Deerfield Beach, FL – While most of North America is facing bitter winter weather, the American Harness Racing Secretaries (AHRA) kicked off their annual meetings Thursday morning at the Embassy Suites in Deerfield Beach and they were greeted with swaying palm trees, sunny skies and temperatures in the low 80’s with a slight ocean breeze.
Current president, Connie Hochstetler from the Red Mile, started off the proceedings with introductions of the 30-plus race secretaries and invited guests from racetracks throughout North America. One special guest included Grand Circuit President, John Campbell, and he spoke about the success this past season of the Grand Circuit races. Then it was right down to the business of discussing and reviewing stakes dates for 2014, purse and race name changes and some new stakes events that will be taking place in the coming season.
None of the race dates and some of the new events could not be released to the public until they become official which could take two to three weeks after the meetings are concluded.
Tom Charters, president of the Breeders Crown, did speak about the new Hambletonian Matturity Stake for four-year-olds in 2014. While the date for the race is not official, the new stake will take place at the Meadowlands with an estimated purse of $400,000 and horses may be supplemented for fees totaling $7,000 that must be made in February.
Outgoing president Hochstetler stated that she will be selecting a committee of three members who will decide the next incoming vice-president for the association. Current vice-president, Ian Fleming from Clinton Raceway, will take over the lines of the association at the conclusion of the meetings on Saturday.
Friday’s morning session will feature a presentation from TC Lane of the USTA on the new program system for horsemen to be able to enter horses for races online followed by the annual business meeting and rules seminar. Then on Saturday there will be a final revision and changes session for the 2014 stakes schedule followed by round table discussions and then the AHRS awards luncheon.
By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com