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Hoosier Champions Night Closes Meet

Published: July 15, 2012 2:57 am ET

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Hoosier Park Racing & Casino closed out its 19th season of standardbred racing with the annual Hoosier Champions Night in front of a packed house on Saturday, July 14. Six new Indiana Sire Stakes champions were crowned on the evening that featured a 14-race card with purses in excess of $1.2 million.

The Anderson track played host to four $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes Finals for three-year-old trotters and pacers, in all of which favourites failed to prevail. Perhaps the biggest upset of the night was produced by Don Eash and Rustles Chip as they scored at 67-1 in the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers.

Lining up behind the gate in post five, Rustles Chip settled along the rail in seventh as Sunday Poker was dictating fast fractions of :26.3 and :55. Jammin Joshua was well placed in second as the heavy betting favourite, Our Lucky Chip, began his quest to the front first up around the last turn. Reaching the three-quarter mark in 1:22.3, Sunday Poker began to tire as the rest of the field closed in. Our Lucky Chip looked to be poised for the stretch drive, but took himself out of the race after a costly break in the lane. Eash and Rustles Chip were widest of all and got up to put a nose in front of Brown Titan and Ed Hensley who had a ground saving trip along the rail in 1:51.2. Jammin Joshua dug in gamely to finish third.

Rustles Chip lit up the toteboard, returning $136 for the victory.

“I noticed tonight that horses have had trouble getting to the wire, and I knew that would be a factor,” said Eash. “But I really have confidence in this horse and I was really proud of him and the way he raced tonight.”

The win was the fifth in 25 starts for Rustles Chip, now a winner of $153,859. Trained and owned by Eash, the homebred son of Arts Chip knocked four seconds off his previous lifetime mark.

Jolenes Pinehonker and Mark O’Mara started the trend early on the card as they romped to victory in the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old colt and gelding trotters in a lifetime-best effort of 1:56.3.

As part of a three-horse Lester Raber-trained entry, Jolenes Pinehonker started from post five in the eight-horse field. My Muscleman and Jason Dillander defended their rail position and reached the first mark in :27.4 as Jolenes Pinehonker found a spot along the rail in second. Trace Tetrick quickly gave the green light to the public’s choice, Dontfusswithruss, as they reached the front just past the half in :57.3. Dontfusswithruss began to trot away from the field through the three-quarter clocking in 1:26.3 before being tracked down by Jolenes Pinehonker late in the lane. My Muscleman took advantage of a pocket seat to get up for the second place finish with Dontfusswithruss holding on for third.

Jolenes Pinehonker returned $13.40 to his backers. Trained and owned by Lester Raber, the victory was the fifth in 20 career starts for the son of Pinetucky. Jolenes Pinehonker nearly doubled his lifetime earnings as he pushed his lifetime bankroll over the $160,000 mark with the win.

“This horse was very sharp tonight,” O’Mara noted. “We got a really good trip, too. He has beaten all these horses before, but he has to be in the right frame of mind to do it. Les had his horses really sharp tonight and I was just lucky enough to drive one of them.”

The defending two-year-old filly trot sire stakes champion, Cincinnati Star, and Trace Tetrick turned in a gate-to-wire performance to capture the $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old trotting fillies.

Leaving from post four, she strolled through intervals of :28.4, :58 and 1:27.1 before trotting home to win convincingly by one and three-quarter lengths over the public’s choice, Sweetasmusic. Blueridge Abigail and Pete Wrenn rounded out the trifecta.

For Cincinnati Star, a Cincinnati Kid filly trained by Steve Carter, the win was her 13th in 22 career starts as she pushed her bankroll over the $400,000 mark.

“It’s been a great night,” Carter noted. “I’ve been fortunate to have some really nice horses. This filly is a tough filly and she showed that tonight. Everything worked out for her and she raced really tough, just like she has all year long.”

Tetrick followed that performance with another score in the Indiana Gold Sire Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing fillies with Dont Flash Me in 1:53.4.

Tetrick sent the rookie filly to the front as the gate folded and cruised along through first half fractions of :27.3 and :55.4 before yielding the lead to Roberts Ideal and Ricky Macomber Jr. Roberts Ideal’s lead was short-lived as Tetrick had Dont Flash Me back out and firing to the front. With the three-quarter timed in 1:24, Dont Flash Me was able to hold off a late charge from Sheza Cool Cookie and Sam Widger to finish one and a half lengths in front. Roberts Ideal held on gamely to finish third.

Dont Flash Me paid $10.60 to win. Trained by Carthel Daulton, Dont Flash Me scored the seventh win of her sophomore season in only 10 outings. The homebred filly is sired by Dontgetinmyway and out of the Electric Yankee mare, Electric Flash. With the lion’s share of the purse, Dont Flash Me has now bankrolled over $140,000 for owners Jerry Haynes and Wendy Brandt.

Also, making a special appearance on the evening were 12 celebrity guests as they raced for charity in the United Way of Madison County’s second annual Champions for Charity exhibition races. The local celebrities climbed aboard double seated jog carts to raise money for the United Way of Madison County. Indiana Senator Luke Kenley, assisted by driver Trent Stohler, won the seven-eighths mile dash for the Animal Protection League Charity. Stohler doubled up in the second exhibition race as helped guide Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith to the winner’s circle racing for Stohler’s charity, St. John’s Children’s Clinic.

(Hoosier Park)

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