Spots Solidified in Hoosier Park’s 2014 Champion Driver Series

Malosi N and Ed Hensley

Malosi N and Ed Hensley

The drivers for the 2014 Champion Driver Series at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino have been solidified with Ed Hensley securing the last spot in the competition after a victory on the 14-race card on Saturday, July 12. The first of two rounds in the 2014 Champion Driver Series will kick off on Saturday, July 19th and will pit the top-ten drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against one another in a five-race challenge for their share of a $5,000 prize.
Qualifying for the 2014 Champion Driver Series began on Friday, March 28 and ended at the conclusion of the live racing card on Saturday. Heading into the weekend, just one win separated Ed Hensley and Mike Micallef for the tenth spot in the win standings. Scoring a victory on Saturday’s card and pushing his meet total to 28, Hensley managed to secure a spot in the top ten standings even after being sidelined for nearly two months due to an injury.
“I’m excited,” Hensley noted at the conclusion of the evening’s card. “I didn’t know if I would be able to get back into it after being out for so long. This is a really great thing Hoosier Park is doing for the drivers and for the fans and I am glad I get to be a part of it, hopefully I can win it too.”
Hensley will join meet leader Trace Tetrick who has secured his number one position with 147 victories. The other drivers, listed by position in the standings, are as follows: Tyler Smith (118 wins), Peter Wrenn (94), Sam Widger (91), Ricky Macomber Jr. (64), Andy Shetler (59), Brad Hanners (59), LeWayne Miller (58), and Ross Leonard (32).
In each of the challenges, the drivers will be picking the horses they will drive via a draft system for all five of the races in the challenge. In the first race of the challenge, the top driver, Trace Tetrick, will get first pick of the horse he wants to drive. Next the No. 2 driver, Tyler Smith, will pick and then continue through all 10 drivers.
For the second race of the challenge, the selection order will be inverted and the No. 10 driver, Ed Hensley, will pick first. This drafting system will continue through all five races of the challenge. Points will be awarded in each of the five races ranging from 15 points for the winners down to 1 point for the 10th-place finisher.
The challenge races will be five consecutive races and compliment the 14-race card slated for Saturday, July 19. After the dust settles and the points have been tallied from each of the five races, one driver will be walking away with his share of $5,000 and a secured spot in the second round of the series.
The top eight finishers from the first challenge will return for round two on Saturday, September 27 with the final two positions being determined by the official Hoosier Park standings at the conclusion of racing on Saturday, September 20.While the second challenge will be conducted in the same manner as the first challenge, the winner of the final challenge will be awarded a one-year lease of a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

Grand Circuit $1 Million Challenge

Grand Circuit $1 Million Challenge

Freshman Shine in Indiana Sires Stakes Action; Tetrick Wins Five

One of Trace Tetric's five wins of the night!

One of Trace Tetric’s five wins of the night!

Hoosier Park Racing & Casino highlighted their 21st season of live harness racing with a stakes filled card on Saturday, July 5. Four new Indiana Sires Stakes champions were crowned on the evening that featured the first of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the freshman competitors and the second round of the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the three-year-old divisions. It was Hoosier Park’s leading driver, Trace Tetrick, who stole the show with five winners on the evening’s 14-race card, four of which came in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals.

In the opening division of the two-year-old stakes action, Crunchess Finale and Darrel Wright continued their winning ways to score their third consecutive victory in the $75,000 two-year-old trotting filly final with a 1:58 final time.

Using the same front-running tactics as she has in her previous two starts, Crunchess Finale looked every bit the part of an 8-5 favorite and left alertly from post eight. The freshman filly easily secured the lead and clicked off fractions of :28.3, 1:00, and 1:28.2 before finding another gear.  As the field turned for home, the daughter of Abc Garland-Crunchess looked poised on the front and began to trot away from the rest of the field. Using a :28.4 final quarter, Crunchess Finale coasted on to the wire to finish five lengths in front of Golden Big Stick and Brad Hanners. Heavily backed at the window, Crunchess Finale returned $5.40 to her backers.

The 1:58 victory was a lifetime best mark for the Dan O’Mara trainee who remains undefeated this season. Owned by Joseph Hess, Crunchess Finale has now earned $50,500 from three lifetime outings.

In the very next race, Stickem Buck, driven by Ed Hensley, staged a big rally late in the lane to score his maiden breaking win in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old trotting colts in 1:58.2.

After a miscue at the start by the heavily favored, Airman Batten the race appeared to be a wide open affair. Flashy Cantab and Trace Tetrick left aggressively to set first half fractions of :29.2 and :59.2 before making a costly break around the final turn. Swan on One and Dave Magee inherited the lead after the break by the front-runner and appeared to be up to the task but Stickem Buck loomed large in the background.  Under urging from Hensley, Stickem Buck was able to track down Swan On One in the final strides of the mile to win by a nose. Slightly dismissed at the windows, Stickem Buck returned $12.60 at to his backers.

From the first crop of Big Stick Lindy, Stickem Buck is trained by Roger Welch and owned by William C. Delong and William P. Delong. Stickem Buck has now earned $42,500 from two career starts.

On the pacing side of the two-year-old stakes action, Hoosier Park’s leading driver Trace Tetrick doubled up in both the two-year-old pacing filly final and two-year-old pacing colt final. First, Tetrick guided Flight Cancelled to her second consecutive win as a freshman in the $75,000 pacing filly final with a final time of 1:55.

Leaving from the trailing post ten, Flight Cancelled was eased off the gate and settled along the rail in fifth while HeyHey Mahanah and Peter Wrenn carved out first-half fractions of :28.4 and :57.4. Approaching the final turn, Tetrick gave his mount the green light and she reached the leader’s wheel at the third station in 1:26.

As the field turned for home, the top pair was neck and neck but Flight Cancelled wasn’t finished. Using a :28.3 final panel, Flight Cancelled was able to wear down HeyHey Mahanah late in the lane to grind out the victory.  As the betting publics’ second choice, Flight Cancelled returned $13.00 for the victory.

Trained by Steve Carter, Flight Cancelled remains undefeated at two for owners Steve and Tammy Carter. The daughter of Panspacificflight-Goa BB now sports a career bankroll of $37,500 from two lifetime outings.

Just a few races later, Tetrick continued his winning ways and scored with Tom Simmon’s Kelly D in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing colts in 1:52.4. Kelly D remains undefeated at two and equaled the national’s season mark for two-year-old pacing colts with the win.

Kelly D left aggressively from post two to get the first call in :27.4 but quickly yielded the lead to Harfo Hanover and Ed Hensley. Harfo Hanover led the way through the middle splits of :56.3 and 1:25.2 before feeling pressure on the outside from Camturo Rock and Dave Magee.

Harfo Hanover was able to put away Camturo Rock and dug in gamely down the lane but could not hold off Kelly D who exploded from the pocket.  With a final quarter in :27, Kelly D finished two lengths in front of the hard-charging Toni’s Affection and Sam Widger. As the publics’ third choice, Kelly D returned $7.40 at the betting windows.

The homebred son of Panspacificflight-U Olive is owned by Larry Breed and has won all three of his lifetime outings. Kelly D now sports a career bankroll of $51,525.

Tetrick also scored with Brian Brown’s Color’s A Virgin in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies and Scott Galloway’s Double A Cash Hall in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting colts. His first win of the night came in the $25,000 consolation for two-year-old pacing fillies with Do U Mind for trainer Brian Brown.

 

Freshman Stakes Action Begins at Hoosier Park

Tuesday, June 24 will mark the debut of the freshman class of Indiana Sires Stakes competitors as the 2014 stakes season for two-year-olds is set to get underway at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino with four divisions of $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes races showcasing the top two-year-old trotting colts in the state.

Revamped for the 2014 live racing season, Hoosier Park has introduced a new and improved Indiana Sires Stakes format approved by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission last year. The 2014 Indiana Sires Stakes program will feature five legs throughout the season, and from each leg, the top 20 horses will return to compete in a final and consolation. The stakes program will culminate with the top ten horses from each of the previous finals returning to compete in a $200,000 Super Final on October 18 at Hoosier Park.

The two-year-old trotting colts will kick off the Indiana Sires Stakes action on Tuesday, June 24 with the two-year-old trotting fillies highlighting the 14-race card scheduled for Wednesday, June 25. The two-year-old pacing fillies will take to the track on Thursday, June 26 and the two-year-old pacing colts will follow suit on Friday, June 27.

The first of five $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the two-year-old competitors, tagged as Hoosier Champions Night, is scheduled for Saturday, July 5 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park will once again partner with United States Trotting Association to offer racing fans a great weekend of harness racing action through the fifth annual “Back to the Track” tour.

Back to the Track is a cooperative effort among the USTA, its member racetracks and horsemen from coast to coast that provides fans across the country with exciting days and nights of harness racing combined with fan-friendly and fun promotions. Hoosier Park will offer racing fans dining specials, handicapping contests, various entertainment and give-aways on July 4 and 5.

Natural Herbie Establishes New Track Record at Hoosier Park

Natural Herbie establishes a new track record.

Natural Herbie establishes a new track record.

Natural Herbie, with Verlin Yoder at the lines, shattered a nine-year-old track record for older trotting geldings when he powered home a winner in 1:52.4 in the featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Invitational trot, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, June 21. The previous record of 1:53 was established by Hesza Laser and David Miller in 2005 and equaled last week in the very same event by Penn and Brad Hanners.

The 1:52.4 score by Natural Herbie was just a fifth of a second off the overall trotting track record, a 1:52.3 mark that was established by Uncle Peter and David Miller in the $200,00 Centaur Trotting Classic last season. The time also marked the fifth track record that has been equaled or lowered over Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval in 2014.

Leaving from post three, Natural Herbie was unhurried off the gate and settled along the rail in third. Summer Indian and Ricky Macomber Jr. fired from the gate and landed on top through an opening panel in a snappy :26.4. Somebody As and Ross Leonard benefitted from a pocket trip while Banker Volo followed intently in third. Summer Indian continued to call the shots at the second station in :56.3 but would quickly be joined by Natural Herbie on the outside.

Reaching the three-quarter mark in 1:25.1, Natural Herbie had already started his first-over attack and was able to wear down the tiring leader in the final turn. Penn was well placed second over but was no match for Natural Herbie who was strong on the front.

Turning for home, Yoder asked his mount for more and Natural Herbie found another gear. Using a :27.3 final panel, Natural Herbie put his talent on display and trotted away from the field, finishing four lengths in front of his competitors. Somebody As trotted evenly to finish second while Penn rounded out the trifecta. As the 3-1 choice, Natural Herbie returned $8.20 to his backers at the window.

An Indiana Sires Stakes Champion at both two and three, Natural Herbie is in the midst of another stellar campaign. The four-year-old gelding bested his lifetime mark by a full second with the 1:52.4 score. Sired by Here Comes Herbie, the black gelding has now won four of 11 seasonal starts while bankrolling over $45,960 for owner, trainer, driver Verlin Yoder in 2014. Sporting a career bankroll of $435,441, Natural Herbie has hit the board in 16 of 35 lifetime outings.

Igottafeelinfran Wins Hoosier Park Feature

Igottafeelinfran returned to her winning ways and captured the featured event, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, June 20. After a fifth place finish at this level last week, Igottafeelinfran staged a big rally in the late stages of the mile to take nearly two seconds off her lifetime best and score in 1:51.3.

Guided by Brad Hanners, Igottafeelinfran left just enough to secure an early position along the rail in second while American Girl and Tyler Smith fired to the front through an opening panel in :26.2. American Girl’s lead was short lived as she yielded the front to a determined Bombilla Hanover and Peter Wrenn at the half mile mark in :54. Hanners made his winning move as he sent Igottafeelinfran to the front around the three-quarter clocking in 1:22.4.

Bombilla Hanover began to tire on the front and as the field approached the final turn Igottafeelinfran had reached the leader’s wheel. As the rest of the field was closing in, Igottafeelinfran was pulling away. Using a :28.4 final, Igottafeelinfran was able to hold off a hard charging Love This Place and Trace Tetrick to win by a head. Ritascape used her customary late surge to round out the trifecta. As the publics’ second choice, Igottafeelinfran returned $8.00 to her backers at the window.

The win was the second of the season from 11 previous starts for the multiple-stakes winning mare. Owned by Jerry Zosel, Kathy Ratcliff, and Kimberly Dailey, Igottafeelinfran has now won 12 of 36 starts while amassing $296,121 lifetime. Trained by Jim Dailey, the daughter of Feelin Friskie-Fran Anna was an Ohio Sire Stakes champion for the three-year-old pacing fillies division last year.

It was a driving double on the night for driver Brad Hanners as he also scored later in the evening with Endeavors Dot Com for trainer Walter Haynes Jr.

Unefoisdansmavie Establishes New Track Record at Hoosier Park

UNEFOISDANSMAVIE PREFERRED 5-29For the second consecutive week, the track record for older trotting mares has been re-established in the $17,500 Fillies and Mares Preferred trot at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.
Unefoisdansmavie, with Ricky Macomber Jr. at the lines, re-established the track record for older trotting mares with a 1:53.2 performance in the featured event of the evening on Thursday, June 12 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Staging a big rally late in the lane, Unefoisdansmavie was able to track down Lady Blitz and Verlin Yoder, who established a new track record with a 1:54 score last week. The 1:53.4 victory marks a seasonal best record for the seven-year-old mare and the second track record that has been lowered over Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval in 2014.
Leaving from post four in the abbreviated field of seven, Unefoisdansmavie left alertly to get position from post four and reached the front through an opening panel in :27.3. Her lead would be short lived as Lady Blitz used her customary front-running tactics and took over at the second station in :56.2. Unefoisdansmavie was content to sit in the pocket while Easter Teka and Peter Wrenn followed intently in third.
Lady Blitz, looking strong on the front, continued to call the shots around the three-quarter clocking in 1:25.2 but Walked Into Heaven and Trace Tetrick began to apply pressure to their outside. As the field turned for home, Macomber gave Unefoisdansmavie the green light from the pocket and she used a :27.4 final panel to finish a length in front of the field. Lady Blitz finished a game second while Easter Teka trotted evenly for third. As the publics’ second choice, Unefoisdansmavie returned $4.80 at the windows to her backers.
Trained by Hoosier Park’s leading conditioner, Ron Burke, Unefoisdansmavie notched her 28th win from 93 lifetime outings. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III own the 6-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World who now boasts $433,942 in career earnings.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continues on Friday, June 12 with a 14-race card highlighted by the $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational Pace. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the live racing schedule will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 15.

Ritascape Upsets in Fillies and Mares Hoosier Park Feature

RITASCAPE FILLIES AND MARES 6-13 LEWAYNE MILLERRitascape and LeWayne Miller pulled off a stunning upset in the featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, June 13. As the longest shot on the board, Ritascape used a perfect pocket trip to score her sixth win of the season and established a new lifetime best of 1:51.3 in the process

Leaving from post two in the field of six, Ritascape was hustled away from the gate just enough to protect her inside position. American Girl and Tyler Smith fired from the gate and were the first to get a call at the first station in a :27.2. Ritascape followed intently in second while last week’s winner, Mach Me Not and Sam Widger, were next in line in third. Widger gave Mach Me Not the green light down the backside and American Girl yielded the lead through a second panel in :56.

No Respect and Trace Tetrick were the first to commit to the outer flow as the field approached the final turn and Igottafeelinfran and Brad Hanners quickly followed suit and joined the outer flow. Mach Me Not reached the three-quarter clocking in 1:24.2 and braced herself for the long Hoosier Park stretch.

American Girl tipped from the pocket and took aim at the leader while Ritascape found racing room up the rail. Using a :26.3 last quarter, Ritascape charged down the lane and was able to finish a length in front of Mach Me Not at the wire. Mach Me Not held on for second place honors while American Girl battled gamely to round out the trifecta. Dismissed at 14-1, Ritascape returned $30.80 to her backers at the window.

“It was a great trip for her tonight,” Miller noted after the win. “The last couple weeks the race just didn’t work out for us for one reason or another. Tonight, she was really sharp and the trip went our way. I knew coming around the last turn if I could get room down the lane she would be good.”

Trained by Homer Hochstetler, Ritascape has now won 12 of her 25 lifetime outings while amassing $159,004 for her connections. The daughter of Artiscape-Rita J is owned by Connie and Homer Hochstetler and South of The Tracks Rac Inc. and has won six of 12 outings in 2014.

Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Saturday, June 14 with a 14-race card highlighted by the $22,000 Invitational Trot and Pace. Live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the 160-day, all harness racing meet will be conducted through November 15.

Penn Posts Big Upset in Hoosier Park’s Featured Trot

PENN INVITATIONAL 6-14Penn made his second start in the top trotting ranks at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino a winning one as he pulled off the 22-1 upset in the co-featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Invitational trot, on Saturday, June 14. Guided by Brad Hanners, Penn equaled an eight-year-old track record for older geldings on the trot when he powered home in 1:53 and established a new lifetime mark in the process. The previous record of 1:53 was established by Hesza Laser and David Miller on June 25, 2005 at Hoosier Park.

Starting from post two in the talented field of eight, Penn was unhurried off the gate and settled along the rail in fourth. Martz Time and Trace Tetrick left alertly to dictate early fractions of :27.3 and :56.4 while Somebody As and Ross Leonard benefitted from a pocket seat. Verlin Yoder had the post-time favorite, Natural Herbie, nicely placed along the rail in third but wouldn’t stay long as they began their long, first-over bid approaching the final turn.

Martz Time continued to call the shots around the third panel in 1:24.3 but was engaged by Natural Herbie on the outside as the field turned for home. Martz Time was able to put away Natural Herbie but the biggest threat was still behind him. Somebody As tipped from the pocket and made a strong big at the leader but it was Penn who was widest and strongest of all.

Using a :27.3 last quarter, Penn tipped four-wide and found another gear to the win in the final strides of the mile. Somebody As finished second at odds of 36-1 while Martz Time rounded out the trifecta that paid $3,483.20. Penn returned $46.40 to his backers.

Trained by Bobby Brower, Penn scored his sixth win from eight seasonal starts. The four-year-old gelded son of Master Glide-Photo Queen scored his 18th career victory and has now earned $75,875 for owner, Barkley Counts.

The victory was one of three wins for driver Brad Hanners on the evening’s 14-race card. Hanners also scored with Rocknroll Band for trainer Keith Richeson and then once more with Grant Wilfong’s Jade Mountain.

Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, June 17 with a 14-race card. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the live racing schedule at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 15.

Widger Wins 5,000 at Hoosier Park

Sam Widger won his 5000 win June 11th.

Sam Widger won his 5000 win June 11th.

Sam Widger notched the 5,000th win of his career after he piloted Brooklyn’s Z Tam to victory in a condition pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, June 11. The 1:56.2 victory marked a lifetime best performance for the four-year-old daughter of Electric Yankee-Slick Fit and a career milestone for the 50-year-old reinsman.

Trained by Mike Murphy, Brooklyn’s Z Tam was able to take advantage of a perfect second-over trip to record the first win of her 4-year-old campaign. Owned by Connie Blakeman, Brooklyn’s Z Tam now sports a career bankroll of $24,870.

Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Widger’s friends and fellow drivers were in the winner’s circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment.

“On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I’d like to congratulate Sam on win number 5,000,” Moore noted. “Through his professionalism and attitude, Sam is a great ambassador for our sport. We wish Sam continued success for the remainder of this season and throughout his career. We look forward to watching him win many more races at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.”

Now in his 28th season as a driver, Widger completed his ninth season with purse earnings surpassing the $2.5 million mark in 2013. The veteran reinsman has gone over the $3 million mark in purse earnings four times in the last eight years and has finished among the top ten drivers at Hoosier Park every season he has competed. Widger also received a spot in the Hoosier Park history books when he guided Bolt The Duer to victory in the 2013 installment of Hoosier Park’s most prestigious race, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational.

Widger, who has a farm in Beecher, IL that he shares with his wife, Nancy, and his five children, loves to hunt, fish and also enjoys helping out on the family farm in his spare time. Widger remains humble when considering his career and accredits much of his success to hard work, determination and perseverance.

“God willing, trainers willing, and owners willing, we’ll just keep on going,” Widger said after his win. “I count my blessings every day, not only with the harness racing, but with family as well. I’m as rich as anybody could be when it comes to family.”

Widger is currently third on the 2014 leading driver standings at Hoosier Park with 65 trips to the winner’s circle and over $640,000 in purse earnings. Trace Tetrick leads all drivers with 97 victories while Tyler Smith is just behind him in second with 92 wins.

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