Team Hoosier Park wins $5,000 Saturday Shootout
Team Hoosier Park traveled to Indiana Grand for the final showdown in the $5,000 Saturday Shootout contest Saturday, Aug. 5 and returned to their home track with the trophy. The five member team consisting of Jim Wilkinson, Kenneth Foland, Robert Leverett, Connie Harrold and James Gosselin accumulated $139.80 compared to Team Indiana Grand’s tally of $75.80 to share the $5,000 Grand Prize.
The contest began in mid June with four preliminary rounds. Players selected one horse from four races at Hoosier Park and four races at Indiana Grand and accumulated the payouts on their selections when they finished first or second. After the final preliminary round Saturday, July 8, the top five players from each location advanced to the final, which rotates from year to year between Indiana Grand and Hoosier Park.
Team Indiana Grand, consisting of Terri Taylor, David Carter, Shannon Trimnell, Vickie Duke and James Coy took the early lead, but Team Hoosier Park proved to be too tough to suppress. They took control of the lead after the second race at Indiana Grand and never looked back for the win. Team Indiana Grand shared $1,000 for finishing second in the contest.
“There were a couple of races tonight that were tough,” said Jim Wilkinson of Team Hoosier Park. “A couple of those trots from Hoosier Park were hard to handicap. We just wanted to make sure we had a winner amongst our team for every race, and we did that with the exception of one race from Indiana Grand. But we got lucky and survived.”
Wilkinson, who is from Elk Grove, California, came to Indiana five years ago to train Standardbreds. This is the second consecutive year he has qualified for the Saturday Shootout Final. Rob Leverett has been a longtime racing fan at Hoosier Park, and the Noblesville, Ind. native was involved in his first Saturday Shootout.
“Everybody on our team contributed and everybody was part of the team strategy,” said Leverett. “It was a lot of fun.”
Connie Harrold of Muncie, Ind. had been to Indiana Grand in the past but this was her first time at the track in recent years and her first time in the contest. Jim Gosselin of Anderson, Ind. was experiencing a trip to Indiana Grand for the first time.
“I watch and bet on the races a lot from here (Indiana Grand) but this is the first time I’ve been here,” noted Gosselin. “This is a really nice place and we had a lot of fun.”
Each member of Team Hoosier Park received $1,000 plus an individual trophy. The nearly four foot traveling trophy will return to Hoosier Park until next year’s battle for Saturday Shootout. Hoosier Park won the inaugural contest in 2015 while the team from Indiana Grand won the contest in 2016.