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Shark Gesture By Ten In Dan Patch


Published: June 26, 2010 11:19 pm ET

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Shark Gesture made his third trip in the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational Pace at Hoosier Park a memorable one, setting a new track record of 1:48.1. Accompanied by driver George Brennan, the seven-year-old veteran rallied gate to wire, winning by 10 and one-half lengths, the biggest margin in the 17-year history of the race.

Starting from post five, Shark Gesture made his presence known early. Several horses had the lead in their sights, including Won The West and Ricky Macomber Jr. along with Lisagain and Hoosier Park’s leading driver Peter Wrenn. However, they were no match for Shark Gesture, who powered to the top spot, posting the quarter-mile time in :25.2.

“I looked over and Ricky (Macomber) was leaving (with Won The West) and Peter (Wrenn) was leaving also,” said Brennan. “Peter’s horse (Lisagain) got a little rough and he grabbed up. I just sent “Shark” onto the lead.”

Shark Gesture continued his dominance through the remaining fractional times of :53.1 and 1:21.3. Won The West sat right on his back the entire way and Brennan knew they would be ready to attack in the stretch. However, no other horse in the field even had a shot of unseating Shark Gesture as the leader. The son of Cam’s Card Shark kicked into an explosive gear rarely seen at Hoosier Park.

Shark Gesture opened up on the field with every stride, and only the clock was in his sights at the finish. A final quarter of :26.3 put him in the winner’s circle as Hoosier Park’s fastest Standardbred ever. Won The West held his ground to finish second over Hypnotic Blue Chip and Mike LaChance, who rallied from the back to close in for third.

“We got a decent third quarter and when I called on him down the lane, he responded,” said Brennan. “He’s just a nice horse to drive.”

Shark Gesture is owned by Norman and Gerald Smiley along with Tom and Louis Pontone’s TLP Stable. Larry Remmen trains the powerhouse horse, who increased his career earnings to more than $2.2 million. The win in the Dan Patch Invitational was his 24th career victory in 71 career starts.

“He (Shark Gesture) makes it easy,” said Remmen. “He’s very laid back and relaxed and such a nice horse to deal with. He does what we ask, and he’s never been better than he was tonight. I’m not sure where we’ll go after this. It will be up to Mr. Smiley.”

Shark Gesture now owns Hoosier Park’s track record after tripping the timer a tick early with his 1:48.1 win. The previous mark was set by Pacific Fella and Cat Manzi during the 2008 edition of the Dan Patch Invitational, a record that has gone untouched through more than a decade of harness racing in Indiana. The time also equaled his career win time, as he was a winner in 1:48.1 last year at Mohawk Racetrack.

Bergstein Honoured During Dan Patch Night at Hoosier Park

It was a night of memories at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino as several harness racing stars added a touch of class to the night Saturday, June 26. Stan Bergstein, executive vice president of Harness Tracks of America, was on hand to witness the 17th edition of the $200,000 Dan Patch Invitational. Several members of the staff were on hand to honor Bergstein following the 11th race Invitational Trot, named The Stan Bergstein.

“It is such an honor to have Stan Bergstein back at Hoosier Park,” said general manager of racing Jeff Smith. “He is in his 50th year of service to the harness racing industry and was here to help kick off our inaugural season in 1994. It is truly an honor to have Stan with us tonight for the 17th edition of the Dan Patch. We want to recognize him for his dedication to the sport.”

Smith was joined by Rod Ratcliff, CEO of Centaur, Jim Brown, general manager of racing, Rudy McMillan, director of Food and Beverage, Kevin Mack, Standardbred racing secretary, Brian Elmore, director of racing operations, and former general manager of racing at Hoosier Park Rick Moore for the presentation. Bergstein was also surrounded by members of the Indiana Standardbred racing program, including Ernie Gaskin, Dick Taylor, Bruce Nickells, Stan Bayless, Becky Donohue, and Ellen Taylor from the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Also in the winner’s circle with Bergstein was Bill Van Landingham, starter from the California circuit and Dan Shetler, winning driver of the Bergstein race behind Motor Inn, who is trained by Bobby Brower.

“It’s always a pleasure to be at Hoosier Park,” said Bergstein. “You should be proud of the direction your harness racing program has progressed. I thank you for your recognition and I’m glad to be here for Dan Patch Night. I believe I was covering racing when Dan Patch raced,” Bergstein said with a smile.

A member of the Hall of Fame, Bergstein has numerous accolades in the horse racing industry, including 1971 Harness Horseman of the Year, the U.S. Writer’s Proximity Award, and Am Tote International’s Harry L. Straus award. He continues to be a contributing editor for several publications, including Hoof Beats, Canadian Sportsman, Gaming Today in Las Vegas, and the Daily Racing Form. Bergstein holds the distinct and unique honor as the only person ever named to both harness racing’s Hall of Fame and its Writers Hall of Fame.

In addition to the Dan Patch Invitational, several divisions of Indiana Sires Stakes were contested during an evening tagged as Thrillyard 200, sponsored by the membership of the Indiana Standardbred Association. Various activities took place trackside, including a paintball course, bungee trampoline, live entertainment, and a BBQ contest judged by the Fab Five Drivers. Also, an extreme motorsport drawing was held immediately following the races, including a choice of a sports bike, Sea Doo jet ski, or $10,000 in cash. Michael Stohler of Anderson, Ind. was the winner, and was present to accept his prize. He was joined by drivers Wrenn, Macomber, Trace Tetrick, and Jason Dillander for the presentation.

Foxy Maneuver Back On Track For Dan Patch

Foxy Maneuver, one of the toughest Indiana-sired horses to ever race in the Hoosier State, was back in a familiar place Saturday, June 26 during the 17th edition of the Dan Patch Invitational Pace. Retired in 2007, Foxy Maneuver led the 2010 field to post in the $200,000 event, a race he competed in three times during his career.

Reunited with owner, trainer, and driver Don Eash of Greenfield, Indiana, Foxy Maneuver moved down the track and entered the winner’s circle for a photo before joining the Dan Patch horses in the Grandstand Paddock. Now 11, the son of Armbro Maneuver is a little heavier than he used to be, but he still had a spring in his step.

“Since he retired, he’s been at our farm eating grass,” said Eash. “I broke him to ride and for a while, I was riding him about twice a week. He’s a one of a kind horse. I wish I could find another one like him but that doesn’t happen very often.”

During his career, Foxy Maneuver won 51 races in 151 starts. He took his career best time of 1:49.3 in 2004. He raced in the Dan Patch in 2003, 2004, and 2006, finishing fourth twice and fifth, respectively. Foxy Maneuver ended his career with more than $875,000 in earnings for Eash.

“We brought him [Foxy Maneuver] in and started jogging him to get him ready for the appearance at the Dan Patch this year,” said Eash. “He still wants to go and he still has it. I don’t know if he’ll make it back to the races or not, but we’ll keep working with him.”

Foxy Maneuver was one of the highlights of the 2009 Hancock County Farm Tours last fall. More than 2,500 people visited the training facility owned by Eash and his wife, Rosie, and the most popular spot on the tour was in front of Foxy Maneuver’s stall.

The Eash Stable currently has around 80 horses in training. They compete at both Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and Indiana Downs. They also race on the county fair circuit in Indiana. In addition to their racing operation, they also have several broodmares and are beginning to race horses they raised, which are tagged with ER at the beginning of their names, which symbolizes Eash Racing.

(Hoosier Park)

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