As the 2021 racing season closes out today and everyone prepares for action in 2022, here is a look back at some of the major events from 2021.
A trio of Indiana sired horses won multiple races to kick off 2021, including Meadowbrook Tiger, GD Western, and ME Radar Girl. Steve Cross announced his exit as longtime track announcer at Harrah’s Hoosier Park and millionaire trotting mare Custom Cantab is retired.
Several Indiana horses were offered for sale in the Winter Blooded Horse Sale, Trace Tetrick was ranked second in the nation for wins through the first two months of racing, and Michael Chamberlain was named as the new track announcer for Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
A new state of the art surveillance system was approved for the barn area at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, Trainer Walter Haynes Jr. had three winners in the first set of qualifiers for 2021 in Indiana, and Joe Joe Joe from the Jesse Yoder barn set a world record for double gaited horses during opening weekend at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Ernie Gaskin was named to the Hambletonian Society Board, Little Rocket Man scored the first sub 1:50 race in Indiana for the year, and First Turn Stable returned with fractional ownership opportunities opened up to new members at Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Rockin Nola took a new lifetime mark of 1:49.3, the University of Tennessee Equine Science program visited Harrah’s Hoosier Park for a tour and educational program, and Laurie Younkin was named the first recipient of Groom of the Week, a new program presented by ISA and Harrah’s Hoosier Park.
Track records were unveiled for all stops on the ISFC courtesy of the Indiana chapter of US Harness Writers Association, Trace Tetrick scored his 6,000th career driving win, and Rick Plano earned his 4,000th career win as a trainer.
Joe Putnam was inducted into the Michigan Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Rockin on Venus wins the Hoosier Cup which returned for the first time in more than a decade, and Hot Mess Express continued her dominance in the three-year-old Indiana Sires Stakes for pacing fillies.
More than $20,000 was raised during Empire of Hope for the Standardbred Transition Alliance, the Governor’s Cup Championships are held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Jeff Cullipher earned his first Meadowlands training title, and Catch the Fire wins the 28th Dan Patch with Tellmeaboutit and Little Rocket Man finishing second and fourth, respectively.
Dover in Motion turned in his fifth win in five starts in Indiana Sires Stakes action for freshman trotting colts and geldings, the Northern Indiana Yearling Speed Sale was held with 60 catalogued, and 16-year-old Carson Conrad won his first race as a driver with Zig Zag Zoom at the Fayette County Fairgrounds in Connersville on the ISFC.
Sam Widger scored his 7,000th career win, Bourbon Courage becomes the highest priced Indiana yearling ever at $255,000 in the Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale, the ISA announced the addition of a new executive director position beginning in 2022, and three Indiana sired horses (Shirley Goodness, Rockin Nola, and Gentle Giant) qualified for the Breeders Crown finals.
Swingforthefences wins the $165,000 Carl Erskine Trot, Beckhams Z Tam makes his return to the racetrack at Oak Grove, the ISA Board elections were completed, bringing four members on board, Alan White (incumbent), Zach Miller, Ernie Gaskin and John Wilson, and the fifth annual Michiana Classic Yearling sale showed increases with a total of 98 yearlings sold.
Bryce Nickells and Rylee Harmon scored wins as owners on the closing weekend card at Harrah’s Hoosier Park, the Indiana Standardbred Awards Banquet is announced for Jan. 22 at the Embassy Suites in Noblesville, Tyler George won his second straight leading trainer title while Trace Tetrick completed a historical year with his 10th driving title, Dover Dance finishes among the nation’s top freshman trotting stallions, and a total of 91 stallions are registered with the Indiana Standardbred Breed Development program for 2022.