Stage set for Caesars Trotting Classic

Anderson, IN — Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing & Casino is set to host an exciting night of Grand Circuit harness racing with over $1.4 million in purses, highlighted by the sixth edition of the $210,000 Caesars Trotting Classic, on Friday (Sept. 22). In total, eight Grand Circuit stakes will be contested on the card, including the $175,000 Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, for open pacers; the $260,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters and pacers; and more.

A field of nine will line up behind the gate for the $210,000 Caesars Trotting Classic, slated as the 13th race on the 15-race card. After a fourth-place finish the MGM Yonkers International Trot just two weeks ago, It’s Academic returns to Hoosier to play the role of 5-2 morning-line favorite for trainer Ron Burke. A winner of seven of 12 races in 2023 and $638,951 this season, It’s Academic finished second in the 2022 edition of the Caesars Trotting Classic, behind Bella Bellini.

It’s Academic, who finished second to Bella Bellini in the 2022 Caesars Trotting Classic, has been installed as the morning-line favorite for the 2023 renewal.

Also included in the 2023 edition of the Caesars Trotting Classic is millionaire Venerate, who will start from post four for trainer Marcus Melander. Former Hoosier training champion Jeff Cullipher will send Lovedbythemasses to the gate from the outside post nine with Todd McCarthy listed to drive.

The $175,000 Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby will play as the lead-in for the Caesars Trotting Classic, with world champion and near double millionaire Allywag Hanover looking for his first Hoosier Park Pacing Derby victory from post four. Favoritism on the morning line will go to post nine as 2022 Little Brown Jug winner and world champion Bythemissal returns to Harrah’s Hoosier Park for the first time this season for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Also featured in the accomplished field of 10 is the 2023 Dan Patch Stakes winner, Ponda Warrior, who drew the coveted rail position for trainer Jay Hochstetler and driver Kyle Wilfong. Ponda Warrior has won three of five starts this season and co-owns the fastest mile over the Harrah’s Hoosier Park oval this season with his 1:48 Dan Patch victory.

Local standout Ponda Warrior, pictured in his 1:48 Dan Patch victory earlier this season, will start from the pole in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. Dean Gillette Photography.

The lucrative card will also offer rich handicapping opportunities throughout the night with guaranteed wagers from start to finish. The wagering public can enjoy a $7,500 guaranteed Pick-5 pool in races 1-5 and a $20,000 Guaranteed Late Pick-4 sequence beginning with the Harrah’s Hoosier Park Pacing Derby in race 12. A $25,000 guaranteed superfecta pool will be featured on the Caesars Trotting Classic, and the 15th and final race of the evening will feature a $15,000 guaranteed Hoosier High-5 sequence.

In addition to the action on the track, Caesars Trotting Classic night will also serve as Harrah’s Hoosier Park’s “Community Night at the Races”. Guests can enjoy family fun entertainment all night long and giveaways presented by the Indiana Standardbred Association. The Indiana Standardbred Association is hosting a backpack giveaway with 10 winners to be drawn at 8 p.m. Caesars Rewards members can enjoy a free Caesars Trotting Classic sweatshirt beginning at 5 p.m. (while supplies last) and two handicapping contests with over $500 in prize money.

The Harness Horse Youth Foundation will be on hand providing harness racing educational stations and interactive activities out of the front paddock from 6-8 p.m. Children can enjoy a free treat and can receive their free treat coupon while supplies last by visiting the Harness Horse Youth Foundation set up in the front paddock. Racing fans of betting age are also encouraged to donate $5 to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation to receive a mystery voucher worth up to $100 (while supplies last).

Hall of Fame broadcaster, Bob ‘Hollywood’ Heyden will kick-start the evening with a free handicapping seminar in the Terrace Showroom at 4 p.m. Guests can enjoy handicapping tips and light appetizers. Pop country duo Cook and Bell, local fan favorites in the central Indiana area, will also perform a free show beginning at 7 p.m. at the ‘The Hop.’

Friday’s stakes-filled card is part of Hoosier Park’s 2023 Championship Meet, which features a record-breaking $14 million stakes schedule. The 12-week championship stretch, which kicked off on Aug. 11 with the $300,000 Dan Patch Stakes, will offer an unparalleled series of high-caliber stakes races, culminating with the Breeders Crown championship races, which will come to Hoosier Park on Oct. 27-28.

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