The summer’s biggest sporting event in Indiana is just around the corner. The Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino is July 7 and marks the 27th since the original running in 1995 at Hoosier Park. This will be the ninth year at Indiana Grand.
The Indiana Derby wasn’t always a Grade III stakes race, but that all changed thanks to a big win from a great horse back in 2001. Chris Polzin, director of racing at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino, took some time to chat with me about the history and how the race became what it is today and why it continues to grow.
The 2001 Indiana Derby winner, Orientate, went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint that same year. That prestigious win helped move the Indiana Derby to Graded Stakes status as a Grade III in 2002.
We’re talking big money on Indiana Derby day July 7. This Grade III race has a $300,000 purse! Total stakes at the Indiana Derby will exceed $850,000. You want in on that action? I do! The last two years set records in wagering with $4,104,657 in 2019 and $5,979,952 in 2020. This prestigious day at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino attracts big names in the jockey and trainer industry and if you attend the Indiana Derby for your first time this summer, you’ll understand why.
Are you familiar with the Kentucky Derby? The Indiana Derby is a mirror of the Kentucky Derby. It’s all about the race … but it’s also all about the party leading up to the race. Football fans, think about tailgating. All the festivities that lead up to the game are the same on Indiana Derby day.
I went to my first Indiana Derby a few years back and I had an absolute blast. I watched a couple races outside near the paddock and the main one from inside. I had an incredible dinner on the second floor, hung with some friends, talked to a few Colts players, had dinner with a playmate, made some wagers on races and even picked a winner once. Put on your fancy clothes and make it a day at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino for the Indiana Derby on July 7.
Here is a breakdown of the races on Indiana Derby Day.