The slots would be a welcome boost for Ohio harness racing trainer and father of three teenagers, Calvin Hollar. But he's not getting carried away about their imminent arrival. Why? He's been waiting for them for years.
“We’ve been hopeful for years but there’s always been one thing or another that’s stopped them from happening.
“We badly need an injection into stakes money here. I usually work a team of 25 but have now cut back to 17. The slots would be nice. They would mean I could get my numbers back up again,” Cuyahoga Halls (Ohio) based Hollar said.
Hollar and his wife Amy have three children – Carson (18), Toni (16) and Aaron (15). He said all horsemen in Ohio were hoping legislation would allow for slots at Northfield Park.
“They would make life a whole lot easier. It will affect a lot of livelihoods and keep more people involved in the sport. The number one priority is my children’s education,” Hollar said.
Hollar was not born into a harness racing family. His father was a car salesman who sold pick-up trucks to horsemen at Toledo Park.
“Toledo Park’s leading driver back then was Ron Bateson. He had kids my age and I got to know the family and harness racing well,” Lima (Ohio) born Hollar said.
After High School Hollar worked for ‘Ryder Truck Rentals’ before being drawn into harness racing.
“Even though they paid good I told my Dad I didn’t want to work in the automobile industry and he was fine with my decision. Mum was a little more cautious about harness racing and would have preferred I did something else, but I loved the horses and went and worked for Ron (Bateson).
“It was great working for him at the time because he was one of Toledo Park’s best and it was a great way to learn,” he said.
Hollar recorded his first winner in the sulky in 1990, the year he went out on his own. His first training success was in 1992.
Today Hollar has had 96 ($196,016) driving wins and 564 ($1.56m) as a conditioner.
So even though he’s more of a trainer these days - does the 100-win mark still tempt him to get back in the bike? Fifty one-year-old Hollar replied:
“I didn’t start training or driving until I was 30. Yes I would like to get to 100 but it’s not important. Maybe one day if I get a bigger team. I don’t drive much these days. I enjoy training.”
Hollar said some of his best horses had been Indiana AB mare and former Scioto track record holder - Embryo (1:52.2 – 21 wins $64,056) andtrotting mare - Ask For Gold (1:56.4 – 26 wins $167,823).
Of his current crop he termed Lucky Brad a “good ole thing” and SF Stampede as a horse with “high speed but no brain”.
When Harnesslink contacted Hollar he had just had two successes at Raceway Park in Toledo on thee May 19 (Saturday) meeting with Crush and Doowrah Silver.
Republic (Ohio) reinsman Ryan Stahl drove both pacers.
By Duane RANGER (editor)
Calvin Hollar enjoys open wheel racing:
He also enjoys the music of John Lennon:
Calvin Hollar also enjoys a game of Texas Holdem and would love to get this hand:
He also enjoys the TV program – Jeopardy: