The 2021 racing season at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino will feature an expanded stakes schedule of 40 races worth over $3.65 million. The stakes schedule is highlighted by the $300,000 GIII Indiana Derby, which will be held at mid-week for the second time when it is run July 7. That Wednesday card's six-stakes lineup also includes the $200,000 GIII Indiana Oaks.
“We moved Indiana Derby Day to Wednesday in 2020 due to crowd restrictions and other safety protocols in place due to COVID-19,” said Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing. “The move proved to be very popular with racing fans across the nation and the Derby program set an all-time track record for total handle, just missing the $6-million mark. We feel by moving our big day to mid-week, the program receives the recognition it deserves with such high-quality stakes on the card.”
The track's Sept. 8 card will include the $150,000 Caesars S. and the $150,000 Indiana Grand. Those stakes–the state's richest turf races–will be complemented by the $75,000 Back Home Again S. and the $75,000 Circle City S., which sport new names in 2021. Both races were part of an online contest to rename several stakes, garnering more than 250 responses.
“Our online presence has jumped over the past year and we value the support of those racing fans,” added Halstrom. “We wanted to include them in revamping our 2021 stakes schedule and by offering a contest with a prize, it was a way to engage them in the process. We got some really good suggestions, which we have used on 12 stakes for the year.”
New to the Indiana Grand schedule in 2021 are the William Garrett S., the IU Hoosiers S., the Send it in Army S. and the Clarksville S. Each will offer a purse of $65,000.
“We saw an opportunity to add some open stakes to our summer lineup and we think this will create a lot of variety to our schedule,” said Chris Polzin, director of racing/racing secretary. “Plus, the Garrett and IU Hoosiers [set for Aug. 11] give us two more stakes to showcase on our turf course.”
The complete stakes schedule is available here.