Peter Wrenn completed a three-peat last season, earning his third straight leading driver title at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. He has established himself as the “go-to guy” for several of the top contenders in stakes races and brings in a wealth of experience and success, not only on the local scene, but on a national level. Wrenn has wins in Breeders’ Cup action and has competed in almost every major race to date. The Michigan native is back at Hoosier Park again this year seeking to pick up where he left off.
With more than 8,700 career wins, Wrenn recorded 311 wins for the year in 2011, most of which were accumulated between Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs. He and his wife, Melanie, now reside in Carmel, Ind. with their children. For the most part, winter months are spent in Indiana preparing for the upcoming season. They currently have five horses in training at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and will have a couple of three-year-olds ready to race when the meet gets underway Tuesday, March 27. Wrenn is ready to get back to work.
“I am pawing at the door to get back racing,” said Wrenn. “I am more than looking forward to getting back to competition. Last winter, I raced a little Chicago and a little Cleveland, but haven’t done any competitive work since Dec. 15. I try to get mentally prepared and I work out and keep in shape. I am really, really ready to race and get back into competing.”
Wrenn earned 138 wins last year to move up the ladder of all-time leading drivers at Hoosier Park. He now has 513 wins in only four full years of competition to rank sixth on the list. Wrenn returns seeking his fourth straight title at Hoosier Park. Don Irvine Jr. continues to hold the record for most titles every won by a driver, trainer, or jockey with six.
Once again in 2011, Wrenn was spotted behind several top contenders in stakes action, including Next Flight In, Flight Elal, and Why Baby Why, all of which were winners during Hoosier Champions Night. Wrenn was once again honored as Indiana’s top pari-mutuel driver for 2011.
“I was lucky enough to drive a lot of good ones last year,” said Wrenn. “Some of them didn’t finish up the year as expected, but I’m excited to see them return this year. Hopefully, they will have matured up, sounded up, and will come back good. There are a lot of good connections and good people that I drive for. I’m really ready for opening night.”
Known as “The Wolf” in the popular Celebrity Standardbred Driver promotion, Wrenn will be joined by other top five drivers from 2011 including Trace Tetrick, Sam Widger, Ricky Macomber Jr., and Dave Magee. Tetrick has been racing at Windsor Raceway all winter while Macomber has driven at Pompano Park and Magee and Widger can be found on the Chicago circuit. All drivers have proven track records for success in the state of Indiana.
Competition gets underway for the 80-day meet Tuesday, March 27 and runs through Saturday, July 14. Racing will be conducted Tuesday through Saturday with a first post of 5:30 p.m. EST. For more information about the upcoming season, 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.
Two Indiana Bred Quarter Horses have been nominated for American Quarter Horse Racing Association National honors. A Bitter Sweet Song and Lovemelikethat have both been nominated as the 2011 Three Year Old Filly Racing Champion of the Year. They join four additional horses on the ballot for this honor.
Bitter Sweet Song (Agouti – Whatasweetsong, by Shawne Bug), owned by Debbie Smith and Randy Haffner, accumulated $108,539 in earnings during 2011. The Haffner trained filly completed the racing year with eight starts that included four wins, one second and one third place finish. Her wins include the $100,000 Indiana Blue River Derby at Indiana Downs.
Lovemelikethat (Likenothinyoueversaw – First Smart Stride, by First Smart Money), owned by Cooter Daniel boasted $148,636 in earnings in 2011 resulting in career earnings of $236,280. The filly, trained by John McCreary, won not only the $100,000 Sterlie Bertram Memorial, but also QHRAI Derby at Hoosier Park completing the racing year with seven starts that included five wins and two thirds. Lovemelikethat was also recently recognized as the Quarter Horse Breed Development Three Year Old Filly Champion and Horse of the Year.
“These two horses are not only an extraordinary example of the quality of horses being produced, but also a great achievement for the Quarter Horse Breed Development Program in Indiana,” noted Jessica Barnes, Director of Racing and Breed Development for the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.
By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
Tourism has become big business in Madison County and Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is the star attraction.
That’s the conclusion of a recent report from the Anderson/Madison County Visitors & Convention Bureau, which looked at the economic impact of the tourism and travel industry here in 2008 and 2010.
Among the report’s key findings were that:
Tourism and travel contributed nearly $506 million to the local economy in 2010.
A total of 3,821 jobs exist here because of the industry.
Nearly one-third of them are high-wage earners, professionals, technicians, managers, sales and construction jobs.
Tourism-generated jobs provided more than $68.6 million in wages to Madison County workers in 2010, compared to $62.9 million in 2008.
More than 3.9 million people made Madison County a tourism destination in 2010, compared to 2.2 million in 2008, the year when the casino opened.
Tourism generated $22.9 million in revenue for county and municipal governments in 2010, compared to $14.8 million in 2008.
The report, prepared by Certec Inc., a market research company based in Versailles, Ky., concluded that “tourism impacts all sectors of the local economy.”
“The takeaway is that there has been an accelerated rate of change in tourism and its impact on economic development,” and George Vinson, incoming president of the visitors bureau board of directors.
Ralph Day, executive director of the visitors bureau, said the 2008 and 2010 study years were chosen specifically to look at the impact a casino would have at Hoosier Park.
“It has really made Anderson a destination,” Day said.
And Hoosier Park has been a terrific corporate citizen, he added.
Since the casino opened in June 2008, the complex has averaged 3.5 million visitors a year, said Grant D. Scharton, Hoosier Park’s director of public relations He also noted that the Indianapolis Business Journal has named it the Indianapolis area’s most popular tourist attraction.
“Hoosier Park Racing and Casino is very pleased with the response in the central Indiana region and the tourists who come and visit the casino,” he said.
Tourism and community amenities such as Hoosier Park are an essential component of economic development efforts, said Rob Sparks, executive director of the Corporation for Economic Development.
“I think that tourism is a really important part of branding our community,” he said.
Watch for a cyclone of dust and drive found only on Hoosier Park’s oval of speed!
Once again the Fab Five Standardbred Drivers return to Hoosier Park for an unforgettable Standardbred meet. This year will be a tough one for the celebrity drivers as Peter The Wolf Wrenn returns the reigning champion and three new challengers enter the fight.
Trent Stohler, aka The Bachelor, will catch your eye at first glance. Blessed with good looks and style, Stohler is sought after both on and off the track. Brandon Big Ticket Bates earned his title because he’s never afraid to take on a long shot or a hard-to-handle horse and drive it to the wire. Most of Brandon’s winners pay double digits. Outlaw Josh Sutton brings passion and intensity to the sport of Standardbred racing. Josh was on a winning streak in 2006 before he headed West. He returns to Hoosier Park determined and ready to reclaim his territory.
Check back throughout the season for special guest updates from drivers and the latest information on the 2011 Hoosier Park Racing & Casino Standardbred Season!