement prices. That list now includes Defining Purpose (photo, far right), whose owners were already out on their investment before the now 3-year-old filly won Keeneland’s $600,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes, a Grade 1 race and one of the most important preps for the Kentucky Oaks.

“We got her in the spring of ’22, put her in the routine and she fit right in,” McPeek said. “She immediately jumped into everything very professional and enthusiastic, a filly that showed quite a bit of natural talent. (VanMatre) said, ‘Can you find me some partners?’ We talked about how to value her, and I said, ‘I think she’s easily worth $100,000. At that point I did not know that she had been through an auction for 14 grand. I was flabbergasted to know she was a $14,000 RNA (reserved not attained), or I probably would have put people in cheaper.”

If anything, he said, “I thought I overpriced her. But I priced her on what I saw talent-wise, and she had quite a bit of talent -- and obviously, that’s panned out. Looking at it today, I probably underpriced her.”



A winner of $556,188, Defining Purpose recently was sold privately to Northern Farm, part of the Shadai Group that dominates Japan’s breeding industry. The Indiana Oaks is her first start for her new owners. McPeek estimates the early investors made “20 X on their money.”

After finishing sixth in Oaklawn Park’s Honeybee (G3) in the slop, Defining Purpose and Hernandez won the Ashland at 20-1 odds.

“This is another one of those examples where you just never know where a good horse is going to come from,” McPeek said after the Ashland, whose field included the highly regarded runner-up Punchbowl, third-place Julia Shining and the 2-year-old filly champion Wonder Wheel.

Things didn’t go Defining Purpose’s way when seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, which attracted its strongest field in years. But McPeek expects Defining Purpose to rebound in the 1 1/16-mile Indiana Oaks, where her main competition in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies likely is Pimlico’s Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan winner Taxed, the 2-1 second choice.

Taxed was stuck on the also-eligible list and unable to compete in the Kentucky Oaks when no horses were scratched. She had proved her mettle in finishing second twice at Oaklawn Park behind Kentucky Oaks favorite Wet Paint, including in the Grade 3 Fantasy.

Defining Purpose and Taxed faced each other three times over the winter in Arkansas, with Defining Purpose finishing in front of Taxed in two out of three meetings, including a victory in Oaklawn’s $150,000 Year’s End Stakes on Dec. 31.

“We spaced her race pretty for the Ashland,” McPeek said recently. “I thought that was a great run by her. Any time you knock down a Grade 1 with a 3-year-old filly — 2-year-old filly, any filly — it increases her value pretty dramatically. In the Kentucky Oaks, she didn’t fire as we had hoped. But it was a tough race, certainly the best fillies in the nation.

“Since then, she’s transferred ownership. She’s now owned by Northern Farm, which is the Yoshida family, Katsumi Yoshida of Japan. We were approached about selling her and felt that the price was right. It worked for everybody. I’m excited for the new ownership, and the filly is doing super. This should be a good spot for her.”   

The Indiana Oaks field in post-position order, with jockey/trainer and odds: Cotton Candy Annie (Orlando Mojica/Armando Hernandez) 30-1; Taxed (Rafael Bejarano/Randy Morse) 2-1; Merlazza (Marcelino Pedroza Jr./Brad Cox) 6-1; Flamand (Edgar Morales/Elias Lopez) 20-1; Defining Purpose (Brian Hernandez Jr./Kenny McPeek) 8-5; Lily Poo (James Graham/Michael McCarthy) 5-1; Cloak of Mercy (Fernando De La Cruz/John Ortiz) 10-1; Sandra D (David Cohen/Steve Margolis) 20-1.

McPeek also will saddle Texas Derby winner Hayes Strike in Saturday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby, drawing post seven among the nine entries. New York’s Gotham winner Raise Cain and 2-for-2 Georgie W are cross-entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Iowa Derby. 

Hayes Strike was third in the Ohio Derby (G3) in his prior start. Brian Hernandez Jr. rides both Hayes Strike and Defining Purpose.

“He’s a one-run, closer type,” McPeek said of the Dixiana Farms homebred Hayes Strike, winner of three races, including Laurel’s Private Terms Stakes, and $438,825. “He’s the kind that grinds it out and then will make a run. I’m hoping we get some pace to set it up for him. But he’s been rock solid and always runs hard. He’s going to have to move forward a bit, and the race is going to need to set up for him — and that could happen.”

McPeek also is running Creative Minister, third in last year’s Preakness Stakes, in the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Memorial for 3-year-olds and up running a mile and 70 yards. That gray colt has run out $536,545 with a record of 2-4-3 in 12 starts.

“He’s never won a stakes, so I’d like to win a stakes with him,” he said.

Lovely Princess, second in Churchill Downs’ Keertana Stakes in her last start, also pursues her first stakes triumph in the $100,000 Indiana General Assembly for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

“We’d like to win a stakes with her, too,” McPeek said. “She’s got quite a nice pedigree, a Twirling Candy filly, and running really well right now.”

Verifying installed as 8-5 favorite for Indiana Derby

The Brad Cox-trained Verifying — who has never won a stakes but was second in three major races — drew post five Monday and was made the 8-5 favorite for the $300,000, Grade 3 Indiana Derby Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis. Texas Derby winner Hayes Strike, most recently third in the Ohio Derby (G3), is the 3-1 second choice among the nine entries.

New York’s Gotham (G3) winner Raise Cain and 2-for-2 Georgie W were cross-entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows.

Verifying earned a shot at the Kentucky Derby by finishing second by a neck in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass won by the well-regarded Tampa Bay Derby winner Tapit Trice. After helping to set a face past and fading to 16th in the Kentucky Derby, Verifying was second by a half-length to Disarm in the Matt Winn (G3) June 11 in the slop at Ellis Park.

“Good group of horses,” said Cox, who won the 2020 Indiana Derby with Shared Sense. “Verifying has had two nice works since the Matt Winn. Really pleased with how he’s doing, good energy. I’m happy with him physically. We’re trying to get a graded win under his belt and hopefully this will be it. I feel like he has a Grade 1 win in him. I do believe that based on what we saw in the Blue Grass. He’s a very good horse. Hopefully, it works out on Saturday.”

The Matt Winn was extended from 1 1/16 miles to 1 1/8 when it moved from Churchill Downs to Ellis Park, which can’t run 1 1/16-mile races on its main track because of the short run into the first turn of the nine-furlong course.

“Those races were a mile and an eighth,” Cox said of the Matt Winn and Blue Grass. “It might not be quite what he wants to do. Listen, he ran very, very well in both races. I think he can win at a mile and an eighth, but it might not be exactly his best distance. But overall, he is a good colt, a lot of quality, big pedigree (being a son of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify). Hopefully, this will be a stepping stone to a Grade 1.” 

The Indiana Derby field, in post-position order, with jockey/trainer and odds: Transect (Gerardo Corrales/Paulo Lobo) 15-1; Raise Cain (Luan Machado/Ben Colebrook) 10-1; Act a Fool (Orlando Mojica/Larry Rivelli) 6-1; Onthestage (Luis Fuentes/Steve Asmussen) 10-1; Verifying (Marcelino Pedroza Jr./Brad Cox) 8-5; Stayinyourlane (Eduardo Perez/Tomas Medina) 30-1; Hayes Strike (Brian Hernandez Jr./Kenny McPeek) 3-1; Cagliostro (Edgar Morales/Cherie DeVaux) 8-1; Georgie W (Alex Achard/Will Walden) 12-1.

Cox also has Merlazza in Saturday’s $200,000, Grade 3 Central Bank Indiana Oaks. The winner of Oaklawn Park’s Valley Of The Vapors Stakes on April 22, Merlazza saw her three-race win streak broken when fifth in Pimlico’s 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan (G2) won by Indiana Oaks 2-1 second choice Taxed. Merlazza, who drew post three in the Indiana Oaks field of eight 3-year-old fillies, is the 6-1 fourth choice in the morning line.

“I like this filly a lot,” Cox said of the Don Alberto Stable homebred. “She’s doing really well. She’s got a great race record with the exception of her last run. We’re hopeful we can get a graded stakes win underneath her. I think she fits very, very well with the group. She might not want to go quite as far as she went last time. We’re shortening her up a little bit. She’s a really good work horse, and she’s coming into this really well. So we’ll see how it goes.”

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Verifying can earn first stakes win, keep Cox's big year rolling in Indiana Derby

Brad Cox, whose horses’ 2023 purse earnings of $15.28 million lead North America, shoots for his second victory in the Grade 3 $300,000 Indiana Derby with Verifying this Saturday at Horseshoe Indianapolis.

The two-time Eclipse Award winner as North America’s outstanding trainer won the 2020 Indiana Derby with Shared Sense, was third in 2021 with Fulsome and second by a half-length with Best Actor last year.

Verifying (photo) seeks his first stakes win in the 1 1/16th-mile Indiana Derby after finishing second in last year’s Grade 1 Champagne, second by a neck to Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner Tapit Trice in this spring’s Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland and second again by a half-length to Disarm in Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn (G3). Between the Blue Grass and Matt Winn, Verifying faded to 16th in the Kentucky Derby after setting a wilting pace. Disarm was a beneficiary of that hot pace, coming on to finish fourth.

“He’s doing really well,” Cox, who has maintained a large division at Horseshoe Indianapolis for a long time, said of Verifying. “I love how he came out of the Matt Winn. It will be back in 27 days, but he’s a horse we felt we needed to get a race under his belt. He’s just got the two wins. He’s run really well, just was narrowly defeated in the Matt Winn, the Blue Grass. His Derby was a throw-out with the pace, going too quick too early. But he’s a nice horse, he’s doing well physically, looks amazing.”



Verifying worked five-eighths of a mile Saturday at Churchill Downs in 1:00.6, third fastest of 19 workouts at the distance that morning. Marcelino Pedroza, who is second in the Horseshoe Indy standings with 34 victories heading into Monday’s card, gains the mount.

“We have a lot of luck with Marcelino,” said Cox.

A son of the 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, Verifying was purchased for $775,000 as a yearling by the international Coolmore racing and breeding conglomerate that stands Justify at its Ashford Stud in Central Kentucky. Verifying won his debut at Saratoga last summer. Off his Champagne second in his second start, he ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, checking in sixth after a difficult trip. He started off his 3-year-old season with an Oaklawn Park allowance victory before taking fourth in the Rebel Stakes (G2).

Cox demonstrated as recently as this past Sunday that horses can rebound after getting shellacked in the Kentucky Derby. Zozos won his fourth race in five starts since he was 10th in last year’s Derby by taking Ellis Park’s $275,000 Hanshin. Cyberknife, 18th in the same Derby, won the Grade 1 Haskell and finished his career losing the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile by a mere head. Tawny Port won the Ohio Derby (G3) in his next start after his seventh in the 2020 Kentucky Derby.

“We ran three horses in the Kentucky Derby last year,” Cox said after Zozos’ Hanshin victory Sunday. “This horse (Zozos) has responded well. Cyberknife was a Grade 1 winner after and before the Derby and barely got defeated in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and went off to stud. Tawny Port rebounded and won the Ohio Derby. We had four running in it this year. Maybe those can redeem themselves. And they have, with Verifying coming back and running well.

“There’s totally life after the Kentucky Derby. You have to watch the horse. If they need a break, they need a break. They all need breaks at some point. It’s just when they’re asking for it, you’ve got to give it to them.”

Cox’s 2023 purse earnings are about $1 million more than second-place Steve Asmussen. At $15,285,222 in earnings heading into Monday’s racing, he has accrued the fifth highest season earnings in his career with half of the year to go, putting him on course to break his North American record $31,715,312 set in 2021. With a career that began in 2005, Cox already ranks No. 15 in all-time purse earnings. Of the 14 trainers ahead of him on the all-time list, 10 are in the Hall of Fame.

West Will Power’s victory in Saturday’s $1 million Stephen Foster at Ellis Park gave Cox his 20th Grade 1-winning horse and his 39th Grade 1 win overall, all dating to 2018 with Monomoy Girl. That two-time champion earned her first of 14 victories out of 17 career starts at Horseshoe Indianapolis in 2017. The $100,000 yearling purchase went on to earn almost $4.8 million, including winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff twice, and then sold for $9.5 million to Spendthrift Farm in 2020.

“Monomoy Girl was very special; she’s the one who really got this thing rolling for us,” Cox said after the Stephen Foster. “I think about her a lot. She means a tremendous amount to us, probably out all-time favorite. Today has a lot to do with her.”

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