Photos determine winners in 2 races
Indiana, and Hoosier Park in Anderson, was the center of the North American universe of harness racing Friday and Saturday as the top race horses competed in the year-end championship series of races known as the Breeder’s Crown.
Twelve races during the two nights in each division by age, sex and gait were contested for total purse money of $6 million. This is only the second time that Hoosiers have hosted this “Super Bowl” of harness racing, and all indications are that Indiana will be in the front of the line when the time comes to pick future sites. The Hoosier hospitality was much appreciated.
Each race produced champions who will be remembered, but two divisions stand out.
Friday night, for the first time in the 37 years of this event, a “dead heat” was recorded as the 2-year-old pacing colts required a camera to separate the top four finishers, and even then the first two had to be called a tie. The Indiana champion, JK Going West from the LeWayne Miller stable, was deemed by the camera to be in fourth place. One of the two “dead heat” winners, Perfect Sting, remains undefeated.
In the case of a tie, first- and second-place money in this $600,000 race is combined and then split evenly between the two horses. In this case, that means $450,000 was divided by those two.
On Saturday night, the division for 3-year-old pacing colts produced what some are calling one of the great horse races in history. The undefeated and favored Tall Dark Stranger set torrid fractions going north on the Hoosier Park backstretch with the wind at his back, but, when he rounded the oval and turned into the south wind down the long straight to the finish, he was caught by his main rival, Cattlewash, who was second in the betting. Those two fought it out, with Tall Dark Stranger emerging victorious, or so it seemed, until the last few yards of the race when the 200-1 long shot Sandbetweenmytoes came from nowhere to win at the wire.
Once again, the photograph had to sort out the placings, as the entire field of 10 horses were within 4/5ths of second of each other at the finish. The first four horses were all given the same time, with the next three 1/5th of a second slower.
A $2 win bet on Sandbetweenmytoes paid $409, for the biggest win payoff in the history of the Breeder’s Crown. The total betting handle on the two nights of racing was also a record for Hoosier Park as the fans wagered a total of $4.3 million on the races. Most of that betting was done over the internet as actual attendance at the racetrack was limited to owners, trainers, grooms, drivers and their families due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Earlier last week, Harrison County horses raced with success at Hoosier Park.
The Conrad stable recorded a win with their pacing mare Primo Extremo and three fourth-place finishes with pacers Moscato and Uncaged and trotter Mt. Swanmore.
Lanesville native Rockin TJ was second in his race. Born and raised on the Walther farm south of Lanesville, the horse is now owned by Pennsylvania interests.
The coming weeks will see several important races leading to the closing of the Hoosier Park season on Nov. 21. Some local horses will shift to racing at Ohio tracks, and some already have, as Hayswood Ron, owned by Hayswood Farm of Corydon and King Racing of Ohio, is entered this week at Dayton Raceway.