John Hernandez First Recipient Of Herb & Darlene Likens Scholarship

The Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (ITOBA) awarded its first Herb and Darlene Likens Scholar Award recently at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. John Hernandez of Monticello, Ind. is the recipient of the first $2,500 scholarship from the newly installed program.

John is a graduate of Twin Lakes High School in Monticello, Ind. He is currently attending Ivy Tech in Lafayette, Ind. His father, Martin, works at Elliott Farms in Brookston, Ind., making John eligible for the award earmarked to families associated with Thoroughbred racing in the state of Indiana.

“This award was initiated by ITOBA this past spring to offer something to the thousands of people working behind the scenes in the Thoroughbred industry in the state,” said Tom Mosley, President of ITOBA. “Martin, John’s father, has had his hands on so many horses that have emerged from this state. Martin is a prime example of a hard-working, dedicated, loyal horseman who is the backbone of the Indiana Thoroughbred industry.”

Elliott Farms is Indiana’s largest and oldest farm in the state. It is well known nationally for breaking, training, breeding and sale prep of the horses raised at the farm. Martin Hernandez has been a huge part of the entire services offered by Elliott Farms for more than two decades.

The Herb and Darlene Likens Scholar Award was created to assist Indiana’s breeders, owners, farms, and their employees and families in their post high school educational expenses. The award is named after the Likens, longtime owners and breeders in the state, who assist with the award. The Likens are still active in breeding and racing Thoroughbreds from their farm in Madison County.

The Likens’ Scholar Award leads into ITOBA’s biggest event of the year, Indiana Champions Day set for Saturday, Oct. 30 at Indiana Grand. Racing begins at 12 p.m. and will feature four Thoroughbred stakes with followed by five Quarter Horse stakes, pushing purses for the day to more than $1 million. Numerous activities will complement the afternoon racing card, including a Cigar Rolling Station with free cigars to the first 200 racing fans, sweatshirt, hat, and license plate giveaways, two $1,000 handicapping contests, five $1,000 Megabet drawings, strolling entertainment, and food and beverage specials. The afternoon will be capped off with an appearance by the Headless Horseman.

Indiana Champions Day will also include two book signings associated with racing. Otto Thorwarth, who portrayed Ron Turcotte in the Disney movie “Secretariat,” will be available to sign his new book “No Ordinary Champion.” Tina Cleary, former Quarter Horse jockey, will also be available to sign her book “Growing Up With Moocher” based on a former Indiana racehorse. Both signings will take place trackside from 2 until 5 p.m.

The 19th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing is now in progress and continues through Thursday, Nov. 11. Live racing is conducted at 2:25 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 11. First post all other Thursdays leading up to the end of the meet begin at 3:25 p.m. A special Indiana Champions Day highlighting the state’s top Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses will be held Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon. More information about the 2021 racing season is available at

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