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Grove City, OH - Sweet Oliver was the top points earning during the 2020 Ohio Fair Racing Conference. The three-year-old colt pacer by Three Olives - Sugar Biscuit - Modern Art was a winner eight times at OFRC fairs earning 487 points. Sweet Oliver was followed by the three-year-old colt trotter Timestorm (Stormin Normand - Tymal Sonata - Majestic Son) was second with 453 points. Timestorm was also an eight-time winner on the circuit. The third eight-time winner in the OFRC was two-year-old trotting filly Designer Specs. Designer Specs (Full Count - Avalon Hall - Cantab Hall) is a perfect 13 for 13 overall this season. The Ohio Fair Racing Conference races at 21 county fairs across the state of Ohio. OFRC Coordinator Bill Peters says despite Covid-19, it was a great year of racing in the OFRC. "Several adjustments were made at the fairs in the Ohio Fair Racing Conference to abide by the pandemic protocols. Most of the horsemen and the race officials adapted well to the changes, and the season went relatively well." The top driver on the circuit this year was Cam McCown. McCown collected 27 wins this year, winning the title for the fourth straight year. The top trainer was Chris Beaver as he sent 21 horses to the winner's circle. Beaver also won the title in 2016, 2017 and 2018. 2020 Champions Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Champion - Rock N Republic Runner-up - Rally Your Crew Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Champion - Omyheart Runner-up - PC's Cruiser Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Champion - Feverslastcruise Runner-up - Sister Said Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Champion - Designer Specs Runner-up - Wishful Mar Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Champion - Sweet Oliver Runner-up - Chris Will See Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Champion - Timestorm* Runner-up - Trottin For Cash Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer Champion - Tiny Bit of Sky* Runner-up - Bad Ms Johnson Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Champion - Electric Ridge Runner-up - Cell Service *Repeat Champion by Frank Fraas, for the OHHA  

Grove City, OH - Ohio's four Fair Racing Circuits, the Ohio Fair Racing Conference, Home Talent Colt Stakes, Ohio Colt Racing Association, Southern Valley Colt Circuit, have agreed to a formula for distribution of nomination fees in the event of a complete cancellation of county fair racing in advance of the county fair's scheduled racing dates. In the event of a cancellation of live racing at an Ohio county fair prior to the fair's scheduled racing dates, across the board nomination fees will roll over to those fairs conducting live racing on future dates within that Circuit by Division. Single nominations will be refunded, with the refund going to the nominating party at the time of the nomination. In the event the cancellation occurs at a point in a Circuit's racing season that makes it impractical or impossible to roll nomination fees forward, then any remaining nomination fees will be refunded to the person that nominated the horse to the circuit. All refunds will occur upon the conclusion of the fair racing season for each Circuit. The stated policy enacted for 2020 will be in effect in the event any unavoidable cause or State of Emergency occurs, and a county or independent agricultural society cancels live racing in its entirety and prior to the fair's scheduled racing dates. by Frank Fraas, for the OHHA  

Grove City, OH - The Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association (OHHA) and the Ohio Fair Racing Conference (OFRC) will kick off the county fair racing circuit with live streaming coverage of harness racing from the Paulding County fairgrounds Tuesday June 16 and Wednesday June 17. The Paulding County Fair was scheduled to begin Monday June 15. It was to be the first fair of the 2020 fair season but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Three days of harness racing were originally planned for the fair, but that has been trimmed back to two days. The 12-race card schedule for Tuesday will be live streamed on the OHHA Facebook page beginning at 4PM. Replays of the races will be available on the Trot and Pace Marketing website, trotandpacemarketing.com, following completion of the racing. Wednesday's race card will also be streamed live on the OHHA Facebook page. Post time is 4PM. Wednesday's races will also be available for replay on the Trot and Pace Marketing website. The OHHA and the OFRC are planning to live stream Ohio Fair Racing Conference races throughout the summer. OFRC Regional Coordinator Bill Peters says, "With fans not allowed at the fairgrounds, this is a way for owners and fans to see the races. We are g the races, we are hoping it might expand our fan base and expose some people to harness racing that might not have seen it before." For more information: Frank Fraas ffraas@ohha.com 614-221-3650

On Tuesday, June 9, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, along with Ohio Senate President, Larry Obhof (R-Medina) and Ohio Speaker of the House of Representatives, Larry Householder (R-Glenford) sent a letter to Ohio Fair Board members acknowledging the challenges COVID-19 has presented in conducting junior fair activities in a safe manner, and doing it in a way that “works financially.” To help offset the expense of necessary health and sanitation practices that must be implemented due to the coronavirus, each fair that conducts a junior fair this year will receive $50,000. Fairs that do not conduct a junior fair this year will receive $15,000 that can be used towards next year’s fair to help offset the cost of conducting it safely. They also announced that if a fair has been canceled, they can apply for a new date with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The guidelines for the conduct of fairs originally released as a part of the Responsible Restart Ohio was referenced and encouraged as best practices to follow, however revised guidelines for county and independent fairs were also released with the letter. “Conducting the fair solely according to the guidelines contained in this new document shall be considered sufficient to satisfy your public health obligations,” stated the letter from the Gov. DeWine. In the revised guidelines, fair boards and managers are encourage to conduct the fair in a manner that discourages the large gathering of people on the midway or other parts of the fair grounds. Where possible it encourages fairs to provide one-way traffic in buildings and other areas to help people maintain social distancing. The revised guidelines say that livestock competitions can be held in the same manner as they have in the past, with a few exceptions. Participants, spectators, and the judge are encouraged when possible to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart. The judge is encouraged to wear a mask when close to a junior fair member showing the animal. Family members should be given priority to viewing areas, and should stay in family unit groups, and maintain a distance of 6 feet between groups. Livestock auctions are encouraged, but not required, to be done virtual. Non-livestock exhibitions and judging shall, where applicable, follow the same rules as those for animal exhibitions. Barns and other fair buildings are to be open as much as possible to allow good ventilation. Grandstand events shall limit the number of spectators to one half the seating capacity of the grandstand, and no event shall have more than 2,500 seated spectators. A distance of 6 feet shall be maintained between seated spectators or family groups. Food concessions shall comply with the standard Restart Ohio COVID-19 rules for restaurants, which include six-foot spacing marks for those in line, no self-serve areas, and all seating must be six feet apart between parties. Camping should follow the standards outlined in “Ohio COVID-19 Responsible Restart Ohio” plans for camping and campgrounds. Harness Racing must follow guidelines established by the Ohio Racing Commission called “Protocols for a Safe Return to Racing.” If a fair has amusement rides, it should comply with all orders of the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. In addition to the regular restrooms, the fair shall provide sanitation stations at convenient places throughout the fairgrounds. These stations shall include sanitizer. These must be placed near food concessions and in barns. These must be maintained so that hand sanitizer is always available. Fair board members, staff, volunteers, exhibitors, vendors, and participants must all follow good hygiene that is informed by the coronavirus danger: wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, cough into sleeves. Attempt to avoid gathering in groups and attempt to maintain social distancing. Individuals should perform a daily health assessment and stay home if they have a fever, cough, or other signs of possible COVID-19. By Dusty Sonnenberg Reprinted with permission of Ohio's Country Journal

The 159th Annual Paulding County Fair will soon begin and the grand old Grandstand will be reverberating with the excitement and the thrills of harness racing for three nights beginning Monday June 10th at 5 p.m. with full racing programs the same time on Tuesday (June 11th) and Wednesday (June 12th) as well. It is the official start of the 2019 Ohio Fair Racing Conference season and, after a long winter's worth of preparation, the colts and fillies are ready to strut their stuff. Paulding is where it all starts for the two and three-year-old Ohio-bred pacers and trotters as Speed Committee Director Gus Davis and his team puts them on the first step of their journey hopefully to fame and fortune. The historic fairgrounds will also commence the summer-long Spring Haven Farm Ladies Driving Series on Wednesday, June 12th where the gals get to showcase their driving abilities and the co-featured Paulding County Pace is contested too. Be sure to stop by the Racing With The Stars Tent to play the Fan Game for prizes as several new events are offered for 2019 such as "Stump the Experts" as we try to keep veteran announcer Bill Peters on his toes. Paulding was also the inaugural premier last year of Text Trivia as the popular contest kept folks guessing and winning right through Jug Week and into the Fair finals. It's time to come visit with your friends again so we will see you there! by Thom Pye for the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association

PAULDING – Racing in the Ohio Fair Racing Conference for 2017 will get under way at the Paulding County Fair on June 12-14. Post time each evening will be 5 p.m. Grandstand admission is free all three evenings. Racing on Monday, June 12 will feature the two-year-old filly pace, the two-year-old colt trot, and the three-year-old colt pace. Entries close on Friday, June 9 at 10 a.m. for Monday races. The two-year-old colt pace, the two-year-old filly trot, and the three-year-old colt trot will highlight the racing on Tuesday, June 13. Entries close on Saturday, June 10 at 10 a.m. The final evening of racing on Wednesday, June 14 will see the three-year-old filly pacers and the three-year-old filly trotters go to the gate. Wednesday’s program will also include the Ohio Ladies Pace Series, which consists of all female drivers. A new feature on Wednesday night will be the Paulding County Pace. This race is a free-for-all, meaning it is open to the top eight money winners. The race will carry a $2,050 added purse. “This is a new race we will be featuring this year. We hope to attract some of the better horses in the area and hopefully this will be a great show,” said Bill Peters, regional coordinator for the Ohio Fair Racing Association. Peters also is the race secretary and announcer for the Paulding County Fair. For the final night of racing, entries close at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 11. For entry information, contact Peters at 614-984-9515. The race day telephone number will be 614-984-9515 or 419-769-5648. Pari-mutuel wagering consisting of win, place, show, daily double, quinella, exacta, trifecta, and superfecta wagers also will be a part of each evening’s program. All races are one mile with money divided: 50 percent, 25 percent, 12 percent, 8 percent and 5 percent. The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s “Racing with the Stars” exhibit will return this year after its initial showing a year ago. This exhibit will provide information about harness racing to both new and old racing fans along with fun activities for kids. The speed committee is under the direction of John Weisenburger, superintendent and co-superintendent, Gus Davis. Other committee members are Riley Hart, Justin Carnahan, Lonnie Miller and Guy Dasher. The rain date is scheduled for Monday, June 19 at 1 p.m. Reprinted with permission of The Progress Newspaper

LANCASTER — Imagine riding in the sulky of a harness racing horse as it thunders across the finish line in front of screaming fans at the Fairfield County Fair. "It's unreal, man,"  driver Jeremy Smith said. "I live every night to put a horse's nose on the gate. I never really have done drugs, but I'm sure that must be the high they're chasing. At the race tracks, if they're really rocking, they can get up to 35 mph. Which doesn't seem like a lot in a car, but get behind one of these things, and it will change your mind about 35 mph." Smith was speaking minutes after bringing home It's Your Fantasy for the win in the fourth race Wednesday. The filly had won more than $31,000 this year coming into the race. In addition to winning himself, Smith said his job is to give the horse he's riding the best chance he can to win. "I like to keep the lines up in their mouth, keep the bit tight," he said. "That seems to work for me. And basically, my mouth. That's how I get the most out of them, yelling and screaming." The bit goes into the horse's mouth and assists the driver in controlling it. Harness horses in the U.S. run one-mile races on whatever size the track may be. For example, the track here is half a mile, so the horses make two trips around it for the race, Smith said. Unlike thoroughbreds, which start from a gate, harness horses get a running start from behind a car. The car has large arms on the back that act as a rolling starting gate. Once the horses are up to racing speed the car speeds up and exits the track, leaving the horses to race. A good time for a harness horse, which are either pacers or trotters, depending on their running style, is around one minute and 50 seconds or so. "That's pretty ordinary anymore," Smith said. "Ten years ago if you had a horse that could go in 1:50, you had a grand champion. But anymore, 1:50 is kind of a decent horse. Faster than that, that's when you're getting real, real nice animals." The United States Trotting Association website says Smith has more than 1,000 wins as a driver. By Jeff Barron jbarron@lancastereaglegazette.com Reprinted with permission of Lancaster Eagle Gazette

Columbus, Ohio - A total of 283 Standardbreds have been nominated to the Ohio Fair Racing Conference (OFRC), with 251 harness horses nominated for all 17 fairs that have joined the OFRC in 2014. The 283 nominated racehorses represent nearly 35% of the 824 eligible Ohio-sired 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers.The OFRC is represented by 17 fairs in 16 counties throughout the state of Ohio, and was established to simplify the staking process for horsemen, to reduce the complexity of administering the racing program by Fair Boards, and to increase harness racing participation at the fairs. The OFRC has an eight-member board: four appointed by the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association (OHHA), and four appointed by the Ohio Fair Managers Association (OFMA). Regional interim coordinators Bill Peters and Terri Mt. Pleasant will facilitate the harness racing program at these 17 fairs for 2014. For more information, go to www.ohha.com/resources/OhioFairRacingConference.php. by Kimberly Rinker, for the OFRC

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