Day At The Track
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It hasn’t been that long ago that harness racing at the fairs and pari-mutuel tracks in Ohio were losing owners, trainers and drivers to other states because of low purse money. “The advent of the Video Lottery Terminals has really helped give an influx not only to our industry, but the trickledown effect has helped the fairs as well,” said Steve Bateson, a Rudolph resident who is the current president of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association. “The fairs that have harness racing receive support money for doing such and there is also purse support money that comes from the Video Lottery Terminals, otherwise known as VLTs,” Bateson continued. “That significantly increased the purses probably by 2x to 3x in the last six years. “That has made it more of just being a hobby. People can now invest and make money and have fun even racing at the county fairs.” There are seven VLTs in Ohio, four at harness racing tracks and three at thoroughbred tracks. All seven of the tracks have racinos and a percent of those receipts go back into the state racing program. Bateson’s interest in harness racing started at a young age at the Wood County fair aided by his neighbors at the time, Forrest and Winifred Warner, who both were heavily involved in harness racing. “Their love of horses and the industry really drove my interest to the next level,” Bateson said. “I went to races as a kid either with my dad or my grandfather. I owned by first horse with a gentleman from Wood County who was a farmer, D.L. Whitacre, who trained horses. “I had a good experience from just going to different fairs and watching harness racing.” Bateson is the fourth Wood County resident to be the president of the OHHA. “I think the fairs are really the backbone of our sport in this state,” Bateson said, adding that the 66 fairs that have racing are the roots of the sport and that has helped get the industry through the tough times. “It’s been generational and a lot of it dates back to racing at the county fairs,” he added. “The county fair system in this state is stronger than any place in the country. Very few states have as many strong agricultural fairs as what Ohio does and Wood County is one of the stronger ones.” By Jack Carle Reprinted with permission of The Sentinel-Tribune

The Ohio Harness Horse Breeders Association is proud to announce the launch of their new harness racing website.    The adaptive and responsive internet platform will allow harness horse people to easily access information about the upcoming annual Ohio Selected Jug Sale, which is slated for Friday, September 13, 2019 at the Brave Horse Equestrian Center in Johnstown, Ohio.   This year's sale will feature over 200 yearlings by Ohio sires Pet Rock, Cash Hall, Uncle Peter, Racing Hill, Triumphant Caviar, Rockin Amadeus, Western Vintage, My MVP, Big Bad John, McArdle and many more.   Ohio Breeders president Randy Haines noted, "We are excited to bring this new level of information access to the breeders, owners and trainers in Ohio. Since everyone these days has their phone in their hands...we want people to find our sale yearlings at the touch of a button!"   For decades, the Ohio Select sale has been the first stop for owners and trainers to acquire top State-bred harness racing performers. This year will be no exception as the Ohio Select sale has sold hundreds of Ohio Sire Stakes winners and dozens of Super Night Champions.   Current standouts include, but are not limited to: ROSEMARY ROSE p,1:50.3f--'19 ($496,867); QUEEN OF THE PRIDE p,2,1:52.4f, 3,1:51.1f--'19 ($460,479); ROSE RUN SYDNEY 4,1:54.1h ($554,643); FRASER RIDGE 4,1:52.1f ($522,479); World Champion ROCK CANDY p,3,1:50.2f--'19 ($305,626); PURE CHANCE p,3,1:54.2h--'19 ($148,896); BIG BOX HANOVER 2,1:57.4f--'19 and ELVER HANOVER p,2,1:53.3h--'19, etc.   The website includes directions and maps to the Brave Horse Center auction site and links to area hotels are posted along with an archive of sales results from previous years. In addition to the sales roster, yearling video links and a PDF digital catalog will be linked for on-line viewing, when they become available.   A social media, facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OhioHHBreeders/ is also up and running, which will feature current and former Ohio Sire Stakes winners and performers, as well as news, links and updates from farms and consignors.   The Ohio Harness Horse Breeders Association is a cooperative of Buckeye State equine nurseries dedicated to the promotion and growth of Ohio Standardbreds, and include: Abby Stables, LTD., Cool Winds Farm, Dublin Valley Farms, Hickory Lane Horse Farm, LMN Bred Stables, Inc., Midland Acres, Inc., Rose Run Farm, Spring Haven Farm, Steiner Stock Farm, Sugar Valley Farm and Winterwood Farm.   For additional information, contact Laura Nault at Ohio Harness Horse Breeders, 17605 Clarks Run Rd., Mount Sterling, OH 43143. Email: LJNault@gmail.com. By Chris Tully for the Ohio Harness Horse Breeders Assoc.

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