Indiana Derby celebrates 21 years with $1.4 million at stake July 16-18 

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Celebrating more than two decades of Indiana horse racing history, the time-honored Indiana Derby presented by the Indianapolis Star will take place on Saturday, July 18 at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Ind. Indiana Derby Day will be preceded by the Indiana Derby Festival beginning Thursday, July 16.

“This will be the first year in the history of the Derby it has not been held the first Saturday in October,” said Jon Schuster, vice president and general manager of racing at Indiana Grand. “We knew there was some risk in moving the race to July, but with better weather and a look at the horses on the nomination list, I believe the move has only strengthened this race, which has always received national attention.”

Ten of the 57 horses nominated to the Indiana Derby ran in one or more of the historical Triple Crown races this season that saw American Pharoah win the Triple Crown, which had not been accomplished since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. Among those nominated for the Indiana Derby, 13 of the horses have competed against American Pharoah, showing the depth of talent on the list.

A total of 12 stakes will be held over a four-day period with purses topping $1.4 million. On Saturday, July 18, racing begins at 6:05 p.m. and the Indiana Derby will be contested as the ninth race on the card with an estimated post time of 9:41 p.m. EST. The Indiana Oaks will be held as race eight with an estimated post time of 9:11 p.m. EST.

Blind 20-year-old Marlana VanHoose will kick off the Indiana Derby by singing Hoosier-favorite “Back Home Again in Indiana” before the big race.

The Indiana Derby Festival, beginning Thursday July 16, will include:

  • A Salute to Our Armed Forces – Thursday, July 16
    The Indiana Derby Festival celebration begins on Thursday, July 16 at the Race Course Clubhouse with A Salute to Our Armed Forces, featuring special military guests, patriotic music and more.
  • Luau Party – Friday, July 17
    Starting at 4:30 p.m., attendees can enjoy a pig roast special, Hawaiian entertainment, drink specials and more. $10 Luau Plate special / $6 for children ages 12 and under.
  • FREE concert: Josh Kaufman – Friday, July 17
    The Devonshires kick things off with a classic rock spectacular, followed by a free concert at the race course from Indiana’s own Josh Kaufman, winner of NBC’s “The Voice” season six.
  • Appearances by celebrities and Indiana basketball legends – Saturday, July 18
    • Members of the 1954 Indiana State Championship basketball team from Milan High School, the inspiration behind the movie “Hoosiers,” will serve as the honorary chairmen for the Indiana Derby (alongside Josh Kaufman)
    • Indiana Pacers legends Bobby “Slick” Leonard, Darnell Hillman, Mel Daniels, Billy Keller, Don Buse, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky
    • Kent Benson and Bobby Wilkerson of the 1976 Indiana University undefeated NCAA Championship team
    • Playboy’s 2015 Playmate of the Year Dani Mathers
    • Nationally-acclaimed race commentator Peter Lurie

Tickets and packages

For more information on Indiana Derby Night packages, call Indiana Grand Racing & Casino at (317) 421-0000 during regular business hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Parking and general admission are always free and free seating is available trackside on a first come first serve basis.

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