ANDERSON, Ind.—March 15, 2016—In a continued effort to provide a superior racing product, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is proud to announce the recent completion of a passing lane to Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths mile racing surface.
Track Superintendent Gary Wolff and his crew, along with the help of renowned track consultants Greg and Dan Coon, have been working diligently, not only to prepare the entire racing surface, but to complete the passing lane before the track opened for training on March 14. Track officials met regularly through the fall and winter with a team of experts to review the layout of the passing lane, identify needed materials, and establish construction timelines.
Hoosier Park’s passing lane is one-eighth of a mile long, begins at the current starting pole, and proceeds just past the finish line. The added area is roughly eight feet wide and will provide drivers a new option when searching for room late in the race.
The track materials that were used in the construction process were the same materials that currently make up the main track surface to make the addition seamless. Along with the materials, the photo finish lights and the finish line sensor had to be relocated to accommodate for the added distance in the stretch. Once construction started, the project took just under two weeks to complete.
“We are committed to making Hoosier Park harness racing one of the most competitive racetracks in the country,” said Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming president and COO. “This enhancement will not only stand as the longest passing lane in North America, but will be sure to bring even more excitement, amplify the driving strategy involved, and ultimately make for an even greater racing product that our fans are sure to enjoy.”
The main track is now open for training from the hours of 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. The paddock and ship-in area are also open for those horsemen wishing to ship in to train. All days of training will be subject to weather permitting. The first round of qualifiers is slated for Wednesday, March 16 with an estimated start time of 10 a.m.
Hoosier Park’s 23rd season of live harness racing will kick-off on Friday, April 1. With an estimated daily post time of 5:45 p.m., the 160-day meet will be conducted through November 12. Live racing 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.
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.
Leading trainer Charlie Stewart is already off to a great start in defending his 2011 Leading Trainer title at Hooiser Park Racing & Casino. Stewart headed the 2011 trainer’s title with 46 wins and $304,825 in earnings for the meet. The 24-year-old was also the youngest trainer to ever accomplish that feat for any breed at Hoosier Park. It was Stewart’s first training title. Ryan Bellamy finished a close second with 34 wins while North America’s leading trainer, Ron Burke wasn’t far behind him with 33 wins.
“It was quite an honor to be the leading trainer last year because there are a lot of great trainers here,” Stewart said of his title. “I didn’t expect to win it, but it was nice to be recognized in such great company. I’m looking forward to this year and am hoping my horses will be as competitive as they were last year.”
An Indiana Native, Stewart has been training horses since he was 14. Working with racehorses has been a family affair as Stewart’s mother, Gay Bankson, trains thoroughbreds. However, he got a taste of working with Standardbreds when he worked for well-known trainer Modie Beeman as a teenager. Beeman lived less than a mile away from Stewart’s childhood home.
With 267 career wins and over a million dollars in earnings recorded as a trainer, Stewart ended 2011 with 82 wins and over $600,000 in purse earnings. Stewart has posted back to back seasons with his training bankroll surpassing the $600,000 mark.
He spent his winter racing his stable of fifteen around the Canadian circuit. While most his starts were recorded at Woodbine, he also started horses at Flamboro Raceway and Georgian Downs. He looks for his horses to be race tight kicking off the Hoosier Park meet.
“I’m very excited to be back at Hoosier,” Stewart said. “I had a good winter in Canada and my horses raced well but I’m glad to be back. Hopefully, we can keep that momentum going and get off to a good start here. This has always been my favorite place to race.”