by Rose Flood, for Hoosier Park
Anderson, IN — Hoosier Park Racing & Casino played host to the $5,000 Saturday Shootout handicapping contest finale on Saturday (Aug. 4) and it was team Hoosier Park who took home the victory for the second consecutive year. In its fourth edition, Team Indiana Grand traveled to Hoosier Park for the final showdown and put their handicapping skills to the test.
The contest featured races three through six at both Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand and players earned and accumulated mythical winnings based on their handicapping selections on the designated races from both tracks. The winning team split the $5,000 grand prize while the second place team received $1,000.
The five-member team consisting of Sara Eldridge, Connie Harold, James Wilkinson, John Burnett and James Gosselin accumulated $284 for Team Hoosier Park compared to Team Indiana Grand’s tally of $230.60 to share the $5,000 Grand Prize.
he contest began in mid June with four preliminary rounds. Players selected one horse from four races at Hoosier Park and four races at Indiana Grand and accumulated the payouts on their selections when they finished first or second. After the final preliminary round Saturday (July 7), the top five players from each location advanced to the final, which rotates from year to year between Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park.
Wilkinson, who is from Elk Grove, Cal., came to Indiana five years ago to train Standardbreds. This is the third consecutive year he has qualified for the Saturday Shootout final and represented Team Hoosier Park. Wilkinson also has four wins on the season as a trainer at Hoosier Park.
“He’s being modest,” joked Wilkinson when Gosselin tried to be humble about the victory. “He had a great night handicapping. We all shared the weight and we all had fun. It’s an honor to be a part of this contest.”
Team Indiana Grand consisted of Oscar Bowman, Rosalie Smothers, Mike Berger, Charles Smothers and Scot Shewman. For many, it was their first trip to Hoosier Park this season.
“I hadn’t been to Hoosier Park in a long time,” said Bowman. “Everyone was really nice and we had a great time. This is a fun contest—it’s fun to try to handicap both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds.”
Each member of Team Hoosier Park received $1,000 plus an individual trophy. The nearly four foot traveling trophy will return to Hoosier Park until next year’s battle for Saturday Shootout. Hoosier Park won the inaugural contest in 2015 while the team from Indiana Grand won the contest in 2016.
Live racing returns to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday (Aug. 7) with a 12-race card. Tuesday will also feature the official post position draw for the 25th edition of Hoosier Park’s premier harness racing event, the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The Dan Patch post position draw will start at 4:30 p.m. and be streamed live on Hoosier Park’s Facebook page and simulcast signal.
The $325,000-est. Dan Patch Stakes, Indiana’s richest harness race and reputed as one of North America’s premier races for older male pacers, is set to be the 11th race on Friday, (Aug. 10) with a post time of 9:50 EDT.
Hoosier Park recently announced Lazarus N, who is hailed as the greatest racehorse to ever emerge from New Zealand, would be making his North American racing debut in the Dan Patch Stakes. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com.