Of TD Thornton
Horseshoe Indianapolis is proposing a 2023 mixed race schedule of 123 dates, which splits four dates from the thoroughbred portion of the calendar to 117 of the 121 thoroughbred dates that had been awarded this year.
Pending approval at Thursday’s meeting of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission (IHRC), the 2023 mixed meet will run April 18-Nov. 17.
This is roughly the same template the Horseshoe Indianapolis used last season, although next year’s meet is scheduled to end the Friday before Thanksgiving instead of going into the holiday week and closing the day before Thanksgiving , as happened this year.
“The 2023 mixed thoroughbred and quarter horse meeting will start and finish at approximately the same time as the 2022 season, but in an attempt to accommodate the change in the national racing calendar, there will be some movement of race days to maximize handling and participation. ” Horseshoe Indianapolis stated in its application package to the IHRC.
For 2022, the Horseshoe Indianapolis has been given a total of 127 days, with six of those dates dedicated exclusively to Quarter Horse books. While there will be a few Quarter Horse races mixed in at Thoroughbred meets, which is standard for the track, there will once again be six Quarter Horse programs in 2023.
To meet the state’s minimum requirements for unlimited simulcasting, Horseshoe Indianapolis must run at least 120 thoroughbred and quarter horse meets.
“The stakes programs for both breeds will likely have some minor changes, but on the thoroughbred side, our signature events…[the GIII] Indiana Derby and [the GIII] Indiana Oaks – will also see a minor change,” the application states.
“We feel there is an opportunity to make the event even bigger by turning it into a potential two-day, high-stakes showcase of Indiana’s best racing. With that in mind, we have added Friday, July 7th to the calendar and will keep the Indiana Derby on Saturday, July 8th as we look to follow up on our remarkable success in 2022,” the application continued.
The 2022 running of the Indiana Derby marked the fourth consecutive year that the Horseshoe Indianapolis set a new record.
Four race dates in 2023 (from 12 to 16) will move to Saturday.
“While the racing schedule has been proven to capture more attention and views with its Monday-Thursday racing schedule, it’s also clear that weekends draw the best crowds,” the app states.
Stables will remain open through the winter again this year at Horseshoe Indianapolis, a facility designed to support the horse population for when racing resumes next spring.
“Winter training continued to be an important tool for us  the early season race schedule,” the app reads. “In total, almost 400 horses have taken advantage of our racing surface and barn area being open all year round. April entries are up from 2021 and the new barn gives us the opportunity to have even more horses this coming winter. We think it is likely that over the next few months close to 500 horses will be using our facilities to keep fit and in training.”
Horseshoe Indianapolis also detailed in its application a 2023 spending strategy for capital investments.
“For 2023, there is a substantial amount ($813,708) set aside for working capital … more than we will likely need to use to sufficiently replace aging equipment,” the application states. “Most of the maintenance capital plan calls for replacing harrows, floats and snow removal equipment. We will take a thorough inventory of our current equipment and its condition and come to the IHRC with a request for replacement capital at the March 2023 meeting as there are other needs that could improve our facility and product.”
The application continued: “Due to unplanned year-round use of our tractors, we experience unexpected wear and tear. It is likely that we will have to plan for the phase-in of new tractors over a number of years.
“Additionally, Horseshoe Indianapolis continued its improvements with the Racing Capital Fund Appropriation Committee (RCFAC) capital,” the application states. “The 2022 RCFAC items have been very productive for our racing program and we will have some equipment in 2023 that will not only bring value to our riders and facilities, but also to our customers.”
According to Horseshoe Indianapolis, RCFAC expenses already approved for 2023 include an apron tent and canopy structure ($650,000), installation of a new turf rail and geolocation services ($150,000), Eurocizer material ($25,000) and sand for a lawn. renovation ($25,000).