Lady Blitz beating the boys!
As one of only two mares in the field, Lady Blitz pulled the 10-1 upset over her male counterparts in the featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Invitational trot, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, September 13. Given a perfect, pocket trip by driver James Yoder, Lady Blitz stopped the timer in 1:53.4 to score her seventh win of the season.
Leaving from post five, Yoder sent Lady Blitz away from the gate firing to grab a pocket seat behind Creatine and Trace Tetrick who got the first call in :27.1. Creatine led the field to the second station in :56.2 but was quickly joined on the outside by the post time favorite Natural Herbie and Verlin Yoder who were unable to find a spot along the rail.
After being parked out for much of the mile, Natural Herbie pressed on and was able to reach the leader’s wheel at the three-quarter clocking in 1:25.2. While much of the damage was being done on the front, Lady Blitz waited patiently to make her move from the pocket.
Natural Herbie was able to wear down the tiring leader but the taxing trip began to take its’ toll on him as well. Lady Blitz was given the green light and she exploded from the pocket to finish two lengths in front of her stablemate Natural Herbie who held on gamely for second. Anaffairtoremember, the other mare in the field, rounded out the trifecta with driver Peter Wrenn in the sulky. As the publics’ fourth choice, Lady Blitz returned $23.00 to her backers at the window.
Trained and owned by Verlin Yoder, Lady Blitz scored her seventh win from 17 seasonal starts and just missed her lifetime mark by a fifth of a second with the 1:53.4 victory. The daughter of Keystone Blitz-Oriental Lady is a multiple Indiana Sires Stakes champion who now sports a lifetime bankroll of $388,281.
The upset trend continued in the featured pacing event of the evening as Thebestofjoel and Tyler Smith scored in 1:50.3 as the longest shot on the board in the $22,000 Invitational pace. Dismissed at odds of 30-1, Thebestofjoel was able to turn a pocket trip into a win and give driver Tyler Smith his fourth win of the evening. Trained by Jeff Cullipher, Thebestofjoel has now won seven of 28 seasonal starts and equaled his lifetime mark with the win.
In conjunction with the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF), Hoosier Park Racing & Casino has donated $5,000 to save ten former race horses from slaughter. With the donation, Hoosier Park is not only helping the horses in need but hoping to raise awareness for the SRF organization who works diligently to provide race horses with homes after their racing careers are finished.
Just two weeks ago, several Standardbreds were found to be in imminent danger of shipping to slaughter. Ten Standardbreds with collective earnings of more than $1 million, to be exact, were in trouble. With the help of caring citizens, industry professionals, and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Standardbred Retirement Foundation was able to rescue all 10 of the horses.
“There is an old saying that goes “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “At Hoosier Park, Standardbred race horses, whether racing or retired, are our friends. For this group of horses that were facing their demise last week there was never a better time to have a friend come to the rescue. We are so pleased with the outcome of this story that could have had a much more dismal ending.”
The horses that were rescued are All American Daddy, who earned $489,000; Big Money; Chuckie Two; Desired Goal; Third Down Delight; Barretts Toy; Evil Grin; Second Thought; Dusty Lane Ralph; and Windsong Fortune, with earnings of $272,000.
The cost to take in one horse and to provide all the necessary steps of paying their fees, shipping, quarantine, rehabilitation, veterinary care, and blacksmith and dental care is approximately $1,500. Hoosier Park’s donation will be put towards the care of the animals until permanent homes can be secured.
“It is heartwarming to have the help of Hosier Park and the wonderful people who stepped up to help these horses in need,” noted Judy Bokman, SRF’s Executive Director. “It was a dire situation and it came down to the last few hours. I don’t know of anyone who would want to see these magnificent animals go this route when their careers on the track have come to an end. With that said, and that evident, we hope that people shout out to racing to do the right thing; have the industry create its own program to provide for these animals.”
All ten of the horses were removed from the situation and will now head to a quarantine facility in Delaware where they will be placed under a veterinary’s care. Once the soundness of each horse is determined, their future options will also be explored including under saddle work.
About the Standardbred Retirement Foundation: Founded in 1989, Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) is currently caring for more than 192 retired racehorses at boarding and training facilities around the country; all are available for adoption. SRF is unique as it never relinquishes ownership and requires the veterinary of every adopted horse to provide a follow-up report semi-annually to insure each horse remains happy and healthy, for life. The program relies on tax-deductible gifts, and fund raising events such as the donation of lifetime breedings to prominent stallions, single breeding donations, and other fund raising efforts. In complement to finding them loving homes as companion horses, their program also focuses on retraining that gives them second careers in police work and therapy programs. SRF retires them with the dignity they deserve and provides them with full care for the remainder of their lives.
Lucky Jet, guided by LeWayne Miller, pulled a stunning 27-1 upset to take home top honors in the featured event of the evening, the $22,000 Rosie Harness Memorial Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, September 5. With a final time of 1:50.2, Lucky Jet took advantage of a pocket trip to score his fourth win of the season.
Leaving from post three, Lucky Jet left just enough to protect his position as Ricky Macomber Jr. sent Sweet Talkin Satin away from the gate firing. Sweet Talkin Satin reached the front through the opening panel in :26.3 and remained uncontested down the backside, hitting the half in :55.2.
Some Kinda Beach and Ed Hensley began the long, first-over journey as the field approached the final turn with the heavily favored, Night Pro and Peter Wrenn in tow. Sweet Talkin Satin continued to call the shots around the third station in 1:23.2 and was able to fight off Some Kinda Beach turning for home. While the top pair battled it out on the front, Lucky Jet was looming large in the pocket.
Miller was able to find late racing room up the rail and Lucky Jet found another gear. Using a :26.3 final quarter, Lucky Jet exploded from the pocket to finish three lengths in front of Night Pro who closed hard for second. Sweet Talkin Satin held on gamely to round out the trifecta. As the longest shot on the board at odds of 27-1, Lucky Jet returned $56.00 to his backers at the window.
Trained by Tom Harmer, the son of Jereme’s Jet-My Metallica has now won four of 23 outings in 2014 while earning $62,560. Lucky Jet pushed his career bankroll to $286,995 for owners Ciara Stable and Edward Kollross.
The race was held in honor of the late Rosie Harness, who tragically passed away on Friday, August 30. A long time member of the horse racing community, Rosie trained a stable of horses with her husband Carl “Olin” Harness that raced at Hoosier Park and throughout the state of Indiana. Friends and family members of Rosie gathered on the track after the race to remember their special friend.
Freaky Feet Pete
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will highlight the 2014 harness racing season on Saturday, September 6 with Indiana’s finest trotters and pacers convening on Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval for the annual Hoosier Champions Night, the fourth of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals. A total of 14 races have been established and after the dust settles, eight new Indiana Sires Stakes champions will be crowned. The first race will line up behind the starting gate at 5:15 p.m.
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.
“Our Hoosier Champions Night has become a much-anticipated event among horseman and racing fans alike,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “The 2014 season has already exceeded my expectations and I am excited to offer racing fans another stellar night of racing. To have horses of this quality racing at Hoosier Park speaks volumes to where our racing program has come and where it is going.”
In its’ 21st season of live harness racing, Hoosier Park is in the midst of one of its’ fastest season to date. Sweet Lou recently lowered the overall track record to 1:47.2 in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park on August 8. Of the eight respective Indiana Sires Stakes divisions, five of the eight have produced track record breaking or equaling miles this season.
Freaky Feet Pete not only holds the Hoosier Park track record for two-year-old pacing colts but was also a national season’s record holder with his 1:50.4 score in Indiana Sires Stakes action earlier in the season. Guided by Trace Tetrick, Freaky Feet Pete will look to score his second $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing colts from the trailing post ten on Saturday.
Always B Miki recently shattered the track record for three-year-old pacing colts with a 1:48.4 score in the last $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final and followed that up with a win in his most recent elimination. Trained by Joe Holloway, Always B Miki will look to score his second Indiana Sires Stakes final win with driver Peter Wrenn in the sulky from post eight.
In the three-year-old trotting colt ranks, Rose Run Parker returned to his winning ways and re-established his own track record with a 1:54 score in the elimination round of stakes action last week at Hoosier Park. Trained by Ron Burke, Rose Run Parker will start from post three in the $75,000 final for Hoosier Park’s all-time leading driver, Ricky Macomber Jr.
Following suit, Airman Batten also re-established his own track record in the two-year-old trotting colt ranks with a 1:55.4 score in his elimination. Driven by LeWayne Miller, Airman Batten will look to keep his five-race winning streak in-tact from post four in the field of ten for trainer Erv Miller. The Erv Miller Stable will also send out Andi’s Alana who will put her eight-race win streak on the line in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting fillies. Undefeated in eight starts this season, Andi’s Alana will start from post seven with her regular pilot LeWayne Miller in the sulky.
Indiana Grand Racing & Casino announced Wednesday that basketball head coaches Tom Crean of Indiana and Rick Pitino of Louisville will serve as honorary co-chairs of the 20th running of the Indiana Derby, presented by the Indy Star. The 1 1/16th mile, Grade II stakes race is scheduled for a 9:30 p.m. post time on Saturday, Oct. 4 and will feature the best three-year-old Thoroughbreds in the country racing for a purse of $500,000, the largest in Indiana.
Indiana’s Crean began his coaching career on the Division 1 level in 1989 with Michigan State University and has gone on to earn 291 wins as head coach at Marquette and Indiana. Recently named the National Coach of the Year by ESPN and Big Ten Coach of the Year by The Sporting News, Coach Crean guided his Indiana team to the sixth winningest season in school history with a 27-5 record in the 2012-2013 season.
Louisville’s Pitino has tallied more than 695 wins in 29 seasons as a college basketball coach, ranking him the 11th all-time winningest among active coaches. A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Pitino has coached two National Championship teams and was the first coach in NCAA history to take three different teams to the NCAA Final Four.
New this year, the Indiana Derby will feature a two-day festival that begins on Friday, Oct. 3 and includes two full race cards, multiple family-friendly events, and a performance by the multi-Gold-and-Platinum selling group Grand Funk Railroad. Live racing begins at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 leading into the outdoor concert set for 8:30 p.m. in front of the grandstand.
NBA Hall of Fame head coach and Hoosier Legend Bobby “Slick” Leonard will serve as the special Indiana Derby Honoree on Saturday, Oct. 4 and will appear alongside a roster of former Indiana Pacers and members from Milan High School’s 1954 basketball team – the group that inspired the classic movie “Hoosiers.” Indiana Derby day festivities will kickoff at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4 and include a series of community-wide, family-friendly activities in the run up to live racing.
The Indiana Derby Festival schedule of events is as follows:
Day 1: Friday, Oct. 3:
• BBQ Rib Competition
o Begins at 3 p.m.
o Located on the south end of the apron
• Live Racing and Family-Friendly Activities
o Begins at 3:30 p.m.
• Grand Funk Railroad Free Concert
o Begins at 8:30 p.m.
o Located in front of the Race Course grandstands
Day 2: Saturday, Oct. 4:
• 5K Walking for Derby with the Community Health Network Foundation
o Begins at 9 a.m.
• Murat Shriners Car Show
o Begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.
o Cars may be entered for a fee of $20
• Indiana Derby Day Race Card and Family-Friendly Activities
o Begins at 5:05 p.m.
• 20th Running of the Indiana Derby
o Post Time of 9:30 p.m.
The $200,000-added Grade II Oaks will be the ninth race and will be followed by the Indiana Derby, which will be the 10th on an 11-race card. Nine stakes races will be offered with purses in excess of $1.4 million.
Indiana Derby tickets and reservations are available and can be made by calling 317-421-0000. Three seating options are available with Clubhouse Dining priced at $99 per person with table, Elite Seating priced at $90 per person, and Tent seating available for $75 per person.
Indiana Derby sponsors include presenting sponsor Indy Star and associate sponsors Miller Lite, Neoti LED Signs, and Bally Technologies.
For complete Indiana Derby Festival details, please visit www.IndianaGrand.com .
About the Indianapolis Star: The Indianapolis Star is the largest and most respected news and information provider for Central Indiana reaching more than a million people in print, digital and social media each week. Indy Star is a subsidiary of Gannett Co., Inc., and began publishing The Indianapolis Star in print on June 6, 1903 and has won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting twice, in 1975 and 1991. For more information, please visit www.IndyStar.com.
About Indiana Grand Racing & Casino: Indiana Grand Racing & Casino holds multiple awards from industry publications for customer service, entertainment, gaming, racing, and dining. Indiana Grand, located in Shelbyville, Ind., features more than 2,200 of the latest slots and electronic table games as well as a 1-mile oval horse track offering live Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year. Simulcast wagering is also offered year-round at the Indiana Grand Racing & Casino as well at an off-track betting property located in Clarksville Indiana. For more information, please visit www.IndianaGrand.com .
Twenty years of racing history will come alive on Friday, August 29 when the doors open at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in honor of the tracks’ 20th anniversary of live racing. Hoosier Park hosted the first live racing meet on September 1, 1994 and will invite guests to enjoy all that Hoosier Park has to offer with four big days of fan appreciation – free offers, exciting giveaways, great discounts, and much more in a weekend-long celebration.
“Not only is it our 20th anniversary of live racing but it is also our 20th anniversary of being involved in the Madison County community,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “The fans are a major part of our success here at Hoosier Park and what better way to celebrate than with numerous festivities dedicated to them. We hope everyone will come out and enjoy our four days of celebration.”
The fan appreciation festivities will kick-off on Friday, August 29 with a free Hoosier Park beach towel give-away starting at noon for the first 500 guests. Racing fans will also receive a free mystery voucher with the purchase of a live Hoosier Park racing program that could be worth up to $250. Fan-tastic Fridays will continue and feature $1 dogs, $1 programs, $1 drafts & $1 bets through the end of live racing. With a post time of 5:15 p.m., Friday’s 14-race card will feature Indiana Sires Stakes action for three-year-old pacing fillies and two-year-old trotting fillies. The night will end with a free performance by First Impression Band in the Terrace Showroom starting at 10 p.m.
On Saturday, August 30, racing fans can pick-up a free Superfecta wager for the live Hoosier Park racing card from 2 to 6 p.m. at Trackside Club Centaur. Hoosier Park’s ‘Family Fun Days’ return this Saturday and will continue each weekend throughout the entirety of the harness racing meet. Activities will include a bounce house, face painting, jugglers, live entertainment, games and winner’s circle giveaways.
With a special racing post time of 4 p.m. on Saturday, Hoosier Park will host a 14-race card highlighted by two divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes action for three-year-old pacing colts. At the conclusion of live racing, the four-time Grammy-winning Doobie Brothers will take center stage at approximately 8:30 p.m. as part of Hoosier Park’s 2014 Summer Concert Series.
Sunday, August 31 will include $5 burger and fries at the Big Deli from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the first 1,000 guests that visit Club Centaur in the casino, starting at noon, will receive a free Hoosier Park hat, while supplies last.
Monday, September 1 will offer a $5.95 buffet from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and the “Labor Day Play Day” promotion. With a winner every 15 minutes, Club Centaur members playing with their club card will have a chance to win $100 that will be sent directly to their Club Centaur account from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the casino, guests can enjoy free popcorn and $1 Dogs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be live entertainment in the casino.
Offering an extended stakes schedule for the 2014 harness racing season, live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the 160-day meet will be conducted through November 15.
Don’t Spank Me, driven by Andy Shetler, utilized her customary late charge to prevail in the featured event of the evening, a $22,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 22. The 1:51.2 victory was a new lifetime best and the third win at this level in the last four outings for Don’t Spank Me.
Leaving from post seven in the talented field of nine, Don’t Spank Me was unhurried from the gate and settled along the rail in eighth while a host of others left alertly. Latenite Rendevous and Ross Leonard were the first to get a call through the opening panel in :26.3 while Nutmegs Yankee and Terry Cullipher were well placed in the pocket second.
Peter Wrenn had Miss Millie out and firing early down the backside and the duo found the front through the second panel in :55.2. Miss Millie continued to call the shots around the third station in 1:23.3 but Blissful Romance and Ricky Macomber Jr. were applying pressure to their outside with the rest of the field also closing in.
As the field turned for home, Don’t Spank Me was perfectly placed second over and had her sights set on the leader. Just as Miss Millie began to tire on the front, Don’t Spank Me found another gear and exploded past her rivals halfway down the stretch.
Using a :27.1 final panel, Don’t Spank Me finished four lengths in front of American Girl and Sam Widger who closed gamely to finish second. Latenite Rendezvous also rallied late in the lane to round out the trifecta. As the 8-5 favorite, Don’t Spank Me returned $5.20 to her backers at the window.
“She’s a fun mare to drive,” Shetler noted in the winner’s circle. “She’s the type of mare that if you put her in position to win, she will do the rest. She raced big again tonight.”
Trained, owned and bred by Wayne Carter, Don’t Spank Me notched fifth first win of the season from 15 starts. The four-year-old daughter of Capital Request-Catalog has now won 13 of 36 lifetime outings while amassing $170,337.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Saturday, August 23 with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. The 14-race card will be highlighted by the $22,000 Invitational pace. With an extended stakes scheduled offered for the 2014 live racing season, the live racing season will be conducted through November 15, 2014.
Sweet Lou breaking the track record, at the 2014 Dan Patch.
Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday, August 8 and extended his win streak to nine in the process. The previous track record, a mark that stood for four years, was established by Shark Gesture and George Brennan in the 2010 Dan Patch Invitational.
In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing but stablemate Bettor’s Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25.2. Carol’s Comet and Aaron Merriman were well placed in the pocket second with the 1/5 favorite, Sweet Lou next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4.
Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader’s wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor’s Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field.
Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a head to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor’s Edge was a game second while Carol’s Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window.
“I really didn’t think we were going that much,” Pierce noted in the winner’s circle. “I saw the splits and I was amazed. I have to say, that other horse (Bettor’s Edge) concerned me tonight, he just kept coming. This is a very long stretch but my horse raced great again.”
“He could’ve gone more but we’ve got to keep some in the tank for next week,” Pierce continued. “He raced great. We are going home with the trophy and the track record so that is a great night.”
Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts this year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48.
The victory was the first Dan Patch Invitational win for trainer Ron Burke and second Dan Patch Invitational win for driver Ron Pierce who also scored in 2005 behind Maltese Artist. The win capped off a sensational night for Pierce who tallied two wins to lead his team to victory in the $20,000 East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge.
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.
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Ten of the best drivers in the sport of harness racing will take to the track at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino for the inaugural $20,000 East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge on Friday, August 8. The first of its kind at Hoosier Park, the 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.
Harness racings’ all time leading money winning driver and Hall of Famer, John Campbell returns to Indiana and will headline “Team East”. Campbell far exceeds any driver when it comes to purse earnings with over $287 million in the bike and victories in nearly every major stake to date. He is a member of both the Canadian and United States Hall of Fame and is one of only 10 drivers in North America with more than 10,000 career wins.
Campbell will be joined by the nation’s current leading dash-winning driver, Aaron Merriman who leads North America in wins with 464 victories to date. Also included on the stellar cast of entrants for “Team East” are Ron Pierce, Corey Callahan, and Tyler Buter.
Hoosier Park’s leading driver Trace Tetrick will lead “Team Midwest” after he secured his number one position with 170 victories. “Team Midwest” will also include Tyler Smith, Sam Widger, Peter Wrenn and Ricky Macomber Jr.
“This is going to be a lot of fun,” driver Peter Wrenn said of the challenge. “They are going to be tough to beat that is for sure, but it’s going to be a great night of racing the entire night. I know we are all looking forward to it.”
Each team will have five participants in three consecutive races of the challenge and will be awarded points based upon their placings. At the conclusion of the final race of the challenge, race nine, the points will be tallied and one team will be crowned the winner.
The East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will compliment one of the most highly anticipated days on the harness racing card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino with the 21st edition of the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational slated as the twelfth race of the evening with a post time of 9:30 p.m.
Racing fans will also have the opportunity to participate in a special wager offered for the East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge with a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-3 Pool. The wager will offer a minimum bet of 50 cents, and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, and the Indiana Standardbred Association.
All of the drivers competing in the East Meets Midwest challenge will kick-off the evening with an autograph session near Hoosier Park’s winner circle beginning at 4 p.m.
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, a fireworks display, 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.