As the 2021 racing season comes to a close at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino, the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) made a surprise presentation this week to Eric Halstrom, Vice President and General Manager of Racing, 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.”
Joining Elmore from the HBPA for the presentation was Blaine Davidson, Randy Klopp, Katie Duran, Joe Davis, president of the Indiana HBPA, and Bruce Murphy. Rachel McLaughlin, on-air racing analyst, conducted the special ceremony.
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 www.indianagrand.com.