04/14/2012 1:47PM

Indiana Downs begins its 10th season

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Indiana Downs opens for it’s 10th season on Monday, and will have a new racing secretary for the first time since its inaugural year.

Scott Peine, the Indiana Downs Standardbred racing secretary the past seven years, takes over for the now retired Butch Cook. The 32-year-old Peine was the assistant under Cook last season after getting his start in the racing office at Hawthorne. Peine is a graduate of the Louisville racing program and is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to horse racing.

“I grew up on the harness side, but really, really enjoy the Thoroughbreds,” he said. “Most people are one or the other it seems, I enjoy them both.”

Peine sees an advantage to holding both positions at Indiana Downs.

“It is great for me because I am at one track all of the time,” he said. “Some of our people will be doing both, and so it makes it easy to get and keep good employees.”

Peine had applications for over 1,700 horses for a barn area that holds 630, so he has plenty of horses to work with. However, Peine does see challenges ahead.

“We are right in between Churchill Downs and Arlington, so we need to stay up on things to make sure we offer the right races. We also have an abundance of Indiana-bred horses and have to make sure we card enough of those races to disperse the money that must be given away. Competing five days a week could get challenging.”

The first turf races of the meet will be carded on Kentucky Derby Day, May 5.

“The turf course always helps to fill races,” Peine said.

The purse structure for the 61-day meet will remain the same as last year, when an average of $233,000 was dispersed each day. The stakes schedule remains intact with the $200,000 Oliver on June 13 for 3-year-olds the biggest event of the season and the $125,000 Indiana Distaff on July 11 the second biggest race for open company. A new starter series is planned.

“It will be called the tenth anniversary for obvious reasons and will be sprints for $10,000 starter horses,” Peine said.

The new series will have the same $32,000 purse as the Don K, a $10,000 starter series on the turf.

The top trainers from last season – leading trainer Tom Amoss, Richard Kohnhorst, Tracey Wisner, Randy Klopp, and Gary Patrick – will all be back, as well as Mike Norris. Bob Gorham who used to ship in, has also been given stalls.

The jockey colony will mirror last year with leading rider Leandro Goncalves returning, as well as Fernando De La Cruz, Marlon St. Julien, and Rodney Prescott. Newcomer Carol Cedeno recently returned to riding at Tampa Bay Downs after a 16-month layoff. A 22-year-old native of Puerto Rico, she finished second in the 2007 Eclipse Award voting for apprentice jockey behind Joe Talamo.