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Survive This Leads Dan Patch Parade

Published: June 17, 2009 10:29 pm ET

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Trainer Rachel Matthews will take on a different role Saturday, June 20 as the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational Pace prepares to go to the gate. Matthews will be aboard her retired standardbred racehorse, Survive This, serving as parade marshal for Hoosier Park Racing and Casino’s signature harness event.

Survive This, bred and raised by Matthews and her father, Mark, has always had a special place in the family. The seven-year-old son of Survivor Gold was bottle fed for the first few weeks of his life because his mother had a condition that prevented her to nurse the foal. He was later put in training by Matthews and developed into a racehorse.

During his career, Survive This won 10 races in 76 career starts, taking a career best time of 1:54.4 at Indiana Downs under the direction of driver Ross Leonard in 2007. He also marked a milestone for Matthews in the process.

“I recorded my very first training win with him (Survive This),” said Matthews. “He’s always been special to us. A few months after he took his career mark, he had a suspensory injury and we decided to retire him. I’ve made a riding horse out of him and he goes everywhere we do.”

Matthews and Leonard team up to care for a stable of 12-15 horses on Hoosier Park’s backstretch. When she gets time off, Matthews enjoys taking “Meatball,” as he is affectionately known around the barn, for trail rides. She continues to work on his gait and can ride him either in English gear or Western. His ability to be versatile after his racing days are over is a good example of how racehorses can enjoy a second career after retirement from the racetrack.

“I’m going to ride him in English gear Saturday to lead the Dan Patch horses to post,” said Matthews. “I’m still working to get his canter refined, so it will be easier for me to post to his trot.”

Matthews and Survive This will lead the 10-horse field for the Dan Patch Invitational Pace from the Grandstand Paddock. Horses will come down to the outdoor viewing area prior to the 12th race so fans can see the horses up close as they make their final preparations for the race. Estimated post time for the Dan Patch, carded as the 13th race on the program, is 5:01 p.m. EST.

Leading into the Dan Patch Invitational is the $24,000 Haston Memorial set as race 12. The race is named in honour of driver-trainer Gregg Haston, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1996. Haston was the winning driver of the inaugural race Sept. 1, 1994 behind BK Bentley. He also scored both the first driving and training titles in 1994.

(Hoosier Park)

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