Sweet Rebound for Valiantinecandyrocks in Indiana Grand Classic at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino
Valiantinecandyrocks (#7), under jockey Victor Olivo gets up over Beach Mercedes (#3) in the $86,460 Indiana Grand Classic Stakes at Indiana Grand & Casino.

© Coady Photography

Sweet Rebound for Valiantinecandyrocks in Indiana Grand Classic at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

SHELBYVILLE, IN—SEPTEMBER 14, 2020—After some bad racing luck in her last start, Valiantinecandyrocks and Victor Olivo rebounded in a big way, winning the 18th running of the $86,460 Indiana Grand Classic.

The stakes race is one of the oldest Quarter Horse stakes for Indiana Grand, beginning during the inaugural season in 2003.

Prior to her last start in the Bob Woodard Memorial Stakes, Valiantinecandyrocks was a perfect two for two on the season. A bad stumble at the start took the four-year-old mare out of the race with no hopes of getting into contention.

"Her back feet slid back from underneath her," said Olivo. "From that point on, I just took hold and rode her through. If you miss a break in a race like that, you are done."

The winning connections of Valiantinecandyrocks accept the Indiana Grand Classic stakes trophy Monday at Indiana Grand & Casino. © Coady Photography
Valiantinecandyrocks had no worries in the Indiana Grand Classic at the start. She wasn't the first out of the gate, but in two jumps, she was in contention for the lead. Brandishing her signature red breast collar, Valiantinecandyrocks began to put her opponents away one and a time.

In the end, she was able to fend off Beach Mercedes and Sammy Mendez who closed in late. Southern Belle BP and German Rodriguez finished third. The time of the 400-yard sprint was :19.929.

"Her last race was a hard pill to swallow," said Trainer Lily Gonzalez. "The first worry we had today was the break, but she can run, and she can go the distance. It's good to see her come back like this. She deserves it." The win from Valiantinecandyrocks also holds special meaning for Gonzalez. With a Thoroughbred win earlier in the card, she recorded her first career training double thanks to the speedy Quarter Horse.

"This is my first double and it's with my two favorite horses, my favorite Thoroughbred (Pradar)and my favorite Quarter Horse (Valiantinecandyrocks)," said Gonzalez. "This mare is nice to be around. You have to let her act like she's in control. She loves to win, and we just keep her happy. She's had a very good meet. Us girls have to stick together."

Valiantinecandyrocks is now three for four this season and six for 13 life. It was her first career stakes win. The daughter of Valiant Hero out of Jesses Candy by Mr Jess Perry is owned by breeders Lance and Tammy Finlinson of Greenwood, Ind. who were unable to attend. Their son, Landen, is a senior at Center Grove High School and plays number one doubles for the state ranked No. 3 tennis team in Indiana.

The Finlinsons were attending his match at Bloomington North but were tuned in online to watch their horse win the stakes race.

Sheri Miller's homebred Beach Mercedes earned $17,292 for finishing second. Randy Smith conditions the 5-year-old daughter of Escondido Beach from the Feature Mr Jess mare Jess Alive Bully. Samuel Menez had the riding call aboard the $220,209 stakes winner.

Southern Belle Bp earned $8,646 for third. Randy Haffner trains the Oklaoma homebred for owner-breeder Bill Price. German Rodriguez rod the 4-year-old daughter of all-time leading sire First Down Dash from the Southern Cartel mare Bp Shes Southern. She has earned $47,780.

Shes Relentlesswagon, Cause For Corona, Apollitical B Beast, My Pillow, Tres My Heart, Wagon Dash and Air Born Rio completed the field. Shes A Real Patriot was scratched.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Racing is held Monday through Thursday until Wednesday, Nov. 18. All-Quarter Horse racing is set for Saturday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 24. For more information,

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, which is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR), holds multiple awards for customer service, entertainment, gaming, dining, and diversity. Located in Shelbyville, Ind., Indiana Grand features more than 2,100 of the latest slots and table games in addition to a one-mile dirt racecourse and a seven-eighths mile turf course providing live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year. Simulcast and sports wagering is also offered year-round at Winner's Circle Race Sports Pub located on the casino floor as well as a Winner's Circle Race Sports Pub located in Clarksville, Ind. For more information, please visit

Must be 18 or older to wager on horse racing at racetracks and 21 or older to gamble at sports books and casinos. Know When To Stop Before You Start.® Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-9-WITH-IT (1-800-994-8448) ©2020 Caesars License Company, LLC.