Hoosier Park Hosts Indiana Sire Stakes Finals on Million Dollar Night
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino highlighted their 20th season of live Standardbred racing with the annual Hoosier Champions night in front of a packed house on Saturday, July 20. Four new Indiana Sire Stakes champions were crowned on the evening that featured a 14-race card boasting purses over the $1 million mark. The Anderson track played host to four $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes finals for three-year-old trotters and pacers, all of which produced blanket finishes.
It was Night Pro and Jason Dillander who stole the show in a track record equaling performance in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final for three-year-old colt pacers with a final time of 1:50. As the heavy betting favorite, Night Pro left the gate alertly from post seven and made every call a winning one. Sweet Talkin Satin and Trace Tetrick would make Night Pro work for his position as they also left alertly before settling along the rail in second. Using a :27.3 final panel, Night Pro powered home to finish a length in front of a hard charging Right Touch and Ray Paver. Sweet Talkin Satin held on gamely for the third place finish. Trained by Dale Decker, Night Pro notched the tenth win of his sophomore season from 12 seasonal outings. Unraced at two, the three-year-old colt established a new lifetime best while sending his career bankroll over the $175,000 mark for owner Dale Decker.
The million dollar night opened with the first $200,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies and it was Playful Innocence and driver Dan Shetler who were victorious in 1:56.1. Playful Innocence was able to find late racing room in the homestretch to notch her second consecutive victory in six seasonal outings. Jessie E and driver Tyler Smith staged a big rally late in the lane and turned in a game performance to finish second. The bettors’ choice, Jesse Lane, was used hard in the early stages of the mile but held on gamely to finish third. Owned, bred, and trained by Dan Shetler, Playful Innocence has now earned over $160,000 from 15 lifetime outings. Sired by Justice Hall, Playful Innocence established her lifetime best mark of 1:55.2 in her previous outing amongst Indiana Gold Sire Stakes company, also a track record setting mile.
The three-year-old trotting colts were up next and it was Only Just A Dream and Trace Tetrick who rallied from well off the pace to find the winner’s circle in 1:55. Unhurried from the gate, Only Just A Dream settled along the rail in third while the battle took place on the front. Red Hot Herbie and Derek Hooley set fractions of :27.1 and :57.1 before feeling a threat on the outside by Natural Herbie and Verlin Yoder around the final turn. As the horses began tiring on the front, Tetrick found just enough racing room up the rail to send Only Just A Dream and he went by the tiring leaders willingly with a :28.1 final panel. Scoring his fourth win of the season, Only Just A Dream has now earned over $176,000 for his connections of P. Carter, R. Reid, S. Hummel, and Great Am Stables. Trained by Steve Carter, the three-year-old son of Justice Hall established a new lifetime best mark with the 1:55 victory.
Mandy’s Mattjesty and Sam Widger closed out the million dollar night with an impressive 1:52.2 romp in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies in gate to wire fashion. As part of a four-horse Ron Burke trained entry, Mandy’s Mattjesty powered away from the gate to dictate fractions of :27.0, :55.1, and 1:23.1 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. Always About Katey was the first to take aim at leader from the pocket but was no match for Mandy’s Mattjesty who saved her best for last. Always About Katey settled for second while Harmony Oaks Quike, as part of the Burke entry, finished third. Sired by His Mattjesty, Mandy’s Mattjesty notched the fifth win from eight seasonal outings while pushing her bankroll over $130,000.
Also making a special appearance on the evening were 6 celebrity guests as they raced for charity in the Celebrity Exhibition race that kicked off the evening’s activities. The local celebrities climbed aboard double seated jog carts to raise money for each of the Celebrity Standardbred Driver’s charities. It was radio personality, Gunner from Q95, assisted by Ed Hensley, who won the seven-eighths mile dash for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children and Alternatives Inc.
Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, July 23 with a daily post time of 5:30 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet began on April 2 and will be conducted through November 9.