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
Freaky Feet Pete turned in another dominating performance to find the winner’s circle at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday, August 7 in his split of the $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes eliminations for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, extending his win streak to five in the process. Driven by regular pilot Trace Tetrick, Freaky Feet Pete reached the wire five lengths in front of his closest competitor to stop the clock in 1:50.1 and notch his fifth win of the season.
Tetrick took no chances and sent the overwhelming 1-9 favorite to the front from post eight in the field of nine. Freaky Feet Pete leisurely strolled through fractions of :26.2, :54.4 and 1:23.2 while the rest of the field remained in single file order. Kelly D and Sam Widger benefitted from a pocket trip while Sumthintallnstrong and James Yoder began the first over bid down the backside.
Doing what Freaky Feet Pete has done all season long, he began to separate himself from the rest of the field turning for home. With a four length lead at the top of the stretch, Freaky Feet Pete used a :26.4 final panel to coast on to the wire under a hand drive from Tetrick.
Sumthintallnstrong rallied late in the lane for second place honors while Swing City and Andy Shetler rounded out the trifecta. Freaky Feet Pete returned $2.10 to his backers at the window.
“He surprises me every time he’s on the track,” trainer Larry Rheinheimer said in the winner’s circle after the win. “We don’t give Trace any instructions but he always takes care of him and does what he needs to do.”
Freaky Feet Pete scored his 14th career victory from 16 lifetime outings. The homebred son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has now earned $397,100 for his owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer. Rheinheimer’s star pupil will be aimed next for the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final at Hoosier Park on Friday, August 14 but says the possibility of venturing out of the state of Indiana is not out of the question.
“There’s a little bit of down time here,” Rheinheimer continued. “So, if something fits in the schedule, we’ll certainly look into it. As far as the Breeders Crown goes, that’s definitely still a possibility for us. If he keeps racing well and going in the right direction, he deserves the chance to prove himself.”
Royal Rex and Tyler Smith took the next split of the stakes action scoring in 1:52.3 for trainer Roger Cullipher. Staging a big rally late in the lane, Royal Rex dug in gamely to overcome This Baby Rocks and LeWayne Miller. With the win, the son of Sand Shooter-Go Ginny Go notched his third win of the season from 15 outings. Royal Rex has now earned $50,919 for owner Nathan Sea.
The Big Year and LeWayne Miller pulled a slight upset to take the final division of the stakes action, scoring in a lifetime best of 1:51.0. Using a near gate to wire effort, The Big Year held on gamely late in the lane to score the victory. Trained by Erv Miller, The Big Year scored his fourth win of the season from 15 starts. The son of Panspacificflight-Aristocracy has now earned $171,203.
All three of the evening’s elimination winners successfully earned a spot in the fourth $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing colts slated for the star studded 14-race card on Friday, August 14 at Hoosier Park. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 14.
Hoosier Park Racing & Casino’s 2015 Champion Driver Series highlighted the 14-race card on Saturday, July 25 and it was Trace Tetrick who took home top honors and won his share of the $5,000 Round 1 prize. In its’ second year, the 2015 Champion Driver Series pitted the top-ten drivers at Hoosier Park against one another in a five-race challenge with the ten coveted spots being based upon wins during the 2015 season.
Tetrick, a 28-year-old, Illinois native earned one win, one second, one third and two off the board finishes during the five-race competition for a total of 39 points to secure the win. LeWayne Miller, last year’s Champion Driver Series winner, finished second with 38 points followed by Sam Widger finishing third with 36 points.
Tetrick kicked things off with a win in the first leg of the challenge behind Pipecreek Yankee for trainer Walter Haynes Jr., earning 15 points. He finished sixth in the next race but was able to guide Humble Hero to a second place finish to earn nine points in the third leg of the challenge.
After the fourth race of the series and just one race left to go, Tetrick was tied for first with LeWayne Miller at 31 points. Dillander moved into second place after a win with Endeavors Lady Luck while Ed Hensley had accumulated 29 points for third.
Tetrick was able to clinch the trophy and the lion’s share of the $5,000 prize in the final race by steering Jagger Blue Chip to a third place finish, earning eight points. LeWayne Miller secured second place after a fourth place finish with Steviescooter while Sam Widger moved into third place after a decisive win with Major Starlight.
“I was feeling pretty good about the horses I picked coming into tonight,” Tetrick noted after the win. “Luckily, the trips worked out and the horses showed up. A couple of my horses raced really well, a few of the others didn’t, but it all worked out.”
Tetrick currently leads all drivers for the 2015 season at Hoosier Park with 159 victories and over $1.5 million in purse earnings through the first 85 days of live racing. Tetrick recorded his first win at Hoosier Park in 2006 and has been a mainstay atop Hoosier Park’s leader board ever since. In 2008, Tetrick became the youngest driver or jockey to ever win a title at Hoosier Park after garnering 117 victories that season. Tetrick took home the leading driver title in 2014 and also earned a spot in Hoosier Park’s record books once again as he re-established the record for most wins in one season, a record that was previously held by Tony Morgan during the 1998 season with 262 victories.
“This was a lot of fun,” he continued. “We’re always a competitive group and we always have fun with each other but when you have a challenge like this, it really brings out the competitiveness in all of us. I know it’s something we’ve been looking forward to all week.”
Tetrick will look to defend his title in Round 2 of the Champion Driver Series slated for October 17 at Hoosier Park. While the second go-round will be conducted in the same manner as the first, the winner of the final challenge will be awarded a Hawaiian vacation for four, valued at $15,000.
Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Tuesday, July 28 with a 14-race card. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., the live racing schedule will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 14.
Freaky Feet Pete turned in another dominating performance to find the winner’s circle at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, July 18 in his split of the $20,000 Indiana Sires Stakes elimination for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, extending his win streak to three in the process. Driven by regular pilot Trace Tetrick, Freaky Feet Pete reached the wire eleven lengths in front of his closest competitor to stop the clock in 1:50.3 and notched his fourth win of the season.
Tetrick took no chances and sent the overwhelming favorite to the front from post seven in the field of nine. Freaky Feet Pete dictated fractions of :27, :54.4 and 1:22.3 while the rest of the field remained in single file order. Rockin Ron and Rick Plano benefitted from a pocket trip while Supreme Z Tam and Ross Leonard began the first over attack down the backside.
As the rest of the field struggled to stay within striking distance, Freaky Feet Pete began to put his talent on display with still no urging from Tetrick. With a six length lead turning for home, Freaky Feet Pete used a :28 final panel to coast on to the wire. Vague Traces and Sam Widger rallied late in the lane for second place honors while Rockin Ron held on for third. Freaky Feet Pete returned $2.10 to his backers at the window.
“That’s what he does,” Tetrick said after the win. “He’s a professional. He’s grown up this year and loves his job. Tonight, he did what he does every time he races, he raced giant again.”
Trained by Larry Rheinheimer, Freaky Feet Pete scored his thirteenth career victory from fifteen lifetime outings. The son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori has now earned $349,600 for his owners Mary Jo Rheinheimer and Marty Rheinheimer.
Skim The Top and Dale Hiteman took the next split of the stakes action scoring in 1:53 for trainer Krista Harmon. Staging a big rally late in the lane, Skim The Top dug in gamely to hold off Caviart Skyler and Tyler Smith. With the win, the son of Geartogear-Schmoley notched his third win of the season from nine outings. Skim The Top has now earned $73,913 for owner Gary Clark.
Royal Rex and John Delong pulled a slight upset to take the final division of the stakes action, scoring in a lifetime best of 1:51.4. Using the long Hoosier Park stretch to his advantage, Delong tipped Royal Rex late in the lane and he used a :27.1 to win by a head. Trained by Roger Cullipher, Royal Rex scored his second win of the season from 13 starts. The son of Sand Shooter-Go Ginny Go has now earned $40,919 for owner Nathan Sea.
All three of the evening’s elimination winners successfully earned a spot in the third $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing colts slated for Saturday, July 25 at Hoosier Park. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 14.
ANDERSON, Ind.—May 12, 2015—Trace Tetrick notched the 3,000th win of his driving career after he piloted Kayla As to victory at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, May 12. The 1:59.2 victory marked a maiden breaking win for the three-year-old daughter of Jailhouse Jesse-Karisma As and a career milestone for the 28-year-old driver.
Trained by Anette Lorenzton, Kayla As was able to take advantage of her rail position and held off all competitors to record her first win in just the first start of her three-year-old campaign. Owned by Acl Stuteri, Kayla As has now earned $3,720 lifetime.
“I was hoping to get it tonight but didn’t expect it,” Tetrick noted in the winner’s circle. “I wasn’t really focusing on the number, I just try to come out and win as many as I can every night. It feels good to have that one over with though. Now, it’s on to the next one.”
Born into a horse racing family, Tetrick grew up around horses and began his career on the southern Illinois county fair circuit. Harness racing has always been a family affair for Tetrick as his parents, Tom D. and Mary Alice, have operated a successful stable throughout the Midwest for many years. The Geff, Illinois native started his driving career in 2003 and has since surpassed the $28 million mark in purse earnings in the bike.
Tetrick recorded his first win at Hoosier Park in 2006 and has been a mainstay atop Hoosier Park’s leader board ever since. In 2008, Tetrick became the youngest driver or jockey to ever win a title at Hoosier Park after garnering 117 victories that season. Tetrick took home the leading driver title in 2014 and also earned a spot in Hoosier Park’s record books once again as he re-established the record for most wins in one season, a record that was previously held by Tony Morgan during the 1998 season with 262 victories.
Tetrick came into the 14-race card at Hoosier Park on Tuesday just three wins away from his milestone. He also found the winner’s circle with Saintfrancis and Flyaway Bumble Bee earlier on the card before reaching 3,000. Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Tetrick’s family and friends were in the winner’s circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment.
“On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I’d like to congratulate Trace on win number 3,000,” Moore noted. “Through his hard work and skill, Trace continues to be a great ambassador for our sport. We are honored to have him as our leading driver at Hoosier Park and part of our Champion Driver program. We wish Trace continued success for the remainder of this season and throughout his career.”
Tetrick currently leads all drivers for the 2015 season at Hoosier Park with 58 victories and nearly $400,000 in purse earnings through the first 30 days of live racing. Peter Wrenn currently holds the second spot with 46 trips to the winner’s circle.
ANDERSON, Ind.—April 10, 2015—The reigning three-year-old pacing filly of the year, Color’s A Virgin, returned to action on Friday, April 10 and made her 2015 debut a winning one as she captured the featured event of the evening, a $21,000 Invitational Pace for fillies and mares, at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Overcoming a tough, first-over trip, Color’s A Virgin scored her first victory against older mares in 1:53.3 and gave driver Trace Tetrick one of his six wins on the 13-race card.
Leaving from post four in a talented field of six, Color’s A Virgin and Tetrick resumed their previous racing tactics and raced from off the pace early, to secure a spot along the rail in fourth. Tim Curtain sent Wings away from the gate firing and the duo reached the first quarter in :27.4. Stable Eyes and Tim Clevenger benefitted from a pocket trip while Miss Millie and Peter Wrenn were next in line, third. Pertty Music and Ed Hensley, back to back winners at this level, sat at the back of the pack for much of the mile.
Wrenn gave Miss Millie the go-ahead down the backside and she secured the lead just past the half in :57. Unable to wait any longer, Color’s A Virgin began her first-over bid approaching the final turn with American Girl and Sam Widger in tow.
As the field reached the third station in 1:25.3, Color’s A Virgin had worn down the tiring leader and began to put her talent on display as she paced away from the field. Using a :28 final panel, Color’s A Virgin coasted on to the wire under a hand drive from Tetrick to finish a length in front of American Girl who was a game second.
Miss Millie rounded out the trifecta while Pertty Music had too much ground to make up at the end of the mile and had to settle for fourth. As the heavy betting favorite, the Dan Patch award-winning mare returned $3.60 at the windows.
“The race didn’t work out exactly like I thought,” Tetrick noted after the race. “I didn’t want to be first-up for her first start back but that’s the way it worked out and she overcame it. She did everything I asked and was well within herself at the wire.”
“Brian (Brown) told me she came back well,” he continued. “Tonight, I could tell she’s matured and handled the lay-off well. She’s just a great, great mare.”
Color’s A Virgin won 13 of 18 starts in 2014 and earned $532,622 for her connections at Emerald Highlands Farm. She captured seven of her last eight starts, including the $178,862 Juggette on September 17 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
Trained by Brian Brown, the four-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin-Full Color now sports a lifetime bankroll of $754,822. The winner of 19 career outings has been nominated to races such as the TVG Mares Pace, The Lady Liberty and The Golden Girls for her four-year-old campaign. Tetrick noted she would likely make her next start at Hoosier Park before heading to Miami Valley Raceway.
The victory was one of six wins for Hoosier Park’s current leading driver, Trace Tetrick and four training wins for Brian Brown. Brown and Tetrick also teamed up to score with Fits Well and Win The Gold early in the card. Tetrick also found the winner’s circle with Landonfitz for trainer Charlie Stewart and Pleasing Paisley for trainer Tyler George. The Brown, Tetrick combination would strike once more with Do U Mind in the last race of the evening for the Emerald Highlands Farm.
Our Lucky Chip completed the Jerry Landess Series sweep as the three-year-old colt rattled off a sharp front end effort in the $15,000 final of the late closing event open to three and four-year-old Indiana sired colts and geldings that are non-winners of $7,500 lifetime at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday (Apr 12).
Adam Short attempted to control the fractions as he sent Cage Fighter to the front from post six through a first quarter clocking of :27.3. Using much the same strategy as weeks past, Our Lucky Chip and driver Trace Tetrick settled in to the third spot along the rail only to make their move to the front down the backside. The heavy betting favorite led the field of ten through a half of :57.2 with the pocket sitting Cage Fighter two lengths behind . Ricky Macomber Jr. was the first to commit as he gave Wilbur’s Z Tam the cue to go first up heading into the final turn. With a three-quarter clocking 1:25.3, Our Lucky Chip demonstrated his ability once again as he opened up on the field to reach the wire well in hand in 1:53.0. Wilbur’s Z Tam held on to finish second as Sam Widger and Artychoke rallied late to finish third. Winning by three and a half lengths, the son of Art’s Chip marched home in :27.2.
Trainer Jason Miller, who purchased Our Lucky Chip as a weanling for his partnership with Bradley Roller of Wabash, IN, said his colt still has some learning to do.
“He was a touch hesitant off the gate last week and I think that was just from inexperience,” Miller noted. “I told Trace he would be better this week and he was. I was really happy with the way he raced tonight.”
Our Lucky Chip is now three for three in 2012 and five of six in his limited lifetime outings. With over $18,000 bankrolled, Our Lucky Chip will be aimed toward the Indiana Sire Stakes beginning in early May.
“I was really confident in my colt tonight,” Tetrick said of his mount. “I wasn’t sure who was going to make a run at him but the race worked out in our favor. He felt very strong at the wire and I was really happy with the way he raced.”
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!