With excitement and anticipation high for the opening day of Indiana’s 2019 racing season, breeders and owners gathered to celebrate 2018, and a year that saw Indiana-bred horses in the national and international spotlight, as well as breeders who earned more than $16 million in incentives in 2018 alone. The three winners for the Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Program (ITBDP) were honored during the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s (ITOBA) annual banquet. Winners were chosen solely on money earned in 2018.
ITBDP Horse of the Year: The Money Dance
The Money Dance (Jimmy Creed – Whistlin Jean, by Pure Prize) earned more than $279,450 in 2018 while racing under the green silks of co-owners Penny Lauer and Falcon Racing Stable. While racing at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, The Money Dance won the Governor’s Stakes and hit the board in the To Much Coffee Stakes, both black-type stakes races for breeders Michael and Penny Lauer. The 4-year-old colt was euthanized after fracturing his sesamoids during an allowance race at Oaklawn Park in March of this year. He earned $283,025 in his career with a race record of 17 starts, three firsts, two seconds and three third places.
“He meant a lot to the stable and everyone involved in it,” said Michael Lauer, who also trained the colt. “He did a lot for us.”
Mike Johnson, with Falcon Racing Stable, recalled one of his first races where The Money Dance hit the board: “Early on in The Money Dance’s career, I told Mike it was a milestone for me, and he said, ‘It’s not the only one he’s going to bring you.’ He took me places I really didn’t think I’d get to go. I’m gonna miss him.”
When asked about the pairing of Whistlin’ Jean to Jimmy Creed, who stands at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Lauer pointed to how Jimmy Creed reminded him a lot of his sire, Distorted Humor. “He looked the most like Distorted Humor than any other stallion I’ve seen, and I’ve seen them all,” he explained. “I liked him, and the mare matched up to him, so we’ve bred to him every year.”
Whistlin’ Jean was bred to Jimmy Creed earlier this year for a full sibling, in hopes of bringing another to the winner’s circle.
ITBDP Breeder of the Year: Michael and Penny Lauer
For the fourth year in a row, Michael and Penny Lauer took home the award for Breed Development Breeder of the Year, which is based on total Indiana Breeder’s Award payments. The couple, staunch supporters of the Indiana program, bred 32 Indiana-bred horses that raced during 2018. Their earnings totaled $1,172,240, plus they received $229,006 in Breeder’s Awards, eclipsing the amount earned in 2017.
“I think it’s a good program,” said Michael. “It’s solid racing and it’s a lot of fun.”
The Michael E. Lauer Racing Stable saw many Indiana-bred Thoroughbreds go to the winner’s circle at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, including:
- The Money Dance (Jimmy Creed – Whistlin Jean, by Pure Prize), winner of the $150,000 Governor’s Stakes;
- Flurry (Old Fashioned-Dreamin Big, by Pure Prize) winner of the $150,000 First Lady Stakes; and
- Obsolete (Old Fashioned – Prize Winner, by Pure Prize), winner of the $100,000 Ellen’s Lucky Star Stakes.
The Lauer farm is located in Finchville, Ky., with horses racing in Indiana, Oaklawn Park, Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, Arlington Park and more. The farm is family-owned and operated, with Michael as the head trainer, Penny managing the bookkeeping, horse juggling and daily operations, and their three daughters, Elizabeth Lauer Sharrett, Sara Lauer Turley and Abby Lauer helping at in the office and on the farm. As trainer, with earnings of $2,067,894, 2018 was Michael’s best year since he hung his shingle in 1976.
The pair also bred the ITOBA Indiana-Bred 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding of the Year The Money Dance and the ITOBA Indiana-bred 3-Year-Old Filly of the Year Flurry. Entrusted (Noble’s Promise – Mor Trust, by Trust N Luck), bred by the Lauers, earned her owners, Christine and Vince Cagle, the 2018 ITOBA Indiana-Sired 3-Year-Old Filly award. The Lauers also took home the silver mint julep cup from The Blood-Horse as Indiana Breeder of the Year.
ITBDP Stallion Owner of the Year: Richard Rigney
It was a bittersweet evening for Richard Rigney and his family, as their beloved stallion Noble’s Promise earned the ITOBA Sire of the Year and earned Rigney the breed development program’s Stallion Owner of the Year for 2018. The stallion by Cuvee and out the Clever Trick mare, The Devil’s Trick, passed away in early 2018. The Grade 1 winner had earned more than $1,193,000 in his career before going to stand at Breakway Farm in Dillsboro, Ind.
“To win this award was very important for us. We are very excited,” said Rigney. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have this honor for Noble’s Promise; it’s a bittersweet one.”
“We’re looking to get back into the game,” he continued. “When we have the right stallion, we’ll plan on coming back to stand him in Indiana. We enjoy racing in Indiana—the people are wonderful, the track is a great facility to race at, everything about racing in Indiana is great. And, my wife is originally from Indiana and she wanted us to stand Noble’s Promise in Indiana.”
The Rigney family also took home the award for ITOBA 2-Year-Old Indiana-sired Filly of the Year. Fireball Baby (Noble’s Promise – Bubbles and Babies, by A.P. Indy) earned $153,574 in just five starts at Indiana Grand.
Rigney earned $65.140 in stallion owner awards in 2018 from the breed development program.
ITOBA Horse of the Year: Bucchero
Following a landmark year in 2017, Bucchero (Kantharos – Meetmeontime, by General Meeting) racked up frequent flyer miles, traveling to races from Florida to Kentucky, to Pennsylvania and even Great Britain. After a stellar showing in 2017, the 2014 stallion was invited to race at Royal Ascot in the Grade 1 King’s Stand Stakes, marking a first for the Indiana program. He followed that up with a second consecutive win in the Grade 2 Woodford Stakes presented by Keeneland Select in route to his final race, the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Bucchero retired from racing sound and with the Indiana-bred Highest Money Earning title, having earned $205,425 in 2018 for a lifetime total of $947,936. His lifetime record was 31 starts, 11 wins, six seconds and three third places.
“Thank you to Ironhorse Racing for the opportunity to train such a special horse,” trainer Tim Glyshaw said in accepting Bucchero’s awards. “He took us to a lot of places that a lot of people don’t get to go. Not only the Breeders’ Cup twice, but also to the Royal Ascot. Hopefully he’s been a very good ambassador to Indiana racing, and now he’s on to his stud career and doing very well from what I hear.”
ITOBA Broodmare of the Year: Whistlin Jean
The Lauer’s Whistlin Jean (Pure Prize – Just A Broad, by Broad Brush) brought home the ITOBA Broodmare of the Year award after her progeny earned a total of $364,891 in 2018. Most notable was The Money Dance, who added Indiana-bred 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding of the Year to his resume. Sights and Sounds (Pollard’s Vision) and Whistle Stop (Into Mischief) were her other two money earning progeny.
The mare, an Indiana-bred herself, earned the Lauers $37,806 in Breeder Incentive monies in 2018.
Other award winners from ITOBA’s 2018 awards were:
Indiana-bred 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Fortin Hill (Mucho Macho Man) bred by Robert Losey, owned by OXO Equine LLC, and trained by Chad Brown
Indiana-bred 2-Year-Old Filly: Discreet Beauty (Discreetly Mine) bred/owned by Bruce Murphy, trained by Genaro Garcia
Indiana-sired 2-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Ace of Aces (Unbridled Express) bred/owned by LTB Inc. and Hillerich Racing Inc.
Indiana-sired 2-Year-Old Filly: Fireball Baby (Noble’s Promise) owned/bred by Rigney Racing LLC, trained by Philip A. Bauer
Indiana-bred 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: The Money Dance (Jimmy Creed) bred by Michael and Penny Lauer, owned by Penny Lauer & Falcon Racing Stable, and trained by Michael Lauer
Indiana-sired 3-Year-Old Colt/Gelding: Its Just Fate (Skylord), bred by Patrick Donahoe, owned by Patrick and Donald Donahoe, trained by Wayne Mogge
Indiana-bred 3-Year-Old Filly: Flurry (Old Fashioned),bred by Michael & Penny Lauer, owned by Penny Lauer, trained by Michael Lauer
Indiana-Sired 3-Year-Old Filly: Entrusted (Noble’s Promise) bred by Michael & Penny Lauer, owned by Christine and Vince Cagle and Penny Lauer, trained by Michael Lauer
Indiana-bred Older Mare: Marina’s Legacy (Divine Park), bred/owned by Bone Doctors Stable, trained by Aaron West
Indiana-bred Older Horse: Bucchero (Kantharos), bred by Southern Chase Farm & Karen Dodd, owned by Ironhorse Racing LLC, trained by Tim Glyshaw
Indiana-sired Older Horse: Operation Stevie (Lantana Mob), bred by Larry Smallwood, owned by Earl Trostrud, Jr. & Cipriano Contreras, trained by Cipriano Contreras
Indiana-sired Older Mare: Expect Indy (Mr Mabee), bred by Lake Shore Farm, owned by Gumpster Stable LLC, trained by Cipriano Contreras
ITOBA Hall of Distinction: State Representative Bob Cherry
(photos available upon request)
ABOUT THE INDIANA HORSE RACING COMMISSION
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ABOUT THE INDIANA THOROUGHBRED BREED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The Thoroughbred Breed Development program was established to promote the Indiana Thoroughbred industry. In 2007, legislation was passed which approved slot machines at Indiana's pari-mutuel racetracks. Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs both opened their slot operations in June of 2008. The Indiana Thoroughbred Breed Development Fund receives 50% of the revenue generated from slot machines that is allocated for Thoroughbred Racing.
For more information, see the Indiana Horse Racing Commission’s website: http://www.in.gov/hrc/
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