Nitro, with John DeLong at the lines, made amends for last week’s second place finish and rolled home a winner in the featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, May 21. Scoring in gate to wire fashion, Nitro stopped the timer in 1:50.3 and gave driver John DeLong one of his six wins on the 13-race card.
DeLong took no chances and sent Nitro to the front from post five in an abbreviated field of six to grab the top spot through the opening panel in :27.3. Bluehourpower and Ricky Macomber Jr. left just enough to grab a pocket seat while If I Lose and Brian Carpenter were next in line third. The field remained in single file order down the backside as Nitro clicked off fractions of :55.3 and 1:23.4 before ever feeling a threat.
As the field turned for home, Jason Dillander had Shooter’s Dream pointed to the front in the outer flow while Color’s A Virgin and Tyler Smith grabbed the cover second-over. As the rest of the field closed in, DeLong asked his mount for more and Nitro dug in gamely. Using a :26.4 closing quarter, Nitro finished a length and a half in front of the pocket-sitting Bluehourpower. As the only mare in the field, Color’s A Virgin rallied gamely for third place honors. Sent off as the heavy betting favorite, Nitro returned $4.20 at the betting windows.
Traiend by Ron Burke, the six-year-old son of Charley-Barley-Deferred Comp notched his second seasonal victory from 14 outings. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino, and C. Hecht, Nitro has now won 20 of 107 lifetime starts and amassed $347,934 lifetime.
In the very next race, John DeLong found the winner’s circle in a conditioned pace with JL Dontwastemytime in 1:52.1 for trainer Trent Stohler. Stohler and Delong also teamed up to get ER Zach Attack home a winner in a claiming event earlier on the card.
Driving in each and every race on the program, DeLong found the winner’s circle for the first time in the third race of the evening with Hot N Shooting for trainer Grant Wilfong and then scored in the very next race with Ok Ferrari for trainer Dylan Davis.
In the $20,000 Steve Gray Memorial Pace, it was Four Socks who turned in a gate to wire effort to score in a new lifetime best of 1:50.1. It was the third victory of the season for the six-year-old son of I Scoot Hanover-Well Hello Dolly who is trained by Mike Murphy.
DeLong is currently second on the leading driver standings at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino with 61 wins on the season through 35 nights of live racing. Hoosier Park’s 2015 leading driver, Trace Tetrick, leads all drivers with 82 wins on the season.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Tuesday, May 24 with a 14-race card and a daily post time of 5:45 p.m. The 160-day harness racing meet will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 12.
For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.
On a chilly night in Indiana, odds-on favorites were hot at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino as both of the heavy favorites delivered in the $21,000 featured trot and pace on Saturday, April 30. Each of the featured events saw familiar faces in the winner’s circle as both races produced repeat winners from the previous week.
Freaky Feet Pete, the 2015 Breeders Crown Champion for three-year-old pacing colts, turned in another dominant performance to score his second consecutive Hoosier Park victory in the $21,000 Invitational Pace. With regular driver Trace Tetrick at the lines, Freaky Feet Pete stopped the timer in 1:50.2 over a sloppy rated track.
Using the same front-running tactics as the previous week, Freaky Feet Pete dictated first half fractions of :27.1 :55.2 while Fearless Diablo and LeWayne Miller benefitted from a pocket trip. With the heavy betting favorite calling the shots on the front, the rest of the field remained in single file line down the backside.
Bluehourpower and Ricky Macomber Jr. were the first to commit to the outer flow but Freaky Feet Pete began to inch away from the field with every stride. With a three-quarter clocking in 1:23, Freaky Feet Pete began to put his talent on display as the rest of the field struggled to stay within striking distance.
Freaky Feet Pete cruised to the wire under a hand drive from Tetrick finishing six and a half lengths in front of Fearless Diablo. SF Donttellonme and Joey Casagranda used a late closing kick to round out the trifecta.
With the win, Freaky Feet Pete notched the second win of his four-year-old campaign and 26th career victory from 29 lifetime outings. The homebred son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has now earned $1,136,724 lifetime for his owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer.
In much the same fashion on the trotting side of things, Hannelore Hanover and Ricky Macomber Jr. extended their winning streak as they easily handled an abbreviated field of six in the $21,000 Invitational trot in 1:52.4 over a track rated good. Hannelore Hanover was unhurried from the gate and settled along the rail in third behind Churita and Trace Tetrick who reached the first quarter mark in :28. Macomber Jr. gave Hannelore Hanover the green light down the backside and the Ron Burke trainee easily reached the front to dictate middle fractions of :57 and 1:24.4.
As the field turned for home, Hannelore Hanover was two lengths in front of her next closest competitor and used a :28 final panel to coast home three lengths to the good. Churita maintained her position to finish second while Rever Ever rallied nicely to finish third. As the heavy betting favorite, Hannelore Hanover returned $3.20 at the betting window.
The four-year-old daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety notched her fourth consecutive victory and remains undefeated in four starts in 2016. Owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, and F. Baldachino, Hannelore Hanover has now amassed $345,324 lifetime.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Tuesday, May 3 with a 14-race card that is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. The 160-day racing season will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 12.
For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule at Hoosier Park, please visit www.hoosierpark.com
Freaky Feet Pete, the 2015 Breeders Crown Champion for three-year-old pacing colts, was a dominant winner in his 2016 debut on Saturday, April 23 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in the featured event on the card, a $21,000 Invitational Pace. Driven by regular pilot Trace Tetrick, Freaky Feet Pete finished two lengths in front of his next closest competitor, stopping the timer in 1:49.4.
The Larry Rheinheimer trainee wasted no time as he came away from the gate firing to reach the front in an uncontested opening panel of :27. Nitro and John DeLong benefitted from a pocket trip while Bluehourpower and Ricky Macomber Jr. were next in line, third.
Freaky Feet Pete leisurely strolled down the backside to reach the second panel in :55.2 while the rest of the field remained in single file line approaching the final turn. With a three-quarter clocking a 1:23, Freaky Feet Pete once again showed the flashes of speed that has made the pacer so popular.
Under no urging from Tetrick, Freaky Feet Pete found another gear and utilized a :26.4 closing quarter to pace away from the field. Nitro maintained his position to finish second while Bluehourpower rounded out the trifecta. As the overwhelming favorite, Freaky Feet Pete returned $2.10 to his backers at the betting window.
“We are glad to have that one out of the way,” Rheinheimer noted in the winner’s circle with a smile. “There’s a lot of pressure, especially with his first start, but he qualified well and he seems to be as good as ever so that’s all we can ask for.”
“I told Trace (Tetrick) good luck and be safe, that’s it, that’s all I ever tell him,” he continued. “I felt good about things tonight, he (Freaky Feet Pete) felt really good warming up.”
With the win, Freaky Feet Pete notched the first win of his four-year-old campaign and 25th career victory from 28 lifetime outings. The homebred son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has now earned $1,126,224 lifetime for his owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer. Rheinheimer’s star pupil will look to make another start at his home track before being pointed to Northfield Park for his first major stakes engagement of the season, the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park on May 21.
“As far as the rest of the season, we will see how it goes,” Rheinheimer continued. “He will be in all the stakes races around here and we will take him to a few other places, Toronto and the Meadowlands, if all goes well. We are going to take it week by week with him.”
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Tuesday, April 26 with a 14-race card that is set to begin at 5:45 p.m. The 160-day racing season will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 12.
For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule at Hoosier Park, please visit www.hoosierpark.com
Driver Tyler Smith made harness racing history at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, April 15 as he became the youngest driver ever to reach the 2,000-win mark at the age of 23. Smith came into Hoosier Park’s 14-race card on Friday with 1,999 career driving victories and needed just one more victory to reach the career milestone and stamp his name in the record books.
He accomplished that feat in his first race of the night, race 3, steering Au D Lox Bluegrass to a 1:53.2. romp in a division of The Extreme Velocity Pacing Series. Trained by John Merkel, Au D Lox Bluegrass was able to take advantage of an aggressive front end trip to record her first win of the season. Owned by Luel Overstreet and John Merkel, Au D Lox Bluegrass has earned $74,631 in her career.
Scott Zeron previously held the record for youngest driver to reach the 2,000 win plateau after he reached the milestone two months before his 24th birthday. Smith turned 23 in January of 2016.
Smith has been making headlines as a driver since the age of 12 when he became the youngest male driver in harness racing history to record a sub-2:00 race, driving Look Lilly to victory in 1:59.1 in a matinee at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in his home state of Ohio. He also became the youngest driver to reach 1,000 career wins in the bike, a milestone he still holds and reached at Hoosier Park in 2013.
The Washington Court House native started driving in 2009 and has since surpassed the $15 million mark in purse earnings. He recorded his best season to date in 2014 when he won 412 races and earned over $3.7 in purse earnings.
Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Smith’s friends and family were in the winner’s circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment.
“On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I’d like to congratulate Tyler on win number 2,000,” Moore noted. “We are so proud of all that he has accomplished and couldn’t be happier he reached this milestone at Hoosier Park. It has been a pleasure watching him race and make harness racing history here with us. We wish Tyler 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.”
It was a driving double on the evening for Smith as he also piloted Halle Shark to the winner’s circle for trainer Joe Putnam in another division of The Extreme Velocity Pacing Series. Smith is currently fourth on the leading driver standings at Hoosier Park for the 2016 season with 9 wins through 9 nights of racing.
Live racing returns to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, April 16 with a 14-race card. With a daily post time of 5:45 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and continue through November 12, 2016. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino’s reigning leading driver, Trace Tetrick scored a grand slam on Friday, April 8 and with it, surpassed Ricky Macomber Jr. in the all-time leading driver standings at Hoosier Park. Both Tetrick and Macomber Jr. are two of the most well-known drivers at Hoosier Park and have been recognized for their accomplishments on and off the track.
Heading into Friday’s 14-race card, Tetrick needed just one victory to tie Macomber Jr.’s record of 1,480 wins and two to surpass him in the standings.
The victory with Croquet Rose in the evening’s eighth race notched win number 1,480 in Tetrick’s career at Hoosier Park and tied him with Ricky Macomber Jr. for the top spot at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. After he guided Double A Cash Hall to victory in the $15,000 Open II Trot just two races later, Tetrick moved into the lead on the all-time leading driver standings with 1,481 trips to the Hoosier Park winner’s circle.
Tetrick then went on to secure his position atop the list and won with Shakeitformegear in the very next race and again in the evening’s 13th race with My Tweed Heart leaving him with 1,483 wins and counting. Macomber Jr., who has held the title since 2014, has 1,480 victories at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and counting.
Tetrick has stamped himself in the Hoosier Park history books as he also holds the records for most wins in a single season, a record that he established last year with 325 victories. Tetrick lead the leading driver standings from start to finish in 2015 to secure his 4th leading driver title at Hoosier Park.
The Southern Illinois native started driving in 2003 and has since surpassed the $33 million mark in purse earnings in the bike. He recorded his best season to date in 2015 as he notched 423 victories and his second consecutive season with over $4.8 million in purse earnings. Tetrick also celebrated his 3,000 career driving win at Hoosier Park last season.
With multiple stakes wins to his credit, Tetrick’s career reached new heights when he won the $531,250 Breeders Crown final for three-year-old male pacers at Woodbine Racetrack with Freaky Feet Pete. The 29-year-old reignsman was also voted the pari-mutuel driver of the year in the state of Indiana in both 2014 and 2015.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino continues on Saturday, April 9 at 5:45 p.m. with a 14-race card. The live racing schedule will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and continue through November 12.
ANDERSON, Ind.—April 6, 2016—Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is proud to announce the addition of a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool offered on Thursday nights for the 2016 live racing season. 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 7.
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 6:25 p.m. (est.). Free past performances for the Pick 4 races will be available on the Hoosier Park website. Expert selections and handicapping tools are also available on Hoosier Park’s website and The United States Trotting Association’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. “The pick-4 wager has been popular amongst our horseplayers and racing fans and we are proud to offer it on Thursdays. With the guaranteed pool and full, competitive racing fields, we feel this offers remarkable value to the horseplayers.”
The 14-race card slated for Thursday, April 7 will be highlighted by full fields as all 14 races carded feature a full field of ten. Thursday’s 14-race card will also feature a pick-5 carry-over of $2,472.34. The Pick-5, which offers a 50-cent minimum wager, will begin in the tenth race of the evening and continue through the fourteenth race of the program. Approximate post time for the first leg of the wager, the ninth race, is 8:45 p.m. (EST.).
Live racing will return to Hoosier Park on Thursday, April 7 and continue through Saturday, April 9 with a daily post time of 5:45 p.m. The following week live racing will resume a Tuesday through Saturday schedule through the end of the meet on Nov. 12, 2016.
ANDERSON, Ind.—April 2, 2016—Hoosier Park Racing & Casino kicked off the 2016 live racing season on Friday, April 1 and did it in fashion, recording the strongest opening night ever in the 23-year-history of the track. All sources handle was up an impressive 65% over last year’s numbers with the same number of races carded. Excitement pervaded throughout the grandstand as a large, enthusiastic crowd welcomed the 23rd season of harness racing back to the seven-eighths mile oval.
“What an absolutely sensational opening night,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “To be up 65% over last year is beyond my wildest dreams! Thank you to the horsemen for putting on such a great show and to our on-track and off-track audiences for supporting us at the betting windows.”
Friday’s card offered remarkable value to the horseplayer with full fields, the introduction of the new Hoosier High-5 wager, and an improved racing product. The bettors came out in full force on the opening night of the season as handle increases were felt both on track and through export wagering to produce $948,734 in all sources handle for the evening.
The progress is attributed to a renewed focus on showcasing an enhanced racing product and bringing fans back to the track for a multi-faceted entertainment experience. The partnership between Hoosier Park and horse racing network TVG has also contributed significantly to the wagering gains.
Friday’s 14-race card was a success for Hoosier Park’s 2015 leading driver Trace Tetrick and John DeLong, both of whom scored a driving triple on the evening’s card. The fully-stocked card included 10 divisions of The Donnie Conrad Memorial and Rosie Harness Memorial, an overnight series for trotters of both sexes.
Live racing will return to Hoosier Park on Saturday, April 2 with a 14-race card. Post time for the first race is 5:45 p.m. Hoosier Park will once again offer TwinSpires players the opportunity to compete for their share of 1 Million Elite Points in a handicapping contest against Hoosier Park’s Racing Commentator, Emily Gaskin. Additionally, TwinSpires is marking the occasion by giving players the opportunity to earn 30 Twinspires Elite Points for every dollar they wager, on Saturday night. Racing fans are encouraged to visit www.twinspires.com for more information.
Hoosier Park’s ‘Family Fun Days’ return this Saturday and will continue each weekend throughout the entirety of the harness racing season. Activities will include live entertainment, games and winner’s circle giveaways. This Saturday, live racing will be followed by a free, live performance from Henry Lee Summer in the Terrace Showroom.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Friday and Saturday schedule the opening week, a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday schedule the second week and then resume a Tuesday through Saturday schedule through the end of the meet on Nov. 12, 2016.
The best in the sport of Harness Racing will be showcased at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, October 30 as Grand Circuit racing action returns to Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval for the fourth and final time this season.
With over $1.1 million in purses to be distributed on the evening, Hoosier Park will offer arguably one of the best cards of the 2015 live racing season with a 14-race card that includes the $285,500 Monument Circle Pace, the $265,000 Carl Erskine Trot, and the $165,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. The first race of the evening will line-up behind the starting gate at 5:45 p.m.
The $285,500 Monument Circle Pace for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will feature perhaps the most anticipated matchup in all of harness racing as the Hoosier state’s sophomore superstars Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete face-off in the rubber match of their rivalry. These two have met twice before on the track at Hoosier Park and each have a win to their credit. Wiggle It Jiggleit bested Freaky Feet Pete earlier in the season in Indiana Sires Stakes action but Freaky Feet Pete avenged that loss with a victory in their most recent match-up in the $220,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Final at Hoosier Park on October 10.
Wiggle It Jiggleit will line-up behind the gate for the Monument Circle after a sharp 1:49.4 score in his $45,300 division of the Circle City Stakes on October 23 at Hoosier Park. Driven by regular pilot Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggleit went gate to wire to finish four and a half lengths in front of his nearest rival. Wiggle It Jiggleit, the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing, has drawn the rail and has been installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite in the Monument Circle Pace, slated as the 13th race on the program.
Freaky Feet Pete returns to Hoosier Park fresh off a stretch rallying victory as the post time favorite to capture the $531,250 Breeders Crown three-year-old male pacing event at Woodbine on October 24. As a $62,500 supplemental entry, Freaky Feet Pete looked to be far out of contention in the final turn but sprinted home to stop the timer in 1:50 and record his first victory outside the state of Indiana. For the Monument Circle, Freaky Feet Pete drew post three with Trace Tetrick in the sulky and is slated at 7-5 on the morning line for trainer Larry Rheinheimer.
Also among the stellar cast of entrants at Hoosier Park on Friday will be the 2015 Hambeltonian winner Pinkman who will look to add to his bankroll when he visits Indiana for the first time against nine other competitors in the $265,000 Carl Erskine Trot. Pinkman, harness racing’s top-earning horse this season, drew post four with Yannick Gingras in the sulky for trainer Jimmy Takter. Pinkman has bankrolled $1.86 million this year and won 11 of 16 seasonal outings. Most recently, Pinkman finished second the Breeders Crown final for three-year-old trotting colts at Woodbine Racetrack behind stablemate The Bank.
The Carl Erskine Trot also includes the undefeated Indiana Sires Stakes Champion Homicide Hunter who was made eligible to the race by a supplemental nomination. The Curt Grummel trainee has won 16 of 16 starts this year and will start from the rail with regular driver John DeLong in the bike as he embarks on his most ambitious outing to date after dominating state breds.
The 2015 Dan Patch Stakes winner JK Endofanera will return to Hoosier Park for the second time since his Dan Patch victory and looks to keep his three-race win streak at Hoosier Park in tact in the $165,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby from post five with Brett Miller in the sulky. JK Endofanera will ship to Indiana after a second place finish in his last start behind Always B Miki in the Breeders Crown final for open pacers.
Not only will the best horses in the country go to post at Hoosier Park on Friday’s 14-race card but the best drivers in the country will also be in the spotlight in the second annual East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge. This unique challenge will pit the top-five drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against five of the top drivers from the East in a five-race challenge with the victorious team going home with a winner take all $10,000 prize.
The top five drivers from Hoosier Park will make-up “Team Midwest” with the top five drivers from the East making up “Team East”. The East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge will be featured in races 4-8 on the evening.
For more information on the upcoming live racing and entertainment at Hoosier Park, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. The live racing schedule at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 14.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to a stakes-filled card on Friday, October 23 as Grand Circuit racing action made a stop at Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval for the third time this season. The 13-race card was highlighted by divisions of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old trotters and pacers and it was Harness Racing’s top ranked horse, Wiggle It Jiggleit who stole the show.
After suffering a loss in his last Hoosier Park start, Wiggle It Jiggleit not only made amends but made a statement in his $45,300 split of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings as he coasted to the wire in 1:49.4. Driven by regular pilot Montrell Teague, Wiggle It Jiggle used a gate to wire victory to finish four and a half lengths in front Mohawk Warrior and John DeLong.
Teague sent the overwhelming favorite away from the gate firing and he grabbed the first call through an opening panel in :26.4 while the rest of the field sorted out early positions. Wiggle It Jiggleit remained uncontested through splits of :55.3 and 1:22.4 before he began to put his talent on display.
As the field turned for home, it was all over but the shouting as Wiggle It Jiggleit’s lead was ever-increasing. Using a :27 final quarter, the World Champion son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover coasted to the wire under a hand-drive to notch his 19th seasonal victory.
Trained by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit pushed his career earnings to $1,842,170 with the victory. Wiggle It Jiggleit’s next engagement will be the $275,000 Monument Circle Pace for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings slated for Friday, October 30 at Hoosier Park.
On the trotting side of the stakes action, Homicide Hunter put together his own impressive performance as he took home top honors in the second division of the $43,000 Circle City Stakes for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings to remain undefeated in 16 starts this season. Staging a big rally late in the long Hoosier Park lane, Homicide Hunter and John DeLong used a :27.3 final quarter to surge past Muscle Up The Goal and Aaron Merriman and stop the timer in 1:54.1.
DeLong rated Homicide Hunter off the early pace while Classic Venture and Trace Tetrick dictated early fractions of :27 and :57. Homicide Hunter moved to the outer flow down the backside but would have his work cut out for home turning for home. DeLong tipped his mount to outside of tiring cover and Homicide Hunter found another gear late in the lane to get the victory and kept his winning streak in-tact.
“He’s an amazing animal,” trainer Curt Grummel noted in the winner’s circle. “I thought they would probably get him tonight after we were so far back at the half but he really surprised me. He’s just an amazing horse.”
Homicide Hunter sent his seasonal earnings to $385,737 with the victory. Owned by Dr. Patrick Graham, the son of Mr. Cantab-Evening Prayer has now won 19 of 26 lifetime starts. The connections of Homicide Hunter said he will most likely be supplemented to the $250,000 Carl Erskine Trot for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Hoosier Park on October 30.
Other stakes winners on the evening included Roland N Rock scoring in 1:51.4 in the first division of the stakes action for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings for driver Aaron Merriman and trainer Rob Harmon. Chips Starr and Hugh Beatty pulled a $52.60 upset in their division of three-year-old trotting colts and geldings and stopped the timer 1:55.2.
Bright Baby Blues delivered as the heavy betting favorite in the first division of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies in 1:54.4 to give Aaron Merriman his second win of the night. Muscle Baby Doll and John DeLong took the second division for three-year-old trotting fillies using a near gate to wire victory to score in 1:53.1 and establish a new track record for three-year-old trotting fillies in the process. The previous mark of 1:53.4 was set by Churita in stakes action earlier in the season.
Rockin Good and Triple V Hanover took home top honors in their respective divisions of the Circle City Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. Rockin Good and trainer, driver Jared Finn wired the field in 1:51.2 to score their sixth win of the season. Trace Tetrick used the same front-running tactics to get Triple V Hanover home a winner in the final division scoring in 1:52 for trainer Brian Brown.
The stakes action will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, October 24 as the 14-race card will feature the Madison County Stakes for two-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The first race will line-up behind the gate at 5:45 p.m.
The second and final round of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino’s 2015 Champion Driver Series highlighted the 14-race card on Saturday, October 17 and it was Jason Dillander who raced away with top honors, winning a Hawaiian excursion for four, a prize valued at $15,000. Not only was it a race to the islands but also a race to the finish as Dillander narrowly won the final round of the challenge by one point over Sam Widger.
In its’ second year, the 2015 Champion Driver Series placed the top-ten drivers at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino against one another in a five-race challenge not once, but twice, throughout the season. Dillander, a 39-year-old Kentucky native, accumulated a total of 32 points and finished fourth in round 1 of the challenge held on July 25.
With the points from round 1 carrying over to round 2, Dillander earned a total of 69 points in round two to secure the win over Sam Widger who finished second with 68 points. LeWayne Miller, the 2014 Champion Driver Series winner, finished third in the final round with a total of 67 points.
Although Dillander did not find the winner’s circle in any of the five races in the challenge, he earned two second place finishes, one fourth and two fifth place finishes to secure the victory. With a second, a fifth and a fourth place finish in the first three races of the challenge, Dillander had earned 54 points and was fourth in the standings heading into the fourth leg.
After a second place finish behind Meersburg in the fourth race of the challenge, Dillander accumulated nine more points and moved into third place in the standings with 63 going into the final race. Widger led all challengers with 67 points and Miller was a close second with 64. When the final race of the challenge hit the track, it appeared to be anyone’s game.
Dillander secured his trip to Hawaii with a fifth place finish in the final race, earning six more points, behind Greystone Moe for trainer Joe Cirasuola. Greystone Moe and Dillander rallied late in the lane but couldn’t catch winners Ra Ra Steven and John DeLong. Dillander’s six points were just enough to push him past Widger and into the lead by one point for the win.
“I had no idea I won,” Dillander noted in the winner’s circle. “It was really close going into the last race and it was a competitive group of horses so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.”
“I felt good about my horses coming into tonight but all of these races were really competitive so I knew it would be tough,” he continued. “We are always competitive but this was a little different, we had a lot of fun with it.”
Dillander called the Chicago racing circuit home for a number of years before venturing to Hoosier Park in 2008 where he has been a mainstay atop the leading driver standings nearly every year since. Now in his 18th season as a driver, Dillander is back in the bike in 2015 after a racing injury sidelined him for much of the 2014 season. Dillander celebrated his 2000th career win at Hoosier Park in 2013 and is approaching $20 million in career purse earnings.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will resume on Tuesday, October 20 with a 12-race card. With a daily post time of 5:45 p.m., live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 14.