10/04/2016 10:35AM

Harness: 2017 Breeders Crown dates set for Hoosier Park


ANDERSON, Ind. - The Breeders Crown, harness racing’s annual series of 12 championship events valued at $5.8 million, will race over two nights in the fall of 2017 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Indiana.

The Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the events, and Hoosier Park management have chosen a traditional October weekend for their Crown showcase, with the Crown races to be held Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28. Eliminations, if necessary, would be raced the weekend prior, Oct. 20 and 21.

Hoosier Park, home of harness racing in Indiana, has made enormous strides in establishing the state as home to champion Standardbreds, competitive overnight racing and host of world class racing. The Indiana breeding program has produced such stars as 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, Breeders Crown champions Freaky Feet Pete and Always B Miki and top-ranked mare trotter Hannelore Hanover, among many others prominent on the national stage.

“Over the next twelve months, our team at Hoosier Park and Centaur Gaming will be working diligently as we prepare to welcome thousands of racing fans and members of the horse racing industry to our property, as well as showcase the best in harness racing to thousands more across the world,” said Rick Moore, Hoosier Park’s vice president and general manager of racing.

In addition, Hoosier Park takes the spotlight in 2017 as the presenting sponsor of the Dan Patch Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 26. The Dan Patch Awards are for top equine and human performers, Harness Horse of the Year honors, as well as the first introduction of the newest member(s) to the Hall of Fame.

The seven-eighths mile track, which opened in 1994 and is now owned by Centaur Gaming, is the 31st racetrack to host the Breeders Crown. It is the final host track featured in a three-year agreement announced in 2014 by the Hambletonian Society that saw Woodbine Entertainment Group in Toronto set a Canadian Standardbred record handle of CDN $5,748,950 for the 13-race card at Woodbine Racetrack in 2015; The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ will host the 2016 Breeders Crown events on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29, as the historic New Jersey oval celebrates its 40-year anniversary; and Hoosier Park becomes the latest track to host the Breeders Crown for the first time in 2017. Hoosier Park will also be the first track to host the event in the Midwest since 1995 when it was last held at Northfield Park and the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio.

“The Breeders Crown series, the horsemen, owners, fans and racetracks benefit in every way by rotating among the best tracks in North America,” said Tom Charters, president of the Hambletonian Society.

“Hosting the 2017 Breeders Crown is an honor and certainly a recognition of the hard work and dedication from the entire Hoosier Park team, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Indiana Legislature, Indiana Standardbred Association and all of our partners in the racing industry,” said Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming’s president and chief operating officer. “Centaur Gaming is fully committed to the success of the 2017 Breeders Crown in hopes that Hoosier Park will continue to share the responsibility of hosting the events for years to come.”

The 33-year-old series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and has been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors since 1984. More than $180 million in purse money has been disbursed over 370 events. Originally conceived and executed as a traveling series, the Crown has traveled to racetracks across North America and been raced as single night and multiple night events.

--edited release (Hoosier Park)