When she is scoring down or on her way to the gate, Churita’s adoring fans line up on the fence at Hoosier Park nudging one another with their elbows and talking softly amongst themselves about how fabulous she looks. It’s as if the Anderson oval is her very own personal runway and all in attendance are only there to witness her.
“You really can just see it in her eyes,” said her owner Jack Porter. “It is also in the way she carries herself and holds her head.”
The ‘it’ Porter is referring to is star power and this Indiana champion possesses it in spades. The 3-year-old daughter of Airzoom Lindy and the Yankee Paco mare Stonebridge Volare may not be an international superstar, but she is certainly a local celebrity.
The reasons for this deep reverence are well-deserved as Matt Rheinheimer’s charge has cruised to a career record of 18-16-1-1, collected $422,050 and established a track record of 1:53.4s, which is her swiftest mile to date. She is perfect in eight trips to the gate this season and will seek to add luster to her already sparkling resume on Friday (August 14) when she takes on nine rivals in her $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Final. It is the seventh race on the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes card with an approximate post time of 7:31 p.m. and regular reinsman Trace Tetrick will be holding the lines. She will commence her journey to the wire from the rail.
“My job is just to keep her happy,” Rheinheimer said. “She has already more than exceeded my expectations so anything she does makes me happy. The minute she steps on the track she is all business and you could never ask anything more from her than that.”
Churita has been defying the odds since Porter purchased her as a yearling for a fair racing prospect. She was not even his or Rheinheimer’s first choice, but she went for the right price and is only competing in the Sire Stakes program because that is what she was eligible to. In fact, she is the only horse Porter has owned after several decades in the business that has competed at this level.
“When other trainers come up to you and say if they had to lose to anyone they are glad it was her because we deserve it is an indescribable feeling,” Porter said. “And to be honest, I never anticipated she would be undefeated at this point of the season. I really thought Golden Big Stick was going to give her some competition and would improve from two to three, but even when she has someone look her in the eye she just digs in. She doesn’t want to let another horse go by.”
Most trotting fillies do have a bit of an attitude and Churita, while not quite a diva, does have her own air about her.
“She is terrific to be around and always takes care of herself,” Rheinheimer said. “But there are times when you just need to leave her alone. She needs to do her own thing and she lets you know that.”
Despite her devoted minions and her domination of the local competition, this young lady will remain at her home base until the end of the season.
“We have her nominated to a couple stakes like the Circle City,” Porter said. “But it all depends on her. She doesn’t owe us a thing and anything else she does is like icing on the cake. If she is sound and healthy we will go, but if not that is perfectly fine too.”
Rheinheimer admitted he was always nervous during the filly’s campaign last year as he was astonished at how talented she was, but this year it’s different. Not that he still isn’t on edge about her at times, but he now can enjoy her a bit more.
“I am in awe of her,” he said. “Not that I don’t get anxious at times, but I just am astonished how good she really is. She is by far the best horse I have trained and I feel so very fortunate to have her. You always wish for a horse like this to come along and when they finally do it’s something very special.”
Churita’s $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final will be part of the star studded card at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 14 that features the 2015 installment of the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The entire racing card will be part of a special weekend tagged as the “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The thrill-themed weekend will showcase some of the most notable names in harness racing alongside free fireworks, giveaways, and interactive family-friendly entertainment. First post is 5:15 p.m.
Story By: Kimberly French
ANDERSON, Ind.—August 11, 2015—A field of ten will be sent post-ward in the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 14. Featuring the largest purse in the 22-year-history of the event, ten of the top rated older pacers in North America will take center stage as they go to post seeking glory in Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing event. The 2015 installment of the Dan Patch Stakes will highlight the 14-race program that is set to begin at 5:15 p.m. and be supported by an all-star undercard includes Indiana Sires Stakes and overnight series action.
The 2015 Dan Patch field boasts combined career purse earnings over $17 million and includes five millionaires and two World Champions. North America’s leading money-winning trainer, Ron Burke, will look to be the first trainer to score back to back victories in the Dan Patch Stakes since Nat Varty scored with Ready To Rumble and Pacific Rocket in 1994 and 1995.
Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness racing history, with $7.09 million in career purse earnings, headlines the ten horses entered in this year’s Dan Patch Stakes and will play the role of morning line favorite at odds of 5-2 from post two. The 11-year-old World Champion pacer will make first appearance in the race, and third Hoosier Park start, with regular pilot Yannick Gingras in the bike for trainer Ron Burke.
Burke has enlisted Hoosier Park’s all-time leading driver, Ricky Macomber Jr., who visited the Dan Patch winner’s circle in 2000 and 2002, to drive Bettor’s Edge from post nine. Bettor’s Edge and Macomber Jr. finished second in the 2014 edition of the Dan Patch to stablemate Sweet Lou in a track record setting mile of 1:47.2. Joining Foiled Again and Bettor’s Edge from the Burke Stable on Friday will be Limelight Beach from post seven, All Bets Off from post eight, and Clear Vision from the trailing post position ten.
JK Endofanera will join the stellar cast of entrants and be a main contender for the 2015 Dan Patch title from the coveted rail position. With over $1.5 million in career earnings, the Jimmy Takter trainee has been tabbed as the 3-1 morning line second choice. Brett Miller has been listed to drive both JK Endofanera and World Champion Clear Vision.
The 2015 Dan Patch field, in post-position order with named driver and trainer includes:
- JK Endofanera Tr: Jimmy Takter Dr: Brett Miller 3-1
- Foiled Again Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Yannick Gingras 5-2
- Lyonssomewhere Tr: Julie Miller Dr: Andy Miller 8-1
- Captive Audience Tr: Douglas Berkeley Dr: Andrew McCarthy 20-1
- Duc Dorleans Tr: Jacques Dupont Dr: Peter Wrenn 15-1
- Let’s Drink On It Tr: Joe Seekman Dr: Travis Seekman 20-1
- Limelight Beach Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Ed Hensley 12-1
- All Bets Off Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Matt Kakaley 6-1
- Bettor’s Edge Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Ricky Macomber Jr 10-1
- Clear Vision Tr: Ron Burke Dr: Brett Miller 4-1
Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagers offered for the Dan Patch card. A $25,000 Guaranteed Dan Patch Superfecta pool will be available as part of the Strategic Wagering Program for the Dan Patch race. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the Indiana Standardbred Association. Slated as the twelfth race on the card, estimated post time for the Dan Patch Stakes is 9:44 p.m.
A 10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool will also be available to racing fans on Friday’s 14-race card. 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).
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. Hoosier Park’s event is named after the early 1900’s racehorse phenomenon, Dan Patch born in Oxford, Indiana.
Now, 100 years after his birth, the great pacer is still remembered every year at Hoosier Park with this signature race. Since its inception in 1994, the Dan Patch Stakes has drawn the very best older pacers in North America. Previous Dan Patch winners include World Champions Pacific Fella, Jenna’s Beach Boy, Maltese Artist, Won The West, Mister Big, and Sweet Lou.
The race will be part of a special weekend tagged as “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” and will feature extreme entertainment, giveaways, and racing. The evening will also be complimented by Indiana Sires Stakes finals, sending the purse money to be distributed throughout the evening over the $800,000 mark.
Indiana-sired freshman trotting fillies were the featured attraction at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, July 21 as the evening’s 14-race card was highlighted by the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final and $25,000 consolation for the two-year-old trotting fillies.
Miss Tootsie Hall and Trace Tetrick made a clean sweep of the second round of stakes action as they scored their second consecutive victory in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final. After scoring handily in her elimination last week, Miss Tootsie Hall rallied gamely late in the lane to score in a lifetime best of 1:58.1.
The heavily favored Naughty III and Peter Wrenn, also winners in elimination action last week, dictated first half fractions of :28 and :58.1while the rest of the field remained in single file order. Unable to wait any longer, Tetrick made his move down the backside and began the long first-over bid approaching the third station in 1:28.4.
As the field turned for home, Naughty III appeared to be up to the task as she matched strides with Miss Tootsie Hall who quickly joined her on the outside. Tetrick asked his mount for more and she responded gamely to overcome the leader in the final strides of the mile.
With the victory, the daughter of Mr Cantab-Malibu Hall has now won three of five lifetime outings. Trained by Robert Taylor, Miss Tootsie Hall has earned $60,000 for her connections at Hoosierland Farm.
In the $25,000 Indiana Sires Stakes consolation for two-year-old trotting fillies, Just Jess and Doug Rideout returned to their winning ways scoring in 1:59.4. Just Jess, who captured the first $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old trotting fillies earlier this month, rebounded to score her third win of the season after finishing third in her elimination.
Using her customary late charge, Just Jess was able to track down the pacesetter Lockwood Grace and Trace Tetrick late in the lane to win by three parts of a length. Trained by Doug Rideout, the daughter of Jailhouse Jesse-Glide Sally Glide scored her third career victory and equaled her lifetime best in the process. Owned by Julie Rideout and Alan White, Just Jess has now bankrolled $54,900 for her connections.
Montenegro and Jason Dillander turned in a dominant performance to capture the co-featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Fillies and Mares Invitational Pace, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, July 10. Using a sharp, gate to wire effort, Montenegro was able to hold off the rest of the field late in the lane to score in 1:51.4.
Leaving from post five, Dillander sent Montenegro away from the gate firing and she reached the front through the opening panel in :27.2. Wild Wanda and Andy Shetler also left aggressively to grab a pocket seat with Native Dream and Peter Wrenn next in line, third.
Montenegro rattled off middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:25 before feeling a threat from Wild Wanda who tipped from the pocket approaching the final turn. As the field turned for home, Tyler Smith had the heavy betting favorite, Color’s A Virgin, three-wide but she would have her work cut out for her as Montenegro looked game on the front.
Using a :26.4 final quarter, Montenegro dug in gamely to hold off Wild Wanda and Color’s A Virgin who finished second and third, respectively. As the bettors’ second choice, Montenegro returned $4.80 at the windows.
Trained by Jeff Cullipher, the seven-year-old mare scored her fifth victory of the season and has now won 32 of 149 lifetime outings. Owned by Randall Bendis and Thomas Pollack, Montenegro has earned $87,135 this season.
On the trotting side of things, Allie Labrook returned to her home state and turned in an impressive performance to score in 1:52.4 in the featured trot, a $21,000 Invitational Trot. After racing at Mohawk Racetrack for three starts, Allie Labrook returned to Hoosier Park to score her third win of the season. The 1:52.4 victory was just a few ticks off the overall trotting track record at Hoosier Park, a 1:52 mark she established earlier in the season.
Using her customary late-surging tactics, Allie Labrook was rated off the pace through fractions of :27, :56.3 and 1:25.1 before beginning her attack in the final turn. As the field turned for home, Allie Labrook was poised to strike. Shetler asked his mount for more and Allie Labrook found another gear to win under wraps by three lengths. Natural Herbie and Verlin Yoder staged a big rally late in the lane but had too much ground to make up at the end of the mile and had to settle for second place honors. Lady Blitz and James Yoder rounded out the trifecta.
The five-year-old daughter of Here Comes Herbie-Allie Jane is trained by Dan Shetler and has now won three of eight seasonal outings. Owned by Sawgrass Farms, Allie Labrook has amassed $185,932 lifetime.
Natural Herbie extended his win streak to two at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino as he captured the featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Trot, on Friday, June 26. Natural Herbie responded to a bump in class to score in 1:55.1 over a sloppy rated track after scoring last week in a condition trot.
Opting for a trip off the pace, Natural Herbie was eased off the gate from post six while Penn, driven by Darrell Wright, used his gate speed to grab the early lead. Penn dictated first half fractions of :27.3 and :58.3 before being joined on the outside by Lady Blitz and James Yoder.
While the top pair were matching strides approaching the final turn, Trace Tetrick had Martz Time well placed second over with Natural Herbie in tow. Penn continued to call the shots through the third station in 1:27.2 but Lady Blitz was not going away.
Lady Blitz was able to wear down the tiring leader to secure the lead turning for home as the rest of the field was closing in. Yoder tipped Natural Herbie around tiring cover and the five-year-old gelding found another gear.
Using a :26.4 final quarter, Natural Herbie bested his stablemate by a neck to get the win. Lady Blitz was a game second while Penn held on for third place honors. Sent off as the bettors’ choice, Natural Herbie returned $4.80 to the window.
With the win, Natural Herbie notched his second victory from eight seasonal starts while bankrolling $31,650 in 2015 for owner, trainer, driver Verlin Yoder. Sporting a career bankroll of $781,491, Natural Herbie has hit the board in 41 of 53 lifetime outings.
Saturday’s 14-race card also hosted six eliminations of the Indiana Sires Stakes for the Hoosier state’s three-year-old pacers. With three divisions of three-year-old pacing colts, Freaky Feet Pete and Trace Tetrick delivered the fastest elimination of the evening with a 1:50.2 romp. Trained by Larry Rheinheimer, Freaky Feet Pete scored the second victory of his sophomore campaign and established a new lifetime best in the process.
Nora Rockwell and Jason Dillander were the fastest through three divisions in the three-year-old filly ranks as they scored a near gate to wire victory in 1:52. It was the second consecutive win for the Marlin Fry trainee and fifth seasonal victory from 12 starts.
Each of the winners from the six Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations tonight earned a spot in the second round of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals slated for Friday, July 3 at Hoosier Park.
Live racing returns to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, June 27 with a 14-race card. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to a stakes filled card on Tuesday, June 23 as the 14-race card featured six divisions of $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations for two-year-old trotters. With two divisions of two-year-old trotting fillies and four divisions of trotting colts, the 2015 crop of freshman trotters opened their series in impressive fashion.
Fawn De Savage and Dan Shetler kicked off the stakes action for the evening with a decisive maiden breaking win in 2:00.3. Trained by Kristin Shetler, the daughter of Keystone Savage-Ms Mastercraft used a well timed rally late in the lane to score her first lifetime victory in her career debut.
In the very next division, Double D Angel and Rick Plano used a pocket trip to find the winner’s circle in 2:00. Trained by Dan Perdue, the daughter of Mr Cantab-Paloma Hanover scored her first career victory in just her second start.
Just a few races later, the freshman trotting colts would not be outdone by their female counterparts in their four eliminations. Justice As began his career impressively as he surged late in the lane to score in 1:59.3 in his split of the stakes action. Driven by Trace Tetrick, the gelded son of Justice Hall-Pandora As used a :27.3 final quarter to score his maiden breaking win. Owned by Acl Stuteri, Justice As is trained by Anette Lorenzton.
Sixty Minute Man and LeWayne Miller delivered as the heavy betting favorite in the second elimination for trotting colts, scoring in 1:59.2. Sixty Minute Man used a gate to wire effort to score his maiden breaking victory in his first career start. Trained by Erv Miller, the son of Swan For All-Anna Nicole is owned by the Erv Miller Stable and Daimond Creek Racing.
The fastest division of the evening came as Fly Jesse Fly and Rick Plano crossed the wire in 1:58.4. Using similar gate-to-wire tactics, the Ron Otto trainee scored his second consecutive victory at Hoosier Park from two career outings. The gelded son of Jailhouse Jesse-Flying Rae is owned by Robert Sidley and James Otto.
In the final division of the stakes action, Dreamstyle Herbie and Ross Leonard pulled a slight upset to score in 2:00. Dreamstyle Herbie found late racing room in the stretch and used a :28.1 final quarter to score his first career victory. Trained by Dave White, the gelded son of Here Comes Herbie-Deean Dream is owned by James Myers and William White.
Each of the winners from the six Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations tonight earned a spot in the first $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final slated for Friday, July 3 at Hoosier Park.
The 2015 Indiana Sires Stakes program will feature five legs throughout the season, and from each leg, the top 20 horses will return to compete in a final and consolation. The stakes program will culminate with the top ten horses from each of the previous finals returning to compete in a $200,000 Super Final on October 10 at Hoosier Park.
On a night where Indiana’s brightest harness racing stars came out, Wiggle It Jiggleit was the brightest of them all as he paced to a 1:49.3 victory in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing colts on Saturday, May 23 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino over a sloppy rated track. Mother Nature was uncooperative as Hoosier Park played host to the first round of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for the three-year-old competitors on Saturday’s 14-race card.
The rain didn’t seem to inconvenience Wiggle It Jiggleit as he posted his tenth consecutive win and second consecutive Hoosier Park victory to remain undefeated in ten career starts.
Leaving from post seven in a talented group of ten, Wiggle It Jiggleit was sent away from the gate firing by driver Montrell Teague to grab the lead through the opening panel in :26. As heavy rain continued to fall, the rest of the field sorted out early position with Rockin Ron and Rick Plano grabbing a pocket seat behind the overwhelming favorite.
Wiggle It Jiggleit continued to dictate fractions of :54.2 and 1:21.1 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. Freaky Feet Pete and Trace Tetrick were the first to pose a threat as they were unable to find a spot along the rail and pressed on to the front after being parked for the much of the mile.
Freaky Feet Pete would finally find the rail as he was able to tuck in behind the leader rounding the final turn but would have his work cut out for him with Wiggle It Jiggleit inching away with every stride. With Freaky Feet Pete now on his back, Teague asked Wiggle It Jiggleit for more and the colt responded with a :28 final quarter to coast home a winner by a length. Freaky Feet Pete turned in his own impressive performance to grind out a second place finish after a very taxing mile. Harfo Hanover and Tony Hall rounded out the trifecta.
“The weather didn’t bother me; you’ve got to race in all kinds of weather,” owner George Teague Jr. noted in the winner’s circle. “Good horses you don’t have to make excuses for and we didn’t have to for him tonight, he was able to overcome it.”
“He’s had two great races now and did everything we wanted him to,” he continued. “Now, he can go on to those other races and hopefully earn some respect against the other horses. He seems to travel well and be easy on himself so we’ll head to the North America Cup and see how it goes up there.”
Trained by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit pushed his career earnings to $142, 242 with the victory. Wiggle It Jiggleit is a gelded son of Mr. Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover.
The action-paced night opened with the first $75,000 final for three-year-old trotting fillies and Churita looked every bit the part of a 1-2 favorite as she overcame the outside post nine to score in 1:55. Driven by regular pilot Trace Tetrick, Churita dictated fractions of :28.1, :57.3, and 1:26 before cruising to a five length victory. The 1:55 victory was a new lifetime mark for the daughter of Airzoom Lindy-Stonebridge Volare and her second consecutive victory in 2015.
Trained by Matt Rheinheimer, Churita has now won 10 of 12 lifetime outings. Owned by Jackie Porter, Churita has amassed $310,725 lifetime.
Fresh of a decisive win in the Indiana Sires Stakes elimination last week, Nora Rockwell and Jason Dillander turned in a gate-to-wire performance to take home top honors in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Scoring in a lifetime best of 1:52.2, Nora Rockwell outlasted all challenges from the rest of the field to score her third victory of the season.
“She has matured quite a bit from last year and tonight she was all business,” owner, trainer Marlin Fry noted after the win. “She is doing now what I thought she might always be capable of. Jason (Dillander) has done a great job with her.”
Nora Rockwell is a homebred daughter of Palone Ranger-Norma Rockwell. She has now won seven of 22 lifetime outings while earning $81,072.
While the stakes action switched gears, the weather did not. Rain continued to fall on the Hoosier Park surface but Homicide Hunter and John Delong seemed unbothered as they scored a decisive victory in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting colts. The 1:55.1 was a lifetime best performance and the second consecutive win from two seasonal outings for the Curt Grummel trainee.
Uninvolved in the early stages of the race, Homicide Hunter was able to avoid traffic trouble and early breakers to put away all challengers in the final eighth of the mile. Using a :27 final quarter, Homicide Hunter held off the heavily favored, Bluebird Reverend and Rick Farrington, late in the lane to win by four lengths.
“It wasn’t exactly how I thought the race would play out but the trip worked out for us,” Delong noted after the race. “We made a couple of adjustments after last week and tonight he was awesome. He’s a perfect gentleman to drive and he does everything you ask of him. He really raced great tonight.”
Homicide Hunter sent his career earnings over the $100,000 mark with the victory. Owned by Dr. Patrick Graham, the son of Mr. Cantab-Evening Prayer has now won five of 12 lifetime starts.
Each of the four stakes winners from tonight’s program have now earned points for the $200,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Super Finals. The 2015 Indiana Sires 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 10 at Hoosier Park. Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, June 2 with a 14-race card.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will highlight the early stages of the 2015 harness racing season on Saturday, May 30 with Indiana’s finest trotters and pacers convening on Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile oval for Hoosier Champions Night, the first of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals. A total of 14 races have been carded and will feature four $75,000 finals for the three-year-old competitors.
Revamped last 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 2015 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 10 at Hoosier Park.
“Our Hoosier Champions Night has become a much-anticipated event among horsemen and racing fans alike,” Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. “While all four $75,000 races are loaded with top-notch contenders, the three-year-old colt and gelding pace has the harness world buzzing as ultra-talented sophomores Wiggle It Jiggleit and Freaky Feet Pete prepare to go head to head for the first time.”
The three-year-old filly trotters will kick-off the stakes action for the evening and have been slated as the 9th race on the 14-race program. Indiana’s reigning two-year-old trotting filly of the year, Churita, will start from post nine with driver Trace Tetrick in the sulky. The Matt Rheinheimer trainee will be looking to score her second consecutive victory of the season and has been entrusted as the even money favorite.
A field of ten will be sent post-ward in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Rockin Good, Indiana’s two-year-old pacing filly of the year, will start from post three for driver, trainer Jared Finn. Last week’s elimination round winners, Nora Rockwell, Feetonthedashboard, and Sandysgoldenhour, will start from posts 6, 7, and 9, respectively.
In the three-year-old trotting colt ranks, Bluebird Reverend will look to remain undefeated in 2015 starting from post 5 with pilot Rick Farrington. Trained by Robert Reeser, the son of Swan For All scored his fourth consecutive victory at Hoosier Park in the elimination round of the stakes action last week.
The $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for three-year-old pacing colts is the twelfth race on the program and will feature perhaps one of the most anticipated matchups in all of harness as superstar Wiggle It Jiggleit will square off against Indiana Sires Stakes Champion Freaky Feet Pete.
Wiggle It Jiggleit has been tabbed as the 3/5 morning line choice and will put his nine race win streak on the line from post seven with Montrell Teague in the sulky. Wiggle It Jiggleit remained undefeated with a win in his elimination of the Indiana Sire Stakes last Saturday and with that, moved to No. 1 in this week’s Hambletonian Society poll of top ranked harness horses. The World Champion is perfect in eight starts this season and 9-for-9 lifetime.
Freaky Feet Pete has been installed as the 8/5 second choice and will start from post nine for trainer Larry Rheinheimer. Voted Indiana’s two-year-old pacing colt of the year, Freaky Feet Pete has now won 10 of 11 career starts and earned $271,950 for owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer.
Saturday’s 14-race card is set to get underway at 5:15 p.m. 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 a bounce house, face painting, live entertainment, games and winner’s circle giveaways.
The opening round of Indiana Sires Stakes action highlighted the Wednesday, May 20th program at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and featured four divisions of $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. Each filly was aiming to earn a spot in the first of five $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final slated for May 30 at Hoosier Park.
Indiana’s two-year-old trotting filly of the year, Churita, looked every the bit the part of a 2-5 favorite as she used a gate to wire effort to score her first victory of the season in 1:56.3. Driven by regular pilot Trace Tetrick, Churita left aggressively from post 9 to dictate fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.1 before cruising home to a three length victory.
Trained by Matt Rheinheimer, Churita has now won 9 of 11 lifetime starts and sports a career bankroll of $273,225. The daughter of Airzoom Lindy-Stonebridge Volare captured the first seasonal outing of her sophomore campaign for owner, Jackie Porter.
In the opening round of the stakes action, Swan’s Grace and Ed Hensley pulled a slight 7-1 upset to score in 1:57.3. The victory was the first of the season for Swan’s Grace and a lifetime best performance for the daughter of Swan For All-Red Rose Kosmos.
Swan’s Grace was uninvolved in the early stages of the race while Herbies Wildflower and After All battled for early position through first half fractions of :27.4 and :58. Reigningblackswan and LeWayne Miller were parked for much of the mile but reached the leader’s wheel at the three-quarter clocking in 1:28.3.
With much of the damage being done on the front, Hensley gave Swan’s Grace the green light and the filly used a :28.2 final quarter to hold off a hard-charging Big Wheel and Tom Luther. Trained by Bobby Brower, Swan’s Grace has now earned $38,756 lifetime for her owners and breeders, Jerry Graham and Mystical Marker Farms.
Dirty Secret and Jay Cross followed suit in the next split of the stakes action to score in 1:56.3 at odds of 7-1. Recording a new lifetime mark, it was the third consecutive victory at Hoosier Park for the daughter of Justice Hall-Classic Fight.
Leaving from post three, Dirty Secret settled along the rail in fifth while Hannelore Hanover and Ricky Macomber Jr. were the first to get a call through the opening panel in :27.4. Charlie Conrad had La Guida Pleasure pointed to the front and the duo took command just past the half in :58.1. J-S Maple and Sam Widger, sent off as the 1-2 favorite, were grinding it out first over and were engaging the leaders approaching the final turn.
As the field turned for home, the race appeared to be wide open but Dirty Secret was just beginning to find her best strides. Using a :28.4 final quarter, Dirty Secret dug in gamely to finish a head in front of Hannelore Hanover.
Trained by Susan Askren, the three-year-old filly notched her third victory from four seasonal outings. Dirty Secret has now earned $35,589 lifetime for owners Susan Askren and Richard Keaton.
In the final division, Golden Big Stick and Brad Hanners rallied gamely to score in 1:57.4. It was the first win of the season for the daughter of Big Stick Lindy-Golda Plumsted as she also recorded a new lifetime mark.
Using her customary late-charging tactics, Golden Big Stick sat patiently along the rail in seventh as Townline Momma and Sam Widger led through intervals of :27.4, :59, and 1:28.3. As the field turned for home, Golden Big Stick had her work cut out for her but she dug in gamely to reach the wire first in the final strides of the mile.
Trained by Mike Hollenback, who co-owns the filly with William Cantrell, Golden Big Stick has now won four of 13 outings in her career while bankrolling $182,120 lifetime.
ANDERSON, Ind.—May 15, 2015— American Girl, guided by Sam Widger, turned in a gutsy performance to take home top honors in the co-featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Pace for fillies and mares, on Friday, May 15 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Dismissed at odds of 11-1 at the betting window, American Girl won an epic stretch battle to best her rivals with a final time of 1:53.1.
Leaving from post four, American Girl left aggressively for early position but Shine N Shimmer and John Delong were one step quicker as they reached the front through the opening panel in :27.3. Miss Millie and Peter Wrenn protected their rail position to find a pocket seat with Just A Bee and Mike Micallef next in line, fourth.
American Girl continued her mission to the front and reached the top spot just past the second station in :56.3. Unable to find a spot along the rail, Trace Tetrick had the 1-5 favorite, Color’s A Virgin pointed to the front as the field approached the final turn.
Color’s A Virgin reached the leader’s wheel through a three-quarter clocking in 1:25.1 but she would have her work cut out for her as American Girl looked strong on the front. The field was tightly packed turning for home and the stage was set for a cavalry charge to the wire.
With the taxing mile beginning to take its toll, Color’s A Virgin began to retreat just as the rest of the field started to fan out across the track late in the lane. Widger asked his mount for more and American Girl responded with one final surge to hold off a hard-charging Montenegro and Jason Dillander. Shine N Shimmer rounded out the trifecta. American Girl returned $25.00 to her backers at the betting window.
“She’s a special mare,” trainer Ernie Gaskin noted after the victory. “When everything is right with her, she’s as game as they come. I wasn’t exactly sure how the trip would work out tonight but Sam (Widger) always takes care of her.”
With the win, American Girl notched her first victory of the season and 23rd win from 89 career starts while amassing $541,948 in purse earnings lifetime. The six-year-old daughter of Art’s Chip-L Dees Lourdes is owned by Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt.