While 2018 was a year of transition, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission Annual Report highlights the fact that Indiana horse racing has remained steady.
Mid-year, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC) approved the transfer in ownership of its two pari-mutuel tracks, Indiana Grand Racing and Casino and Hoosier Park Racing and Casino, from the holdings of Centaur to Caesars Entertainment, ushering in a new era. The transition was relatively seamless as the Commission and Caesars partnered together to continue the upward swing the state has been on for the past few years.
“It (2018) was a very busy year with the transfer of ownership of the tracks in the middle of the meet, but everyone came together to keep our program going in the right direction,” comments IHRC Executive Director Mike Smith.
The report illustrates the continued growth of the Indiana breed development programs across all three breeds in terms of state bred foals registered. Indiana’s Standardbred industry has enjoyed a constant rise in numbers of foals, with more than 1,330 state sired 2017 foals registered in 2018.
Indiana moved into second in the region (behind Kentucky) for Thoroughbred state-breds registered with more than 440 foals, also moving into the top 10 nationally per The Jockey Club. The average Indiana-bred yearling sold at public auction for $19,169 in 2018.
The state continues to lead the way for the Eastern region in racing Quarter Horses, with more than 345 foals registered in 2017, placing Indiana eighth in the nation.
“Looking at the numbers, we’ve remained stable in breeding and with our registered foals. We have stayed that way for many years, even when other state programs have experienced downward trends,” Smith points out.
The two pari-mutuel tracks were compared nationally to other tracks of similar race calendars. Harrah’s Hoosier Park in Anderson distributed more than $27.9 million in total purse money. For Thoroughbreds, Shelbyville’s Indiana Grand almost mirrors its harness track, distributing more than $25.2 million total purse money in 2018—the most for a track with similar race days in the region. Indiana Grand’s Quarter Horse program distributed more than $4.3 million, an average of almost $22,000 per race.
The 2018 Annual Report also tracks mares, foals and stallions registered for all three breeds in Indiana, as well as those that are registered as Indiana-bred and Indiana bred and sired.
Program highlights for 2018 include Standardbred farm Victory Hill Farm being ranked 15th amongst North American breeders by earnings. Homicide Hunter (Mr. Cantab) became the third Indiana-sired horse to post a world record time, trotting the world’s fastest mile in 1:29.4, earning him not only a Dan Patch award for Aged Open Trotter, but also a Breeders Crown Championship in the Open Trot.
Bucchero became the highest money earning Indiana-bred in history after winning his second Grade 2 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland. After a year of travel, including a trip to Royal Ascot and a second trip to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, the stallion bred by Karen and Greg Dodd, retired with career earnings of $824,273 to stand at stud.
Brian Gunder’s Indiana-bred colt Dominyun Cartel was named a Finalist for the American Quarter Horse Association’s Racing Champion 2-Year-Old Colt of the Year, while Stinkin Rich (bred by Carolyn Bruce) became the first Indiana-bred Quarter Horse to break $500,000 in earnings.
“While most programs experience ups and downs, I’m extremely proud of how Indiana’s breed development programs have stayed steady and strong,” says Jessica Barnes, Director of Racing and Breed Development for the IHRC. “We have strong support from our dedicated breeders and owners, along with a working partnership with our tracks to keep our programs in the headlines for years to come.”
The 2018 Annual Report can be found on the IHRC’s website.
ABOUT THE INDIANA HORSE RACING COMMISSION
The Indiana Horse Racing Commission ensures that pari-mutuel wagering on horse races in Indiana will be conducted with the highest of standards and the greatest level of integrity.
For more information, see the Indiana Horse Racing Commission’s website: http://www.in.gov/hrc/
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