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Hoosier Park sets record handle in 2020 Breeders Crown

November 01, 2020

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There were a lot of hurdles to overcome for the 37th edition of the $6 million Breeders Crown Championships at Harrah's Hoosier Park. Amidst a pandemic that limited crowd capacity, the track pulled in its largest handle in the 27-year history with a total of $2,474,344 wagered on the 15-race card Saturday, Oct. 31. The previous track record for handle on a single program was set during the 2017 Breeders Crown at $2,063,985. The 2020 edition was also a two-night record for the track with a total of $4,297,864 wagered on Breeders Crown Championships compared to a two-night total of $3,837,869 wagered in 2017.

"This historic, record-setting weekend is a direct testimony of the hard work and effort made by our team at Harrah's Hoosier Park, the Hambletonian Society, the Indiana Standardbred Association, the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, and our presenting sponsor The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership," said Rick Moore, Vice President  and General Manager of Racing at Harrah's Hoosier Park. "Once again, Harrah's Hoosier Park shined on a world-wide stage. We couldn't be more proud of Indiana's racing industry, our team, our horsemen and horsewomen, sponsors, and all of the fans watching and wagering from around the world who made this weekend possible."

It was an evening of dominant performances from the team of driver Dexter Dunn and Nancy Takter, who took home three Breeders Crown titles. The one all racing fans thought would be their best shot at a title with three-year-old pacing standout Tall Dark Stranger turned out to be a neck loss to longshot Sandbetweenmytoes, driven by Scott Zeron.

Tall Dark Stranger was leading the way down the stretch and was passed up by Cattlewash and David Miller on the inside. The Bettors Delight colt fought back and got a head in front of Cattlewash. However, it was Sandbetweenmytoes on the extreme outside that got to the wire first for the win as the longest shot on the board. Tall Dark Stranger was second over Cattlewash for third. The time of the mile was 1:48.3 in a race where the top six were separated by less than two lengths.

Sandbetweenmytoes, trained by Jim Campbell, set a record for the largest payout in Breeders Crown history at $409.80 for a $2 win wager, beating the previous mark of $152.00 set in 2008. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding, out of the world champion mare Galleria, is a homebred by Jules Siegel, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and owner of Fashion Farms.

There were no surprises in the $300,000 Breeders Crown Open Mares Trot as Manchego and Dexter Dunn, tipped off cover in the stretch and trotted home for the win well under wraps. Manchego became only the fourth trotter in history to win three Breeders Crown trophies with the win. Plunge Blue Chip and Ake Svanstedt finished second over a hard charging When Dovescry and David Miller for third.

Owned by Black Horse Racing, Manchego earned her third straight Breeders Crown title. Trained by Nancy Takter, the Muscle Hill five-year-old mare now has 32 career wins in 55 career starts and surpassed the $2.5 million earnings mark.

Gimpanzee and Brian Sears made it a three-peat in the Breeders Crown, winning the Open Trot. Sears moved the Chapter Seven horse to the lead at the half and held the field to his heels the remainder of the race for the win in 1:51.3. Crystal Fashion and Jordan Stratton finished second over Atlanta and Yannick Gingras for third.

Owned by Courant Inc. and S P F Stable, Gimpanzee has now accumulated in excess of $2.7 million. Marcus Melander trains the standout trotter, who has won eight of 11 starts in 2020. Gimpanzee, a 4-year-old stallion, became the fifth trotter in history to win at least three Breeders Crown trophies, joining Peace Corps, Grades Singing, Mack Lobell, and Manchego — who accomplished the feat earlier in the night. 

"This is an amazing horse that means a lot to me," said Melander. "He's been good to me since we bought him at the Harrisburg sale as a yearling. I think he's better chasing horses but they had a soft fraction on the backside and Brian (Sears) was able to get to the lead and it was hard to catch him. This is our third Breeders Crown win together. It's tough to win a Breeders Crown and this shows how good he is to win three."

Century Farroh closed out the final Breeders Crown of 2020 with a win in the $500,000 Open Pace. The four-year-old Mach Three horse, driven by David Miller, waited patiently for the passing lane in the stretch. Once he had clearance, he moved in for the win in 1:49.0. Bettor's Wish and Dexter Dunn finished second over Backstreet Shadow and Tim Tetrick for third.

Owned by Ratchford Stable of Nova Scotia and trained by Ian Moore, Century Farroh was a winner earlier this season at Harrah's Hoosier Park in the track's signature $225,000 Dan Patch Stakes in the exact same final time of 1:49.0, which is his career best.

 The final race on the card produced a Pick 4 payout of $18,709.20 and a Pick 6 carryover of $16,453.51, which will be added to the next night of action Tuesday, Nov. 3 at Harrah's Hoosier Park.

Harrah's Hoosier Park is currently operating at a reduced capacity, in accordance with the State of Indiana and regulatory guidelines. Both Harrah's Hoosier Park and the Hambletonian Society remain committed to following all safety protocols outlined by the State of Indiana and set forth in Harrah's Hoosier Park's health and safety plan.

For more information on the 2020 Breeders Crown, please click here. More information on Harrah's Hoosier Park, event FAQ, Breeders Crown experience and the fields please visit www.HarrahsHoosierPark.com

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