Hanners scores driving triple in Hoosier Park opener
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The atmosphere was electric for Hoosier Park’s season opener Saturday, April 5. A crowd of close to 4,000 was treated to a revamped clubhouse, full fields and close finishes in the first of 71 programs at the Anderson track. Brad Hanners, a new addition to the driver colony, guided three winners on the 14-race card, including a victory behind Winforu N in the $23,000 Invitational Pace.
Hoosier Park is currently in the midst of constructing a 92,000 square-foot casino. While patrons will have to wait until late June for the facility to open, they did get a sneak peak of what is to come. The renovated grandstand set the tone for the changes to come.
“Everybody’s just so excited and energized by it,” said Jeff Smith, Managing Director of Racing for Centaur, Inc., which owns Hoosier Park. “It was just really unbelievable to see how it has transformed.”
Equally exciting was the action on the track. The first race of the evening provided a preview as Jason Dillander and Scoot To Please held off Kentucky Kindness, driven by Don Irvine Jr., by a neck in 1:54. Dillander, who comes to Hoosier Park from the Chicago circuit, collected two victories.
Like Dillander, Hanners also relocated to Anderson after racing at Pompano Park earlier this year. The Ohio native made an immediate impact, scoring a driving triple on the opening night card. His biggest win of the evening came in Hoosier Park’s featured race as he steered the Virgil Morgan-trained Winforu N to a quarter-length victory over Rocket Fuel in 1:52.
“It’s great to get off to a good start anywhere you go,” Hanners said of his three-win evening. “There are a bunch of good drivers here.”
Eight year old Prince Pine gelding Big Boy Josh powered from fourth to first in the stretch to capture the $23,000 Invitational Trot for driver and trainer Charlie Conrad in 1:56.3. A winner of more than $400,000 in his career, Big Boy Josh crossed the wire four lengths in front.
Indiana Sires Stakes champion Robin I Scoot kicked off his sophomore campaign with an impressive victory for owners Dan Perdue and Shady Lane Meadows. The gelded son of I Scoot Hanover claimed the $11,000 Open II Pace in 1:52.4. The favorite, driven by Irvine, defeated a group of nine older horses by three lengths.