10/29/2014 3:54PM

Harness: Breeders Crown to Hoosier Park in 2017


Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, the exclusive home of Indiana harness racing, announced on Wednesday (Oct. 29) that it will host the coveted Breeders Crown events in the fall of 2017 for the first time in its 21-year racing history, pending approval by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission and Indiana Standardbred Association.

The seven-eighths mile track, which opened in 1994, was awarded all 12 year-end championship races, worth a combined $5 million, by the Hambletonian Society which oversees the prestigious Breeders Crown series. The exact dates are yet to be determined but are historically showcased in late October or November.

“Hoosier Park is a world class racetrack and has been a solid supporter of Grand Circuit and stakes racing since they opened,” said Tom Charters, president of the Hambletonian Society which owns and services the races. “We are delighted to add a new track to the Breeders Crown roster, especially one as celebrated, and as accommodating to fans, owners, and horsepeople as Hoosier Park.”

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Much like the Super Bowl, the season-culminating Breeders Crown series does not have a fixed venue. The Breeders Crown races will be hosted at The Meadowlands Racetrack in 2014 and 2016 and at Woodbine Racetrack in Canada in 2015 before heading to Hoosier Park in 2017.

“Hoosier Park‘s team members are honored to have earned this level of recognition,” said Rod Ratcliff, Centaur Gaming chairman and chief executive officer. “We can’t thank the dedicated racing fans, team members, as well as the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Indiana Legislature, Indiana Standardbred Association, and all of our partners in the racing industry enough for their continued work to elevate Indiana horse racing on a national level.” 

Owned by Indianapolis-based Centaur Gaming, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino underwent a major expansion to its racing facility when casino gaming at Indiana’s racetracks was legislatively authorized in 2007. Centaur, founded in 1993, is a company built on the precept of furthering the entertainment and economic development benefits of Indiana gaming and horse racing.

“This is a major step forward for Indiana horse racing and something Hoosier Park and our partners in the industry have been working towards for years,” said Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming president and chief operating officer. “Since 2008, Hoosier Park has continued to make significant investments into improving our racing product – both on-track and via our simulcast signal, and this announcement serves as recognition of these efforts. The Hoosier Park team will be ready to welcome racing fans from across the country in 2017.” 

The state-bred program has improved dramatically in 20 years, and the $3 million stakes schedule, centered annually around the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational, attracts the best trotters and pacers in North America throughout the season.

The 30-year-old Breeders Crown series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors. Originally conceived and executed as a traveling series, the “Crown” has traveled to racetracks across North America and raced as either single night or multiple night events. 

--edited release (Hoosier Park)