A field of nine will be sent post-ward in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 8. In what may be the most accomplished field ever assembled, the 21st installment of Hoosier Park’s signature event will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m.
The race will be part of a special weekend tagged as “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The evening will also be complimented by Indiana Sires Stakes finals, sending the purse money to be distributed throughout the evening over the $500,000 mark.
The 2014 Dan Patch field boasts combined career purse earnings over $10 million and includes four millionaires, three previous Dan Patch winning drivers, two Hall of Fame drivers, and one Hall of Fame trainer. Bettor’s Edge, Heston Blue Chip, Sweet Lou, and Thinking Out Loud will make their way to Indiana boasting career earnings over the $1 million mark. Ricky Macomber Jr., who visited the Dan Patch winner’s circle in 2000 and 2002, will drive Bettor’s Edge from post seven while Peter Wrenn, who won the 2012 installment of the Dan Patch, will start from post three behind Night Pro.
Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce, who was victorious in the 2005 Dan Patch Invitational with Maltese Artist, has been enlisted to drive the 4-5 morning line favorite, Sweet Lou from post five for North America’s leading money-winning trainer, Ron Burke. With over $2.9 million in career earnings, the five-year-old horse is the richest horse in the field and is currently riding an eight race win streak, most recently victorious in 1:47.2 in the US Pacing Championship at the Meadowlands.
Harness racings’ all time leading money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell, will make his way to Hoosier Park to compete in his second Dan Patch Invitational and has been enlisted to drive Thinking Out Loud for Hall of Fame trainer, Robert McIntosh from post two. Throughout his career, Thinking Out Loud has amassed more than $1.5 million with a record of 44-14-7-10.
Also joining the stellar cast of entrants as a main contender for the 2014 Dan Patch title is State Treasurer, with Jody Jamieson at the lines from post eight. The Dr. Ian Moore trainee has been tabbed as the 4-1 morning line second choice. A winner of over $750,000 lifetime, the five-year-old horse recently set a 1:48.1 Canadian seasons record at Mohawk and is the 2014 Molson Pace Champion.
Night Pro will play the role of local favorite from three for trainer Dale Decker. Night Pro, a former Indiana Sires Stakes champion, enters Saturday’s race after posting seven consecutive wins in the Invitational pace at Hoosier Park. The four-year-old gelding has won 22 of 30 career starts and has amassed over $350,000 in career earnings.
The 2014 Dan Patch field, in post-position order with named driver and trainer includes:
1. Dancin Yankee Tr: Amber Buter Dr: Tyler Buter 8-1
2. Thinking Out Loud Tr: Robert McIntosh Dr: John Campbell 6-1
3. Night Pro Tr: Dale Decker Dr: Peter Wrenn 20-1
4. Carol’s Comet Tr: Ron Potter Dr: Aaron Merriman 15-1
5. Sweet Lou Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Ron Pierce 4-5
6. Heston Blue Chip Tr: Linda Toscano Dr: Corey Callahan 15-1
7. Bettor’s Edge Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Ricky Macomber Jr. 10-1
8. State Treasurer Tr: Ian Moore Dr: Jody Jamieson 4-1
9. Our Lucky Chip Tr: Jason Miller Dr: Trace Tetrick 30-1
Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagers offered for the Dan Patch Invitational card. A $25,000 Guaranteed Dan Patch Superfecta pool will be available as part of the Strategic Wagering Program. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the Indiana Standardbred Association. Slated as the twelfth race on the card, estimated post time for Hoosier Park’s signature event is 9:30 p.m.
A $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 will also be made available to racing fans in races seven through nine as part of the East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge. The East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will pit the top-five drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against five of the top drivers from the East in a three-race challenge with the winning team going home with their share of the $20,000 prize. The top five drivers from Hoosier Park will make-up “Team Midwest” with the top five drivers from the East driving for “Team East”.
In what is being called the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend”, Hoosier Park will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside special wagers, free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. Also, highlighting the weekend will be a concert by the Grammy-award winning group, Little Big Town on Saturday, August 9 as part of Hoosier Park’s summer concert series line-up.