Indiana Grand Season Concludes With Record Handle Numbers

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing ended Thursday, Nov. 11, completing 123 days of racing. The meet Both breeds brought in record numbers for the year, showing a 47 percent increase in overall handle compared to similar dates in 2019.

With the shortened season in 2020 due to COVID-19, handle figures are compared to 2019 when a full schedule was conducted at Indiana Grand. Total handle for 2021 came in at $223,204,265 compared to handle in 2019 at $151,791,334. The highlight of the meet was another record setting day for Indiana Derby with total handle reaching $6,292,388. The 2021 running of the Indiana Derby marked the third straight year for an all-sources handle track record for a single program.

“Coming off a strong, but abbreviated 2020 season, we entered the 2021 meet with high expectations in terms of handle,” said Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing. “We are very pleased that we were able to exceed all of our goals. We have so much to celebrate on the business end of our racing program, but more importantly, we were able to offer a strong racing program thanks to the support of both our Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred horsemen. Our partnership with both breeds allows us to provide promotions and events to complement our racing program. We are really looking forward to the 2022 racing season to continue the momentum.”

On Thursday, as the 2021 racing season came to a close, the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) made a surprise presentation to Halstrom with the “HBPA Excellence of Service Award.”

Brian Elmore, Executive Director of Indiana HBPA, was joined by several board members for the presentation in the winner’s circle to Halstrom, who is in his second year at the helm of the racing operations at Indiana Grand. Elmore noted the gratitude from the horsemen’s organization for Halstrom’s leadership and guidance during the 19th season of racing that has brought in a record-setting year in handle.

Elmore noted the best way to honor Halstrom was to read the plaque, which said, “In recognition of your outstanding commitment and leadership toward the advancement of Thoroughbred horse racing in Indiana. Given on this day, Nov. 11, 2021.”

In addition to working closely with the horsemen this season, Halstrom has implemented several positive changes to the racing program, from lower takeout rates to unique wagering incentives, including a seeded $50,000 Pick 5 on closing day as a way to say “thank you” to all racing fans who watched and wagered on Indiana racing in 2021.

“We’ve had a tremendous year in racing and it’s thanks in part to the cooperation and support of the horsemen,” said Halstrom “I am very honored to receive this award, and it has special meaning since it comes from the horsemen’s organization. We work very hard to put on a great show for them and are constantly looking for ways to create a fun and exciting backdrop to showcase our racing product.”

Four days during the season topped $3 million in handle, including the closing day program on Veteran’s Day Nov. 11 featuring a seeded $50,000 Pick 5 and Charity Challenge with 20 handicappers submitting $250 tickets into the wager to raise funding for Homeless Veterans and Families of Indiana. Total handle for the day was $3,150,488, the highest handle ever recorded on a Thursday program in the history of Indiana Grand.

Quarter Horse racing also showed major increases in 2021. Handle for the sprinters topped $1 million twice with the Saturday, July 3 program setting a new Quarter Horse handle record of $1,201,604. A total of six all Quarter Horse racing days were offered in 2021.

Purse money also set new records. Both breeds combined included purses of $36,439,755 over the 123-day meet. A new record for daily purse distribution was also set offering an average of $298,686 per day.

The 20th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is set to resume Tuesday, April 19 and run through Wednesday, Nov. 23. Racing will be held Monday through Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. with Thursday racing beginning at 3:30 p.m. A total of 12 Saturday racing programs will be held in 2022. For more information on events and racing, go to

The post Indiana Grand Season Concludes With Record Handle Numbers appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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