Several Upgrades Await Horsemen at Indiana Grand

The track opens its Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse meet on April 18.

Edited press release

Workers install a new safety rail at Indiana Grand Racetrack, which opened for training on March 20. The track opens its 2017 racing season on April 18. PHOTO: Indiana Grand

Indiana Grand Racetrack opens its 2017 Thoroughbred and American Quarter Horse season on April 18, and horsemen will be greeted by several improvements, including a new safety rail to boost safety measures at the track.

Known as Rider Protection Systems, the new rail was installed at a cost of $300,000 and includes new posts, a new base rail and an expanded top surface that measures 18 inches wide across of the top of the base rail, providing a flat surface that is considered safer for all equine and human athletes. The rail is designed to create fewer shadows on the track and is weather-resistant to UV rays and inclement conditions, allowing for easy drainage of rain or snow.

The rail was installed in early March.

“We had three tractor trailers of aluminum railing arrive the last week of February in preparation for the installation,” said Indiana Grand track maintenance manager Roy Smith. “This is the same rail that is utilized at tracks such as Churchill Downs and Gulfstream Park. The purpose of the rail is to provide a bounce and slide type surface if a horse or jockey goes over it, which is much safer. It probably won’t appear much different to the public, but it’s definitely something our horsemen and jockeys will appreciate this season.”

One aspect of the track that the public will notice is the new construction on the backstretch of the track. A six-foot tall berm has been installed, and existing fencing has been removed along the backstretch. On top of the new berm, new eight-foot fencing with astro-turf like material on the slats has been installed, providing an aesthetically appealing green backdrop for racing.

The purpose of the berm, which will also include landscaping, is to separate the track from the $3.5-million track maintenance building that is being erected along the backstretch.

“The only part of the new track maintenance facility that you will see from the grandstand will be the roofline,” said Smith. “The building will be in the same location as before at the half-mile pole. Right now, we have relocated the maintenance yard to the three-quarter chute area and will work from that location until everything gets completed.”

In addition to the new maintenance building, the water pump stations will receive an upgrade and will be relocated to the new area. This will include an upgraded water system for the turf course.

“Everything will be under one roof,”said Smith. “The new building will have a two-car garage and two support buildings. There will be enough storage (almost 300 feet) to put all track equipment under one roof. It will also contain a whole office complex for track maintenance as well as for Terril (Gabbard), the backstretch maintenance manager.”

To complement the 364-foot long facility, state-of-the-art equipment will be installed, giving employees the proper tools to conduct maintenance and service on all machinery -- from water trucks to tractors to lawn mowers -- utilized at Indiana Grand. In the past, the facility had very limited maintenance capabilities and many repairs had to be sent off-site.

“All racing enhancements and projects are part of our ongoing pledge to operate one of the safest Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse tracks in the country,” said Centaur Gaming president and chief operating officer Jim Brown. “Safety enhancements and improvements are always at the forefront of our projects for our racing operations.”

Other racing improvements for the 2017 racing season include expanded Wi-Fi services, some paving projects, refurbished jockey quarters, and a backstretch greenhouse.

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