Indiana Derby, Oaks move to July 8; revised condition book, stakes schedule out

Indiana Grand press release (Coady Photo of  Allied Racing’s Mr. Money winning the 2019 Indiana Derby under Gabe Saez)

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (May 19, 2020) – Indiana Grand Racing & Casino has released its revised Condition Book and Stakes Schedule for the 2020 season.  Both are contingent upon the approval of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission on the recently proposed racing dates of a 94-day season beginning on Monday, June 15th and finishing on Wednesday, November 18th.

The thoroughbred stakes calendar as always is highlighted by the Grade 3 Indiana Derby and Grade 3 Indiana Oaks that will move to July 8th as a part of a six-stakes program.  The Indiana Derby purse has been changed to $300,000, and the distance changed to 1 1/8th miles, while the Oaks will remain the same at $200,000 and 1 1/16th miles.    

“These unprecedented times have given us many challenges yet some opportunities as well.” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing.  “We’re grateful to Churchill Downs for including our signature stakes’ in the Kentucky Derby qualifying points system in this unique year.  And while it will be a different on-track experience when holding the race on a Wednesday afternoon we think it’s the best spot to avoid conflict with other important 3-year old races and maximize handle opportunities on the national racing scene.”

The revised thoroughbred stakes calendar consists of 34 stakes worth $3.2 million in purses.  Included on the stakes schedule is the newly named Jonathan B. Schuster Memorial Stakes.  The race, named in honor of the longtime and very popular General Manager of Indiana Grand, will be a turf event on the stakes rich July 8th card.  In addition the Indiana Bred and Sired horses will have plenty of chances to run for stakes quality purses as 28 of the stakes will be designated for their program.

“We had to make some tweaks to the previously released stakes calendar in order to account for the condensed meet and interruption in our business,” said Kevin Greely, Director of Racing.  “But we’re happy to bring back our overnight races at 2019 levels and only needed slight modifications to the stakes program to do so.  We’ll see how some of these changes fare in 2020 and use that as a basis for our overnight and stakes program in 2021.”       

The revised condition book and stakes schedule will be published online at www.IndianaGrand.com and www.equibase.com.  Horsemen are encouraged to contact Kevin Greely at (317) 421-3080 for more information or with questions on any racing office matters.   

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Jennie Rees