Randy Klopp wins first trainer's title at Indiana Grand

Randy Klopp wins first trainer's title at Indiana Grand
Photo: Ron Flatter

Trainer Randy Klopp knows it takes a village to achieve success, and he was surrounded by those who had a part in the success of his stable for the 2021 training title Thursday at Indiana Grand. Although Klopp has been among the track’s top five trainers for nearly a decade, the title is the first one for him in 2021.

“There are a lot of people to thank,” said Klopp. “I want to start off with Lesalene Pompell, my assistant. She does an outstanding job. And also thank you to all the help and to the riders who won races for us this year. That includes Andrea Rodriguez, Joe Ramos, Alex Achard, DeShawn Parker, and Tommy Pompell. And a special thank you to all the owners this season. It’s been a great year.”

Klopp and his wife, Liz, own a farm in nearby Rushville, Ind. and opted to bypass a trip to Florida last winter and stayed at Indiana Grand to train. Horses from their barn have won 59 races and accumulated purse money of more than $1.2 million. Overall, Klopp has won 347 career Indiana training victories, which moves him into fifth place on the list of all-time leading trainers in the 19-year history of racing at Indiana Grand.

Klopp took out his trainer’s license in 1992 and has competed all around the Midwest with a focus on Indiana when pari-mutuel racing began in 1995. He is celebrating his biggest year as a trainer in 2021 and surged past $1 million in earnings for the first time. With more than $12 million in career earnings, the multiple stakes winning trainer has now won 672 races.

Klopp had several top performers throughout the season, including four wins apiece from Polo Art and Short Summer Dress.

“The stakes win by Short Summer Dress was probably our most memorable win from the year,” added Klopp.

With the conclusion of the 2021 racing meet, Klopp has already turned his attention to next season.

“We have 18 horses that will be 3-year-olds next year that have never run,” said Klopp. “Plus, we have eight 2-year-olds so far for next year, so we have a lot to look forward to in 2022.”

Pedroza earns third Indiana Grand jockey title

Marcelino Pedroza Jr. has been on a mission the last week of racing at Indiana Grand. Already way ahead in the jockey standings, Pedroza completed the four-day work week with an additional 10 wins to earn his third title.

Pedroza was honored in the winner’s circle following the sixth race on closing day with the award. He also brought home the title in 2017 and 2019.

“It’s always great to win races and it’s a great feeling to win the title,” said Pedroza, who was flanked by his family for the trophy presentation. “Thank you to all the owners and trainers that supported me and to my beautiful family, who have been with me when we weren’t winning races.”

Pedroza scored 105 wins during the meet, over 20 more than second place finisher DeShawn Parker. With purse earnings in excess of $3.2 million for the year, he moves into third place on the list of all-time leading riders at the track with more than 640 career wins. He also holds several riding records with most purse money in one season ($3.4 million in 2019), most wins by a jockey in one day (6 in 2019), and now joins Orlando Mojica, Leandro Goncalves and Rodney Prescott for most jockey titles at the track with three.

“I’ve been riding Fair Grounds and Indiana Grand the past few years and that’s worked out well for me,” added Pedroza. “I plan to go back to Fair Grounds and hopefully do well there again and hopefully be back here again next year.”

A native of Panama, Pedroza Jr. attended the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey Academy before venturing to the United States in 2010. Now a Graded Stakes winning jockey, Pedroza celebrated his 1,000th career victory last year and has more than 1,200 career wins with earnings of more than $32 million.

Spiess Stable and Klopp named leading owner

Spiess Stable and Randy Klopp teamed up for a great season of racing at Indiana Grand in 2021. The duo polished off the season with a win on closing night to bring their total win count to 31 to earn their first Leading Owner title.

Horses owned by the partnership finished in the money 59 percent of the time and earned in excess of $621,000. Top horses from their stable include Short Summer Dress, winner of four races, including the IU Hoosier Stakes earlier in the season and the seven-year-old veteran Polo Art, who also won four of six starts.

“Roger (Spiess) was willing to spend money to buy the horses to race this year,” said Klopp on his successful season with Spiess Stable. “Indiana Grand kept open last winter and that helped us. We appreciate all the opportunities to race that we have in Indiana.”

Spiess is a longtime owner and breeder in Thoroughbred racing. He is from Swanton, Ohio in the northwest corner of the Buckeye State and graduated from The Ohio State University school of veterinary medicine in 1969. After a successful career as a veterinarian, he retired last year and is focused on his horses.

“We breed a few horses, but my interest is in racing more than breeding,” added Spiess.

Spiess and Klopp teamed up earlier this fall to buy the sale topper in the annual ITOBA sale, a yearling filly from the first crop of Bucchero. They already have eight yearlings ready to go into training for next year and several other horses turning three that have never raced, setting them up for potentially another great season in 2022 in Indiana.

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