Hoosier Park Racing & Casino hosted a 14-race card on Friday, June 12 that was highlighted by the $21,000 Invitational Trot and $21,000 Invitational Pace for fillies and mares.
Both of the featured events saw familiar faces in the winner’s circle as Penn and Montenegro scored decisively in their respective divisions.
Penn, with Darrell Wright in the bike, rebounded from a second-place finish in his last outing at Hoosier Park to score his fourth win of the season in the top trot with a final time of 1:54.2 over a track rated "good."
Sent off as the heavy betting favourite, Penn used his quick gate speed to fire from the wings from post eight. The Bobby Brower trainee dictated fractions of :27.3, :57.2 and 1:25.4 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. Rose Run Parker and Ricky Macomber Jr. made a strong bid at the leader late in the lane, but Penn was too strong on the front. Using a :28.3 final quarter, Penn held off a late charge by Lady Blitz and Verlin Yoder to win by a length. Rose Run Parker rounded out the trifecta. Penn returned $4.20 to his backers at the window.
The five-year-old gelded son of Master Glide-Photo Queen scored his 23rd career victory and has now earned $165,934 for owner Barkley Counts.
In the featured pace for fillies and mares, it was Montenegro and Jason Dillander who came out on top scoring their fourth victory of the season at Hoosier Park, this time in 1:53.2. Montenegro, who also finished second in her last outing at Hoosier Park, rallied late in the lane to get up in the final strides of the mile.
Lease Ness Monster and Peter Wrenn fired away from the gate through the opening quarter in :27.1, but their lead was short-lived as Just A Bee and Mike Micallef were on a mission to the front. Just A Bee continued to call the shots through splits of :55.4 and 1:24.1 before Tyler Smith and Miss Kilo would apply pressure first-over. As the field turned for home, the race appeared to be wide open with horses fanning out across the track. Dillander tipped Montenegro off tiring cover and she responded with a :28.2 final quarter to get the win over Wild Wanda and Andy Shetler. Miss Kilo finished third. As the bettors’ choice, Montenegro returned $5.60 at the betting windows.
Trained by Jeff Cullipher and owned by Randall Bendis and Thomas Pollack, Montenegro has earned $71,385 this season. The seven-year-old mare has now won 31 of 146 lifetime outings and sports a career bankroll of $566,914.
Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, May 30 with a 14-race card. Saturday’s program will feature the $21,000 Invitational Pace and two divisions of the Tubby Trimble Series.
(With files from Hoosier Park)