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North America's Best Favored in Dan Patch

Golden Receiver, the number one-ranked horse in harness racing’s weekly Top 10 poll for the second straight week, heads a field of nine entered in the 19th installment of the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, June 2. With wins in the Graduate, Spring Pacing Championship and Presidential finals this season, Dave Palone is enlisted to drive the 7- year-old son of Village Jove. Dave Palone, who is nearing the all-time record of career wins for the sport of harness racing set by Herve Filion with 15,180, has been named to drive Golden Receiver by trainer Mark Harder. Palone has driven Golden Receiver four times in his career and has three wins and a second.


With over $1 million in lifetime earnings, Golden Receiver has won nine of 11 races and earned $349,475 this year for his connections of Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and Nina Simmonds. Simmonds, who also bred Golden Receiver, has donated $10,000 of the horse’s winnings this year to the organization Equitarian Initiative. The group unites blacksmiths, veterinarians, and caregivers to provide medical assistance to the working horses, mules and donkeys that are used for income, agriculture and transportation in the developing world. Golden Receiver starts from post 5 as the early morning line favorite at odds of 5-2.


Also a main contender for the Dan Patch title is the Meadowland’s invader, Special T Rocks, making his first Indiana start for trainer, driver, and co-owner Daryl Bier. The 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover has won 10 times this year and made over $199,000 in just 18 starts. Special T Rocks ships to Indiana off a gutsy performance in the Invitational pace at the Meadowlands where he charged home to win in 1:49.3 with a closing panel of :26.3. He starts from post 7 and is the morning line second choice at odds of 3-1.


“He’s been racing some really tough miles all year,” trainer Daryl Bier noted of his horse. “He likes to race, he doesn’t like to have a week off. The only time this horse has ever raced badly is when he had some time off. Some of these horses are coming in to this race off a break and it will be interesting to see how the race plays out but I know we’ll be in the hunt.”


Rockincam, the Graduate elimination winner, has been selected as the third choice on the morning line for Hoosier Park’s signature event. Now 5, the Cambest horse has raked in more than $397,000 in career earnings for trainer Nifty Norman. Rockincam has won three of five outings this year and ended Golden Receiver’s five race win streak in the Graduate elimination, pacing in a lifetime best effort of 1:48.1. Hoosier Park’s three-time leading driver, Peter Wrenn, has been entrusted with the lines from post 9 at odds of 9-2.


Ideal Choice, starting from post 4, and Freddyscooter, just one spot to the left in post three, will play the role of local favorites in the field of nine. Ideal Choice, who ships to Indiana after posting back-to-back wins in the Open ranks at Woodbine, is trained by Brooke Nickells, a resident of Anderson, IN. Freddyscooter has numerous Hoosier Park Open titles to his credit and is trained by Steve Brannan, who also trains a stable of 10 horses on Hoosier Park’s backside.

Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in a special wager offered for the Dan Patch Invitational, which is slated as the 12th race with an estimated post time of 9:10 p.m. EST. A $25,000 guaranteed Superfecta pool will be available. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents, and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park, and the Indiana Standardbred Association.

Several activities will be held trackside to compliment the Dan Patch Invitational, including extreme sports activities with an extreme wrecking ball challenge, a bungee trampoline, extreme bungee racing, and helicopter rides around the track for $10. Guests are also welcome to enter at any rewards kiosk between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. to win an extreme cash prize of $10,000. The evening will be kicked off with another round of Charity Chariots as members of the Celebrity Standardbred Drivers offer free rides around Hoosier Park’s oval on double seated jog carts for a donation of $20. All proceeds will go to the driver’s selected charities. Rides will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

At the conclusion of the live racing, the celebrity drivers will once again put their talents on display and compete in an ‘Xtreme Kayak Challenge’ as they kayak across Hoosier Park’s pond for their share of a $5,000 prize to be awarded to the their designated charity. The first of its kind, the kayak race has an estimated start time of 10 p.m.

Thrillyard 200 will conclude with a free fireworks presentation starting at approximately 10:15 p.m. Hoosier Park will offer a free fireworks show each Saturday night through the end of the live Standardbred meet.