From color commentator to purist handicapper and everything in between, Racing Rachel McLaughlin is a shining star amongst a new generation of horse racing enthusiasts. Here at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino we pride ourselves on going above and beyond the standard. Rachel is no exception. Horsemanship is steeped in tradition and race presentations have remained relatively unchanged throughout history. While many facets of the sport are here to stay, Hoosier Park aims to facilitate a new generation of horsemen. The focal point of our efforts lies with Rachel McLaughlin and her trackside reporting. Rachel is no stranger to the horseman culture. As an avid rider and horse owner herself, she has been involved with horsemanship for many years. Rachel began western style riding at an early age with her spotted saddle horse named Adidas. With her love of riding and knowledge of all things equine, she soon found her way to Hoosier Park in 2010 as a racing intern.
As an intern Rachel excelled under the pressure of live reporting and her comfortability on camera ultimately landed her the position of lead commentator. Since her debut here at Hoosier Park, she has left no stone unturned in her endeavor to learn the sports betting side of both Standardbred and Thoroughbred horseracing. There are very few tracks across the nation that host both Thoroughbred and Standardbred competition. Each sport has an entirely different set of guidelines and knowledge of one does not equate to success in the other. McLaughlin makes the annual transition from Standardbred to Thoroughbred without missing a beat. With each passing year she has been able to build upon her solid foundation of racing knowledge and continues to grow to this day. Her unique ability to effectively cycle between the two forms of racing and her unmistakable presence on camera has brought her national attention as well. At only twenty four years of age, Racing Rachel is off to a notable start with features on both ESPN and HRTV. With a background in Sports Marketing and her unforgettable style, it seems Racing Rachel has only just begun.
Rachel is currently hosting her fifth meet at Hoosier Park and her experience is evident as she transitions into an even broader role. Racing Rachel has developed into an excellent handicapper. In her first handicapping season she has already begun making a name for herself as her picks continue to hit the board. Coming off a successful Standardbred season, she has transitioned back to her roots with Thoroughbred. Her growing knowledge of the sport has landed her multiple roles as a handicapper, analyst, and commentator. Rachel also assists with marketing efforts and holds the title of Marketing Coordinator. When she is not in front of the camera she spends her time planning promotions and giveaways to make our events enjoyable for guests of all experience levels. If you have been to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino you have undoubtedly taken part in one of her many daily activities and most likely went home with something to show for it. Rachel’s presence on camera is second to none and has an uncanny ability to make even the most mundane of tasks exciting and fun. Rachel’s role at Hoosier Park has increased the family fun aspect as well with daily games and giveaways that cater to individuals of all age groups. Racing Rachel’s personality exemplifies our mission here at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and we look forward to ushering in a new era of racing experience alongside her.
If you are a fan of horseracing or would like to learn more about the woman behind the microphone, check out the Racing Rachel Facebook fan page or follow @HP_RacingRachel on Twitter. Also, be sure to stop in at 5:00 pm on weekdays to watch Rachel and Steve Cross kick off daily racing events with their live pre-race show in the Terrace.
On July 29th, our Indy Boys in Blue descended on Anderson University’s campus. Along with the one hundred man roster, coaches, staff and trainers took up temporary residency here in Anderson. With the many companies in the area showing their support, there was a sense of excitement in the air as you drove down Scatterfield to the playing field. This is the third year Hoosier Park has participated in the camp festivities and were even selected as an Official Super Celebration Site for last year’s Big Game in February. Hoosier Park’s support of Indianapolis football is now in full swing. For this year’s camp, Hoosier Park welcomed Big Blue fans with “Fan Appreciation Days.” During camp, guests of the park enjoyed special deals on food and beverages ranging from yard long beers to half-priced buffets as well as a koozie giveaway. The camp celebration culminated with a premium season ticket giveaway on Friday, August 17th. Charles Agnew of Anderson took home the coveted prize. At Hoosier Park, we are proud supporters of our Boys in Blue and wish them “Luck” this season.
In recent history, there has been a trend of classic rock bands reuniting to bring the songs we all know and love back to the live stage. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is no stranger to these types of acts with bands such as Foreigner and Air Supply recently headlining our Summer Music Track Series. On August 31st, Creedence Clearwater Revisited will be here rocking the Summer Music Track II stage with a sound straight out of 1971. Though Creedence Clearwater Revisited does not have rights to the name “Revival,” they have literally revived a sound we all remember rocking out to. Many other bands have reunited with new members only to lose their unique sound in the process. Creedence Clearwater Revisited may have changed their logo, but the sound is as intact as it has ever been. The two original members, Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford, are familiar with the standards they set long ago and deliver an authentic show. Concert guests can expect CCR Hall of Fame hits like “Proud Mary,” “Suzie Q” and “Born on a Bayou” to name a few. Creedence Clearwater Revisited is sure to be an unforgettable show that you won’t want to miss. Join us for a trip down memory lane as we celebrate the “Revival” of a timeless band. Tickets are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com or the Hoosier Park Box Office inside Shelby’s Gifts in the Terrace.
Here at Hoosier Park, we are excited about our new and innovative slot tournament system known as “TournEvent.” “TournEvent” is a bank of interactive slot machines networked together for a seamless tournament experience. The system requires an active play style that will test even the most seasoned of slot players. In addition, the system allows paperless operation and a running database of results. This technology is not only fun, but also streamlines the tournament process making it more enjoyable for guests and operators alike.
The system began operation in July with the start of the “Wanna Be A Slot Star” series. Since its unveiling, “TournEvent” has been one of the more popular destinations on our property as it is just as much fun to watch as it is to play. The “Wanna Be A Slot Star” series will continue through August 29th each Sunday and Wednesday. Each day, the tournament consists of thirty five rounds of two minutes each with an eight minute standby for seating. The winner of each individual round receives $50.00 in casino cash and the tournament high score winner receives $1,000. Signing up for a tournament is easy and FREE. Simply check in at Club Centaur Rewards with your player’s card and make your way to the tournament area ten minutes prior to your designated session. When you arrive at the tournament area, simply look for your name and take a seat at the corresponding machine.
Written by: Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. Kravitz is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star
ANDERSON, Ind. — I felt like a wide-eyed little kid approaching the bank teller with my first-ever lemonade-stand deposit.
“Ummmm, I think I want an exacta box with the 1, 3, 5 and 7 horses,” I told the nice lady at Hoosier Park.
She smiled, and not just because she was taking my $12 bet.
“This is your first time, isn’t it?” she asked, fully knowing the answer.
What gave me away? The sweating? The fact I had to read the words right off my notebook? Perhaps she could hear my internal conversation:
Pick-4 . . . no, that’s not it. What’s an exacta box? How many horses do I need to finish in the top three? How’s all this different from a superfecta? When will my brain explode, and can’t I just go play blackjack in the casino?
“Maybe you’ll have beginner’s luck,” she said, still smiling.
Yeah, beginner’s luck.
Two of the horses I picked battled it out for last place. The other two finished only a little closer to the winner.
Life as a gambler. And one heck of a wonderful day, and night, at Hoosier Park.
I’ll be honest here: I’ve been to only one horse track in my life — Churchill Downs, which isn’t a bad one if you’re going to attend one track — but had absolutely no idea what was going on at that Kentucky Derby. If memory serves, I wrote that day about hats and my failed attempt to get to the Queen of England’s private box.
You can take everything I know about horse racing (and several other subjects), pour it into a thimble and still have plenty left over for a martini with three olives.
In fact, it wasn’t until I showed up Thursday that I came to understand the difference between thoroughbreds and standardbreds, the difference between pacers and trotters.
Go ahead, quiz me:
What’s the difference between a thoroughbred and standardbred?
To put it in basketball terms, or something I understand, a thoroughbred is Kevin Durant: long, lithe, capable of great speed and power but a little bit brittle.
The standardbred, which ran in the night’s harness races, is like Kendrick Perkins, but without the scowl: tough, muscular, sturdy, capable of going greater distances and running more frequently at less breakneck speeds.
What’s the difference between a pacer and a trotter?
A pacer’s right legs go in one direction while the left legs go in the other direction. It’s an odd gait, not unlike our friend Kendrick Perkins. But that’s how they’re bred to run, just as I’ve been suitably bred to drink beer and lie around the house.
How do you like them horse apples?
Speaking of which, I am happy to report that the horse who took me on my first harness ride, along with driver Trent Stohler, has a very solid, high-fiber diet.
Tearful Reunion, who is now my horse, left a hefty trail of manure on the limestone track. I have no way of proving this, but I think it made him run faster. Horses in competition get up to about 30 to 35 mph. For my ride, Tearful Reunion was going about 20.
Not exactly a two-seater at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but thrilling nonetheless.
“Here, you take the reins,” Stohler told me. “Pull on the left one, he’ll go left. Pull on the right, he’ll go right. Pull on both, he’ll slow down.”
Which seemed simple until I tried to guide Tearful Reunion, who seemed to be interested in running off track and into the giant lake in the middle of Hoosier Park. “I think something spooked him,” Stohler said.
Yeah, like the idiot holding the reins.
I discovered that horses are like teenage kids: The more you try to set them in a certain direction, the harder you pull on the reins, the more likely it is they’ll do whatever the heck they want.
“Here,” Stohler said, “I’ll take them.”
At which point, Tearful Reunion behaved and returned to a safe pace around the seven-eighths mile long track.
By the way, Tearful Reunion is a stud. So we had that in common.
I’ll be honest again here, too: My completely ignorant impression of horse tracks was that they were populated exclusively by degenerate gamblers who don’t appear to have showered since the Carter administration.
I expected a certain cross section of our population, old men with cigs dangling from their lips, ratty clothes, and a far-away look in their eyes.
Maybe that’s true at some places, but at Hoosier Park?
“We’re the best track for families going,” said Hoosier Park’s Tim Konkle, my gracious host for the day.
There were families, and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my family at some future date. The clientele was decidedly middle class and upper crust (based totally on first impressions). It was almost disappointing; I was expecting whacked-out railbirds with dirty hands and rolled-up racing forms in their back pockets.
No such luck. I hate when my preconceived notions are blown to smithereens.
Hoosier Park isn’t just a horse track and a casino. It has concerts. It has fireworks. It has a pristine-looking clubhouse with white table cloths and menu items like seared ahi tuna, Kobe beef burgers and Chilean sea bass. I was expecting nachos with ersatz cheese.
Nope. Not on the menu.
But I came to win money.
“You have a hundred bucks,” my wife told me. “Remember, we just dropped a bunch of cash on our daughter’s open house. We’re tight this week.”
Now, I’m not in the habit of simply giving away money, so I dutifully scanned the horses’ past performances. Why, I don’t know. There were lots of acronyms and numbers, and it might as well have been written in some obscure Ukrainian dialect. All I understood were the odds, which, in the end, change as the pari-mutuel bets come in from across the country.
So I relied on my two betting studs, Konkle and Hoosier Park publicist Emily Gaskin.
Konkle, I was told, couldn’t miss last Saturday. And Gaskin knows horses so well, she picked out a $900 horse as a graduation gift, and that horse won more than $200,000 in harness racing.
Then we promptly got our brains beat in.
We tried exactas, superfectas and a couple of bets that I couldn’t even begin to describe, and things didn’t go well.
“We just lost to a 39-1 shot,” Gaskin groused.
At one point, I had so many losing tickets, you could have lit them and started a small forest fire.
One time, on a $30 bet, we won. I was totally excited. My first win ever.
Except the horses paid $28.75, so I won and lost $1.25.
Don’t spend more than $100.
“You should do a pick-4,” Gaskin said. “Pick the next four winners in the next four races.”
So I put my handicapping skills to work, skills not unlike those owned by my late mother, who used to pick NFL games based on how well she liked the team’s uniforms. She usually crushed me.
I took Getontheway in the first race, since my driver, Trent Stohler, was on that horse.
I picked Canadian Justice in the second because I’m a huge hockey fan and used to spend lots of time in Canada.
I chose Amy Jo’s Angel next because, well, I was in love with a girl named Amy in high school. Sadly, she was not aware I existed as a life form at the time. Her loss.
Finally, I picked Bluebird Kidsqueen, the rationale being that I spent many idle hours at the Bluebird in Bloomington during my college years. Actually saw a young John Cougar there, but that’s another story.
I didn’t win any of them.
Ultimately, I probably broke even, although over time, I started to impress the nice cashier with my improving knowledge of superfectas and exacta boxes. (And it’s not brain surgery; if you don’t know the game, there is lots of information available to guide you through the various bets. And they’re very nice to newcomers, likely because they enjoy taking and investing your cash.)
“Sorry we couldn’t help you pick more winners,” Konkle said.
You kidding? This was one of the most enjoyable days I had all summer.
I wasn’t done, though.
With most of my original $100 still in hand, I hit the casino and played video blackjack with a dealer so nice, she fist-bumped players every time they beat her hand.
I’m used to Vegas dealers, who chortle every time they turned a 3 into a five-card 21.
I ran my winnings from $50 to $200 but didn’t have the ability to walk away. A half-hour later, I’d lost it all. Which proves that with gambling, it doesn’t necessarily matter if you do or don’t know what you’re doing, you’re probably going to leave your money in Anderson.
The truth, though? It was worth every lost penny.
Favorites prevailed in the second round of the Jerry Landess Series at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday (April 5).
The 1-9 betting favorite, Our Lucky Chip, visited Hoosier Park’s winner circle for the second consecutive time in his second start of the season. Driven by Trace Tetrick, the three-year-old colt showed his inexperience behind the gate as he was a touch hesitant in his approach. Ed Hensley and Prolabra left alertly from post eight to reach the front in a first quarter time of :28.0. James Z Tam and Ricky Macomber Jr. opted out of a two hole trip to move to the front down the backside reaching the half in :58.2. Sam Widger gave W White Comet the cue to make a brisk run at the leader just past the half with Our Lucky Chip in tow. W White Comet reached the leader’s wheel only to yield the lead to the bettor’s choice. With a three-quarter time in 1:27.1, Our Lucky Chip and Tetrick never looked back as they began to pull away from the ten horse field down the lane. The Art’s Chip colt was well in hand at the wire stopping the clock in 1:55.1 to win by six and a half lengths.
“This is a very nice colt,” Trace Tetrick said of his mount. “He’s a green colt but when he gets it all figured out I think he will be a very tough colt to beat.”
Our Lucky Chip will be one of the likely favorites in the $15,000 Jerry Landess Final on Thursday, April 12.
“I like my chances with him next week,” Tetrick said. “He’s very competitive in that class of horses and if he stays as good as he was tonight he will be very good next week.”
Trace Tetrick also took the first division of the late closer with Freaky Flyer for trainer John Arrowood. The four-year-old son of Dontgetinmyway scored his first win of the year in a career best 1:57.1. The slight bettor’s choice took advantage of an easy second quarter to make his move to the front. Yielding to the pocket trip was Pete Wrenn and Lucky Ivan who finished second as ER Pacman and Don Eash finished a closing third. Freaky Flyer is owned Shelly Deters of Coconut Creek, FL.
Heavy Betting Favorite, Artychoke, took home the third division honors as he found the winner’s circle in a lifetime best of 1:55.0. Driver Sam Widger made quick work of the ten horse field as he moved the Art’s Chip colt to the lead just past the quarter mark in :27.1. The three-year-old colt led through fractions of :56.3 and 1:27.0. Wilbur’s Z Tam and driver Ricky Macomber Jr. made a move down the long Hoosier Park stretch only to finish second by a half of a length. Mack Straight and driver Tyler Smith made a bold first over bid, but Artychoke responded with a :28.0 closing panel leaving Mack Straight to finish third. Artychoke is trained by Art Gregory Jr. and owned by Dennis Brightwell of Cedar Lake, IN.
Hash Slingnslasher had his work cut out for him as he started from the outside in post position nine. Driver Ed Hensley made an early decision for position as he sent the four-year-old colt to the front through an opening panel of :28.1. The betting favorite, Country Roads, made his move to the lead down the backside as Hensley yielded for a pocket trip. Country Roads and Dave Magee led the field of nine through a leisurely half in 1:00.2. Hash Slingnslashr made his way through traffic to march home in a quick :27.3 final quarter and lifetime best performance of 1:57.4. Sired by Carlsbad Cam, Hash Slingnslashr is owned and trained by Ron Otto of Jefferson, OH.
Cage Fighter and Adam Short staged a big rally late to take their division of the Landess action to win by four lengths in 1:56.3 with a closing panel of :27.4. Tyber Tyke and driver Pete Wrenn finished second as Mc Chip and Trace Tetrick finished third. Cage Fighter is trained by Adam Short and owned by John E Mcgill of Albion, IN and Lavon Miller of Topeka, IN.
Training is underway for the upcoming Standardbred season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. The track was opened to horseman on Monday, March 5th as 29 horses made their way around Hoosier Park’s oval. The track will remain open for the rest of the week with weather permitting from 8 am to noon for training.
Permanent stabling will begin on Monday, March 12th. The licensing office will open on Tuesday, March 13th from 9am-2pm and remain open the rest of the week for those wanting to get licensed. Qualifiers begin on Wednesday March 14th at 10 am and will be conducted on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the entirety of the meet. Condition sheets will be posted as soon as they become available.
Live Standardbred racing returns to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday March 27th, 2012 and will offer five days of live racing per week, Tuesday through Saturday, July 14. Post time is 5:30 EST.
By: Emily Gaskin
Hoosier Park Racing and Casino’s 19th season of live Standardbred racing brings a number of enhancements and improvements with the opening of the 2012 race meet on March 27th, which promises to be its most exciting yet. The largest and maybe most noticeable improvement is the addition of a new, state of the art tote board installed in the infield.
Hoosier Park’s patrons will now be able to view the races from a 16’ x 27’ video board that will be installed on top of the reconstructed tote board. Along with the addition of the jumbo-tron, the existing tote board will be highlighted by brand new indicators that will make the display much easier to read from all areas of the grandstand.
“This is a great enhancement to the live racing experience,” Vice President and General Manager of racing Brian Elmore noted. “It is going to be especially beneficial to the patrons. They will now be able to see the horses like they have never seen them before.”
In addition to the enhancements to the tote board, Hoosier Park’s design team has also added a new graphics package for fans to enjoy. A more viewer-friendly tote board is the result of Hoosier Park’s significant investment.
“Our Chairman and CEO of Centaur, Rod Ratcliff and President & COO of Hoosier Park, Jim Brown are both very committed to improving the racing product here at Hoosier Park,” Elmore said. “It was at their direction that we do this project and I think that is a great reflection of their commitment to racing.”
The few tracks around the country that do utilize a video board, typically operate with a 16-20 mm board, Hoosier Park’s patrons will now be watching 12.5 mm video board which will create a much clearer picture and more interactive experience.
“It will be a great opportunity to market Hoosier Park and showcase Hoosier Park’s premier events,” Elmore noted. “We are going above and beyond expectations to bring the patrons a better experience and there is no doubt in my mind that the horseman and patrons will appreciate Hoosier Park’s efforts to be proactive in providing a better racing product for the public.”
The 80-day meet will offer five days of live racing per week, Tuesday through Saturday, July 14. In addition to the new tote board, opening weekend festivities will be kicked off with an indoor concert by the legendary rock band Air Supply on March 30th. Various handicapping contests and promotions will be taking place throughout the week as well.
Emily Gaskin has joined the team at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Gaskin has assumed the duties of racing publicist and executive assistant to Brian Elmore, general manager of racing.
A resident of Pendleton, Ind., Gaskin graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in agricultural communication. During her time at UK, she worked as an intern for the Horsemen and Fair World. Most recently, Gaskin served as a reporter for Harness Racing Update.
Gaskin has an extensive background in harness racing. Her family, Ernie and Darla Gaskin, have been longtime participants in the sport and currently own and operate Crimson Lane, a training center just south of Hoosier Park.
“Emily will serve Hoosier Park in a variety of positions,” said Elmore. “In addition to her duties as racing publicist and administrative assistant for the racing department, she will assist with the race marketing and promotions. Her enthusiasm for racing, passion for the equine athlete, and overall appreciation of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will make her a great addition to the Hoosier Park Team.”
Gaskin has owned a number of Standardbreds over the years that have competed at Hoosier Park. She most recently experienced success with Jammin Joshua, an Indiana Sires Stakes winner as a two-year-old last season who won six of 11 starts.
Gaskin is preparing for the upcoming 2012 Standardbred season, which gets underway Tuesday, March 27. The 80-day race meet will run through Saturday, July 14, offering racing Tuesday through Saturday. Post time is 5:30 p.m. EST.
For more information on Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, log onto www.hoosierpark.com.
Recent Article in The Herald Bulletin-
Those at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino have always considered themselves the best of a variety of things and Madison County residents agreed, voting it the best buffet, live music venue and place for entertainment.
“We look at Hoosier Park as having many facets for entertainment,” said Grant D. Scharton, Hoosier Park’s director of public relations. “Of course there is the casino, but there is also the great racing product, a variety of dining options and then the concerts. It is centrally located and offers a wide variety of entertainment options — multiple ways to win big, socialize with friends and have a thrilling night out. There are entertainment options for everybody.”
Scharton said that variety is why he thinks Hoosier Park was chosen for the third year in a row for the best place for entertainment in the awards.
Hoosier Park consistently brings in some of the greatest names in entertainment, he said, for both the summer music track concert series and the concerts in the Terrace Showroom including upcoming Air Supply and Wilson Phillips, Scharton said. He said information about the upcoming summer concert series will be available in the next month on the website at www.hoosierpark.com.
During last year’s summer series, more than 30,000 people came to Hoosier Park for the shows and the facility received more than 3.5 million visits.
The Prime Harvest Buffet stands out because of not only the quality product offered but also the friendly service of the staff.
Rudy McMillan, director of food and beverage at Hoosier Park, said the quality of the product has remained high and prices low. The seafood nights — Friday and Saturday — and Sunday brunch offer a variety of different items including crab, prime rib, fresh sushi and a chocolate fountain.
“You could have all the quality food in the world, but if you don’t have the great quality staff you can’t go any further,” he said.
Scharton said the combination of good quality food and a great team makes the buffet a star.
With more than 300,000 visitors to the buffet in 2011, assistant director of food and beverage Amy Whitler said a “great, smiling team” is key.
In addition to the $5.95 lunch buffet offered, Hoosier Park offered its club members 55 and over a 55-cent buffet and had 1,650 take advantage of that special offer, Scharton said.