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Golden Receiver Heads Dan Patch Field

Published: May 30, 2012 6:19 pm ET

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Top-rated Golden Receiver will headline a field of nine in the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational for older pacers this Saturday, June 2 at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

In what may be the most competitive field ever assembled, the 19th installment of Hoosier Park’s featured event will highlight the night’s race program that begins at 5:30 p.m. The race will be part of a special evening tagged as “Thrillyard 200”. The evening will also be complimented by three divisions of the Indiana Gold Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies with over $430,000 in purse money distributed throughout the evening’s 14-race card.

Dave Palone will drive the newly minted millionaire Golden Receiver, who has drawn post five in the Dan Patch.

The seven-year-old son of Village Jove has won nine of 11 races this year and earned $348,850 for owners Stable 45, Richard Taylor, Stephen Springer and breeder Nina Simmonds. His earnings have done more than add to his million-dollar ledger as Simmonds has donated $10,000 of the horse’s winnings thus far to the organization Equitarian Initiative. The group unites veterinarians, blacksmiths and caregivers to provide medical assistance to working horses, mules and donkeys used for income, agriculture and transportation in the developing world. It also provides education and training to the local population.

“I trained him here on Tuesday and he was super,” conditioner Mark Harder said Wednesday from his central New Jersey base. “I think he’s as good now as what he’s been.”

Over his most recent 16 starts, dating back to last October, Golden Receiver has won 12 times and finished no worse than third in the remaining four.

Last year, Golden Receiver finished third in the Dan Patch Invitational, behind winner Giddy Up Lucky and Vintage Master. This season, he heads to Indiana off one of his most impressive victories, having defeated 2011 Breeders Crown champion Bettor Sweet and 2011 Pacer of the Year Foiled Again by three lengths each in the Graduate.

“He hadn’t faced horses like them [prior to the Graduate], but he’d been very good against the horses he raced against,” Harder said. “Maybe that helped to have him brave for when he did step up against them. Mentally, when they’re feeling that good about themselves, it’s a big edge.”

Golden Receiver, who has won 45 of 107 lifetime races, swept both the Presidential Series at the Meadowlands and the Spring Pacing Championship series at Woodbine Racetrack earlier this season.

“It’s tough when you’re a speed horse for speed to hold up every week, but right now he’s so good that they can’t get to him,” Harder said. “He’s got controlling speed off the [starting] gate and gets control of a race quickly. I’m sure there’s going to be a time he gets run hard to the quarter or the half and speed doesn’t hold up. But right now it is.”

Joining Golden Receiver as a main contender for the 2012 Dan Patch title is Nifty Norman’s Rockincam. The five-year-old Cambest horse has won three of five outings this year and ended Golden Receiver’s five race win streak in the Graduate elimination, pacing in a lifetime best effort of 1:48.1. Rockincam heads to Indiana after pacing under the 1:50 mark in all three of his last performances.

Ideal Choice and Freddyscooter will play the role of local favourites in the field of nine. Ideal Choice, who ships to Indiana after posting back-to-back wins in the Open ranks at Woodbine, is trained by Brooke Nickells, a resident of Anderson, Indiana. Freddyscooter has numerous Hoosier Park Open titles to his credit and is trained by Steve Brannan, who also conditions a stable of 10 horses on Hoosier Park’s backside.

The 16th annual Gregg Haston Memorial will also be conducted on the evening’s card. The race is held each year on Dan Patch Night to honour Haston, who was Hoosier Park’s inaugural leading driver and trainer. Haston was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1996.

Racing fans will have the opportunity, once again, to participate in a special wager offered for the Dan Patch Invitational. A $25,000 guaranteed Superfecta pool will be available as part of the Strategic Wagering Program. The wager will have a minimum bet of 10 cents, and is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Hoosier Park, and the Indiana Standardbred Association.

Following is the field in post position order for Saturday’s $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational, with listed drivers and trainers:

1. OK Commander, Peter Wrenn, Gregg McNair
2. Drop Red, Ed Hensley, Robert Horowitz
3. Freddyscooter, Trace Tetrick, Steve Brannan
4. Ideal Choice, Peter Wrenn, Brooke Nickells
5. Golden Receiver, Dave Palone, Mark Harder
6. Nob Hill High, Aaron Merriman, Bruce Saunders
7. Special T Rocks, Daryl Bier, Bier
8. Atochia, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke
9. Rockincam, Peter Wrenn, R. Nifty Norman

(With files from HRC & Hoosier Park)

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