The Indiana Horse Racing Commission met Monday, Dec. 6 at Indiana Grand and approved dates for both Indiana racetracks. Harrah’s Hoosier Park is set to open the longest meet in the 28-year racing history of the track.
Racing will begin for the 160-day racing meet Friday, March 25 and extend through Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. First post will be 6:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted with racing conducted Tuesday through Saturday during the bulk of the schedule. Tuesday racing will be picked up in June and will end in September. The track will also host holiday racing Monday May 30 for Memorial Day as well as Monday July 4 for Independence Day as well as Monday September 5 for Labor Day. No Sunday racing will be conducted and no racing on Thanksgiving will be held in 2022.
In addition to racing dates, the IHRC approved the renewal of the license for the Indiana Standardbred Association (ISA) as the official horsemen’s organization for Standardbred racing. ISA President Joe Putnam provided the presentation to IHRC commissioners and noted the organization represents more than 1,000 members annually.
“We just got done with the longest Standardbred meet in Indiana and start to finish, it was an all-time record meet with well over $100 million in handle, the first time we have hit that mark,” said Putnam. “Having an extended meet allows horsemen to stay and participate year-round, so this is something we have been working on for a long time and glad we are able to now offer racing into December.”
Putnam noted the services ISA provides to horsemen and horsewomen.
“The ISA provides a clinic with free health, dental, counseling and a chiropractor,” said Putnam. “We also provide a magazine five times a year and college assistance and emergency benefits for our members. We have a continued partnership with Harrah’s Hoosier Park and will pursue the Breeders Crown again in 2023.”
Putnam noted the significance of having the Breeders Crown hosted in Indiana.
“Up until 2017, we were never able to have an event of that magnitude,” added Putnam.
Putnam also noted the ISA worked with Hoosier Park to serve a Thanksgiving Day dinner which fed well over 200 people. He also noted the aftercare assistance ISA provides as well as various grants to therapeutic riding centers in the area. Putnam also noted they are in the process of hiring an executive director which should be in place in 2022.
“For our winter training at the track, there will be approximately 250 horses on the grounds year-round,” said Putnam. “More horses will be ready when racing begins in the spring. The trend is upwards at the sales and the breeding program has more mares. Things are looking very positive for Indiana racing.”