ANDERSON, Ind.—February 9, 2015—Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is set to begin the 22nd season of live harness racing on Friday, March 27 with several new and important changes to the stakes schedule. One of the most highly anticipated days on the 2015 harness racing calendar will take place on Friday, August 14 as the Dan Patch takes center stage once again. Boasting an increased purse for the 2015 edition, the Dan Patch will serve as Indiana’s richest harness race but will take on a new format beginning in 2015.
Historically, the Dan Patch has been an invitational race with Hoosier Park’s racing secretary, inheriting the responsibility of recruiting the best horses to compete in the event every year. However, when the Dan Patch returns for its 22nd edition in 2015, it will be raced under a new and improved format.
In conjunction with the Hambletonian Society, The Dan Patch will now be raced as an early closer, which requires a nomination and sustaining payment the same year in which the race will be contested. By making the switch and increasing the purse, Hoosier Park is hoping to attract the top pacers in the country that may not have previously considered racing in the Dan Patch.
To begin, a nomination fee of $500 is due on February 15, 2015 for all horses wishing to compete in the 2015 Dan Patch. After the initial fee, the nominated horses will be eligible to be sustained to the 2015 edition of the race by making a $2,000 payment on March 15.
The purse for the 2015 Dan Patch is estimated to be $300,000 with the field being comprised of the top ten highest lifetime money earners. Once the field is established, an entrance fee of $2,500 will be required.
“By making the Dan Patch a paid-in event, Hoosier Park is taking the next step in elevating what is already a great race and increasing it in purse and stature,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “We feel the race will now reach a point where it will stand side by side with the Canadian Pacing Derby and the William Haughton Memorial Pace as the elite races for aged pacers.”
Hoosier Park’s most prestigious pacing race has become a tradition that is close to the hearts of Hoosiers. The Dan Patch not only highlights some of the best athletes in the sport of harness racing, but is deeply rooted throughout Indiana soil.
The Dan Patch race was established at Hoosier Park in 1994 with Ready To Rumble and driver Trevor Ritchie winning the inaugural edition 21 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.
In 2014, racing fans watched Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, pace the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the 21st edition of the Dan Patch Invitational. The previous track record of 1:48.1, a mark that stood for four years, was established by Shark Gesture and George Brennan in the 2010 Dan Patch Invitational.
For the second consecutive year, the winner of the 2015 Dan Patch Invitational will get an automatic nomination to the 2015 edition of the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby slated for Friday, October 30 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.
In addition to the changes to the Dan Patch, Hoosier Park will once again host the Jenna’s Beach Boy Pace for three-year-old colt pacers but feature an increased purse of an estimated $100,000 for the 2015 edition. Slated for Saturday, September 26, the field will be comprised of the top ten lifetime money earners. A $20,000 consolation will also be contested on Saturday, September 26.
The 2014 live racing season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, which concluded on Saturday, November 15, produced encouraging gains on many fronts as well as sizeable gains in all-sources handle during the 160-day, all harness racing season.
Buoyed by a sensational 27% increase in all-sources handle for the 2013 season, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continued the positive trend in 2014 to report an all sources handle increase of 6.2% over the previous year’s numbers.
In a continued effort to provide the highest quality racing experience for racing fans, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continued its focus on all encompassing marketing efforts, facility enhancements and an increase in overall quality of racing.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the 2014 racing season.” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “The positive trend in handle that we experienced during the 2013 season carried over into 2014. Beyond handle, the competition on the race track continues to get even more spirited. Together, we are buoyed by the reception we have received throughout the simulcast market and look forward to building on these successes when we open the 2015 season in late March.”
For the first time in its 21 year history, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino expanded its viewing public to include Australia in June of 2014. Through a partnership between Hoosier Park and the Australian racing broadcaster, Sky Racing, Hoosier Park harness racing became a regular morning feature on Thursday, Friday and Sunday on Sky Racing2 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Australian time.
Hoosier Park’s signature race, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational pace, saw marked success while placing the national spotlight on Hoosier Park, as the best in the sport of harness racing took to the racetrack on Friday, August 8. Excitement pervaded throughout the grandstand as an enthusiastic crowd watched Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, pace the fastest mile in Hoosier Park history with a 1:47.2 score in the 21st edition of the Dan Patch Invitational. The previous track record of 1:48.1, a mark that stood for four years, was established by Shark Gesture and George Brennan in the 2010 Dan Patch Invitational.
On the wagering front, the Dan Patch card offered remarkable value to horseplayers with the continuation of a $25,000 Guaranteed Superfecta on the Dan Patch Invitational race. The bettors came out in full force to watch the harness racing superstars compete at Hoosier Park as the handle increases were felt both on track and through export wagering and produced the biggest handle night of the season. The total handle for the night was up 25% over the previous year’s numbers.
Hoosier Park hosted Grand Circuit racing action four different times this season and welcomed the top-rated horses in North America to compete in races like the $275,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, the $230,000 Carl Erskine, the $250,000 Monument Circle, the $193,000 Nadia Lobell and the $211,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby.
Trace Tetrick led all forces on the track and took home the 2014 leading driver title with 289 victories and accumulated over $3.6 million in purse earnings throughout the season. Tetrick, who led the driver standings from start to finish, earned his third leading driver title at Hoosier Park in 2014. Tetrick also earned a spot in Hoosier Park’s record books as he re-established the record for most wins in one season, a record that was previously held by Tony Morgan during the 1998 season with 262 victories.
Also new to the 2014 season, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino unveiled a driver challenge like never seen before in the sport of harness racing. The 2014 Champion Driver Series pitted the top-ten drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against one another in a five-race challenge not once, but twice, throughout the season with the champion driver driving away in a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
It was LeWayne Miller who not only took home the $5,000 first place prize in the opening round of the series, but was crowned the ultimate champion after winning the second round of the series and drove away in a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.
Weekends during the meet encouraged fans to enjoy live racing and numerous entertainment opportunities throughout the venue. Each weekend was highlighted by ‘Fan-tastic Fridays,’ live racing action that featured $1 customer specials including beer, hot dogs, wagers, and racing programs. Saturdays at the track, designated as ‘Family Fun Days,’ featured live entertainment, kid-friendly outdoor games and activities, winner’s circle giveaways, and dining specials.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continued the annual summer concert series in 2014 and welcomed a series of national headlining acts to the outdoor music center. In conjunction with the racing action on the track, fans enjoyed Grammy-Award winners, Billboard chart toppers and thrilling entertainers throughout the summer.
“We would like to thank all the horsemen and racing fans that contributed to the successful 2014 season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino,” Moore continued. “Their support, along with the hard work and dedication from the entire Hoosier Park team, made for a tremendous season and we are already looking forward to next season.”
The 22nd season of live harness racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is set to get underway on March 27, 2015. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Friday, Saturday schedule the opening week, a Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule the second week and then resume a Tuesday through Saturday schedule throughout the remainder of the meet. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. each night, the live racing season will be conducted through November 14, 2015.
Once again, the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational will be the highlight of the 2013 harness racing season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, May 25. Now in its’ 20th edition, the Dan Patch Invitational pace is the one time of the year that the top rated horses in North America convene on Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval seeking a lucrative $200,000 purse and a spot in Hoosier Park’s history.
Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing event 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.
Kevin Mack, Hoosier Park’s racing secretary, inherits the responsibility of recruiting the best horses to compete in the event every year. Mack begins making his list of potential contenders for one of the ten coveted invitations to the Dan Patch many weeks in advance. After much consideration, ten horses, including a signature “Hometown Hero” chosen from the local area, will receive the official invitation to compete in Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing attraction.
The 2013 installment will tout some of the best horses, trainers and drivers in the sport. Patrons can potentially expect to see talents like Levy Memorial Pacing Series champion, Razzle Dazzle, Meadowlands Pace champion A Rocknroll Dance and perhaps 2012’s victor, Rockin Cam lined up behind the gate for the 2013 edition.
“We are looking at what may be the most competitive field to date in the 2013 edition of this great race,” Mack noted. “We haven’t officially decided, but the horses we are looking to invite are evenly matched and that makes for great racing. We are constantly striving to improve our harness racing product in Indiana and the Dan Patch is a race that does that by shining the spotlight on Indiana Standardbred racing on to the national scene.”
Several activities will be held trackside to complement the Dan Patch Invitational pace, including Indiana sire stakes action, property-wide dining specials, special wagering opportunities and exciting entertainment throughout the entire evening.
Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagering opportunities offered for the Dan Patch Invitational race. A $25,000 guaranteed Superfecta pool for the Dan Patch race will once again be available as part of the special Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association and Hoosier Park partnership. Hoosier Park will also offer a $10,000-guaranteed pick-4 pool that will include the Dan Patch race as a leg of the wager.