Empire of Hope to Showcase Aftercare at Indiana Grand


John Neal and Vinny greet fans | Linscott Photography

Indiana Grand will showcase racehorse aftercare programs Saturday as part of Caesars Entertainment Racing properties' “Empire of Hope.” The entire evening will be dedicated to raising funding and awareness for racehorses once their careers on the track are completed.

A “Parade of Champions” will be held following the fourth race on the evening's card and will feature several former racehorses now serving as outriding and pony horses. Among the former racehorses with new careers at the track is Vinny. Owned by outrider John Neal, Vinny has served as an outriding horse in both Kentucky and Indiana and was part of the on-set group of horses included in the Disney movie “Secretariat.”

“We are excited to offer a night where we can place the spotlight on racehorse aftercare programs,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing. “Organizations such as Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Friends of Ferdinand and New Vocations are crucial to our business and it's very rewarding to see our equine athletes go on and find success in different types of careers after their racing days have completed. We hope to provide a great backdrop with our 'Empire of Hope' event to support such a worthy cause in both Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing at Indiana Grand.”

Indiana Grand has been working over the past two months to help raise funding for aftercare. One dollar from every package sold for Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Indiana Derby was earmarked for the cause, and unclaimed monies from an on-track contest have been earmarked for racehorse aftercare programs. Friends of Ferdinand, based in the Indianapolis area, will be on hand Saturday to provide information about its program, and items from Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance will also be available throughout the racing card. The Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) will provide two donations during the night and the jockeys of Indiana Grand will also provide a donation to the overall tally for the evening.

The Indiana Grand casino has also joined in support of “Empire of Hope” with the “Give $10, Get $10” program. Guests on the casino floor may stop at the casino cashier and give a $10 donation and in turn get $10 in casino play. All proceeds from the promotion will go directly to racehorse aftercare programs.

Racing at the Shelbyville oval gets underway at 6:15 p.m. Saturday.

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