By Emily Gaskin
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Hoosier Park will highlight the 2013 Standardbred season today with Indiana’s finest trotters and pacers convening on the oval for the annual Hoosier Champions Night, an evening with purse totals topping the $1.1 million mark.
This action-packed night of racing will feature a celebrity-filled charity exhibition race, 14 regularly scheduled races featuring $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes finals, and the third annual Guns ‘N Hoses event. The first race will line up behind the starting gate at 5:30 p.m.
All three-year-old Indiana Sires Stakes events will go for purses of $200,000 while a duo of aged events will race for $50,000, respectively. Also, four $40,000 Indiana Silver Sire Stakes finals for three-year-olds will be contested. The 14-race card includes four current track record holders that will be competing for their shot at an Indiana Sire Stakes title.
Under the new racing format in 2013, Hoosier Park will offer three Hoosier Champions Nights throughout the season where purses will catapult past the $1 million mark once again on September 11 and October 19.
Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in a special wagering opportunity offered for the Hoosier Champions Night with the announcement of a $15,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool. As part of the special strategic wagering program through the United States Trotting Association and Hoosier Park partnership, the Pick-4 offers a 50 cent minimum wager and will be featured on races six through nine. The estimated post time for race six, the first leg of the $15,000 Guaranteed Pick-4, is 7:32 p.m.
Making a special appearance tonight will be local media celebrity guests as they race for charity in an exhibition race. The local media celebrities will climb aboard a double-seated sulky accompanied by one of Hoosier Park’s own All-Star Drivers. Each duo will compete as a team for their share of $2,000 to be donated to each All-Star Driver’s designated charity.
The list of Champions for Charity Celebrities is as follows: Peter Lurie, HRTV; Rick Teverbaugh, Sports Editor, The Herald Bulletin; Brad Brown, ABC; Todd Violette, X103; Brooke Olzendam, Fox Sports and Gunner, Q95.
The charity exhibition race will be held before the start of the live racing card with an estimated start time of 5:10 p.m.
In addition to providing support to the charities of the All-Star drivers, the Madison County Police and Fire Departments will once again battle it out in a series of challenges. The third annual Guns & Hoses event will help raise funds for the Fire Rescue House of Madison County. The family friendly event will feature live Standardbred racing and a community fair, complete with festive foods and family fun games.
Guns & Hoses will pit local police officers and firefighters against one another in a series of challenges. The challenges will begin after race two and range from a foot race carrying Hoosier Park drivers and a jelly donut speed eating contest to a dunk tank and the crowd favorite tug of war competition. There will also be various children’s activities in the Kid’s Zone along with a classic police car and fire truck on display. Guns & Hoses, open to all ages, is free to the public and will start at approximately 5 p.m. in the Yard.
At the culmination of race eight, Hoosier Park’s vice president and general manager of racing, Rick Moore, will present representatives from the Fire Rescue House of Madison County with a special $5,000 donation. As a token of Hoosier Park’s appreciation for their continued work to help local families in need, Hoosier Park will make the donation to help further their goals and maintain their high level of community service.