ANDERSON, Ind.-July 5, 2014 - Hoosier Park Racing & Casino highlighted their 21st season of live harness racing with a stakes filled card on Saturday, July 5. Four new Indiana Sires Stakes champions were crowned on the evening that featured the first of five rounds of $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the freshman competitors and the second round of the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals for the three-year-old divisions. It was Hoosier Park's leading driver, Trace Tetrick, who stole the show with five winners on the evening's 14-race card, four of which came in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes finals. In the opening division of the two-year-old stakes action, Crunchess Finale and Darrel Wright continued their winning ways to score their third consecutive victory in the $75,000 two-year-old trotting filly final with a 1:58 final time. Using the same front-running tactics as she has in her previous two starts, Crunchess Finale looked every bit the part of an 8-5 favorite and left alertly from post eight. The freshman filly easily secured the lead and clicked off fractions of :28.3, 1:00, and 1:28.2 before finding another gear. As the field turned for home, the daughter of ABC Garland-Crunchess looked poised on the front and began to trot away from the rest of the field. Using a :28.4 final quarter, Crunchess Finale coasted on to the wire to finish five lengths in front of Golden Big Stick and Brad Hanners. Heavily backed at the window, Crunchess Finale returned $5.40 to her backers. The 1:58 victory was a lifetime best mark for the Dan O'Mara trainee who remains undefeated this season. Owned by Joseph Hess, Crunchess Finale has now earned $50,500 from three lifetime outings. In the very next race, Stickem Buck, driven by Ed Hensley, staged a big rally late in the lane to score his maiden breaking win in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old trotting colts in 1:58.2. After a miscue at the start by the heavily favored, Airman Batten the race appeared to be a wide open affair. Flashy Cantab and Trace Tetrick left aggressively to set first half fractions of :29.2 and :59.2 before making a costly break around the final turn. Swan on One and Dave Magee inherited the lead after the break by the front-runner and appeared to be up to the task but Stickem Buck loomed large in the background. Under urging from Hensley, Stickem Buck was able to track down Swan On One in the final strides of the mile to win by a nose. Slightly dismissed at the windows, Stickem Buck returned $12.60 at to his backers. From the first crop of Big Stick Lindy, Stickem Buck is trained by Roger Welch and owned by William C. Delong and William P. Delong. Stickem Buck has now earned $42,500 from two career starts. On the pacing side of the two-year-old stakes action, Hoosier Park's leading driver Trace Tetrick doubled up in both the two-year-old pacing filly final and two-year-old pacing colt final. First, Tetrick guided Flight Cancelled to her second consecutive win as a freshman in the $75,000 pacing filly final with a final time of 1:55. Leaving from the trailing post ten, Flight Cancelled was eased off the gate and settled along the rail in fifth while HeyHey Mahanah and Peter Wrenn carved out first-half fractions of :28.4 and :57.4. Approaching the final turn, Tetrick gave his mount the green light and she reached the leader's wheel at the third station in 1:26. As the field turned for home, the top pair was neck and neck but Flight Cancelled wasn't finished. Using a :28.3 final panel, Flight Cancelled was able to wear down HeyHey Mahanah late in the lane to grind out the victory. As the betting publics' second choice, Flight Cancelled returned $13.00 for the victory. Trained by Steve Carter, Flight Cancelled remains undefeated at two for owners Steve and Tammy Carter. The daughter of Panspacificflight-Goa BB now sports a career bankroll of $37,500 from two lifetime outings. Just a few races later, Tetrick continued his winning ways and scored with Tom Simmon's Kelly D in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for two-year-old pacing colts in 1:52.4. Kelly D remains undefeated at two and equaled the national's season mark for two-year-old pacing colts with the win. Kelly D left aggressively from post two to get the first call in :27.4 but quickly yielded the lead to Harfo Hanover and Ed Hensley. Harfo Hanover led the way through the middle splits of :56.3 and 1:25.2 before feeling pressure on the outside from Camturo Rock and Dave Magee. Harfo Hanover was able to put away Camturo Rock and dug in gamely down the lane but could not hold off Kelly D who exploded from the pocket. With a final quarter in :27, Kelly D finished two lengths in front of the hard-charging Toni's Affection and Sam Widger. As the publics' third choice, Kelly D returned $7.40 at the betting windows. The homebred son of Panspacificflight-U Olive is owned by Larry Breed and has won all three of his lifetime outings. Kelly D now sports a career bankroll of $51,525. Tetrick also scored with Brian Brown's Color's A Virgin in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old pacing fillies and Scott Galloway's Double A Cash Hall in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes final for three-year-old trotting colts. His first win of the night came in the $25,000 consolation for two-year-old pacing fillies with Do U Mind for trainer Brian Brown. Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, July 8 with a 14-race card. Live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule with a daily post time of 5:15 p.m. The 160-day, all harness racing meet will be conducted through November 15. Emily Gaskin Racing Commentator, Publicist and Marketing Specialist
And now, the answers to the trivia questions that have appeared in this space recently. We'll deal first with Bob "Hollywood" Heyden's question, paraphrasing from the previous article: "Jerryconnors, this year Shebestingin and Beeamagician both went faster than any of their three-year-old colt counterparts. What was thelastyear that thathappened?" (Bob's brain is always in hyperwarpdrive, and sometimes the words come out of his mouth as if frantically trying to keep up with the gray matter that had just produced them.) When I originally told of this encounter, I did not include my first, smart-ass answer: Since Bob was asking me the question in 2014 (the February of the Dover USHWA/banquet), I said, "2013," which was the previous and, thus by definition, "last" year. That of course was a correct answer. (Watch, and it'll turn more correct the further you read.) Heyden wasn't impressed, giving a "Geez" and a shake of the head as if wondering why he wastes his time trying to educate the unwashed. "Before that, I mean." As I did recount earlier, my next response was, "I don't know." Which was the second correct answer - because 2013 was the FIRST AND ONLY time that Bob's phenomenon had ever occurred! And of course you can't know something that doesn't exist. So BOTH of my answers were correct! I owe thanks for verification to David Carr, veteran computer guru and statistical researcher for the USTA (along with being a Tottenham Hotspurs fan, as is Roy Davis). David said that when he saw the article, he set up the computer parameters, and could trace the data back to 1951 - and that 2013 was the first year that the phenomenon occurred. (Though, according to David, it had happened three times previously among two-year-olds - but that's for a future column.) After Hollywood's stumper, I mentioned, I happened upon an amazing piece of trivia in the Dover paddock: Not 10 feet apart from each other were two gentlemen who are both members of a very, very exclusive club - they were both the leading dashwinning drivers at tracks that hosted just ONE season of harness racing! They accomplished their feats 15 years apart. And they both have the same initials! I did plant one clue in yesterday's story - if you read Ron Pierce's career travels carefully, you may have noted "Minnesota" thrown in there. In 1986, Pierce was the leading driver during the only year they had harness racing at Canterbury (which, for different trivia fans, was where Governor Jesse Ventura's post-election celebration was held). Forrest Skipper won there that year,too - in the Dan Patch Pace, of course. So now we know that the other driver's initials are also "RP" - and from there it's a short jump to Roger Plante Jr., now a solid regular on the Delaware circuit, but for three weekends in 2001 plying his trade at Oakridge Racecourse in Virginia - where he won their only dash title with 14 triumphs. Oak Ridge Estate in southwest VA is an historic plantation/horse farm/events site that was purchased by the Holland Family in 1989, with John Sr. later thinking to try to secure a couple of off-track wagering permits in the Old Dominion - but that required him to hold a pari-mutuel license. So he carved a mile track on the grounds, brought in tents for a paddock and temporary fixtures for fans (no simulcasting in or out, the latter disappointing Plainridge, and I know because they called me, who had written a story, and asked me), and conducted Friday-Saturday-Sunday racing from September 21 to October 7 of 2001. (Alas, for overall naught for Mr. Holland's oval, as he did not get the off-track permits.) There was only that one season of harness at Oakridge (how the USTA records spell it) - nine days, 101 purse races. Plante won 14, one more than Clifton Green, to secure its only dash title, and join that super-exclusive club that both he and Pierce have membership in. And now to end - FOR POSSIBLY THE ONLY TIME EVER IN PRINT - the list of the drivers who won the 101 races at Oakridge! 14: Roger Plante Jr. 13: Clifton Green 11: Brian Allen 7: Dan O'Mara, Fern Paquet Jr. 5: Mark Gray, Donnie Russell 4: Gary Messenger 3: Ken Billman, Joe Offutt, Del Richards 2: Kyle DiBenedetto, Gerry Bookmyer, R. Scott Gregoire*, Jukka Paljarvi, Tim Roach, Tom D. (father of ...) Tetrick, Bryce Truitt, Don Wilson II 1: Mark Clark, Rusty Cox, George Filion, Grover Freck, Warren McIlmurray, Jim Morand, Barry Probber, Basil Sapienza, James Smallwood, Kelly Staten * - Mr. Gregoire gets a special mention because he swept the Daily Double on the inaugural card. By Jerry Connors for Harnesslink.com
True Day Dream and Jim Meittinis captured Saturday night's $35,383 division of the Tompkins-Geers trot for 3-year old trotting fillies at Tioga Downs. Leaving from post position number four in a field of eight, Meittinis settled True Day Dream in second as he relinquished the lead to the favored Andie Sophia (Cat Manzi) by the quarter in 28.1. Andie Sophia who was coming off of her Hudson Trot victory then led the field through fractions of 57.4 and 1:26.4 with her main contender sitting on Manzi's helmet. As the field headed into the stretch, Meittinis moved True Day Dream to the outside and battled Andie Sophia through the stretch to get up and win by a length and a half in 1:56. Dan O'Mara trains the 3-year old daughter of Infinitif - Tenacious Victory for owner Joseph Hess of New Milford, NJ. Andie Sophia (Cat Manzi) finished second, while Silver Credit (Jim Marohn Jr.) finished third. The other division winner for the 3-year old trotting fillies was Southwind Cocoa (Jeff Gregory) in 1:57.2, after the 2-5 betting favorite Classic Martine made a break just past the quarter. Classic Martine (Jim Marohn Jr.) did rebound after dropping to last to close and finished second. In the $62,766 lone division for 3-year old trotting colts, Pine Credit received an extremely patient drive from Brandon Simpson and it paid off. Simpson sat in with Pine Credit fifth as the field was led through fractions of 28.4 and 58.3 by Crazy About Pat (Cat Manzi). As the field passed by three quarters in 1:27.3, Simpson found room to his right and slid Pine Credit to the outside. The duo began tracking horses three wide around the final turn and as they entered the stretch he was picking up ground on the leader Crazy About Pat with every stride. Pine Credit got up to win in the final strides over Crazy About Pat by a neck in 1:56.4, for his first seasonal victory of the year for trainer Erv Miller. Erv Miller shares ownership of the 3-year old son of Credit Winner - Ms Piggy Pine with Harvey Eisman and Paymaq Racing. Sunday afternoon wraps up the Grand Circuit Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2013. A dozen sophomore pacing colts are split into two sixes, each for a prize of $31,833 in races one and five. The opener is an even field with Don't Ya Know a slight choice off of his win in the Historic stakes here last month. He has followed that one up with two more wins in overnights at Yonkers. Bluestone Farms, Kitty Hawk Stable and Val D'Or Farms share ownership of the Western Ideal colt from Caviart Vegas, Joe Holloway trains and David Miller drives. The second division fave is Kenny Jacobs good Art Major colt Doctor Butch. He won the Art Rooney last month and has been on the board in every one of his 18 career outings while bringing home more than a half million dollars. Linda Toscano trains this fella and Jim Morrill, Jr has the drive. Eleven filly pacers made for an owner-friendly split of five and six in the stake. JK Black Beauty (Bettor's Delight) headlines the first division in race three. She is another Toscano trainee, this one for the 3 Brothers Stable, who's been lightly raced but very successful. JK Black Beauty captured the Lismore stake last month on her way to over $80,000 in seasonal earnings. The second filly division is race eight with the six pack racing for a purse of $29,883. Shebestingin is (Bettor's Delight) the most accomplished of the group with over $160,000 earned this year on the strength of five wins in nine outings. She took her personal speed record at Tioga in a NYSS event last month and is paired with her regular driver, Dave Miller, for this engagement. Joe Holloway trains her for Val D'Or, Ted Gewertz and L & L Devisser. Kenny Jacobs' fan favorite and track record holder Heston Blue Chip makes a local appearence in the Open pace on Sunday afternoon as well. The fun starts at 1:30. by Dustin Ross
Amanda Jackson's Hillbilly Desire and Tye Loy's Blueridge Dancer scored wins Sunday (October 14) in their respective Virginia-bred three year old filly and colt/gelding pacing divisions as Colonial Downs ushered out its fall meet with the $391,150 "Day of Champions" harness racing card.
Eloise Eden wired the field and scored a convincing six and a half length win in Saturday's $5,000 Virginia-bred 2 Year Old Filly Trot, which served as a prep for next Sunday's $50,000 (est.) finale at Colonial Downs.