On an absolutely flawless Friday (Aug. 11) evening, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino possessed all the elements for a spectacular 24th edition of the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The crowd was enthusiastic, the weather was sheer perfection and a quality field of 10, half of which were world champions, was certain to provide the fans with an exhilarating contest.
Check Six was ultimately the horse to fulfill that goal with a quarter-length victory over stablemate All Bets Off in 1:48.1 and stake his claim as the divisional leader. Rock N’ Roll World closed with alacrity to reach the wire in third.
After celebrating his win, Yannick Gingras, who guided the son of Somebeachsomewhere around the seven-eighths-mile Anderson oval, acknowledged he was not exactly overjoyed when the 4-year-old stallion’s post position was selected earlier this week.
"I was not thrilled when I saw the draw sheet and we were in post nine," he said. "But you have to go out there, see how things work out on the track and then drive accordingly. He’s had some back luck, but he’s sharp right now so since the McKee ($224,400 Sam McKee Memorial on Aug. 5) maybe now his luck is changing."
Gingras wasted no time putting Check Six into the race as he gunned him to the lead immediately after the wings folded on the gate. He was followed into the first turn by world champion Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair) and Rock N’ Roll World (John De Long), then tripped the timer for the first quarter-mile in a speedy :26.
Shortly after the time flashed upon the board, Matt Kakaley decided All Bets Off should control the tempo and that duo seized command by the :54.2 half-mile pole. At that juncture Aaron Merriman had his own ideas on how the race should be conducted and moved Dealt A Winner first-over to gain second place, with Gingras content to sit in third until after the 1:21.1 three-quarters.
As Dealt A Winner began to tire from his earlier efforts as the field entered the top of the stretch, All Bets Off began to place of bit of separation between himself and his rivals, with Rock N’ Roll World and McWicked (David Miller) winding up for their drives to the wire.
Just when it appeared All Bets Off was home free and would hold Check Six, Rock N’ Roll World and McWicked at bay, Gingras ducked into the passing lane, strode by All Bets Off along the rail and collected the win for conditioner Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, William Switala and James Martin.
"He is a very versatile horse," Gingras said. "He has gate speed and last year we used a lot of that with him, but you don’t want to get in the habit of going crazy with that. This year we have not been doing that as much with him and he has had a little bit of tough luck with some of his trips, where we could not really do it anyway. This just worked out well for us tonight and hopefully this will carry forward throughout the rest of the year."
Check Six had demonstrated an affinity for the Hoosier Park surface last year with a win in the $200,000 Monument Circle in his only previous appearance. The stallion entered this event with nearly $1.4 million in the bank, a sophomore campaign where he captured the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, in addition to competing admirably in a number of stakes engagements such as the Adios, the Cane Pace, the Breeders Crown, the Matron and Progress Pace.
Prior to his appearance at the Meadowlands last week, Check Six had faced the starter on 11 occasions this season with just one win. With two consecutive wins in marquee divisional contests, he is making a bid to leap to the top of a division that has no clear leader.
"He is eligible to just about everything, but I’m not sure where Ronnie will end up going with him," Gingras said.
Check Six paid $13.40 to win as the 5-1 third choice. The exacta was $77.40 and the trifecta $689.80.
Hoosier Park’s Dan Patch Stakes saw measurable success on all fronts. Excitement pervaded throughout the grandstand as a large, enthusiastic crowd welcomed the 24th installment of Hoosier Park’s premier harness race to the track. The wagering front also saw much success and offered remarkable value to the horseplayer with the introduction of a signature $25,000 guaranteed superfecta and a $15,000 guaranteed Hoosier High-Five for the Dan Patch Stakes race.
Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday (Aug. 12) with a 12-race card that is set to begin at an adjusted post time of 4:30 p.m. At the conclusion of live racing on Saturday, American rocker Ted Nugent will perform in the outdoor concert venue as Hoosier Park closes its summer concert series line-up. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.--By Kim French for Hoosier Park