New Handle Set for Quarter Horse Racing at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino
A total of $1,000,393 was wagered at Indiana Grand on Saturday to establish a new handle record at the racetrack.

© Coady Photography
New Handle Set for Quarter Horse Racing at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino

SHELBYVILLE, IN—JUNE 7, 2021—Indiana Grand Racing & Casino recorded its highest all-sources handle during the first of six All-Quarter Horse racing programs Saturday (June 5). A total of $1,000,393 was wagered to establish a new track record.

The day featured 13 races, including two stakes races and trials for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby, with the top 10 heading to the $75,000 final set for Monday, June 28.

The seventh running of the $95,900 Harley Greene Derby was a good preview of three-year-olds in the state with Beach Blast turning in a very impressive performance in the 350-yard dash. The sorrel son of Escondido Beach broke on top and never looked back for jockey Sammy Mendez, cruising under the wire for a one and three-quarter length advantage in a time of :17.650. WH Imastreakinbeach and Jose Ruiz finished second over Jess Bringin It On and Cesar Esqueda for third.

Owned by Keith Bode and Brock Hutchinson, Beach Blast is now four for eight lifetime and increased his career bankroll over the $200,000 mark. It was one of six wins on the card for Trainer Randy Smith, Indiana Grand’s leading trainer.

“That horse can run,” said Smith of Beach Blast. “He could be one of the fastest ones I’ve ever had. We’ll probably get him ready for the Blue River (Derby) next.”

The second Quarter Horse stakes of the day was a first for both horse and jockey. Erik Esqueda guided Jess a Flyin Beach to his first stakes win in the $83,200 Born Runner Classic. Starting from post two, the duo had good positioning early and was able to take over midway through the 400-yard dash to get a nose under the wire first for the win. Beach Mercedes and Sammy Mendez finished second followed by Beach Cartel and German Rodriguez for third.

Owned and trained by Tony Cunningham, Jess a Flyin Beach earned his fourth career win and increased his career bankroll to more than $119,000. The four-year-old son of Escondido Beach was making his second start of 2021.

“He’s been second or third in stakes action but never quite got his head in front at the wire,” said Cunningham. “He has a lot of class. He’s had some issues over the past couple of years but was able to put it all together today. I’m happy for Erik (Esqueda) to get his first stakes win. We have a great team and can’t do it without all of them.”

Earlier on the card three trials were held to determine the final field for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby. The quickest qualifier of the day was Cartel Creek from the Randy Smith barn. Owned by Debbie Smith, the three-year-old son of The Louisiana Cartel scored the win in :20.215 for jockey Jose Beltran after grabbing an early lead.

The top 10 qualifiers for the Indiana Grand QHRAI Derby, with jockey and times, includes: Cartel Creek (Jose Beltran, :20.215); WRs Moonin the Wagon (Sammy Mendez, :20.261); Jess Over Yonder (Natasha Fritz, :20.358); Jess Good Reason SA (Uriel Cervantes, :20.450); Paint Me Brown (Uriel Cervantes, :20.473); CC Moonflash (L.D. Martinez, :20.532); Lone Cartel (L.D. Martinez, :20.603); Apollitical Tools (Giovani Vazquez Gomez, :20.623); Shez Bodacious (Cristian Reyes, :20.638); and AA Storm the Mozoomo (Erik Esqueda, :20.655).

Tony Cunningham will saddle three in the final (CC Moonflash, Lone Cartel, AA Storm the Mozoomo) while Randy Smith (Cartel Creek, WRs Moonin Thewagon), Jose Aguirre (Jess Good Reason SA, Paint Me Brown) and Tim Eggleston (Jess Over Yonder, Shez Bodacious) will all saddle two in the final.

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

Another first was also recorded on the day as Trainer Shawna Martin not only scored her first career training victory but scored a double on the card. Martin kicked off the day with a win from Delightful Dahlonega, ridden by Cristian Esqueda, with a win in the first race followed by a win by Easy Torero, also ridden by Cristian Esqueda, in the afternoon’s sixth race. Easy Torero was a surprise winner to bettors, paying $85.80 for the win.

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

The next all Quarter Horse Day at Indiana Grand is set for Saturday, July 3 followed by racing Saturday, July 24, Saturday, Aug. 14, Saturday, Sept. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 9.

The track will also host two regional qualifiers for the AQHA Bank of America Challenge Championships this fall. The John Deere Juvenile Challenge and the Q-Racing Videos Distaff Challenge trials are scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4 with the finals set for Monday, Sept. 20. All Saturday Quarter Horse racing begins at 10 a.m.

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

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Monday, Nov. 8. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, with first post on Thursday set at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at

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

About Indiana Grand Racing & Casino
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.