The best in the sport of harness racing will take to the racetrack at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 8 for the 21st running of the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. The thrill-themed weekend, tagged as the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend”, will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside fireworks, concerts, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment.
The ‘thrill’ theme will take center stage on the track as nine of North America’s fastest pacers go to post for the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. In what may be the most accomplished field ever assembled, the 21st installment of Hoosier Park’s signature race will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m. 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.
Harness racing’s all-time money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell, will once again make his way to Hoosier Park and has been enlisted to drive Thinking Out Loud for Hall of Fame trainer Robert McIntosh from post two. 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 entry in the field and is currently riding an eight-race win streak.
Slated as the twelfth race on the card, estimated post time for the Dan Patch Invitational is 9:30 p.m. Also complimenting the evening will be four $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the two-year-old competitors, increasing the distributable purse money throughout the evening over the $700,000 mark.
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 and will have a minimum bet of 10 cents. A $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 will also be available for racing fans in races 7 through 9 as part of the inaugural East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge with a 50 cent minimum wager.
The first of its kind at Hoosier Park, the East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will pit the top-five drivers, based upon wins, 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. “Team East” will be made up of John Campbell, Ron Pierce, Aaron Merriman, Tyler Buter and Corey Callahan. “Team Midwest” will include Hoosier Park’s own Trace Tetrick, Tyler Smith, Sam Widger, Peter Wrenn and Ricky Macomber Jr.
The racing action and activities will continue on Saturday, August 9, with an adjusted post of 3:00 p.m., as Hoosier Park will host additional Indiana Sires Stakes action and thrill-themed activities off the track as well. Guests will have the opportunity to take a helicopter ride around Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval along with free ‘Xtreme’ interactive family fun games such as a zip line, mechanical shark, and other inflatable games.
Highlighting Saturday’s festivities will be a concert by the Grammy-award winning group Little Big Town as part of Hoosier Park’s Summer Concert Series. The Nashville-based group has charted 14 songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs list and has won three CMA and ACM awards.
Hoosier Park’s family friendly atmosphere will feature designated areas and activities to accommodate all guests with multiple dining options available throughout Hoosier Park’s Yard. A fireworks presentation will culminate both evenings, with an estimated start time of 10:30 p.m. each night.
For more information on the live racing schedule and upcoming entertainment and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.