The 15th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing will get underway Tuesday, April 18 with a nine-race program at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Eight Thoroughbred races will be followed by one Quarter Horse race on the opening day card that begins at 2:05 p.m.
Highlighting the first day of racing will be a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming $25,000 events slated as the fifth and seventh races on the card. In the fifth race, Handiwork from the Brad Cox barn looks to be a strong contender in the field of eight. The four-year-old son of Eddington finished third in his last start at Fair Grounds. He will reconnect with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan from the outside post eight.
To the inside of Handiwork is Mineyerownmalone from the Tom Amoss Stable. The four-year-old son of Mineshaft made his last start at Delta Downs and will be ridden by Alonso Quinonez from post seven in the one mile, 70 yard event. Maggi Moss, 2016 Leading Owner at Indiana Grand, owns Mineyerownmalone, who was claimed by Moss and Amoss at the end of the 2016 racing season. Amoss returns looking for his sixth leading trainer title at Indiana Grand in 2017.
In the second division of the Allowance Optional Claiming $25,000, slated as race seven, Zander Zone from the Brendan Walsh barn will be a force from post one in the $32,500 event. The six-year-old son of Flatter finished second in his last start at Fair Grounds. He will be ridden by Declan Cannon in his return to Indiana Grand.
Another horse to watch is I Came To Party, trained by Gerald Brooks. The four-year-old son of Bold Chieftain faced similar competition in his last start out at Penn National where he was a winner. Jack Gilligan will ride I Came to Party from post five in the eight-horse lineup.
Purses for the nine race program, which includes one Quarter Horse race at the end of the card, total more than $236,000 for opening day. A total of 94 horses are scheduled to run on the program.
“I am very pleased with our first day of entries,” said Kevin Greely, director of racing. “The horsemen really stepped up to support us and entries were excellent. We have good fields and quality racing for opening day.”
Fans will see several enhancements when racing gets underway Tuesday. A new safety rail has been installed on the track and a new berm with a green fence on top has been added to the backstretch to provide a new backdrop for racing. Construction also continues on a new $3.2 million track maintenance facility along the backstretch, which is expected to be completed at the end of the year.
The 120-day race meet will be highlighted by the 23rd running of the Grade III $500,000 Indiana Derby set for Saturday, July 15. The event, Indiana’s richest horse race, will be complemented by five other stakes that night, including the 22nd running of the Grade III $200,000 Indiana Oaks.
One of the most exciting promotions for the season is the launch of the new fractional ownership program Grand Gesture Stable. Racing fans may buy a share of the three-year-old filly A J Pacer, who will begin her 2017 campaign in late May. A one-time fee of $300 will be required to participate in Grand Gesture Stable and the ownership program is limited to 50 participants. Registration and signups will begin soon for Grand Gesture Stable.
“I’m very excited about launching the new fractional ownership program, Grand Gesture Stable,” said Greely. “Similar programs have been very successful at other racetracks, and everyone I have talked to is very excited about it. I believe it will be a great addition to our program in 2017.”
The season continues through Saturday, Oct. 28. Racing will be conducted Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:05 p.m. EST with Saturday racing beginning at 6:05 p.m. EST. Thursday racing will be held July 6 – Aug. 24 at 2:05 p.m. EST.