When the platform kicks off officially on Monday, nine racetracks are signed up and ready to start taking online entries. The nine tracks are Balmoral Park, Dover Downs, Harrington Raceway, Maywood Park, The Meadows, Plainridge Racecourse, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Northfield Park, and Yonkers Raceway.
"We are ready to go with nine tracks and about 40 trainers that have been part of the testing period," said USTA Director of Registry and Member Services T.C. Lane. "But this is going to grow rapidly as new racetracks and trainers are being added every day."
During the beta testing period that began on March 17, more than 700 horses were entered electronically by nearly 40 trainers, includingwho entered more than 130 during the trial. Of the tracks participating, Dover Downs accepted 269 online entries as of April 1.
"It's going to be a big help for stakes especially," said Burke, the 2013 Trainer of the Year. "But for the everyday racehorses, it's still going to be a tremendous advantage."
The USTA has produced an informative video that describes the benefits of online entries and serves as a tutorial for trainers on how to use the platform. The video can be viewed here.
With the USTA's new, online entry program, harness racing becomes the first of the racing breeds in North America to have the capability to enter horses electronically. It allows trainers to enter their horses via the internet from computers or mobile devices days ahead of the current system.
The online entry project was spearheaded by Lane and Sherry Antion-Mohr, USTA director of information technology.
"Trainers can now map out their racing schedules at their own leisure, a week or more in advance," said Lane. "It also makes things much easier for race secretaries at the tracks."
Trainers can start to enter horses electronically as soon as the condition sheet is made available from the race office, typically seven to 10 days before the races.
by Dan Leary, for the USTA