This Sunday (April 7) at 1 p.m., the Pinehurst Training Center in North Carolina features its annual harness racing matinee, with horses who have been training there through the winter featured.
A true "grass roots" event, thousands of causal racing fans will attend, with many receiving their indoctrination to harness racing, tailgating around the track, setting up tents to watch the exhibitions and generally celebrating a festival atmosphere.
The training center is surrounded by the world famous Pinehurst Golf resort, which will host the US Men's and Women's Open in 2014.
Another "grass roots" organization, the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, will have a presence at the Pinehurst matinee for the second year in a row, educating the race-goers about harness racing through educational materials and interactive activities.
"We will have our pacing boards there," said HHYF Project Manager Keith Gisser, "allowing children to get a feel of the pacing gait. We will also have a number of harness-racing related games available, and we will feature a storyboard on the ‘Tar Heel Terror' Bill Gallon. Last year we featured Tar Heel."
Bill Gallon, a trotter who was inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., in 1984, was North Carolina owned and trained when he won the sport's most prestigious race, the Hambletonian, in 1941. He was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms.
Gisser adds, "We will be available to answer questions about racing, as well as to promote HHYF's educational activities, but this event is really about the Village of Pinehurst and the surrounding communities coming together to celebrate the historical significance of harness racing to the state."
The Harness Horse Youth Foundation is a charitable 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing young people and their families educational opportunities with harness horses, in order to foster the next generation of participants and fans. The Foundation has been making a difference in young people's lives since 1976, and its programs include interactive learning experiences with these versatile animals, scholarship programs, and creation and distribution of educational materials.
For more information on opportunities through HHYF, or to support its mission, go to www.hhyf.org .
Harness Horse Youth Foundation