Day At The Track
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Usually a trainer seeks out new owners to purchase horses for them to train. But these days harness racing trainer Dee Hotton is taking a different approach. She is seeking other trainers who may want her to train their horses. Hotton, who trains her stable out of the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster, Ohio, does not miss a day of training during the winter months as she moves her stable to Pinehurst Racetrack in Pinehurst, North Carolina from January to April and then comes back for the spring and summer race season. “A lot of trainers turn their horses out for the winter,” Hotton says, “and then put them back on the track come springtime. But these days there are a lot of young horses that maybe didn’t make it to the races, or were injured early and already turned out. With the winter’s the past few years so harsh, why not allow me to take their horses with me to Pinehurst and start their comeback early and then when I return they can have their horses back and already in shape to begin training down for the race season or I can have them ready to qualify. “I am still training horses to race myself,” Dee was quick to reply, “But I am also looking to take in outsiders this winter. “Not every horse is going to be stakes caliber,” She explained, “but there are a lot of early closer series at many tracks that they can be prepped in advance to be ready for. And at Pinehurst it is a lot less expensive to train a horse as compared to south Florida. The weather may not be as ideal, but we rarely have a day we can’t get on the racetrack to work out.” Dee Hotton is also seeking harness racing fans who are ready to take the plunge and become actual racehorse owners. “I have partnerships forming where people who have been racing fans can now be a partial owner at a really affordable price,” Hotton explained, “I can put them into the exciting world of harness racing and offer harness racing enthusiasts the opportunity to make the dream of owning a quality Standardbred become a reality.  We strive to make horse ownership easy, successful, and fun!”         Deirdre “Dee” Hotton founded, owns, and manages the Dee Hotton Stable. She has been involved in harness racing for over 25 years. She dreamed of training horses from a very young age after driving harness horses in Ohio matinee races while in her teens. Graduating from Ohio State with a degree in Horse Production and Management, Hotton made that dream a reality by establishing her own stable. “There is nothing like the experience and delight in watching your horse cross the finish line first,” says Dee Hooton. “The sheer exhilaration of racing is beyond words. At the Dee Hotton Stable we take pride in communicating with our partners and we believe your experience should be very enjoyable and fulfilling. Your life may never be the same after you experience the sensations of being a harness racing owner.” With two brand new tracks opened and racino enriched purses leaping at all four pari-mutuel tracks and at the numerous county fairs throughout the summer, Ohio is the hotbed for harness racing and the Dee Hotton Stable is right in the middle of it all. She also has the best online website at www.deehottonstable.com that has all the details of her operation, rates, past winners and more. If anyone is interested in joining a partnership and getting involved in harness racing as an owner, they are encouraged to contact Dee Hotton anytime and talk about it. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

A brisk and breezy early Spring day did not deter 3,000 fans of harness racing from lining the outside fence of the homestretch of North Carolina's Pinehurst Training Center. Eight events exclusive to 2-year-olds racing in jog carts lined up behind the Preferred Equine Marketing starting gate, much to the joy of throngs of rail birds and tailgaters. Over fifty railside parking spaces lined the entire outer rail, complete with pop-up tents and elaborately catered food and drink arrangements. Prior to the races, the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus from Fort Bragg performed the National Anthem while the Pinecrest High School ROTC marched proudly while presenting the color guard. The Pick-A-Winner contests, which rewarded handicappers with gift certificates provided by local supporters, were hotly contested and had long lines of anxious pseudo-bettors. As the races were run, well-known Canadian announcer Earl Lennox provided the call. Several well-known trainers were proud to debut their colts and fillies over the red sand half-mile track. The first race featured the Ackerman, Brunet, and Wellwood stables, while the second race was filled by pupils from Gordon Corey's Institute of Equine Erudition. Other stables participating in the matinee include, Mike Medors, Normand Fluet, Roland "Polie" Mallar, and David Wade. Most of the race times were clocked between 2:25 and 2:40, and usually had 4 or 5 starters. Each race had an individual sponsor and the corporate sponsor for the entire race card was Preferred Equine Marketing, Briarcliff Manor, NY. The starters were Bob Bloodgood and Paul Battis, and the Racing Secretary was Twila Mahar. Staff from the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame was on hand providing information and souvenirs to visitors. Many of the drivers and trainers joined with Hall of Famer Doug Ackerman and participated in the Museum's Cracker Barrel series, part of the ongoing effort to preserve oral history from some of the sport's oldest participants.   The successful matinee event, in its 64th consecutive year, would not have been possible without the considerable efforts of scores of volunteers and the village of Pinehurst, which is very supportive of the long tradition of harness racing in the sand hills. Garth Henry, President of the training center and the matinee race coordinator, along with D. R. Ackerman, Vice President, work diligently throughout the season to ensure the success of the popular race day.   The annual Pinehurst season finale, the USTA sanctioned qualifiers, will be held on the mile track this Wednesday, April 9th. by Chris Tully, for Harnesslink.com

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.

Son of Greg and Betty MacDonald of Smyrna, DE passed away on Tuesday, March 20th in Pinehurst, NC from accidental causes.

Though most racing venues are still cold and a bit gray, if not white, with snow, spring truly is just around the corner if matinee season is upon us.

Trainer Tom Fanning is understandably excited when he thinks ahead to racing Artstanding in the major sophomore stakes this season.

Trainer Tom Fanning and driver Yannick Gingras may have tamed the “Renegade” in time for the $137,120 Four Leaf Clover on Saturday night (March 25) at the Meadowlands.

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