DAYTON, OHIO - In a joint announcement, both Miami Valley Gaming and Racing LLC and Hollywood Casino At Dayton Raceway--the two brand new tracks currently under construction in southeast Ohio--have named veteran racing official Gregg Keidel as their new Race Secretary.
Miami Valley will kick off the 2014 season with Opening Night slated for Friday, February 7, the first of 66 nights through Saturday, May 3.
Dayton Raceway will open on Friday, October 3 and race through Saturday, December 27 for a total of 56 programs.
In conjunction with Scioto Downs, which races May through September, the three tracks comprise a year-round racing circuit in central and southern Ohio with attractive slots-infused purses and ample racing opportunity. Miami Valley's first-ever meet will feature five-nights-a-week racing from Wednesdays through Sundays in February and March. A sixth night (Tuesdays) will be added during the final few weeks of the meet in April. The opening purse structure presently contemplated features a minimum $3500 purse with top weekly events offering up to $12,500 pots.
Keidel served for 23 years as the Director of Racing at Northfield Park before accepting the same position at the brand new Running Aces Harness Park in Minnesota in 2008, a job he will be able to retain. "I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to return to my native Ohio and be part of the exciting resurgence of racing in the Buckeye state," Keidel exclaimed. "The fact that the Running Aces dates fall right between the dates of the two new Ohio tracks was an exceptional bonus!"
Among Keidel's accomplishments are the introduction of marquee events like the Battle of Lake Erie, Cleveland Classic, Courageous Lady, Night of Champions and Scarlet and Gray Stakes. He also was the first to propose the creation of Ohio Super Night. A past president of American Harness Racing Secretaries, Inc., Gregg attended his 28th consecutive annual stakes scheduling meetings of that association last week. A former trainer and driver, Keidel was named national Amateur Driver of the Year in 1999 by the United States Harness Writers Association.
Before entering the harness racing industry, Keidel graduated from Ohio University in 1970 with a degree in journalism; then founded a successful publishing business which grew from one to six weekly community newspapers before being sold in 1980.
"I can't wait to get back to Ohio and get started on the challenge of insuring a smooth opening to this new era of racing at Miami Valley and Dayton Raceways," Keidel said. "Racing five nights a week in the winter months will obviously require lots of horses. There will be a preference system in place to assure Ohio-owned horses, Ohio trainers and Ohio-sired horses a weekly start, but there should also be ample opportunity for other reputable stables to come and compete regularly."
Condition sheets will be available on the USTA website at least one month prior to Opening Night. They will feature a full range of races for condition horses, claiming horses and green horses. Late closing events will be introduced for the months of March and April, including upgraded James Hackett Memorial events for Ohio-sired three year old pacing colts and fillies. Miami Valley will host the first legs of the lucrative Ohio Sires Stakes program for 2014 when the state's best three year old pacers and trotters compete May 2 and 3.
Keidel will begin his duties December 26, but will likely be working from a temporary office while the new 156-stall Paddock/Racing Administration building is being completed. In the interim, interested parties with questions about the racing program at Miami Valley are encouraged to contact Keidel via email at: email@example.com.