|By ANN ALLEN
ANDERSON, Ind. ó Hoosier Park will introduce mule racing at its Sept. 16 Wild West Night.
While mule racing is popular in the west and a regular feature at the Indiana State Fair, it hasnít been very successful east of the Mississippi.
Thatís something mule enthusiasts hope to correct with this event, which also features Quarter Horse stakes excitement, performances by the Crossroads Band, a mechanical bull and rodeo and pony rides for the kids.
The Budweiser and Jack Daniels girls also will appear.
John Hood, a Greencastle muleskinner, plans to bring Old Gray out of retirement for the event. Now in his teens, Old Gray won the state fair race 10 times.
A mule, the offspring of a male donkey crossed with a female horse, has 63 chromosomes while the donkey has 62 and the horse 64. For this reason, most mules are sterile, although a few have reproduced. Researchers are now cloning mules, primarily to supply racing needs in the West.
The Hoosier Park event is open to anyone with any size saddle mule of any age. Most owners race their own mules.
The race, run in two heats, will offer cash prizes.
For more information, muleskinners should call Bob McCullough at 765-621-5020.
Hoosier Park, a Churchill Downs company, is located at 4500 Dan Patch Circle, Anderson, Ind.
This farm news was published in the Sept. 13, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.