Indiana Grand Honors Its Season Champions

The track acknowledged its leading owner, trainer, and jockeys this week.

Edited press release

Rachel McLaughlin of Indiana Grand presents the trophy for leading Quarter Horse owner to Tony Cunningham. PHOTO: Linscott Photography

Indiana Grand Racetrack honored its leading Quarter Horse owner, trainer, and jockeys this week.

Tony Cunningham of Clarksville, Michigan, was Indiana Grand's leading owner for the second consecutive year. Cunningham had 10 winners from 58 starters and purse earnings of more than $129,000.

“It goes to the support of the team,” said Cunningham, who has competed at Indiana Grand every year. “They are working hard to get better every year. We are finished for the year now. We will go to the farm and break babies and get ready for next season.

“We don’t raise babies anymore,” he added. “It just got too hard to breed our own stock anymore since we are racing out of state. We generally just rely on our owners and the sales for our yearlings. We have roughly 20 to break this year.”

Cunningham oversees operations at his farm in Michigan, and he relies on Salvador Villalobos to manage things in Indiana.

“Salvador takes care of things at Indiana Grand when I’m not here,” said Cunningham. “He’s been with me for the past four years and has done an excellent job.”

 
Indiana Grand's all-time leading Quarter
Horse trainer Randy Smith (second from
right) topped all Quarter Horse trainers
during the track's 2017 meet. PHOTO:
Linscott Photography

Randy Smith led all Indiana Grand Quarter Horse trainers for the third straight season. A resident of Broughton, Illinois, Smith won 32 races. During the meet, Smith became the track's all-time leading Quarter Horse trainer, as he has prepped the winners of 175 races since he took out his license in 2009.

"It's been another good year," said Smith. "We appreciate all the help and their work. If it wasn't for good help, we couldn't be successful.

Smith holds the record for the most Quarter Horse wins on a single program at Indiana Grand, as he saddled seven winners during on August 16 program. He and his wife, Debbie, built a training center near Indiana Grand in 2015. The 60-stall facility includes a quarter-mile indoor jog track, an Equicizer, and multiple paddocks.

Rolando Pina and Berkley Packer tied for the title of leading Quarter Horse jockey, as both jockeys rode the winners of 21 races during the 120-day meet. Pina and Packer also tied for the title last year with 28 wins each, equaling the single-season record established in 2013 by Harold Collins.

Pina rode the earners of $525,857 and was the only Quarter Horse jockey to top the $500,000 mark in mount earings.

Indiana Grand ended its 15th season on Friday. Live racing will resume in April 2018.

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