With the return of live harness racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino right less than a month away, final preparations for the 2016 season are underway throughout the property. Opening day of the 160-day meet is set for Friday, April 1.
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 season. With a new, daily post time of 5:45 p.m. (est.) each night, the live racing season will be conducted through Nov. 12, 2016.
Stall applications have been flowing into Hoosier Park’s racing office since January in advance of the 2016 season. This year, Hoosier Park’s Director of Racing and Racing Secretary, Scott Peine encountered a much stronger response from horsemen, both local and otherwise, as stall applications totaled nearly 900 applicants. As a result, the backstretch will be filled to capacity for the opening of this year’s season.
“Last year the Indiana harness racing industry captured national attention and that success has been felt throughout the entire program,” Peine noted. “The response we’ve had from horsemen all across the country has been excellent and it’s a reflection of the quality of racing we’ve had over the last few years. I think everyone is looking forward to the 2016 season that will showcase competition among some of the nation’s top horses, owners, trainers and drivers.”
The barn area and dormitories will officially open on Saturday, March 12 for those horsemen allotted stalls to begin moving in horses and equipment. The track will open for training on Monday, March 14 from the hours of 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Paddock and ship-in area will also be open starting March 14th for those horsemen wishing to ship-in and train. All days of training will be subject to weather permitting. All horses entering the grounds must have all valid paperwork available before being allowed entry to the grounds.
The first round of qualifiers is slated for Wednesday, March 16th with an estimated start time of 10 a.m. Qualifiers will continue to follow a Wednesday and Saturday schedule throughout the remainder of the season. Condition sheets and stakes schedules will be posted on Hoosier Park’s website as soon as they are made available.
Peine also announced several overnight and late closing events to be contested in early April and May. In conjunction, Hoosier Park will offer a variety of overnight series for Indiana-sired horses. All of the overnight series will be on Hoosier Park’s condition sheets and more information can be found on Hoosier Park’s website by clicking here.
Once again, Hoosier Park’s 23rd season of live racing will offer an action-packed stakes season. Hoosier Park’s signature event, the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes, is slated for Friday, August 12. For more information on the 2016 stakes schedule, please click here.
About Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a Centaur Gaming destination, holds multiple awards from industry publications for customer service, entertainment, gaming and dining. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live harness racing each year. Simulcast wagering is offered year-round at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Indianapolis, and the Winner’s Circle Brewpub & OTB in New Haven/Fort Wayne, Ind. For more information, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.
Story By: Kimberly French–Not to be outdone by their female counterparts in their respective $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on the evening of the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes, 3-year-old geldings Homicide Hunter and Freaky Feet Pete demonstrated their superiority over overmatched rivals as the 1-5 and 1-9 wagering selections. Homicide Hunter, from the first crop of Mr Cantab and out of the Like A Prayer mare Evening Prayer, was content to allow 53-1 shot Jumpinthejailhouse to set the early pace and was trotting comfortably in fifth position throughout the first quarter mile which was clocked in :27.2. As the leader advanced to the half, however, in :56.1, the Curt Grummel conditioned gelding was given the green light by driver John DeLong to commence his advance.
Responding with ease, Homicide Hunter cleared the field and headed to the top of the stretch with a length and a half advantage. After hitting the three quarter mark in 1:25.1, DeLong shook the reins at the gelding and the race for second was on. As the trotted to the wire, Homicide Hunter distanced himself from his pursuers and stopped the clock in 1:53.4, five lengths ahead of second place finisher Bluebird Reverend with Rockin Stein holding on gamely for third. The gelding, who is owned by Dr. Patrick Graham, now shares the track record for 3-year-old colts and geldings with Rose Run Parker, and when bettors cashed their tickets he provided $2.40. With the triumph Homicide Hunter increases his win streak to 10 for 10 in 2015. His career resume is 20-13-2-3 and he has amassed more than $300,000 in earnings.
“Last year we had some problems with him trotting to the wire,” DeLong said. “This year there is absolutely no problem with anything he does. Not only is his record perfect, he is perfect. There is not one thing you can say about him that is not praise. He is a very nice horse to drive because his manners are the best you could ask for. It’s really a very special thing to be able to drive him and to see how he has matured from last year to this year.”
Once Homicide Hunter devastated his opponents with pinpoint accuracy, it was Freaky Feet Pete’s turn to take aim on his next Indiana championship. The crowd at the Anderson facility was pressed up against the fence anxiously awaiting his performance and the energy was electric as regular pilot Trace Tetrick moved him toward the gate. Larry Rheinheimer’s pupil broke well, settled in third and allowed Vague Traces set a torrid pace of :25.4 in the first panel. At the same time the tote board lit up with a stiff time of :53.3 for the half, Tetrick simply moved his hands and in a flash the gelding had cleared Vague Traces.
By the time Freaky Feet Pete hit the lane, he had placed three and a half lengths between him and his colleagues and paced three quarters in 1:21.0. From there on in it was simply the Freaky Feet Pete show. As he moved down the lane effortlessly, widening his advantage with every stride, the apron erupted with a loud round of applause for Indiana’s champion. Freaky Feet Pete crossed the finish line in 1:48.2 and second place finisher Skim The Top was seven lengths in arrears, with Swing City just behind. The patrons in attendance this evening were awed by the performance because Tetrick never even popped the plugs and had a strong hold on him midway through the stretch. This horse, owned and raised by Mary Jo and Marty Rheinheimer, could have went much, much faster if ever was ever asked. The evenings are few and far between when a track record, which is what this time was is established with such sheer, breathtaking ease. Freaky Feet Pete paid $2.10 to his loyal backers and with this triumph improved his record to 8-7-1 for 2015 with just under $190,000 in purse money. For his career, the gelding has a record of 17-15-1-0, with his only loss coming at the hooves of Meadowlands Pace and Milstein Memorial victor Wiggle It Jiggleit. He has now collected nearly $450,000 during his two years of competition.
Larry Rheinheimer confirmed to Peter Lurie of HRTV the gelding would be a Breeders Crown participant.
“Driving him is something unreal,” said Trace Tetrick with a huge smile on his face. “He just does everything so easy and he comes from a great family as his dam is a 100 percent producer. He paces so well that it seems like he’s going in 1:58 when he’s going in 1:50 and it’s like he has no idea he’s going that fast himself. You never even have to ask him. I knew at the top of the stretch I would never even have to pop his plugs out, so I wrapped him and just sat there on the way home. He is a very, very special horse and having the opportunity to sit behind him is an indescribable feeling.”
The stage is set for a whole new chapter in Hoosier Park racing with the advent of one breed, one track. The 20th season of live racing consists of 160 days of all harness racing and will commence with an action-packed twelve race card.
With more than 120 entries flooding the box for opening night, the card will feature four legs of the Miss Windfall Series. With three $7,500 legs and a $15,000 final, the series is open to three and four-year-old, Indiana-sired, fillies and mares that are non-winners of $7,500, lifetime.
The start of the meet marks the commencement of many exciting promotions geared to both casual and serious racing fans. The opening week of live racing, labeled “fan appreciation week”, is all about the fans. Hoosier Park, in partnership with the Indiana Standardbred Association, will be offering dining specials, wagering vouchers, and an iPad mini giveaway. Patrons are also encouraged to enter the handicapping contests that will be taking place weekly throughout the entirety of the meet.
Fridays at Hoosier Park, dubbed “Fan-tastic Fridays”, will feature $1 beers, $1 hot dogs and $1 live racing programs starting at 5 p.m. In addition, guests will be welcomed to enter the ‘Beat the Big Guy’ promotion for a chance to win up to $500.
Building on the successful “Family-Fun” themed activities and events started last season, Hoosier Park will continue “Family Fun Saturdays”. Activities will include a bounce house, face painting, jugglers, live entertainment, games and winner’s circle giveaways. The official Hoosier Park mascot, Hoosier Buddy, will be on hand to entertain and excite.
On the track, the racing competition is starting to take shape with the return of 2012’s leading driver champion, Trace Tetrick. Tetrick took home top honors at Hoosier Park in 2012 with 153 trips to the winner’s circle and is back seeking his second leading title. Hoosier Park’s two time leading trainer and North America’s current leading trainer, Ron Burke has also returned to Indiana with a powerhouse stable headed by assistant trainer, Jamie Rucker. The Burke stable amassed over $655,000 in purse earnings in 2012 with 46 wins, twice his closest competitor.
North America’s fastest pacers will return to the Anderson track on Saturday, May 25th for the 20th installment of the Dan Patch Invitational Pace. Hoosier Park’s signature event touts a purse of $250,000 and will be accompanied by many exciting promotions for racing fans.
“I can’t wait to get this season kicked off,” said Rick Moore, Hoosier Park’s general manager of racing. “Here at Hoosier Park we pride ourselves on bringing our guests the best in entertainment we can offer. Our dedicated team has worked hard in the off season to “set a new standard”. I hope our guests will enjoy all the excitement as much as we enjoy bringing it to them.”
Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday live racing schedule through November 9, with a 5:30, eastern post time daily.
ANDERSON, IND. – July 30, 2012 – Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will kick off its 18th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing on Wednesday, Aug., 1. The 64-day meet runs through Saturday, Oct., 27, with racing held Tuesday through Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Building on the successful ‘Family-Friendly’ themed events and activities of the Standardbred meet, Hoosier Park will include additional promotions, dining specials, giveaways, and entertainment to run alongside live racing.
To open the second meet of the year, the first 2,000 racing fans to visit the Trackside Club Centaur Rewards center will receive up to $1,000 in free race wagering. The nine race opener will also offer two times points to those guests using their Club Centaur Rewards cards while wagering on Hoosier Park live races and $1 draft beer and hot dog specials.
As an added bonus on Saturday Aug., 4, guests can meet the ESPY award-winning Julie Krone from 4 p.m. to
5 p.m. in the Yard. Krone, a female jockey, is known as the most successful in history and the first woman inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. Additionally, the first 2,000 guests to visit the Terrace Club Centaur Rewards center beginning at noon will receive a free Hoosier Park Thoroughbred racing t-shirt.
Weekends during the meet will once again offer fans the enjoyment of both live racing and numerous entertainment opportunities throughout the venue. ‘Fan-tastic Fridays,’ offering $1 customer specials including beer, hot dogs, wagers, and racing programs and ‘Family Fun Saturdays,’ full of live entertainment, kid-friendly outdoor games and activities, winner’s circle giveaways, and dining specials will round out each racing week. Friday’s ‘Beat the Big Guy’ handicapping competition will give guests an opportunity to out-handicap Centaur Gaming chairman and CEO, Rod Ratcliff, for a chance to win up to $750.
“We are looking toward our 18th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing with much anticipation and excitement,” Brian Elmore, Hoosier Park’s vice president and general manager of racing noted. “We are going above and beyond expectations to provide everyone a better experience and I’m confident that the horsemen and patrons will appreciate Hoosier Park’s efforts and multiple facility enhancements.”
The racing competition is starting to take shape with word that, Leandro Goncalves, last year’s leading jockey will return to Indiana to defend his second consecutive leading jockey title at Hoosier Park. Goncalves earned more than $2.1 million in purse earnings during the 2011 meet, which was just shy of his track record setting year in 2010 with a total of $2,405,286. Fernando De La Cruz finished second with a total of 81 wins while Hoosier Park’s all-time leading rider, Rodney Prescott, was third with 50 wins.
On the training side of things, Gary Patrick earned his third leading trainer title at Hoosier Park in 2011 with 36 wins. Patrick also topped the owner charts for the second straight year with his 2011 record. A native of Circleville, Ohio, Patrick won his first leading trainer title at Hoosier Park in 1998 and picked up his second title in 2002. He is currently ranked second on the list of all-time leading trainers at Hoosier Park behind Ralph Martinez. Patrick was followed in the standings by Barbara McBride and the 2010 leading trainer Tom Amoss, each ending the season with 19 wins.
Quarter Horse racing will experience another exciting day devoted to their breed. Now in its 16th year, an all Quarter Horse racing program is set for Saturday, Oct. 13. Tagged as the “Wild West Adventure”, the afternoon event will include trials for some of the biggest Quarter Horse events in the state. Patrons can enjoy Indiana’s best Quarter Horse racing along with Wild West-themed food and drink and lots of fun family entertainment.
Known in recent years for attracting some of the biggest names in horse racing, the 18th running of the Grade II $500,000-added Indiana Derby will take place Saturday Oct. 6. The fan-favorite event will highlight the stakes schedule of the Thoroughbred meet and promises to be an exciting day at the races. The $500,000-added Grade II Indiana Derby will be the featured event on the card along with the $200,000-added Grade II Indiana Oaks, the $100,000-added Michael G. Schaefer Memorial Mile, and the $100,000-added Mari Hulman George Stakes, filling completing Indiana’s richest day of racing.
About Centaur Gaming and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino: Indianapolis-based, Centaur Gaming, owns and operates Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino was recently ranked as the Indianapolis Area’s Most Popular Attraction for the second year in a row by the Indianapolis Business Journal and holds multiple awards from industry publications for customer service, entertainment, gaming and dining. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, a fully integrated gaming and racing facility, features 2,000 of the latest slots and electronic table games and a 7/8 mile oval horse track offering live and simulcast Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing each year. Simulcast wagering is also offered year-round at the Winner’s Circle Pub, Grille & OTB in Indianapolis and two off-track betting properties located in Fort Wayne and Merrillville, Indiana.