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Dan Patch Taking Shape

Published: June 13, 2009 5:25 pm ET

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The 16th edition of the Dan Patch Invitational is taking shape for Saturday, June 20. Entries for the event will be taken Wednesday, June 17 as 10 of the best older pacing horses in the nation will be coming in for the race. The Dan Patch will be set as the 13th race with an estimated post time of 5:01 p.m. EST. The stellar field of pacers has amassed more than $10 million in career earnings, making this year’s event one of the richest fields ever assembled for a race.

Heading the list of entrants for the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational is Mister Big, 2008 Older Pacing Horse of the Year. The Virgil Morgan Jr-trained horse has a career best time of 1:47.4 and 29 wins in 69 career starts. With more than $3.2 million in career earnings, Mister Big is fifth on the list of all-time leading money-winning pacers in the history of harness racing. He is closing in on the all-time leader, Gallo Blue Chip, who has more than $4.2 million in career earnings.

Joining Mister Big as a serious contender for the title in the Dan Patch is Art Official, last year’s Hoosier Cup winner at Hoosier Park. The four-year-old son of Art Major, also a previous Hoosier Cup winner, Art Official took a career best time of 1:47 last year. He has more than $1.6 million in career earnings for Jim and Joyce Jesk’s Sawgrass Farms of Lockport, Ind. Joe Seekman trains Art Official.

Another heavy hitter for the 2009 Dan Patch race is Dali, who won his first start of 2009 last week in a time of 1:50 at Woodbine Racetrack in Canada. The Real Artist millionaire finished second in last year’s Hoosier Cup behind Art Official. He has a career best time of 1:48 for trainer Duane Marfisi.

Hoosier Park Racing and Casino’s local connection is Robin I Scoot, winner of last week’s $22,000 Invitational and getting an automatic bid into the event. Trained by Dan Perdue, Robin I Scoot was Indiana’s 2008 Horse of the Year and has 23 career wins for Shady Lane Meadows of Grabill, Indiana. Robin I Scoot took a new lifetime mark here earlier this year in a time of 1:49.3.

Other horses for the Dan Patch Invitational include Southwestern Dream, winner of eight races this year including the Four Leaf Clover Final, Shark Gesture, a millionaire with four wins in 2009, Foiled Again, winner in seven of nine starts this season, Winbak Speed, nine wins and a new career best time of 1:49, and Won The West, last year’s Dan Patch defending champ who has more than $1 million in earnings.

Horses for the Dan Patch Invitational will race from the Grandstand Paddock, located on the south end of the grandstand. Guests are encouraged to walk down and view the horses up close as they prepare for the race. Harness trainer Rachel Matthews will lead the horses to post on her retired standardbred, Survive This.

In addition to the Dan Patch Invitational, the 13th edition of the Gregg Haston Memorial Pace will be held along with several legs of the Indiana Sires Stakes. The day’s activities will begin at 11 a.m. with the third round of the Charity Chariots where fans can ride around the track with their favourite Fab Five driver for a donation of $20 to charity. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m.

(Hoosier Park)

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