Each year, the staff and horsemen and horsewomen at Harrah’s Hoosier Park raise the bar for racehorse aftercare. The fourth annual Empire of Hope, a Caesars Entertainment Racing initiative for all racetracks under the Caesars umbrella, was hosted by the Indiana track Saturday, July 29. All proceeds from the various activities leading up to the event are earmarked to the Standardbred Transition Alliance.
Rick Moore, Vice President and General Manager of Racing, said this about Empire of Hope through a press release, “All of us at Harrah’s Hoosier Park are indebted to these racehorses who go out and perform on the racetrack each and every night. As repayment for that debt of gratitude, it is incumbent that all of us show our appreciation for these great equine athletes. There is no better way to show that appreciation than by making a financial contribution that will help these horses find second careers and second homes once their racing careers are over.”
Activities for Empire of Hope include the annual bake sale, headed up by the ladies in the racing office as well as those on the backstretch that pitch in to offer baked goods. The Horseshoe Cafe also offered Strawberry Shortcake Sundaes and Fudge Brownie Sundays for a $7 donation, plus Teena Walden, longtime backstretch manager, operated a Jumble Sale, featuring all types of items, some themed with harness racing. She also oversaw a silent auction with winners announced after the third race of the night. Both sales were held for horsemen and horsewomen in the backstretch.
New this year was a trip around the racetrack on a two-seated jog cart. The opportunity was offered from 3 – 5PM from the front paddock and featured Harrah’s Hoosier Park drivers and trainers with a racehorse to offer the once in a lifetime lap on the track for a $20 donation. Mshindi of the Nickells Stable also were stationed in the Front Paddock, offering racing fans the chance to meet the racehorse up close and get photos.
Harrah’s Hoosier Park also implements the “Give $5, Get $5” on the casino floor with all $5 donations providing a $5 free slot play or race wager held over two days. Empire of Hope also offered t-shirts for $10 with all donations going to the cause.
The popular Dunk Tank was also back with Brandon Bates, LeWayne Miller, Jay Hochstetler, and Jordan Ross taking turns getting dunked for charity.
Empire of Hope raised more than $40,000 for the Standardbred Transition Alliance in 2022. The goal is to exceed that number this year. Last year’s amount was the most of the four racetracks under the Caesars umbrella during the annual event.