The drivers for the 2014 Champion Driver Series at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino have been solidified with Ed Hensley securing the last spot in the competition after a victory on the 14-race card on Saturday, July 12. The first of two rounds in the 2014 Champion Driver Series will kick off on Saturday, July 19th and will pit the top-ten drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against one another in a five-race challenge for their share of a $5,000 prize.
Qualifying for the 2014 Champion Driver Series began on Friday, March 28 and ended at the conclusion of the live racing card on Saturday. Heading into the weekend, just one win separated Ed Hensley and Mike Micallef for the tenth spot in the win standings. Scoring a victory on Saturday’s card and pushing his meet total to 28, Hensley managed to secure a spot in the top ten standings even after being sidelined for nearly two months due to an injury.
“I’m excited,” Hensley noted at the conclusion of the evening’s card. “I didn’t know if I would be able to get back into it after being out for so long. This is a really great thing Hoosier Park is doing for the drivers and for the fans and I am glad I get to be a part of it, hopefully I can win it too.”
Hensley will join meet leader Trace Tetrick who has secured his number one position with 147 victories. The other drivers, listed by position in the standings, are as follows: Tyler Smith (118 wins), Peter Wrenn (94), Sam Widger (91), Ricky Macomber Jr. (64), Andy Shetler (59), Brad Hanners (59), LeWayne Miller (58), and Ross Leonard (32).
In each of the challenges, the drivers will be picking the horses they will drive via a draft system for all five of the races in the challenge. In the first race of the challenge, the top driver, Trace Tetrick, will get first pick of the horse he wants to drive. Next the No. 2 driver, Tyler Smith, will pick and then continue through all 10 drivers.
For the second race of the challenge, the selection order will be inverted and the No. 10 driver, Ed Hensley, will pick first. This drafting system will continue through all five races of the challenge. Points will be awarded in each of the five races ranging from 15 points for the winners down to 1 point for the 10th-place finisher.
The challenge races will be five consecutive races and compliment the 14-race card slated for Saturday, July 19. After the dust settles and the points have been tallied from each of the five races, one driver will be walking away with his share of $5,000 and a secured spot in the second round of the series.
The top eight finishers from the first challenge will return for round two on Saturday, September 27 with the final two positions being determined by the official Hoosier Park standings at the conclusion of racing on Saturday, September 20.While the second challenge will be conducted in the same manner as the first challenge, the winner of the final challenge will be awarded a one-year lease of a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Igottafeelinfran returned to her winning ways and captured the featured event, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, June 20. After a fifth place finish at this level last week, Igottafeelinfran staged a big rally in the late stages of the mile to take nearly two seconds off her lifetime best and score in 1:51.3.
Guided by Brad Hanners, Igottafeelinfran left just enough to secure an early position along the rail in second while American Girl and Tyler Smith fired to the front through an opening panel in :26.2. American Girl’s lead was short lived as she yielded the front to a determined Bombilla Hanover and Peter Wrenn at the half mile mark in :54. Hanners made his winning move as he sent Igottafeelinfran to the front around the three-quarter clocking in 1:22.4.
Bombilla Hanover began to tire on the front and as the field approached the final turn Igottafeelinfran had reached the leader’s wheel. As the rest of the field was closing in, Igottafeelinfran was pulling away. Using a :28.4 final, Igottafeelinfran was able to hold off a hard charging Love This Place and Trace Tetrick to win by a head. Ritascape used her customary late surge to round out the trifecta. As the publics’ second choice, Igottafeelinfran returned $8.00 to her backers at the window.
The win was the second of the season from 11 previous starts for the multiple-stakes winning mare. Owned by Jerry Zosel, Kathy Ratcliff, and Kimberly Dailey, Igottafeelinfran has now won 12 of 36 starts while amassing $296,121 lifetime. Trained by Jim Dailey, the daughter of Feelin Friskie-Fran Anna was an Ohio Sire Stakes champion for the three-year-old pacing fillies division last year.
It was a driving double on the night for driver Brad Hanners as he also scored later in the evening with Endeavors Dot Com for trainer Walter Haynes Jr.
For the second consecutive week, the track record for older trotting mares has been re-established in the $17,500 Fillies and Mares Preferred trot at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.
Unefoisdansmavie, with Ricky Macomber Jr. at the lines, re-established the track record for older trotting mares with a 1:53.2 performance in the featured event of the evening on Thursday, June 12 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Staging a big rally late in the lane, Unefoisdansmavie was able to track down Lady Blitz and Verlin Yoder, who established a new track record with a 1:54 score last week. The 1:53.4 victory marks a seasonal best record for the seven-year-old mare and the second track record that has been lowered over Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval in 2014.
Leaving from post four in the abbreviated field of seven, Unefoisdansmavie left alertly to get position from post four and reached the front through an opening panel in :27.3. Her lead would be short lived as Lady Blitz used her customary front-running tactics and took over at the second station in :56.2. Unefoisdansmavie was content to sit in the pocket while Easter Teka and Peter Wrenn followed intently in third.
Lady Blitz, looking strong on the front, continued to call the shots around the three-quarter clocking in 1:25.2 but Walked Into Heaven and Trace Tetrick began to apply pressure to their outside. As the field turned for home, Macomber gave Unefoisdansmavie the green light from the pocket and she used a :27.4 final panel to finish a length in front of the field. Lady Blitz finished a game second while Easter Teka trotted evenly for third. As the publics’ second choice, Unefoisdansmavie returned $4.80 at the windows to her backers.
Trained by Hoosier Park’s leading conditioner, Ron Burke, Unefoisdansmavie notched her 28th win from 93 lifetime outings. Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt III own the 6-year-old daughter of Revenue S-Peace To The World who now boasts $433,942 in career earnings.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continues on Friday, June 12 with a 14-race card highlighted by the $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational Pace. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the live racing schedule will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 15.
Penn made his second start in the top trotting ranks at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino a winning one as he pulled off the 22-1 upset in the co-featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Invitational trot, on Saturday, June 14. Guided by Brad Hanners, Penn equaled an eight-year-old track record for older geldings on the trot when he powered home in 1:53 and established a new lifetime mark in the process. The previous record of 1:53 was established by Hesza Laser and David Miller on June 25, 2005 at Hoosier Park.
Starting from post two in the talented field of eight, Penn was unhurried off the gate and settled along the rail in fourth. Martz Time and Trace Tetrick left alertly to dictate early fractions of :27.3 and :56.4 while Somebody As and Ross Leonard benefitted from a pocket seat. Verlin Yoder had the post-time favorite, Natural Herbie, nicely placed along the rail in third but wouldn’t stay long as they began their long, first-over bid approaching the final turn.
Martz Time continued to call the shots around the third panel in 1:24.3 but was engaged by Natural Herbie on the outside as the field turned for home. Martz Time was able to put away Natural Herbie but the biggest threat was still behind him. Somebody As tipped from the pocket and made a strong big at the leader but it was Penn who was widest and strongest of all.
Using a :27.3 last quarter, Penn tipped four-wide and found another gear to the win in the final strides of the mile. Somebody As finished second at odds of 36-1 while Martz Time rounded out the trifecta that paid $3,483.20. Penn returned $46.40 to his backers.
Trained by Bobby Brower, Penn scored his sixth win from eight seasonal starts. The four-year-old gelded son of Master Glide-Photo Queen scored his 18th career victory and has now earned $75,875 for owner, Barkley Counts.
The victory was one of three wins for driver Brad Hanners on the evening’s 14-race card. Hanners also scored with Rocknroll Band for trainer Keith Richeson and then once more with Grant Wilfong’s Jade Mountain.
Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, June 17 with a 14-race card. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the live racing schedule at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 15.
Sam Widger notched the 5,000th win of his career after he piloted Brooklyn’s Z Tam to victory in a condition pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, June 11. The 1:56.2 victory marked a lifetime best performance for the four-year-old daughter of Electric Yankee-Slick Fit and a career milestone for the 50-year-old reinsman.
Trained by Mike Murphy, Brooklyn’s Z Tam was able to take advantage of a perfect second-over trip to record the first win of her 4-year-old campaign. Owned by Connie Blakeman, Brooklyn’s Z Tam now sports a career bankroll of $24,870.
Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Widger’s friends and fellow drivers were in the winner’s circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment.
“On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I’d like to congratulate Sam on win number 5,000,” Moore noted. “Through his professionalism and attitude, Sam is a great ambassador for our sport. We wish Sam continued success for the remainder of this season and throughout his career. We look forward to watching him win many more races at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.”
Now in his 28th season as a driver, Widger completed his ninth season with purse earnings surpassing the $2.5 million mark in 2013. The veteran reinsman has gone over the $3 million mark in purse earnings four times in the last eight years and has finished among the top ten drivers at Hoosier Park every season he has competed. Widger also received a spot in the Hoosier Park history books when he guided Bolt The Duer to victory in the 2013 installment of Hoosier Park’s most prestigious race, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational.
Widger, who has a farm in Beecher, IL that he shares with his wife, Nancy, and his five children, loves to hunt, fish and also enjoys helping out on the family farm in his spare time. Widger remains humble when considering his career and accredits much of his success to hard work, determination and perseverance.
“God willing, trainers willing, and owners willing, we’ll just keep on going,” Widger said after his win. “I count my blessings every day, not only with the harness racing, but with family as well. I’m as rich as anybody could be when it comes to family.”
Widger is currently third on the 2014 leading driver standings at Hoosier Park with 65 trips to the winner’s circle and over $640,000 in purse earnings. Trace Tetrick leads all drivers with 97 victories while Tyler Smith is just behind him in second with 92 wins.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino highlighted their 21st season of live harness racing with the annual Hoosier Champions night in front of a packed house on Saturday, June 7. Four Indiana Sires Stakes champions were crowned on the evening that featured the first of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals on the 14-race card. It was a night ruled by favorites as the publics’ choice delivered in each of the four divisions.
The action-packed night opened with the first $75,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies and Andi’s Alana looked every bit the part of a 1-5 favorite as she overcame a tough, first-over bid to score in 1:56. Driven by LeWayne Miller, Andi’s Alana was uninvolved early in the race but used a :28.2 final quarter to score her 11th career victory and remain undefeated in 2014.
Trained by Erv Miller, Andi’s Alana has now won 11 of 15 lifetime starts and sports a career bankroll of $379,849 with three Indiana Sires Stakes finals to her credit. The daughter of Swan For All-Its Your Deal has won all three of her starts at three and is owned by Paymaq Racing, Greg Gillis, and Harvey Eisman.
Following suit, Candy’s A Virgin and Trace Tetrick delivered as the 7-5 favorite after a sharp, front running effort in 1:52 in the three-year-old pacing fillies division. Tetrick sent Candy’s A Virgin away from the gate firing and she dictated fractions of :28.4, :57.0 and 1:25.1 before ever feeling a threat. As the field turned for home, Tetrick asked his mount for more and she responded with a :26.4 final panel to win by three lengths.
Owned by Emerald Highland Farms, the daughter of Always A Virgin-Candemonium notched her second win in four seasonal starts while sending her bankroll over $139,000. Trained by Brian Brown, the homebred filly has now won four of 12 lifetime outings.
Fresh off a win in the Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations, Rose Run Parker was able to overcome the outside post nine to trot home a winner in 1:54.4 in the three-year-old trotting colt division and extended his win streak to eight in the process. Guided by regular driver Ricky Macomber Jr., Rose Run Parker was unable to find a spot along the rail in the early stages of the race and pressed on for the lead. Sandy Z Tam and Brad Hanners left alertly from post two and dictated fractions of :28.1 and :57.3. Forced to go three-wide approaching the final turn, Rose Run Parker was able to reach the leader’s wheel at the third station in 1:25.4 before trotting away from the field to win by a length.
“The trip didn’t work out how I wanted it to tonight,” Macomber noted after the race. “Obviously post nine didn’t help, but he was able to overcome it. I pulled the earplugs down the lane and he took off again. He’s really sharp right now.”
Trained by Ron Burke, the gelded son of Jailhouse Jesse-Centergy scored his third seasonal victory and remains undefeated at three. The 12-time career winner has now amassed $284,875 for his connections of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and W. Haas Jr.
Bluehourpower did not disappoint as the 6/5 favorite in the three-year-old pacing colt division as he coasted home a winner in 1:50.3, a lifetime best performance. Driven by Sam Widger, Bluehourpower was uninvolved in the early stages of the race while Mike Peterson and Sling Shot Shooter set fractions of :27 and :54.4. As the field approached the final turn, Slingshot Shooter appeared to be up to the task, but Bluehourpower was perfectly placed second-over. Using a :26.3 last quarter, Bluehourpower powered home to win finish two lengths to the good.
Trained and owned by Wilbur Eash, Bluehourpower has now won 6 of 13 lifetime starts and remains undefeated at three. The son of Sand Shooter-Blue Hour has now amassed $282,344 and three Indiana Sires Stakes finals to his credit.
Live racing will return to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, June 10 with a 14-race card. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will highlight the 2014 harness racing season to-date on Saturday, June 7 with Indiana’s finest trotters and pacers convening on Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval for the annual Hoosier Champions Night, the first of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals. A total of 14 races have been established and after the dust settles, four new Indiana Sires Stakes champions will be crowned. The first race will line up behind the starting gate at 5:15 p.m.
Hoosier Park’s leading conditioner, Ron Burke, will send out six horses in the four $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals on the evening. Rose Run Parker will put his seven-race win streak on the line from the Burke barn in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stake Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings from post nine with Ricky Macomber Jr. at the lines. Just one race later, Speed Trap will look to score his first Indiana Sires Stakes final win in the three-year-old pacing colt division for the Burke Stable at 5-1 on the morning line.
Hoosier Park will once again partner with HRTV, the Network for Horse Sports, to offer racing fans a great weekend of harness racing action through exclusive coverage of Hoosier Champions night at Hoosier Park.
Revamped for the 2014 season, the Indiana Sires Stakes program features five legs throughout the season, and from each leg, the top 20 horses return to compete in a final and consolation. The 2014 stakes season will culminate with the top ten horses from each of the previous $75,000 finals returning to compete in a $200,000 Super Final on October 18 at Hoosier Park.
In addition to the racing program that boasts lofty purses for the Indiana stakes program, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will offer racing fans a unique opportunity to watch, wager, and witness horse racing history with the running of the 146th Belmont Stakes. When California Chrome enters the starting gate for the 2014 Belmont Stakes, a 1 ½ mile event, he could become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.
Hoosier Park will welcome guests with extended hours, advanced wagering, live harness racing, and dining specials to take in the excitement of California Chrome’s run for racing history. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with the first race from Belmont Park getting underway at 11:35 a.m. The first four harness races from Hoosier Park will lead into the main event from Belmont, which has an estimated post time of 6:52 p.m.
In addition to the horse racing action on the track, Hoosier Park will play host to the fourth annual Guns ‘N Hoses event. The event pits local police officers and firefighters against one another in a series of challenges to benefit the Fire Rescue House of Madison County. The challenges will begin after the start of live harness racing and range from a foot race carrying Hoosier Park drivers to a dunk tank. Guns & Hoses, open to all ages, is free to the public and will start at approximately 5 p.m. in the Yard.
At the culmination of the challenges, Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore, will present representatives from the Fire Rescue House of Madison County with a special $5,000 donation. As a token of Hoosier Park’s appreciation for their continued work to help local families in need, Hoosier Park will make the donation to help further their goals and maintain their high level of community service.
As a special thank you to Madison County local heroes, all firefighters and police officers will receive $10 in casino cash. Guests showing fire department or police department credentials to the Trackside Club Centaur Rewards desk will receive the $10 complimentary gift.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will offer an extended stakes schedule and be conducted through November 15.
On Saturday, June 7 Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will offer racing fans a unique opportunity to watch, wager, and witness horse racing history with the running of the 146th Belmont Stakes. When California Chrome enters the starting gate for the 2014 Belmont Stakes, a 1 ½ mile event, he could become the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years.
Hoosier Park will welcome guests with extended hours, advanced wagering, live harness racing, and dining specials to take in the excitement of California Chrome’s run for racing history. Doors will open at 10 a.m. with the first race from Belmont Park getting underway at 11:35 p.m. The Belmont program will feature the second richest day of racing in North America with 10 stakes races and more than $8 million in purse money leading up to the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the elusive Triple Crown.
In conjunction with the Belmont festivities, Hoosier Park will host Hoosier Champions Night, the first of five $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals, on the 14-race card. The first four harness races from Hoosier Park will lead into the main event from Belmont, which has an estimated post time of 6:40 p.m.
The first 1,000 Guests to visit Trackside Club Centaur will receive a souvenir button saying “Go! Chrome, Go!”, and in the event of a Triple Crown win, commemorative souvenir cards will be distributed throughout the property. Additionally, qualified Club Centaur members will receive a $5 win Bet on California Chrome.
The Belmont Jewel, the official drink of the Belmont Stakes, will be available in a collector’s glass and a wide variety of food stations will be available both indoors and outside with free seating available in both locations. Advanced wagering will be available at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for the entire Belmont card and Friday, June 6.
“In the 70′s it seemed almost ordinary to have a Triple Crown winner,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “Well, it’s been 36 years since that has happened and I think everyone is hoping for an end to the drought. God speed, California Chrome!”
Eleven horses have completed the monumental feat, but there hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed took all three jewels of the Triple Crown in 1978. California Chrome has won eight of his 12 career races, including his past six, and will start from post two as the 3/5 favorite.
In addition to the horse racing action, Hoosier Park will play host to the fourth annual Guns ‘N Hoses event. The event will pit local police officers and firefighters against one another in a series of challenges to benefit a local charity, Madison County Fire Rescue House. The challenges will begin after the start of live harness racing and range from a foot race carrying Hoosier Park drivers and a jelly donut speed eating contest to a dunk tank and the crowd favorite tug of war competition.
Hoosier Park will also offer various children’s activities in the Kid’s Zone along with a classic fire truck on display. Guns & Hoses, open to all ages, is free to the public and will start at approximately 5 p.m. in the Yard.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will offer an extended stakes schedule and be conducted through November 15.
Up All Night made his second consecutive trip to Hoosier Park’s winner circle as he scored in the $15,000 Jerry Landess final, a late closing event open to three and four-year-old Indiana sired colts and geldings that are non-winners of $7,500 lifetime, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday, April 24.
After winning the second leg of the series last time out, the four-year-old horse notched his second consecutive victory of the season in a lifetime best effort of 1:53.4.
With Ricky Macomber Jr. at the lines for the first time, Up All Night left from post five as part of the Jim Arledge Jr. trained entry and was unhurried off the gate to settle along the rail in seventh. Likeavirgin and Trace Tetrick left for position as soon as the gate folded and reached the front through a snappy :26.1 opening quarter.
Alwaysagoodthing and driver Dave Magee, the second-half of the Jim Arledge Jr. trained entry, benefitted from a pocket trip while Rattle On Howard and Tyler Smith followed intently in third.
Likeavirgin was able to slow the tempo and dictate a half mile time of :55.1 while the field remained slightly gapped out down the backside. Tyler Smith gave Rattle On Howard the green light and they were the first to take aim at the leaders with Peter Wrenn and Always A Diamond in tow. While the outer flow pressed on, Up All Night used a ground saving trip and progressed nicely along the rail.
Likeavirgin continued to call the shots around the three-quarter clocking in 1:24.2 as the rest of the field began to close in. Turning for home, Rattle On Howard reached the leader’s wheel but the biggest threat was still behind him.
Tipping around tiring cover late in the lane, Up All Night used a :28.1 final panel to win by three-parts of a length. Always A Diamond held on nicely for the second place finish while Ucanthandledatruth and Sam Widger rallied late for third. Slightly dismissed at the windows at 7-1, Up All Night returned $16.00 to his backers for the victory.
Scoring his second win from 16 lifetime outings, the four-year-old son of Mantacular-Kickin Lass increased his lifetime earnings to $17,265 for owner, breeder Laura Baker.
“I was a little worried when they opened up at odds of 41-1,” winning owner Laura Baker noted with a laugh in the winner’s circle. “They both have been nice horses for us and Ricky (Macomber Jr.) did a great job driving him tonight.”
It was a driving double for Ricky Macomber Jr. on the evening as he later went on to score with Cowgirl Hall in the $17,500 Fillies and Mares Featured trot in 1:55.1.
The buzz and excitement of live harness racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continues with the announcement of a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-4 pool offered on Thursday nights. In partnership with the Unites States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering program and the Indiana Standardbred Association, Hoosier Park will offer this signature wager beginning on Thursday, April 10.
The Pick-4, which offers a 50-cent minimum wager, begins in the third race and will continue through the sixth race. Approximate post time for the first leg of the wager, the third race, is 5:55 p.m. (est.). Free past performances for the Pick 4 races will be available on the USTA website. Expert selections and handicapping tools are also available on Hoosier Park’s website. The Pick-4 wager on Thursday nights will offer a carryover if no one correctly selects four of four winners.
“Hoosier Park would like to thank the Indiana Standardbred Association and the United States Trotting Association for again partnering on the $10,000 Guaranteed Pick 4, which has become such a popular wager among horse racing fans,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing Rick Moore noted. “Building on the successes of last year, we are proud to offer the pick-4 wager and with the guaranteed pool, we feel that it offers remarkable value to the horseplayers.”
Two long-shot winners in the Wednesday Pick-4 sequence at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino sparked a carryover in excess of $1,000 and will be added to the $10,000-guaranteed pool on Thursday, April 10.
The 12-race card slated for Thursday, April 10 will be highlighted by a $17,500 preferred trot for fillies and mares. Also on the card will be the opening round of the Jerry Landess series, a late closing event open to three and four-year-old Indiana sired colts and geldings that are non-winners of $7,500 lifetime.
Live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday-Saturday schedule, with a new, daily post time of 5:15 p.m. Offering an extended stakes schedule this season, the 160-day, all harness racing meet will be conducted through November 15.