Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, formerly Indiana Downs, is stepping into a new light in the horse racing industry.
Beginning May 6, the facility located in Shelbyville, Ind., will race under its new name, with a new logo and color scheme featuring shades of gold for the 120-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet. More than $4 million will be offered on 35 stakes for Thoroughbreds, with more than $1.5 million available for Quarter Horse stakes.
The track, with an adjacent casino offering 2,000 slot machines and e-games, also promises a number of new amenities.
The focus of the meet remains the first Saturday in October with the 20th running of the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II). The race, contested this year on Oct. 4, is Indiana's richest and is complemented by eight other stakes on the card, including the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (gr. II). Other stakes for the day include the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Mile, the $100,000 Mari Hulman George, and the $100,000 Ta Wee. In all, a total of more than $1.3 million will be offered in racing that day, making it the richest day of racing in Indiana history.
"We raised two stakes purses this season," said Kevin Greely, director of racing. "The Indiana Grand Stakes, set for Wednesday, July 23, was raised from $125,000 to $200,000, and the Ta Wee on Indiana Derby Night was raised from $65,000 to $100,000. With the exception of Indiana Derby Night and the final night of racing Saturday, Nov. 1, all of our stakes will be carded on Wednesday afternoons with a first post of 2:05 p.m. (EDT)."
Other stakes races include the $200,000 Centaur and the $100,000 J. Kenneth Self Shelby County Boys & Girls Club, both set for June 18. Both races are scheduled for the turf and are open, which will draw entries from outside the state of Indiana. Three-year-olds are featured in the Centaur, and older horses are eligible for the J. Kenneth Self.
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will offer two other days throughout the season that showcase stakes in excess of $300,000. The July 23 program features the $100,000 Girls Inc. of Shelby County, open to all older females on the turf, and the $200,000 Indiana Grand, open to 3-year-old fillies on the turf. The track will also host the $150,000 Governor's Stakes, for Indiana-bred 3-year-olds, and the $150,000 Indiana First Lady for Indiana-bred 3-year-old fillies Aug. 6.
The meet will conclude Nov. 1 with $470,000 in stakes money for four events, topped by the $150,000 Too Much Coffee and the $150,000 Frances Slocum, both Indiana-bred stakes. Racing that night follows the Breeders' Cup from Santa Anita Park.
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino will offer four days of racing per week May 6 through Nov. 1, 2014, adding Thursday racing July 17. Racing begins at 2:05 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with a 5:05 p.m. EDT post Friday and Saturday.