ANDERSON, IND. – July 30, 2012 – Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will kick off its 18th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing on Wednesday, Aug., 1. The 64-day meet runs through Saturday, Oct., 27, with racing held Tuesday through Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Building on the successful ‘Family-Friendly’ themed events and activities of the Standardbred meet, Hoosier Park will include additional promotions, dining specials, giveaways, and entertainment to run alongside live racing.

To open the second meet of the year, the first 2,000 racing fans to visit the Trackside Club Centaur Rewards center will receive up to $1,000 in free race wagering.  The nine race opener will also offer two times points to those guests using their Club Centaur Rewards cards while wagering on Hoosier Park live races and $1 draft beer and hot dog specials.

As an added bonus on Saturday Aug., 4, guests can meet the ESPY award-winning Julie Krone from 4 p.m. to
5 p.m. in the Yard. Krone, a female jockey, is known as the most successful in history and the first woman inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. Additionally, the first 2,000 guests to visit the Terrace Club Centaur Rewards center beginning at noon will receive a free Hoosier Park Thoroughbred racing t-shirt.

Weekends during the meet will once again offer fans the enjoyment of both live racing and numerous entertainment opportunities throughout the venue. ‘Fan-tastic Fridays,’ offering $1 customer specials including beer, hot dogs, wagers, and racing programs and ‘Family Fun Saturdays,’ full of  live entertainment, kid-friendly outdoor games and activities, winner’s circle giveaways, and dining specials will round out each racing week. Friday’s ‘Beat the Big Guy’ handicapping competition will give guests an opportunity to out-handicap Centaur Gaming chairman and CEO, Rod Ratcliff, for a chance to win up to $750.

“We are looking toward our 18th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing with much anticipation and excitement,” Brian Elmore, Hoosier Park’s vice president and general manager of racing noted. “We are going above and beyond expectations to provide everyone a better experience and I’m confident that the horsemen and patrons will appreciate Hoosier Park’s efforts and multiple facility enhancements.”

The racing competition is starting to take shape with word that, Leandro Goncalves, last year’s leading jockey will return to Indiana to defend his second consecutive leading jockey title at Hoosier Park.  Goncalves earned more than $2.1 million in purse earnings during the 2011 meet, which was just shy of his track record setting year in 2010 with a total of $2,405,286. Fernando De La Cruz finished second with a total of 81 wins while Hoosier Park’s all-time leading rider, Rodney Prescott, was third with 50 wins.

On the training side of things, Gary Patrick earned his third leading trainer title at Hoosier Park in 2011 with 36 wins. Patrick also topped the owner charts for the second straight year with his 2011 record. A native of Circleville, Ohio, Patrick won his first leading trainer title at Hoosier Park in 1998 and picked up his second title in 2002. He is currently ranked second on the list of all-time leading trainers at Hoosier Park behind Ralph Martinez. Patrick was followed in the standings by Barbara McBride and the 2010 leading trainer Tom Amoss, each ending the season with 19 wins.

Quarter Horse racing will experience another exciting day devoted to their breed. Now in its 16th year, an all Quarter Horse racing program is set for Saturday, Oct. 13. Tagged as the “Wild West Adventure”, the afternoon event will include trials for some of the biggest Quarter Horse events in the state. Patrons can enjoy Indiana’s best Quarter Horse racing along with Wild West-themed food and drink and lots of fun family entertainment.

Known in recent years for attracting some of the biggest names in horse racing, the 18th running of the Grade II $500,000-added Indiana Derby will take place Saturday Oct. 6.  The fan-favorite event will highlight the stakes schedule of the Thoroughbred meet and promises to be an exciting day at the races. The $500,000-added Grade II Indiana Derby will be the featured event on the card along with the $200,000-added Grade II Indiana Oaks, the $100,000-added Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Mile, and the $100,000-added Mari Hulman George Stakes, filling completing Indiana’s richest day of racing.

About Centaur Gaming and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Indianapolis-based, Centaur Gaming, owns and operates Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino was recently ranked as the Indianapolis Area’s Most Popular Attraction for the second year in a row by the Indianapolis Business Journal and holds multiple awards from industry publications for customer service, entertainment, gaming and dining. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live and simulcast Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year.  Simulcast wagering is also offered year-round at the Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Indianapolis and two off-track betting properties located in Fort Wayne and Merrillville, Indiana.