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Dan Patch Invitational celebrates 20 years at Hoosier
Friday, May 10, 2013 - by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park

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Anderson, IN--Once again, the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational will be the highlight of the 2013 harness racing season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday (May 25).

Now in its 20th edition, the Dan Patch Invitational pace is the one time of the year that the top rated horses in North America convene on Hoosier Park’s seven-eighths-mile oval seeking a lucrative $200,000 purse and a spot in Hoosier Park’s history.

Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing event has become a tradition that is close to the hearts of Hoosiers. The Dan Patch, an invitational race, not only highlights some of the best athletes in the sport of harness racing, but is deeply rooted throughout Indiana soil. 

Hoosier Park’s event is named after the early 1900s racehorse phenomenon, Dan Patch. Originally from Oxford, Ind., Dan Patch raced the clock rather than his inferior competitors. Drawing crowds of over 90,000 people at a single race, the free-legged equine hero was the unparalleled sports icon of his time.

The Dan Patch race was established at Hoosier Park in 1994 with Ready To Rumble and driver Trevor Ritchie winning the inaugural edition 20 years ago. The list of all-star horses that have made their way to Hoosier Park over the years includes Jenna’s Beach Boy, Maltese Artist and former seven-eighths mile world record holder, the late Pacific Fella.

Kevin Mack, Hoosier Park’s racing secretary, inherits the responsibility of recruiting the best horses to compete in the event every year. Mack begins making his list of potential contenders for one of the ten coveted invitations to the Dan Patch many weeks in advance. After much consideration, ten horses, including a signature “Hometown Hero” chosen from the local area, will receive the official invitation to compete in Hoosier Park’s signature harness racing attraction.

The 2013 installment will tout some of the best horses, trainers and drivers in the sport. Patrons can potentially expect to see talents like Levy Memorial Pacing Series champion, Razzle Dazzle, Meadowlands Pace champion A Rocknroll Dance and perhaps 2012’s victor, Rockin Cam lined up behind the gate for the 2013 edition.

“We are looking at what may be the most competitive field to date in the 2013 edition of this great race,” Mack noted. “We haven’t officially decided, but the horses we are looking to invite are evenly matched and that makes for great racing. We are constantly striving to improve our harness racing product in Indiana and the Dan Patch is a race that does that by shining the spotlight on Indiana Standardbred racing on to the national scene.”

Several activities will be held trackside to complement the Dan Patch Invitational pace, including Indiana sire stakes action, property-wide dining specials, special wagering opportunities and exciting entertainment throughout the entire evening.

Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in two special wagering opportunities offered for the Dan Patch Invitational race. A $25,000 guaranteed Superfecta pool for the Dan Patch race will once again be available as part of the special Strategic Wagering Program through the United States Trotting Association and Hoosier Park partnership. Hoosier Park will also offer a $10,000-guaranteed Pick-4 pool that will include the Dan Patch race as a leg of the wager.
 
Live Racing will kick-off on Saturday, May 25 at its regularly scheduled post of 5:30 p.m. The 160 day, all harness racing meet will follow a Tuesday-Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 9.


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