Hoosier Park Racing & Casino concluded its 2017 harness racing season with a 14-race card in front of a packed house on Friday (Nov. 17). In addition to the racing action, the leading driver and trainer titles were awarded.
On the driving side, Trace Tetrick secured his fourth consecutive and sixth leading driver title at Hoosier Park. Tetrick, who led the standings from start to finish, was officially recognized as the 2017 leading driver with 366 victories while amassing over $4.6 million in purse earnings throughout the 163-day season. Sam Widger finished second with 331 victories with John DeLong in third from 223 trips to the winner’s circle.
The Southern Illinois native started driving in 2003 and has since surpassed the $44 million mark in purse earnings in the bike. As the all-time leading driver in Hoosier Park history, Tetrick is on track to record his best season to date in 2017 with over $6.5 million in purse earnings and counting. Tetrick also captured two Breeders Crown titles at Hoosier Park in October.
"This year was incredibly special for me, especially with the two Breeders Crown wins," Tetrick noted in the winner’s circle. "I want to thank the owners and trainers for believing in me and giving me the opportunity, without them, I wouldn’t be here.
"I’ve had a lot of momentum all year," he continued. "That certainly helps. The support of my family and friends has been great. I really appreciate the opportunity to show up every night and do what I love."
For the first time since 2005, the battle for winning trainer resulted in a tie. Jamie Macomber and Jeff Cullipher each ended the season with 92 wins to earn the honors as the season’s top trainers at Hoosier Park. Don Cromer and Dan Perdue tied for leading trainer honors in 2005 with 31 wins.
It was the first leading trainer title for both Macomber and Cullipher.
Heading into the evening’s 14-race card just one win separated the top pair. Macomber’s Ramblingamblinman found the winner’s circle with Peter Wrenn in the bike. Just a few races later, Cullipher evened the score after back-to-back wins with Coal Hanover and Ideal Rocky, respectively.
After 10 years managing Ron Burke’s Indiana stable, 2017 was Macomber’s first season operating a public stable with her husband, Ricky. The daughter of Ohio-based trainer Tim Rucker and his wife, Debbie, now finds herself with a leading trainer title and a Breeders Crown champion to her credit.
Macomber trains Beckhams Z Tam, who was victorious in the $527,500 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers last month at Hoosier Park in 1:51.1. In addition to the Breeders Crown victory, horses from the Macomber stable earned over $1.7 million in purse earnings throughout the 163-day meet at Hoosier Park.
"What an unbelievable year, I just have to keep pinching myself," Macomber noted. "With a win in the Breeders Crown and now standing here for leading trainer alongside Jeff, it’s been truly unbelievable. I can’t thank everyone enough that has supported me this year, my owners, my team, everyone."
Raised by a family rich in harness racing tradition, Jeff Cullipher has quickly made a name for himself as a trainer at Hoosier Park. The 46-year-old Henderson, Ky. native is no newcomer to the sport of harness racing. A driver since 1988 and trainer since 1991, Cullipher has over 30 years of harness racing experience to his credit. After finishing fourth in the trainer standings last year, his stable earned over $1 million throughout the 2017 season to find him atop the standings.
"It’s been a great year," Cullipher said. "This is one of the toughest places to race in the country so if you can make it here, I think you are doing alright. I have to thank my owners and my team who have helped me get here, it really is a team effort."
The Friday night program wrapped up an extremely successful season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. Hoosier Park Racing & Casino would like to thank all of the fans and horsemen who helped make the 2017 season an overwhelming success.
We would like to thank all the horsemen and racing fans that contributed to the successful 2017 season at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino," Hoosier Park’s Vice President and General Manager of Racing, Rick Moore noted. "Their support, along with the hard work and dedication from the entire Hoosier Park team, made for a tremendous season and we are already looking forward to next season."
For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. (Hoosier)