Beach Treat Leads Qualifiers in Blue River Derby Trials at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino
Beach Treat, under jockey Giovani Vazquez-Gomez, sets the fastest qualifying time for the $100,000 Blue River Derby at Indiana Grand.

© Linscott Photography
Beach Treat Leads Qualifiers in Blue River Derby Trials at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

SHELBYVILLE, IN—JULY 7, 2018— Beach Treat and jockey Giovani Vazquez-Gomez scored the quickest time among 30 three-year-olds vying for a top 10 spot to advance to the $100,000 final of the Blue River Derby slated for Saturday, July 21. The duo covered the 400-yard dash in a time of :19.939 seconds to lead the field into the 16th running of the event.

Starting from the inside post one of the second of three trials, Beach Treat wasn’t the quickest out of the gate but made up for it just a few steps out. The gelded son of Escondido Beach began to put together a steady rally, wearing his foes down to reach the wire by the margin of a head over Kitty Sixup and Samuel Mendez on the extreme outside. Jessalilsecret and Jose Beltran finished a neck back in third.

Owned and trained by Ron Brown, Beach Treat earned his third career win and his first of 2018 in the Blue River Derby Trial. He has recorded all 11 of his career starts at Indiana Grand.

Rockys Candy Shop, under jockey Jose Beltran, qualifying in the closing trial for the Blue River Derby.
© Linscott Photography
Rocky Candy Shop, ridden by Beltran, won the second fastest trial of the night, completing his race in a time of :20.007. The Fantastic Corona Jr gelding, trained by Randy Smith, led from gate to wire, winning easily over Just Like Sarah and Jackson, who finished one and one-quarter lengths back in second. Fish Head and Aron Hunt maintained ground along the inside to finish third.

Rockys Candy Shop, owned by Lance Finlinson, is now four for seven lifetime. The stakes placed sophomore is currently two for two in 2018 for his connections.

The always impressive Beach Mercedes kicked off the first of three trials with a victory. Starting from post four, it didn’t take the Escondido Beach filly very many strides into the race to secure the lead, battling all the way to the wire to fend off Atempting Love and Luis Guerrero to her inside. Beach Mercedes got the win by a neck in a time of :20.052. Atempting Love was second over Apollitical Regard and Cesar Esqueda. It was the first time that Beach Mercedes had run a 400-yard race, but she handled it with ease.

“I figured she would like it (the distance),” said Smith. “She is a real easy keeper. We just try to keep her sound.”

Beach Mercedes, under jockey Jose Beltran, qualifying in the opening trial for the Blue River Derby.
© Linscott Photography
Smith has stalls at Indiana Grand and also has a farm just minutes from Indiana Grand. His farm includes an indoor jog track as well as paddocks and a eurocizer, which he utilizes while the horses are at the farm.

“She (Beach Mercedes) spends a little time at both,” said Smith. “They all go back and forth between the track and the farm. And, when she’s at the farm, we put her on the eurocizer.”

Owned and bred by Sheri Miller of Shipshewana, Ind., Beach Mercedes is currently on a three-race win streak. She has won five of her 10 career starts heading into the Blue River Derby final.

For the top 10 qualifiers to the Blue River Derby, with times, sires, dams, owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys CLICK HERE.

Smith will saddle four in the final (Jessalilsecret, Rockys Candy Shop, Beach Mercedes, Just Like Sarah) while Ron Raper will saddle two. (HQH Fancy Pants and Atempting Love)

The 16th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing continues through Wednesday, Nov. 7. Racing is conducted Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:05 p.m. EST with Saturday racing beginning at 6:05 p.m. EST. Thursday racing will be held July 19 and Sept. 6 at 2:05 p.m. EST.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

About Indiana Grand Racing & Casino: Indiana Grand Racing & Casino holds multiple awards from industry publications for customer service, entertainment, gaming and dining. Located in Shelbyville, Ind., Indiana Grand features 2,200 of the latest slots and electronic table games in addition to a one-mile dirt race course and a seven-eighths mile turf course offering live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year. Simulcast wagering is also offered year-round at Winner's Circle Brewpub & OTB located on the casino floor as well as an off-track betting facility located in Clarksville, Ind. For more information, please visit