11/03/2004 12:00AM

Hoosier Park track report


Saturday marks the fourth annual Ladies Night at Hoosier Park, headlined by the Female Jockey Challenge, which features 12 female riders competing in six races.

There will be free admission for ladies, and those who are 18 and over will receive a free $2 betting voucher. Jeannine Edwards of ESPN will be on hand for a wagering seminar scheduled from 5:15 to 6 p.m., and there will be a wine-tasting session during the early races from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

The Jockey Challenge will bring in female riders from the Northeast and Canada along with regional riders.

Jill Jellison, a winner of more than 1,800 career races, and fellow Suffolk Downs rider Tammi Piermarini head the list of invaders. Piermarini is fourth in the rider standings at Suffolk, with 100 wins from 629 mounts, and Jellison is 15th with 21 wins from 153 starts. Jellison is among the leading active female riders in the nation.

Francine Villeneuve, Canada's leading female rider of all time, will make her debut in the Challenge off a strong fourth in the rider standings at Fort Erie, where she won 57 races from 333 mounts. Cory Clark, Canada's 2000 Sovereign Award winner for apprentice rider, comes to the event off a 10th in the standings at Fort Erie.

Apprentice Liz Morris is riding at Hawthorne Park, where she has won with 6 of her 77 mounts. Others riding in the Midwest include Heather Irion, eighth in the standings at the recently concluded Fairmount Park meeting; Jane Magrell, a regular at Thistledown since 1987; and Shelley Moran, who rides primarily the Ohio circuit.

Local riders Bonnie Castaneda, Jessica Endres, Joddie Fortner, and Julie Fritz complete the lineup of a dozen females in the challenge.

The draw for Saturday's card was to be conducted Wednesday afternoon. The races written for the Female Jockey Challenge include claiming events and a pair of starter allowances. Riders will earn 5 points for a win, 3 for second, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth.

Greta Kuntzweiler won last year's event, and Rhonda Collins, now a commentator on TVG Racing Network, won the first two editions of the challenge in 2001 and 2002.

* Jockey David Garcia scored a four-bagger last Friday night for his best evening of the season. He now has 21 wins on the meet and moves into the top 10 in the rider standings. Rodney Prescott followed up with a four-bagger of his own Saturday night and is in second in the rider standings with 60 wins.