The theme generated within Hoosier Park, host track for the 2017 Breeders Crown, was "It’s Indiana Time," and the track’s embodiment of that philosophy in all quarters, resulting in a superior show for harness racing’s year-end showcase, has earned it the Stan Bergstein/Proximity Award in year-end Dan Patch Awards voting by the United States Harness Writers Association, the sport’s leading communications trade group.
In addition, the writers singled out two other "Hoosiers" for awards -- Trace Tetrick, the track’s leading driver and a double Breeders Crown winner, was voted the sport’s Rising Star among the backstretch set and Tim Konkle, the hardworking editor of the important monthly Midwest Harness Report and an equally tireless supporter of USHWA, has been named USHWA’s Member of the Year.
Hoosier Park, in the town of Anderson, northeast of Indianapolis, in its 24th season of racing during 2017, was chosen to host the $6 million Breeders Crown championship series, a gathering of the best horses in North American harness racing. Although the weather was not at its best throughout the weekend of the championships, the racing proved fair to all horses and excellently-competitive -- and the Hoosier Park staff rolled out the red carpet to racing’s elite horses and humans in a big way.
No amount of effort was spared in making the Breeders Crown experience memorable to everyone connected to it, right down to the Hoosier Park faithful who turned out en masse to see the national-caliber racing. All who were at the seven-eighths-mile track that weekend came away raving about Hoosier Park and its first-rate job in showcasing the Breeders Crown (and it didn’t hurt that a couple of Indiana-bred and Indiana-based horsemen showed up in Victory Lane, either).
The leading driver at Hoosier Park over the last couple of years, Trace Tetrick, again led the sulky-sitter’s colony in 2017, but it was largely his work on his track’s big weekend that drew the national attention to his developing abilities.
Trace visited the Crown winner's circle with 3-year-old pacing filly Blazin Britches, last week voted champion in her division, and with the homegrown Indiana stakes competitor, 2-year-old colt trotter Fiftydallarbill, among five winners on the weekend’s two cards.
Tetrick, who was fourth in North America in wins at press time with 559 and who set a personal seasonal money record with $6.7 million in horses driven, joins his brother, Tim, who won the Rising Star Award exactly ten years ago, and who has since gone on to have great success in the sulky on the North American scene.
Tim Konkle has been chronicling the Indiana scene for going on 20 years now, with the racing at Hoosier, Indiana Downs when it raced Standardbreds, and the Indiana fairs and sales getting prominent attention in his magazine. Formerly best-known as the Hoosier Horse Review, Konkle expanded the scope of the publication when Ohio brought in gaming legislature, and under the name Midwest Harness Report Tim now keeps his readership posted on the major stories in the Hoosier state, the Buckeye state, and the surrounding harness racing area.
For USHWA, Konkle has served as a director of the at-large membership group for two years. His preliminary spadework aided greatly with Hoosier Park being the title sponsor of the latest Dan Patch Awards banquet, and he continues in his efforts to help the organization raise money and then use it wisely in its various activities.
Hoosier Park, Trace Tetrick, and Tim Konkle will all be honored at the upcoming Dan Patch Awards banquet, to be held on Sunday (Feb. 25) at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. Those wishing to take out a congratulatory ad in the Banquet’s Awards Journal should contact Kim Rinker, Journal Committee chair, at email@example.com. Those wishing to attend the banquet can make room reservations online via a special "portal" on the USHWA website -- but do so quickly to take advantage of the special room rates USHWA has obtained. Tickets for the banquet, priced at $175, can be obtained through Judy Davis-Wilson, Dinner Planning Committee chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (USHWA)