ANDERSON, Ind.—August 8, 2014—Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, paced the fastest mile in Hoosier Park harness racing history with a 1:47.2 score in the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational on Friday, August 8 and extended his win streak to nine in the process. The previous track record, a mark that stood for four years, was established by Shark Gesture and George Brennan in the 2010 Dan Patch Invitational.
In a talented group of nine, Pierce sent Sweet Lou away from the gate firing but stablemate Bettor’s Edge and Ricky Macomber Jr. were quickest off the car and reached the opening panel in a speedy :25.2. Carol’s Comet and Aaron Merriman were well placed in the pocket second with the 1/5 favorite, Sweet Lou next in line in third. Pierce, sensing the outer flow starting to form, gave Sweet Lou the green light and he easily reached the front at the second station in a blazing :52.4.
Heston Blue Chip and Corey Callahan had the daunting task of beginning the first-over charge down the backside and had reached the leader’s wheel at the three-quarter mark in 1:20.1. With the torrid pace taking its toll, Bettor’s Edge and Sweet Lou settled into a match race and paced away from the rest of the field.
Using a :27.1 final panel, Sweet Lou was able to hold off his stablemate by a head to score his ninth win of the season and first Dan Patch Invitational win. Bettor’s Edge was a game second while Carol’s Comet finished third as the longest shot on the board at 53-1. Sweet Lou returned $2.40 to his backers at the window.
“I really didn’t think we were going that much,” Pierce noted in the winner’s circle. “I saw the splits and I was amazed. I have to say, that other horse (Bettor’s Edge) concerned me tonight, he just kept coming. This is a very long stretch but my horse raced great again.”
“He could’ve gone more but we’ve got to keep some in the tank for next week,” Pierce continued. “He raced great. We are going home with the trophy and the track record so that is a great night.”
Trained by Ron Burke, Sweet Lou won for the 31st time in 67 lifetime starts this year for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. The victory pushed his career earnings over $3 million to $3,033,961. The 5-year-old has now paced a record six consecutive winning miles under 1:48.
The victory was the first Dan Patch Invitational win for trainer Ron Burke and second Dan Patch Invitational win for driver Ron Pierce who also scored in 2005 behind Maltese Artist. The win capped off a sensational night for Pierce who tallied two wins to lead his team to victory in the $20,000 East Meets Midwest Drivers’ Challenge.
Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, August 9 with a special post time of 3:00 p.m. Indiana Sires Stakes action will highlight the 14-race card that will be followed by a concert featuring nationally renowned country group, Little Big Town. The entire “Dan Patch Festival Weekend” will culminate with a fireworks display immediately following the concert.
Racing Commentator, Publicist and Marketing Specialist