Ward gets harness racing thrill in Kentucky

09:57 PM 16 Jun 2012 NZST
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Jamie Ward takes Watchatalkinabout
Jamie Ward takes Watchatalkinabout - Out on the track for a workout.
Photo courtesy of Tammy Knox

Watchatalkinabout has special meaning for Jamie Ward. Ward made his return to harness racing as a pari-mutuel driver last year at The Red Mile in Lexington behind the now 4-year-old horse. The horse competed well and finished second, but the biggest thrill was sharing the track with some of the best drivers in the business.

"I was driving in a race with Ron Pierce, Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick, David Miller and John Campbell," said Ward. "Just to be on the track with them was a thrill. After the race, I had all of them sign my program as a keepsake, and Ron Pierce even gave me his whip."

The race was recorded in a time of 1:51.3 for the mile distance, and Ward's horse, Watchatalkinabout, beat the rest of the field to the wire second. Although he was 14 lengths behind the winner, the effort was a surprise for Ward and the best of the career for the I Am A Fool gelding. He completed his task in a time of 1:54.2. The Kentucky bred is still a maiden seeking his first win.

Ward has Watchatalkinabout back in training and is aiming toward an appearance in the upcoming White County Fair at Carmi. Harness racing is slated for Sunday (July 29) and Monday (July 30).

Ward and his father, Larry, currently have several horses in training and plan to also race on the Kentucky circuit at Bluegrass Downs in Paducah, which is now in progress.

Although Ward has driven at the county fair level for the past three years, he had not been in a race of any kind since 2000. With the exception of one or two drives in the late 1990s, Ward's last appearance at a pari-mutuel racetrack as a driver was in 1994.

Ward is also assisting Gary and Rick Barbre with their stable of horses. Susie Jochim, a longtime employee of the Barbre Stable, oversees all of the barn work for the stable while Ward provides training on the track.

The Barbres currently have a few horses racing in Chicago at the pari-mutuel level. They also plan to have a few ready to go for racing at the White County Fair.

The White County Fair will get underway Saturday (July 28) and run through Saturday (Aug. 4). In addition to harness racing, the fair will offer wrestling, a Demolition Derby, midway rides, agricultural exhibits, talent competition and Queen contests on the stage in front of the grandstand.

by Tammy Knox

Courtesy of the US Trotting Association's Web Newsroom

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