Tony Bradshaw is a lifelong fan of horse racing. He has been attending races since he was a kid accompanying his grandfather to Miles Park in Louisville, Ky. This fall, Bradshaw will step into a new realm of the business as he prepares to purchase his first racehorse at the 2022 ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale set for Saturday, Oct. 15 at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
Bradshaw’s journey into horse ownership began with his participation in the Road to Louisville contest based on the Kentucky Derby prep races leading up to the first Saturday in May. Bradshaw took the lead among 405 other players en route to the $1,000 grand prize and $30,000 toward the purchase and care of a racehorse. The sum is in partnership between Horseshoe Indianapolis and the Indiana Thoroughbred Owner’s and Breeder’s Association. It will cover up to $15,000 toward the purchase of a yearling from the sale and the remaining $15,000 will cover expenses incurred by the horse during its first year of preparation, training, and racing.
“I’ve thought about it from time to time on owning a racehorse, and I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to be part of that side of racing,” said Bradshaw, who resides in Louisville, Ky. and played in the contest at the Caesars Sportsbook in Clarksville, Ind. “Having a foot in the game and being part of the ownership experience is thrilling. Having a horse racing in my name and potentially getting my picture taken in the winner’s circle is exciting to think about.”
Bradshaw attended a “horses in training sale” more than 20 years ago at the former Churchill Downs Sports Spectrum. He enjoyed seeing the horses working out, but he was not a buyer, just an observer. This time, he will be raising his hand at the sale with assistance from Trainer Tony Granitz, who he has chosen as his trainer.
“I noticed that Tony (Granitz) is a really good trainer on the Midwest circuit,” said Bradshaw. “I’m a big grass horse bettor, so that caught my attention about Tony, not that I’ll be able to get a grass horse, but he’s just a good trainer. He seems to do well with younger horses too, so that helped me make my decision on selecting a trainer.”
The two “Tonys” have already connected. Pre-event inspections of the horses in the sale are underway, and they hope to have a shorter list of horses to watch the day of the sale. A total of 115 yearlings are currently cataloged for the sale. The 2021 sale topper was Honey Red, a daughter from the first crop of Bucchero who fetched a price of $48,000 through the sales ring. She already has a win this season and Bradshaw hopes to have the same luck with his new purchase.
“I basically want to look over some things for the sale, but I’ll defer to someone else to look at confirmation and guide me,” said Bradshaw. “I can’t wait to be part of it. It’s pretty exciting.”
The ITOBA Fall Mixed Sale will be conducted in the receiving barn at Horseshoe Indianapolis. A preview will be offered the night before from 6 – 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. The sale is set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. Arrangements are already in place for care and boarding of Bradshaw’s new racehorse until it is brought in and begins training for the 2023 racing season at Horseshoe Indianapolis.
“We wanted to offer something unique and partnering with ITOBA was a perfect fit for building our ownership program for the Indiana Thoroughbred industry,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing. “We have such a big following through our online contests, we felt this was a good way to reach out to people that support our program through the Road to Louisville contest and hopefully, give them an experience of a lifetime as a new owner. We can’t wait to see Tony in the winner’s circle next summer at Horseshoe Indianapolis.”
From Horseshoe Indianapolis news release. Photo courtesy Clarksville OTB