March Madness in the state of Indiana means one thing…
College Hoops! But, it also means we’re
a mere month away from the opening of Indiana Downs, which just happens to be
my favorite meet of the year!
Indiana Downs opens for thoroughbred and quarter horse
racing Monday, April 16th.
The Downs will be returning with 60 days of racing. There will be afternoon post times of 4:55 for Monday through Wednesday, and a twilight post time of 6:55 for Friday and
The open stakes schedule features several high quality
purses for 3 year olds, older horses, sprinters, dirt, and turf horses.
The gem of the Indiana Downs meet is the $200,000 Oliver Stakes which is run at the mile distance on the turf for 3 year olds. The
Oliver Stakes was won last year by the multiple graded stakes placed colt Lil
The $100,000 J. Kenneth Self Shelby County Boys & Girls
Club Stakes is for 3 year olds and up at the mile distance on the turf.
The $100,000 Golden Bear Stakes is for 3 years olds and up on
the dirt at the 8.5 furlong distance. The Golden Bear just happens to be my favorite
stake of the year. Last year’s addition gave us one of the most exciting and
star filled fields Indiana Downs as seen with 3 grade II winners and several
stakes winners competing for the $100,000 purse. Jardim would dominate the field which
included Thisskyhasnolimit, Country Flavor, and Hurricane Ike.
The $100,000 Girls, Inc. of Shelbyville, Shelby County Stakes is for 3 year old and up fillies at the 1 mile distance on the turf.
The $125,000 Indiana Downs Distaff is for 3 year old
fillies, it’s run at the 1 mile distance on the turf.
Indiana Downs also has several stakes for Indiana Bred and
Indiana sired horses. The schedule has not been released yet.
The Don K Memorial Turf Handicap Series is a unique 5 race
sequence. The handicap series is for 3 year olds and up that has ran for a
claiming price of $10,000 or less in 2011-2012. The distances range from 1 mile
to 1 mile and 3/8ths.
Sticking to the “Hoosier” theme. I’m going to give you 5 Indiana Breds to look
out for in 2012.
#1. Mack The Slew. This son of Pass Rush out of the Seattle Slew mare Maggie Slew has shown signs of having some serious talent. His
bloodlines are regal, he’s the best Indiana bred horse I’ve ever seen in terms
of pedigree. Swifty Farms is a power
house in the breeding game in the state of Indiana and they pulled no punches
with Mack The Slew hiring top trainer Tom Proctor to condition this colt. So far in his young career he’s 3 for 4 with
a pair of stakes victories and only 1 bad performance on a sloppy track at
Hoosier Park. The colt has yet to make
his 3 year old debut. Mack has only been allowed to sprint so far I can’t wait
to see this colt stretch out. I was hoping he would be on the triple crown
trail but that just didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll see this colt in the Indiana
Derby this fall.
#2 Hoosier Kingdom.
This son of Repent has shown serious talent from day one. He’s 8 for 33
in his career with over $330,000 in career earnings. He’s now a six year old and is coming off one
of his best years in which he captured the A.J. Foyt Stakes at Indiana Downs
defeating the 3 time champion Hezawildguy.
Trainer Ron Herrell took Hoosier Kingdom to Arlington in his 3 year old
season to run in the grade I Secretariat stakes. He set the pace before fading,
but didn’t totally embarrass himself. Last year Herrell tried to get the Chicago
love once more running Hoosier Kingdom in the grade III Washington Park
Handicap. The field was just too classy for the Kingdom, he pressed the pace
and faded to last. I could see Hoosier Kingdom dominating the older Indiana
bred stakes division this year.
#3 Buster Rose. Buster Rose is coming off an impressive 3
year old season. The Michael Maker trainee relished the Indiana Downs surface. He crushed a field of 3 year old
Indiana breds in the Snack Stakes, boasting an impressive time of 1:09.3. This
son of Pioneering is lightly raced having only 1 season under his belt, he has
a top conditioner and a good pedigree, I could see him making noise in the
sprint division in Indiana.
#4 Bellamy Jones. This son of Bellamy Jones acts and looks
the part of a good horse. He’s a big colt with a lot of speed. He seemed to
blossom last year at Hoosier Park for trainer Robert Gorham. Bellamy Jones
captured an allowance victory then destroyed a good field of Indiana breds in
the Indiana Sophomore Stakes at Hoosier Park. Bellamy Jones ran a distant 2nd
to the aforementioned Buster Rose in the Snack stakes last spring. The light bulb just might have lit up last
fall for this colt, he could be some kind of special this year.
#5 Facey’s Spirit. Facey’s Spirit has shown a ton of talent
in a limited amount of time. This daughter of Pass Rush is living up to her
father’s name. She flashed her speed in a shocking way in the Ellen’s Lucky
Star stakes last year at Indiana Downs. This spirited filly went gate to wire
disposing her opposition in the easiest of manners, her time of 1:09.25 was
also very impressive. She’s been
knocking heads with open allowance company this year at Hawthorne race track
for trainer Chris Dorris. She’s already ran a good 2nd and 3rd
against her open competition in Chicago this year. Look for this one to
dominate the filly sprint division in Indiana.
My wildcard horse is Northern Candyride. You don’t have to
look any further than this geldings name to see he has a good pedigree, of
course he’s out of Candyride. Northern Candyride seemed to struggle at Indiana
downs last year for trainer Richard Kohnhorst but he sure turned it on at
Hoosier Park last fall. Northern Candy ride won 3 of 4 races at the Anderson
oval, he captured the To Much Coffee Stakes defeating Tom Amoss’s regally bred
Honor of Tim (Tiznow) Reynolds, you changed all of are lives for the
better and you'll be with us always. Donations can be made to the Timothy (Tiznow) Reynolds Memorial Fund. A memorial fund for his daughter, Lauren Reynolds.