04/20/2013 12:36PM

Indiana Downs meet opens under Centaur Gaming


Indiana Downs opens under the banner of Centaur Gaming for the first time Tuesday and will conduct a 120-day Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet. Centaur also owns Hoosier Park in Anderson, Ind., and received permission from the Indiana Racing Commission to run Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse races at Indiana Downs and to conduct Standardbred racing at Hoosier Park.

Brian Elmore, general manager at Hoosier, will oversee racing at both tracks, while Kevin Greely, former racing secretary at Hoosier, was named director of racing at Indiana Downs. Scott Peine remains as racing secretary at Indiana Downs.

Peine said the changes at Indiana Downs since the acquisition have all been positive.

“Knock on wood, everything has gone perfectly since we merged to one Thoroughbred track,” Peine said.

Indiana Downs hired a new track superintendant, John Jameson, and put down a new track surface.

“We did a complete resurfacing and brought in Mick Peterson and Butch Lehr as consultants,” Peine said. “The track has had rave reviews from riders and trainers alike.”

Major work also was done to the turf course, and it is in tip-top shape, according to Peine.

“It is absolutely gorgeous and in such great shape we could probably race over it now,” he said. “We decided to wait until Kentucky Derby Day to use it, though.”

Indiana Downs will run a card of all turf races June 15, including three turf stakes. One of those, the $200,000 Centaur, was formerly named the Oliver and is for 3-year-old horses going a mile.

Both the Indiana Derby and Indiana Oaks retained their Grade 2 status and will be run Oct. 5. The $125,000 Indiana Grand will replace the Indiana Distaff on July 20 and will be for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

The Don K. Memorial starter series will remain intact and have an alternating turf/dirt schedule. The Elizabeth “Annie” Steele Memorial will be the equivalent series for fillies on turf. Annie Steele was a longtime outrider who died from cancer last year. Each series has a purse of $32,000 per race.

Entries have been drawn for the first few days of the meet, and Peine said he was very pleased.

“We made 12 races for Wednesday, and entries have been great so far, especially considering the weather,” he said. “It has been bad, and a lot of guys have missed some training, but the entries have been great.”

Peine had stall applications for 1,900 horses, and Indiana Downs has 600 stalls.

“We are renting 150 stalls at Turfway Park and are covering the cost for the people there to ship up here to run,” Peine said. “We are also planning to build another 300 stalls here.”

Several new trainers have stalls at Indiana Downs.

“We have quite a few new trainers: Ron Moquette, Ray Tracy, Brad Cox, and Tim Glyshaw,” Peine said. “There will also be some Tampa trainers stabled at Turfway.”

Other trainers returning include Barbara McBride, Randy Klopp, Tom Amoss, and Richard Kohnhorst.

The jockey colony will be without perennial leading rider Leandro Goncalves, who has moved his tack to Kentucky. A newcomer, Chris Landeros, has the credentials to take over the top spot, as he has been the leading rider at Lone Star Park three times. Returning riders include Malcolm Franklin, Fernando De La Cruz, and Marlon St. Julien.

Indiana Downs will race four days a week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays – until July 1, when Mondays will be added until the close of the meet Oct. 19. Six days – May 25, June 21, July 6, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, and Oct. 12 – will be Quarter Horse-only days.