One of the most highly anticipated days on the harness racing card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will take place on Friday, August 8 as the best in the sport of harness racing will descend upon the seven-eighths mile oval for the 21st edition of the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. As part of a weekend long festival of entertainment and racing, ten of the top rated pacers in North America will take center stage as they go to post seeking glory in Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing event.
Hoosier Park’s most prestigious pacing race has become a tradition that is close to the hearts of Hoosiers. The Dan Patch, an invitational race, not only highlights some of the best athletes in the sport of harness racing, but is deeply rooted throughout Indiana soil.
Hoosier Park’s event is named after the early 1900s racehorse phenomenon, Dan Patch. Originally from Oxford, Ind., Dan Patch raced the clock rather than his inferior competitors. Drawing crowds of over 90,000 people at a single race, the free-legged equine hero was the unparalleled sports icon of his time.
The Dan Patch race was established at Hoosier Park in 1994 with Ready To Rumble and driver Trevor Ritchie winning the inaugural edition 20 years ago. The list of all-star horses that have made their way to Hoosier Park over the years includes Jenna’s Beach Boy, Maltese Artist and former seven-eighths mile world record holder, the late Pacific Fella.
Scott Peine, Hoosier Park’s racing secretary, inherits the responsibility of recruiting the best horses to compete in the event every year. Peine begins making his list of potential contenders for one of the ten coveted invitations to the Dan Patch many weeks in advance.
“We are looking at what may be the most competitive field to date in the 2014 edition of our signature race,” Peine noted. “We haven’t officially decided, but the horses we are looking to invite are evenly matched and that makes for great racing. There is an outstanding group of older pacers racing all over the country right now and we are looking forward to bringing them to Hoosier Park.”
Post positions for the 2014 edition of the Dan Patch will be drawn at a community luncheon held at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, August 5.
This year delivers a new and exciting aspect as the winner of the 2014 Dan Patch Invitational will get an automatic nomination to the 2014 edition of the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby slated for Friday, October 31 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. All nomination fees will be waived but in the event the winner of the Dan Patch Invitational has already been nominated to the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, a refund of all fees will be given upon declaration.
The Dan Patch Invitational will be part of a special weekend tagged as the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The thrill-themed weekend will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. Also, highlighting the weekend will by a concert by Little Big Town on Saturday, August 9 as Hoosier Park continues their summer concert series line-up.