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World Champions Return To Their Roots

Published: September 24, 2016 6:08 pm ET

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Renowned in the mainstream media and sports history for the Indianapolis 500, residents of the Hoosier State and the populace world-wide, must take notice of the four world champion equines that will perform on Saturday (September 24) at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino to witness a sheer demonstration of speed.

When a facility hosts athletes like Always B Miki, Freaky Feet Pete, Homicide Hunter and Hannelore Hanover, all products of the Indiana breeding program, after proving their dominance in various regions of the United States, it is merely a question of how swiftly these horses and their rivals will go.

“I drove Always B Miki as a three-year-old and I had to bring him three– and four-wide in the Meadowlands Pace [a second-place finish in a world record performance of 1:46.4 by Hes Watching],” said David Miller. “That was when I knew this horse could go.

“When he was three, he struggled a little bit with his stride. He’s a big horse and he might have been knocking himself a little bit. It was just something he needed to grow into and look at him now. He definitely has.”

Always B Miki, conditioned by Jimmy Takter and owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, will take on five rivals in the $170,00 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby and will leave from the rail as the 2-5 morning line selection.

He enters this contest after defeating defending U.S. Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit in a scintillating stretch duel with a world record tying mile of 1:47 in the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Eldorado Scioto Downs on September 10.

Although the field may seem compact, it is outstanding, as Always B Miki must contend with fellow Indiana champion, world record holder and hometown hero, Freaky Feet Pete. One of the most beloved if not revered residents in the Anderson area, the four-year-old son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori, who has nearly as many credentials as his colleague, will start pacing from post position three with regular pilot Trace Tetrick at the controls.

Freaky Fete Pete is owned by Mary Jo and Marty Rheinheimer and conditioned by Mary Jo’s husband Larry. The stallion is 6-1 on the morning line and comes into this event off a fourth-place finish behind Always B Miki in the Ewart.

The horse, however, encountered some traffic trouble heading towards the finish line after being saddled with post position nine that evening.

“We did not have the best draw there,” Larry Rheinheimer said. “He also had a hole close up on him late, but we drew much better here. He’s also trained very well this week and so we will see how he races.”

Other notable contestants pacing for the prize money in the 11th race on the evening card will be the U.S. Pacing Championship victor Shamballa (post five, 7-2), $2 million earner All Bets Off (post six, 8-1) and the always formidable Always At My Place, (post two, 15-1), as well as the consistent Dealt A Winner (post four, 15-1).

Two other Indiana champions wage war in the following contest, the $220,000 Centaur Trot, in Homicide Hunter and the female favourite for Horse of the Year, Hannelore Hanover.

Homicide Hunter, owned by Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, receives the services of David Miller. The duo are the 7-2 second choice on the morning line and will leave from post position three. Homicide Hunter has not placed a hoof on the Hoosier Park surface since a second-place finish in the $270,000 Carl Erskine Memorial last October.

Oakes said it took some time for Homicide Hunter to adjust to his new barn after being sold privately last winter, but he has now adapted to the transition and is presently in top form.

The son of Mr Cantab-Evening Prayer trotted to 16 consecutive victories at Hoosier Park in 2015. While the gelding, who set a world record at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on August 20 with a mile in 1:50.1, should enjoy the familiar confines, he must compete against fellow Indiana champion Hannelore Hanover.

The daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety, who resides it the barn of Ron Burke, has already illustrated gender is not an issue as she has already relegated males to her rearview mirror on two occasions. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva Stables, the four-year-old mare will attempt to once again show her supremacy when reinsman Yannick Gingras guides the even-money favourite from post position six.

The mare is seeking a return to the winner’s circle after only her second loss of the season to Resolve in the $480,320 Maple Leaf Trot on September 17 at Mohawk Racetrack. Like Homicide Hunter, Freaky Feet Pete and Always B Miki, Hannelore Hanover is a world champion as well as an Indiana champion. In fact, she commenced her 2016 season with three triumphs in an Open and two Invitationals at Hoosier Park in April and her 12-race winning streak dating back to 2015 was snapped with a second in another Invitational at the facility on June 2.

After that evening, Hannelore Hanover captured nine consecutive races, including the $471,200 Hambletonian Maturity at the Meadowlands on July 16, before the loss to Resolve, who was second in this year’s Elitlopp. A victory in this event would place her in the record books as the second mare to win the Centaur, as Bee A Magician accomplished the same feat in 2015.

Although Homicide Hunter and Hannelore Hanover appear to be the top selections in the field of 10 they must trot home in front of world champions Wind Of The North (post one, 10-1) and Muscle Up The Goal (post five, 8-1), in addition to Maestro Blue Chip (post seven, 12-1) and Il Sogno Dream (post 10, 15-1).

Despite the Hoosier Pacing Derby and the Centaur Trot receiving top billing, the Hoosier Park card is stakes-laden as the $246,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, the $140,000 Elevation Stakes and the $100,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy support the co-featured events as races eight, nine and 10, respectively.

(Hoosier Park)

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