Bulldog Hanover, Bella Bellini highlight blockbuster Friday at Hoosier

Anderson, IN — The stage is set for harness racing’s brightest stars to compete on a blockbuster night of racing at Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Sept. 23). The Grand Circuit returns to Anderson, Ind., with over $1.5 million in purses on the evening, highlighted by the return of Bulldog Hanover, the world’s fastest Standardbred, in the Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, as well as the fifth edition of the Caesars Trotting Classic.

A talented field of 10 has been assembled for the $220,000 Caesars Trotting Classic. Set to go as race 14 on the 15-race card, morning line favoritism in the Classic falls to the wickedly fast Cuatro De Julio. Leaving from the rail, the Marie Ortolan Bar trainee enters the Caesars Trotting Classic off victories in his last two starts: the Sebastian K Invitational at Pocono and the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial at Scioto. The 4-year-old son of Trixton has won three of nine races on the season entering the Caesars Trotting Classic, banking $328,738 over the course of 2022.

Cuatro De Julio will have the second choice on the morning line on his back from the start, as the champion mare, Bella Bellini starts from the second tier in post 10. The 2021 Dan Patch Award winner has picked up where she left off last season, winning six times in 13 starts in 2022, including victories in the Graduate Final for trotting mares and the $432,000 Hambletonian Maturity against male rivals. With career earnings over $1.6 million, the 2021 Hambletonian Oaks winner has been established at odds of 7-2 on the morning line for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and regular pilot Dexter Dunn.

The Caesars Trotting Classic field has compiled over $8.8 million in career earnings and also features the likes of 2021 Dan Patch Award Winner Jujubee, making just his second start in 2022, and the defending champion of the Caesars Trotting Classic and 2019 Hambletonian winner, Forbidden Trade. The purse for the Caesars Trotting Classic saw a boost this year as the Chris Beaver-trained Kildare King was a supplemental entry into this year’s event, bringing the total purse up from $200,000 to $220,000.

The Caesars Trotting Classic field, in post position order with named drivers and trainers, is as follows:

1. Cuatro De Julio (Gingras/Ortolan Bar) 2
2. It’s Academic (DeLong/Burke) 15
3. Logan Park (Henry/Fellows) 20
4. Kings County (B. Miller/Van Huizen) 12
5. Winning Ticket (Merriman/Beaver) 20
6. Forbidden Trade (McClure/Blais) 6
7. Jujubee (A. McCarthy/Wright) 5
8. Lovedbythemasses (Tim Tetrick/Cullipher) 8
9. Kildare King (Merriman/Beaver) 10
10. Bella Bellini (Dunn/Norman) 7-2

Just prior to the Caesars Trotting Classic, Harrah’s Hoosier Park fans can witness the return of the world’s fastest Standardbred, Bulldog Hanover, in the $200,000 Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, carded as race 13.

Bulldog Hanover, the fastest horse in harness racing history and the top-ranked horse in the sport, is set to return to Harrah’s Hoosier Park for the 2022 Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Dean Gillette Photography.

The world champion has been established as the 2-5 morning line favorite in the field of 10. Since his dominant 1:48.1 victory in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes on Aug. 12, he has continued his remarkable stretch of victories with back-to-back wins at Woodbine Mohawk Park, including a 1:46.4 Canadian record-equaling effort in the Canadian Pacing Derby. The top-rated horse in all of harness racing has won 10 times in 2022, including his current historic nine-race win streak on his way to banking $924,331 this year for trainer Jack Darling and co-owner Brad Grant.

Bulldog Hanover will take on nine other rivals in the Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, including 2021 Dan Patch Award winner Allywag Hanover, 2021 Dan Patch Stakes champion Catch The Fire, as well as two-time Pacing Derby winner This Is The Plan. In total, the field for the Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby has combined for 188 career victories and over $13 million in earnings. The Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby is scheduled to go postward at 10:31 p.m. EDT.

The Pacing Derby field, in post position order with named drivers and trainers, is as follows:

1. Catch The Fire (A. McCarthy/Luther) 6
2. Bulldog Hanover (Dunn/Darling) 2-5
3. Backstreet Shadow (Page/Burke) 20
4. Abuckabett Hanover (Tim Tetrick/Alagna) 20
5. Tellmeaboutit (Oosting/A. Miller) 30
6. Allywag Hanover (T. McCarthy/Pelling) 8
7. Rockyroad Hanover (T. McCarthy/Alagna) 15
8. This Is The Plan (Gingras/Burke) 20
9. Desperate Man (Henry/Cecchin) 20
10. Workin Ona Mystery (D. Miller/Burke) 20

Cool Papa Bell, this year’s Hambletonian champion, will take on a field of five in the $90,000 Phil Langley Memorial including the unbeaten Indiana superstar Ponda Adventure. Jim Campbell’s Hambletonian Oaks champion Fashion Schooner will face an unbeaten Hoosier champion of her own, M-M’s Dream, in the $110,000 Moni Maker. Other stakes on the 15-race card include the $100,000 Madison County, $240,000 Kentuckiana Stakes, $140,000 Jenna’s Beach Boy and $110,000 Elevation Stakes.

Racing fans will have the opportunity to participate in three special wagers offered on the Caesars Trotting Classic card: a $20,000 guaranteed Late Pick-4 (races 12-15), a $25,000 guaranteed superfecta on the Caesars Trotting Classic, and a $15,000 guaranteed Hoosier High-5 in the finale. Each wager is available through the cooperative efforts of the United States Trotting Association, Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, and the Indiana Standardbred Association.

In addition to the special wagers, guests can also sign up for $250 MegaBets on the Caesars Trotting Classic, a $1,000 Late Night Lucky Cash drawing immediately following the Caesars Trotting Classic, and a $2,000 Late Pick-5 Win & Grin promotion. Guests are encouraged to visit a Trackside Promotional Kiosk to enter beginning at 5 p.m. Harrah’s Hoosier Park will also have food trucks, outdoor games and other entertainment to coincide with a terrific night of racing.

Caesars Trotting Classic night will also feature a driver autograph session, family-friendly activities, and a Caesars Trotting Classic long-sleeve shirt giveaway. Guests will also go home with commemorative Bulldog Hanover posters to celebrate the return of the fastest Standardbred of all time returning to Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino.

For more information on the Caesars Trotting Classic and 2022 live racing season at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, guests are encouraged to visit the Harrah’s Hoosier Park website.

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