by Chris Lomon
He was there in body, but in mind and spirit, Logan Loney was in a much different place.
Throughout his time in high school, the then teenager from Lapel, IN, was a multi-sport athlete, a competitor who thrived on competition and excelled in almost athletic endeavor he undertook.
But a moment came – he can’t recall the precise day or time – when Loney realized he’d much rather be somewhere else, a familiar spot that in many ways felt just like home.
“I got started pretty much when I was born. My dad [Rocky Loney] has been in racing most of his life and I kind of grew up at the barn. But I started getting into sports more than I did the horses, throughout middle school and high school. About halfway through high school, I realized I’d rather be at the barn more than anything. I was cutting practices so that I could be at the barn, so that told me about where I was happiest. After high school, I started working with my dad. So, that’s how I ended up where I’m at.”
It was in 2019 when Loney launched his driving career, winning three races and posting 10 top-three finishes in 33 starts. One year later, he found the winner’s circle on five occasions. That number grew to eight in 2022.
This year, he’s already surpassed that total and is less than $400 away from setting a personal-best mark in purse earnings.
“I would say my highlights so far would be with a couple of horses. Ivanna Ivy would definitely be one of them.”
A 5-year-old pacing daughter of Jeremes Jet—Iva Miracle, the $7,500 purchase at the 2018 Hoosier Sale delivered Loney several memorable moments on the track two years ago.
The duo teamed to win five races in 2020.
“She was tough, but she was the one who really taught me so much when I started driving. At one time, my dad told me I wasn’t quite there, skill-wise, to drive her. One day, he wasn’t going to be at the races, so I got to drive her. I ended up fourth, I think, with her, and after that, he let me keep driving her. And I kept learning with her. We ended up winning a fair final at Indianapolis with her. That’s probably one of the highlights for me.”
Another high point came this year when Loney recorded his first pari-mutuel win.
It was a rather unique, not-so-traditional victory, one that caught the now 22-year-old horseman by surprise.
On June 30, at Hoosier Park, Loney was in rein to Glawbanera, a 2-year-old son of JK Endofanera—Believeincarrie, bred by Galen Yoder and owned by James Reed.
Sent off at 9-2, the pair held a length advantage at the stretch call but crossed the wire second in the 1:54.2 mile.
End of story? Not even close.
“The day of it, I was excited to get the drive because ‘Glaw’ is probably the best 2-year-old we have right now. My dad trusting me enough to take him out there and drive him is pretty cool. He can leave really fast, so I put him on the front and I was waiting for someone to come and cover him up. But I just kept rolling along and around the final turn, I asked him for his best, and we just missed. I was ecstatic with how he raced. I was really happy.”
Although he didn’t know at the time, Loney was about to be even happier.
“A week later, the program comes out and it shows that he was moved up to first. I didn’t know that until I read it. That’s one of those stories you can look back on and shake your head at. I always joke with my dad that the next time I take ‘Glaw’ out to the track I’m going to pull into the winner’s circle and get my picture taken.”
Having a family member as part of the sport for decades has been a huge boost for Loney’s confidence in the race bike.
Helpful words have been plentiful over the years.
“There’s so much that I’ve learned from my dad, everything, really. But I would say what he taught me about patience really stands out. He taught me that sometimes it’s better to just sit and see how it shakes out rather than trying to do too much when I was driving, maybe forcing things I shouldn’t be. I look back and it seems like I was always in a hurry, but he taught me that in certain moments, waiting and seeing how things happen can be the difference between winning and losing. Some of that was telling me and other times, it was taking me off until I did what he had asked me to do.”
Just over 200 drives into his career, Loney is grateful for the successes he’s experienced, but motivated to chase after more.
He also has a plan in place for down the road.
“I’m most proud that we broke 10 babies this year and seven of them have taken records so far. I think that’s the best we’ve done. Short-term goals, I would like to get more catch drives. That’s what I want to do, to get into that side. Long term, I want to have my own stable, and do some catch driving. I’d also like to win a Sires Stakes. I haven’t done that. We’ve had to two in a final before, but we haven’t won it. I’d like to get there one day.”
Goals and objectives aside, Loney, who has found his own field of dreams, is simply grateful to be where he is today.
He hopes the best is yet to come.
“I don’t have many interests outside of racing. It takes up most of the time. But I love it. I tell my friends – a lot of them aren’t in the business – that I don’t have the luxury of having weekends off. Certain days, it feels like it is a 24/7 job. But when you are doing something that you love, it really doesn’t matter.”