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The Maryland Standardbred Race Fund Advisory Committee would like to notify all harness racing owners and trainers that the spring stakes scheduled at Rosecroft in April and May will be rescheduled in the fall when Rosecroft reopens. The affected dates are: April 14 – 4 & 5 year old MSS Open Pace and the 4 & 5 year old Open Trot April 26 – MSS Prelim 1 all 3 year old divisions May 10 – MSS Prelim 2 all 3 year old divisions May 24 – MSS All 3 year old Finals If you have any questions please contact Cheri Stambaugh, Administrator at 410-775-0152 or cell 240-285-0326    

Columbus, OH - To assist harness racing horsemen during the current circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Trotting Association has created a resource center of valuable information for industry participants. Contents COVID-19 Information and Facts President’s COVID-19 Guidelines Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) – Coronavirus Resource Page United Horse Coalition – Coronavirus Resource Page Federal Government Information Internal Revenue Service Small Business Administration (SBA) – Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID Loans) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – Keep America Connected – Phone and Internet Service State Government Information (alphabetical by state) Horsemen’s Association Information (alphabetical by state)   COVID-19 Information and Facts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) –   https://www.cdc.gov/ President’s COVID-19 Guidelines – www.coronavirus.gov Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) – Coronavirus Resource Page The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) published a Coronavirus resource page on its website featuring items to help horse owners navigate this disease pandemic.  http://equinediseasecc.org/coronavirus-resources United Horse Coalition – Coronavirus Resource Page The UHC website has a dedicated tab for COVID-19 information including: COVID-19 Info for Humans and Horses; Safety Net Programs for Owners; Biosecurity and Disinfecting Protocols; Financial Relief Options; and Planning for Horse Care. In addition, there is a State Specific Resources Page that includes: 1) Unemployment Information and 2) State Specific COVID-19 Information for each individual state. https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#toggle-id-56 https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package   Federal Government Information National Public Radio’s (NPR) summary of federal legislation (media) – https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package Text of Senate Bill – S3548 – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text (hundreds of pages)   Summary of the 3 Phases of COVID-19 Legislation (Prepared by USTA Lobbyists – The Ingram Group) Congressional leaders reached a deal to pass a nearly $2 trillion “stimulus” package. This legislation represents “Phase 3” of the legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, is an outline all three pieces of legislation starting with the most recent, being Phase 3. Many of these provisions may be of interest to you or your individual affiliate members which are small businesses. There is already talk of a “Phase 4” bill but it is likely several weeks away. It is highly recommended that you should check with your accounting professional for tax provisions. The “Phase 3”- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) Phase 3, the CARES Act, will inject approximately $2T into the economy, providing tax rebates, expanded unemployment benefits, and a slew of business tax-relief provisions aimed at providing direct relief for individuals, families, and businesses. Title 1: Small business interruption loans Provides 8 weeks of 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payrolls, the portion of the loan used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. To qualify businesses must employee 500 people or fewer or meet the applicable Small Business Administration (SBA) size standard for the industry. Also, most self-employed individuals and nonprofits qualify. The loan is capped at the lower of 250% of the employer’s average monthly payroll or $10 million. The link is https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. Authorizes $25 million for SBA to provide grants to associations representing resource partners to establish an online platform that consolidates resources across multiple Federal agencies and a training program to educate small business counselors on those resources to ensure counselors are directing small businesses appropriately. Expands eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans. The bill would allow businesses that apply for an EIDL expedited access to capital through an Emergency Grant—an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations. Title 2: Unemployment Insurance Provisions: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Fact Sheet for employers as well as a model notice employers may use to notify employees about these laws. The DOL is expected to issue regulations in April 2020. Individual Provisions:    Recovery Checks: $1,200 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 annually, and $2,400 for eligible married couples making less than $150,000 combined, with an additional $500 for every child. The amount would be reduced by $5 for every $100 that a person earns over $75,000, so Americans earning more than $99,000 will get nothing. Income levels, marital status, and number of children would be based on 2019 tax returns, if filed, or their 2018 return as an alternative.      Special rules for use of retirement funds: Allows the withdrawal of $100,000 from retirement accounts to pay for coronavirus-related purposes without the 10% early withdrawal penalty.    Tax Filing Deadline Delay/ Extension: The April 15 deadline for filing federal income tax returns and making payments is extended to July 15, 2020.    Charitable contributions: Corporations may deduct up to 25% of taxable income for charitable contributions in 2020, and there is no cap on individuals.    Student Loans: President Trump has suspended federally-held student loan payments for 60 days with no penalty. Employers can provide student loan repayment benefits to employees on a tax-free basis, up to $5,250. Business Provisions: Employee retention credit for employers: Employers subject to closure or partially suspended operations can qualify for a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid   to employees from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020. To qualify, a business must have been partially or fully suspended due to a local COVID-19 shut-down order or have had gross receipts decline by more than 50% from the same quarter last year. The credit is capped at $10,000 per employee, including health benefits. For employers with fewer than 100 employees, all employees count toward the credit, but for employers with more than 100 employees, only those not working because of the COVID-19 crisis count. Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes: Payroll taxes may be deferred with half due by December 31, 2021 and the other half due by December 31, 2022. Modifications for net operating losses (NOLs): NOLs for the last three years can be carried back five years on amended prior years’ tax returns. Pass-through entities may also take advantage of this provision. Modification of limitation on business interest: Changes the amount businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020. Qualified improvement property: Allows businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, to immediately write off the cost of improving a facility instead of having to depreciate it over the 39-year life of the building. “Phase 2”- H.R. 6201, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Among its many provisions, this $104 billion bill guarantees free coronavirus testing, provides emergency paid leave, and strengthens food security initiatives across a broad range of additional investments, including ensuring that children who depend on free and reduced-priced meals have access to food during school and childcare closures. H.R. 6201 also provides businesses with tax credits for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees.   Paid Sick Leave Emergency paid leave requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to give 14 days off (two weeks) at the employee’s regular pay if employee gets COVID-19, is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine to due COVID-19 concerns. The amount of paid sick leave per employee is limited to $511 per day and $5,110 total. The Act also requires employers to provide employees with 14 days off at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay to care for someone in quarantine or care for a child whose school is closed because of coronavirus precautions. Paid Family Leave Employees qualify for paid family leave if they are unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed because of a “public health emergency.” The first ten days of family leave may be unpaid, but after the first ten days, employers must provide employees with no less than two-thirds of an individual’s average monthly earnings for at least 30 days with 12 weeks of job-protected leave. Exemptions and Tax Credits There are exemptions for employers of 50 or fewer. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified sick leave wages paid each calendar quarter to cover the costs. H.R. 6201 also provides for refundable tax credits against the self-employment tax. “Phase 1”- H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Supplemental This first bill provided the initial $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.  H.R. 6074 was signed by POTUS and became law on March 6, 2020. A title-by-title summary is available here, and bill text here. —————————————————————————————————————————————- Internal Revenue Service – Treasury, IRS and Labor announced a plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave . https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USIRS/bulletins/2826044?reqfrom=share U.S. Small Business Administration – Economic Injury Disaster Loans – https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID Loan) available for qualifying businesses that have suffered economic injury as a result of the epidemic.  Funds from an EID loan may be used by small businesses to pay fixed debts , payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The terms of an EID loan are determined by the SBA on a case-by-case basis. FCC – Keep America Connected – Phone and Internet Services Keep Americans Connected Pledge – https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity. So far, more than 550 companies and associations have signed the pledge to Keep Americans Connected.  See the list on their website. The pledge: Not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic’ Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances pandemic; Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.   State Government Information (alphabetical by state) State – Small Business Information and Websites: Delaware – https://business.delaware.gov/coronavirus/ Indiana – https://www.nfib.com/indiana/ Florida – https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/florida-offers-loans-to-small-business-to-offset-coronavirus-impacts/2210126/ (media).  www.FloridaDisaster.BIZ – Application period ends May 8. Maryland – https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-small-business-financial-help-latest/ (media) with link to federal SBA website. Minnesota – https://www.twincities.com/2020/03/23/coronavirus-immediate-relief-available-for-small-businesses-in-minnesota/ New Jersey – https://www.njeda.com/about/Public-Information/Coronavirus-Information New York – https://esd.ny.gov/small-business-loan-resources Ohio – https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/resources-for-economic-support Pennsylvania – https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/   Rent Eviction and Utility Shutoff Information by State and Municipalities A detailed list of state and municipal, as well as federal, information on moratoriums on rent evictions and utility shutoffs. https://evictionlab.org/covid-eviction-policies/   Horsemen’s Association Information (alphabetical by state) California – California Harness Horsemen’s Association   Delaware – Delaware SOA – www.dsoaonline.com The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, who serves Delaware horsemen and women, will utilize their website (link above), Facebook page (Delaware Standardbred Owners Association) and weekly television/internet show “Post Time” with host Heather Vitale to communicate with members.  Post Time airs on WBOC-TV on Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m. EST.  Show archives can be found on PostTimeShow YouTube channel.   Florida – Florida SBOA Iowa – Iowa Harness Horse Association   Illinois – Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association   Indiana – Indiana Standardbred Association   Kentucky – Kentucky Harness Horsemen’s Association   Maine – Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association   Massachusetts – SOA of Massachusetts   Michigan – Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association   New Jersey – SBOA of New Jersey SBOA of NJ – Employee Acquisition Assistance If you are in a position where you are shorthanded and need help during this critical time, the SBOANJ would like to help you. Please contact us at info@sboanj.com or call 732-462-2357 to let us know what type of employees you are in search of. We will gladly post positions needed on our website with any contact information you would like to give and help you get the word out.   New York –        HHA of Central New York          Saratoga Harness Horsemen’s Association   SOA of New York   Western New York HHA —————————————————————————————————————————————- Ohio – Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association OHHA Update – 3/27/20 OHHA Specific Relief: O.H.H.H.I.T. Health Plan Credits: The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance  (O.H.H.H.I.T.) Trustees as administrators of the Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance Trust would like to announce financial relief for all Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance Plan Participants. As-of the date of the first Order cancelling racing (March 20, 2020), each Self-Pay Plan Participant will automatically receive a credit for two months of health insurance plan premiums at their existing coverage level.  For example, if a horseman has paid their April premium costs for family coverage, they will receive a credit for their May and June family coverage premiums.  If the April family coverage premium has not been paid, the credit will apply to family coverage for their April and May premium costs.  There is no need to do anything to receive the credit.  It will automatically be applied to all self-pay coverage classes.  Note that if there are changes in coverage to a higher level of coverage (i.e., single to family coverage) during the credit time-period, the credit for the lower level of coverage will apply and the difference between the higher and lower premium cost will have to be paid. In addition, during this time, existing Breeding Farm Employees and Racetrack Grooms that are employed and active in the Plan, will continue to receive their premium costs covered.  Separation for or from any covered employer will be handled as-per the Plan’s rules.  The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association will provide updates regarding financial relief initiatives as they take place via www.ohha.com and social media outlets.  For immediate updates, please subscribe to the OHHA Emergency and Informational Text Blast system by texting “OHHA” to 1-888-808-1507. Government Updates: Ohio General Assembly Update • The next Senate session is scheduled for March 25 at 1:30 PM • The House has scheduled sessions for March 24, 25, 26, 31 and April 1 and 2 all at 1:00 PM • Legislation is not expected to go through the usual committee process, but rather it will be handled procedurally through the Rules committee. • UPDATE 3.25.20 the Ohio Senate and House voted to pass HB 197 with an emergency amendment to address coronavirus concerns. The summary of the amendment can be found at, https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA133-HB-197 As Passed Ohio H.B. 197 Overview COVID-19 Relief: 1. K-12 Education · Testing & Accountability – The bill eliminates state-mandated K-12 student assessments for the 2019-20 school year. It eliminates Ohio’s school district and school building report cards for the 2019-20 school year, prohibits ODE from assigning letter grades to buildings or districts, prohibits rankings based on report card data and creates “safe harbor” for schools and districts to ensure data from the 2019-20 school year will have no effect in determining sanctions or penalties. The proposal directs ODE to seek a waiver from federal testing requirements. · Jon Peterson Special Needs/Autism Scholarships – Allows for services to be provided to students by electronic delivery method or telehealth. This change is necessary for services to continue while schools are closed. · EdChoice Scholarship – The bill freezes the 2019-20 performance-based EdChoice building eligibility list at 517 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. The language allows siblings of current voucher students to participate. Under continuing law, the EdChoice application portal will open for 60 days beginning April 1, 2020, to process income-based EdChoice vouchers, renewals of existing performance-based vouchers, and new students attending the 517 buildings already on the list. The bill expressly prohibits expansion of the building list to 1,227 buildings. · Student Meals – For school districts that are providing meals to students who are home while schools are closed, this language gives the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture the authority to provide an exemption from “food processing” requirements so those entities can focus on providing food to children that depend on these services. · Distance Learning – For the 2019-20 school year, permits districts and schools to make up through distance learning any number of days or hours necessary due to COVID-19-related closures. They may amend an existing plan or adopt one to make up those days or hours. Current law limits make up through distance learning to not more than three days. · Teacher Evaluations and Licenses – For current teachers, the bill provides flexibility for teacher evaluations that were due to be completed during the 2019- 20 school year and removes the value-added component from the evaluation. For new teachers unable to take the final licensure test due to testing center closures, the bill provides them with a provisional teaching license for the 2020-21 school year if they have graduated from college, and have successfully completed student teaching and a background check. 2.  2020 Primary Election – The primary election in-person voting was cancelled due to the public health crisis. Ohioans that were eligible to vote on March 17, 2020, will be able to cast their ballot by mail on or before April 28, 2020. Those Ohioans that cast their ballot early will have their vote count. The Ohio Secretary of State will mail all voters a postcard informing them on how they will be able to request their ballot by mail from their local county Board of Elections. The board will send them their ballot and a postage paid return envelope. 3. Tax Year 2019 & 2020 Changes · Ohio’s tax filing deadline will be the same as the federal filing deadline, July 15 · The legislation incorporates into Ohio law recent changes to the Internal Revenue Code or other federal law taking effect after March 30, 2018. The language also assures continued compliance with the streamlined sales tax compact in respect to sales of prescription incontinence products for Medicaid recipients. · Other changes include Work From Home-related issues. As more of the workforce begins to Work from Home, questions have arisen regarding which municipal corporations may tax an employee’s income. This addresses concerns of businesses regarding the “20-day rule” in municipal income tax by not requiring employers to withhold for employees’ home municipalities for the duration of an employee working remotely, but rather to continue to withhold for the employee’s traditional workplace. Also, without this change, once an employee has worked in a municipality for more than 20 days, that municipality may start taxing part of the employer’s own income. 4. Rainy Day Fund – Permits the DeWine administration, prior to the end of the fiscal year (June 30), to seek State Controlling Board approval to transfer funds from the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund to the state’s General Revenue Fund, if necessary, in order to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget. Approval for this transfer would be needed from at least two Controlling Board members from the House and two from the Senate in order for the request to be approved. Currently, there is $2.7 billion in the Rainy Day Fund. 5. Local Governments · Open Meetings – Grants members of a public body permissive authority to hold, attend and take public actions in public meetings by video conference, teleconference and any other available electronic means, provided certain requirements are met. The public body would be required to provide public access to a meeting held in this manner and ensure the public can observe and hear the discussions and deliberations. The public body would still have to provide proper meeting notice and have a quorum. Under the proposal, a “public body” has the same meaning as defined in ORC 121.22 and includes counties, townships, municipalities at the local level, as well as boards, commissions and other state- level entities. · Clean Water – Access to clean water in homes is critical when dealing with the COVID-19 emergency. This language would provide the Director of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency authority to direct public water systems to not disconnect, and to restore service to homes that have had their water shut off for nonpayment. Many of the utilities have voluntarily taken this step, and the PUCO has ordered public utilities to do so. · Auditor of State – Requested by the Auditor of State, this language allows the Auditor of State to waive certain criteria on a case-by-case basis to conduct an agreed-upon procedure audit of eligible subdivisions. · Access to County Offices – The bill generally requires the offices of a county recorder, county auditor and the title office of a clerk of court of common pleas, and a county map office, to remain open to land professionals and automobile, watercraft, all-terrain and mobile home dealers for property searches and title processing. · Local Vacancies – Provides a county central committee of political party additional forty-five days to fill vacancy from the date the vacancy was required to be filled during the period of the emergency declared by Executive Order 2020- 01D, issued March 9, 2020. Federal Information • Final CARES Act $2 Trillion Relief Coronavirus package  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6819239-FINAL-FINAL-CARES-ACT.html on3-25-20 by a 96-0 vote.  House vote Hospitals and Healthcare • $150 billion for the healthcare system • Includes funding for hospitals, treatment, and the Strategic National Stockpile to raise supplies of ventilators, masks, and other needed equipment • $100 billion will go to hospitals and the health system • $1 billion will go to the Indian Health Service Stimulus Checks • $250 billion for one direct payment to individuals and families • Payments are expected to go out within 3 weeks • Those earning $75,000 or less will receive a $1,200 check • Married couples earning $150,000 or less will receive a check for $2,400 • Additional $500 check per child aged 16 or under • Payment scales down for individuals earning above $75,000 • No payment for individuals making over $99,000 and couples with no children earning $198,000 Business Loans • Existing Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: Provides $17 billion for the SBA to cover the next six months of loan payments due on existing SBA 7(a) loans, Certified Development Company loans, and microloans. • SBA Disaster Loans: Provides $10 billion for the SBA to provide economic injury disaster loans to small businesses until December 31, 2020. While casinos and any gaming or racing business that derives more than a third of their annual gross income from gambling and racing are not normally eligible for such loans, the OHHA is working to clarify the applicability of the CARES Act to horsemen. • SBA Interruption Loans: Provides $349 billion for the SBA to provide “interruption loans” to small businesses, self-employed individuals, 501(c)(3) organizations, and veterans organizations, provided they have less than 500 employees or they meet SBA small business size standards (whichever is greater), with broadened eligibility for some franchises and businesses that provide food and accommodation services. • SBA Express Loans: Temporarily increases the maximum loan amount for an SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1 million. • $150 billion for state and local governments to respond to coronavirus.  Stops President Trump, top government officials, and members of Congress and their families from getting loans or investments from the Treasury stimulus programs. • Treasury stimulus programs include a special loan facility to enable banks and other lenders to extend low interest loans to eligible mid-sized US Businesses, states, tribes, and local governments suffering from the impact.  Interest expenses on the loans is tax deductible. • Businesses that eliminate more than 10% of their workforce are not eligible for aid under the Bill until September 2020. Employers must retain or rehire at least 90% of workers and restore compensation and benefits. • $454 billion to provide loans to distressed companies, loan guarantees, and other Federal Reserve Lending programs to support businesses.  Gaming businesses are eligible or relief under this program as long as they are not receiving other economic relief • $50 billion of that will go to passenger airlines • Trump administration agreed to an oversight board and inspector general position to review how the money is spent • Republicans failed in attempt to cap unemployment at 100% of a workers wages that they received while previously employed Tourism Grants for Economic Revitalization •  Community Development Block Grants: Provides $5 billion in grants to states and local governments to mitigate economic disruptions in impacted industries, including making direct grants to tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19. •  Economic Development Agency Grants: Provides $1.5 billion to state and local governments for economic injuries to impacted industries, including grants to support economic revitalization of tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19. • Student Loans • All student loans, borrowed within the last 10 years and held by the federal government, will undergo an automatic payment suspension until September 30, 2020 • Individuals can choose to keep paying • Interest will not accrue during this period • Wage garnishment due to lack of payment will be suspended • Payment count will still continue to go up by one each month Tax Provisions / IRS  Temporary Universal charitable tax deduction. A temporary universal charitable tax deduction for donations of up to $300 to both itemizers and nonitemizers. (Lankford language to increase the cap was not agreed to. • Temporary suspension of charitable contribution limits. The charitable tax deduction claimed by a taxpayer each tax year is generally limited to no more than 50% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI), unless a taxpayer gives only cash, in which case the limit increases to 60% of AGI. The bill will temporarily suspend these limitations on the charitable tax deduction per taxpayer in 2020. • Carryback of net operating losses.  Carryback losses from 2018, 2019, and 2020 to offset 100 percent of taxable income in the last five years, generating funds for gaming businesses. • Deferral of Social Security Taxes: Gaming employers may defer their share of Social Security tax payments on employee wages otherwise due for the remainder of 2020. This allows half to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by the end of 2022. • Increase on Business Interest Deduction: For 2019 and 2020 tax years, gaming businesses can deduct interest expense up to 50 percent of their adjusted taxable income (EBITDA: earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), up from 30 percent of such income previously. • Qualified Improvement Property Fix: Gaming businesses will be able to immediately write-off building improvement • Refundable Credits for Prior Year Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Accelerates the ability for corporations to recover AMT credits, allowing a refund claim now to obtain additional cash flow. Extending Benefits: Provides enhancements to existing state unemployment insurance programs, including: • Allowing furloughed workers to receive unemployment insurance benefits • Waiving the seven-day waiting period for regular unemployment insurance • Extending the duration of unemployment insurance benefits • Promoting short-time compensation benefits for workers forced to cut hours • The U.S. and Canada have decided to suspend all non-essential travel during the two countries during the pandemic, while ensuring that trade between the countries is not disrupted.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/canada-us-plan-to-close-border-to-non-essential-travel-135373 Columbus Information Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the City of Columbus is suspending all in person bill payment and permitting services for the Department of Public Utilities, Building and Zoning Services, Recreation and Parks, and Department of Public Service at the 111 Front Street Coleman Government Center and Jerry Hammond Building at 1111 East Broad Street until further notice. Department of Public Utilities payment options: • Use drop boxes at 111 Front Street or in front of the Public Utilities Complex along Twin Rivers Drive (910 Dublin Road) • On line portal:   https://schedulepayment.com/Columbus • Payment by phone or billing questions can be directed to the Customer Service Center 7 am – 3 pm:  614-645-8276 • Western Union locations in Kroger stores:  https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/pay-bills.html Additional information can be found via the resources below: • Daily press conferences at 2:00 PM: http://www.ohiochannel.org/live/governor-mike-dewine • Dept. of Health coronavirus updates: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/ • Secretary of State’s updates on voting/press releases: https://www.ohiosos.gov/coronafacts/ • Request Absentee Ballots:  https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/#gref • Mental Health coronavirus-related resources: https://mha.ohio.gov/Health-Professionals/About-Mental-Health-and-Addiction-Treatment/Emergency-Preparedness/Coronavirus • Ohio Department of Education Information for School and Districts: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/Coronavirus • Workforce Development: https://workforce.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/workforce/ • Child Care Information for Providers: http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/CoronavirusAndChildcare/ • Ohio Department of Insurance Bulletins: https://insurance.ohio.gov/wps/portal/ gov/odi/about-us/bulletins/ • Supplemental guidance on screening for employees and employers: https://associationdatabase.com/aws/OLA/asset_manager/get_file/433958?ver=1. • City of Columbus Coronavirus Resources: https://www.columbus.gov/covid19resources/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery • Health Policy Institute of Ohio Coronavirus Guide: https://www.healthpolicyohio.org/coronavirus-covid-19-in-ohio/ • Phone: For any questions you have about COVID-19, please call 1 (833) 4- ASK-ODH from the hours of 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. • If you want to volunteer to help-mail:  together@governor.ohio.gov with your name, contact information, and how you can help. • THE FOLLOWING ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, EITHER BY GOVERNOR DEWINE, OR BY THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: • Executive and Public Health Orders: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/ gov/covid-19/home/public-health-orders/public-health-orders • 03/19/20 Executive Order 2020-05D Telehealth • 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-04D Temporary Pandemic Child Care • 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-03D Unemployment • 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-02D Emergency Amendment Rule • 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-01D Declaring a State of Emergency • 03/25/20 Director’s Order to Close Facilities Providing Child Care Services • 03/22/20 Director’s Order to Stay at Home • 03/21/20 Order to Certain Entertainment Venues • 03/21/20 Order to Prohibit Adult Day Support or Vocational Habilitation Services in a Congregate Setting • 03/21/20 Order to Close Facilities Providing Older Adult Day Care Services and Senior Centers • 03/20/20 Order to Cease Business Operation at Hair Salons, Day Spas, Nail Salons, (More) • 03/17/20 Order non-essential surgery • 03/17/20 Order to Close Polling locations • 03/17/20 Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio (Amended) • 03/17/20 ODH Director’s Order Closure of the Polling Locations • 03/16/20 Director’s Journal Entry on Updated COVID-19 Reporting Requirements • 03/15/20 Health Director Order Limit Food, Alcohol Sales to Carry Out Delivery Only • 03/15/20 Health Director Order Limit Access Jails and Detention Facilities • 03/14/20 Order the Closure of All K-12 School in the State of Ohio • 03/14/20 Health Screening for Admission to State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals or to DYS Facilities • 03/14/20 Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio • 03/17/20 Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities (Amended) • 03/14/20 Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities Resources for Businesses and Workers: ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT AID FOR OHIOANS: • The Governor will issue an executive order, which will grant the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) with the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation suspending the normal 1-week waiting period. • This order will also give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close. Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work. Learn more at Unemployment.Ohio.gov or JFS.Ohio.gov/Coronavirus. ONE-TIME LIQUOR BUYBACK: • The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons. • Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high- proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1(877)812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov. SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: • The Ohio Development Services Agency submitted an application to qualify Ohio for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Ohio’s request for small businesses to receive economic disaster relief loans has been approved.  This program provides low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency. • Non-profit organizations in Ohio will also be eligible for low-interest loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. • To complete the state’s application, businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov. Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster. BUREAU OF WORKERS COMPENSATION: · The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is announcing that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020. At that time the matter will be reconsidered. Additionally, BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of COVID-19. For more information, attached is a FAQ sheet or you can visit www.BWC.Ohio.Gov Pennsylvania        Meadows Standardbred Owners Association Meadows Standardbred Owners Association Update –   03/27/2020 PA General Assembly: • The Senate session is scheduled for April 6, 7 and 8 at 11:00 AM • The House has scheduled session for April 6 at 1:00 PM Federal Information: • Senate passed coronavirus package and if passed in the House on Friday, March 27, Treasury is proposing emergency funds to be direct deposited by April 6 or checks to be received within 3 weeks: $1,200 Individual (income under $100,000) $2,400 Couples $   500 per child under age 17 (Minimum payments of $600 for those with no federal tax liability, and aid would be phased down at adjusted gross income thresholds)   https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/25/whats-in-stimulus-package-coronavirus-149282 • Canada-U.S. border to closed to nonessential travel on Friday night https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/19/canada-us-border-closing-coronavirus-137433 Additional Information: • PA Dep’t. of Health coronavirus updates: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx • Phone: for any questions you have about coronavirus: call 1-877-724-3258 • LIVE daily briefings from the PA Department of Health:  www.governor.pa.gov/live/ or watch on Facebook •  Governor Wolf is expected to sign a measure postponing the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 2. For Businesses and Workers: • Governor Wolf: Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to Small Businesses facing losses related to Coronavirus  https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-economic-injury-disaster-loans-available-to-small-businesses-and-non-profits-facing-losses-related-to-covid-19/ • Unemployment Compensation for Pennsylvanians –   www.uc.pa.gov/pages/covid19.aspx          Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association – Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association Update – (03-26-20) Pennsylvania COVID-19 Resources Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Dedicated Website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx PA COVID-19 Daily Report:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/COVID-19%20Situation%20Reports/20200324nCoVSituationReportExt.pdf PA COVID-19 Daily Press Conference Stream (3:00 p.m. EST):   https://pacast.com/live/doh or https://www.governor.pa.gov/live/ PA Case Map:   https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#CasesinPennsylvania PA Stay At Home Order:   https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/?fbclid=iwar22jtpidu7weyoljqvlamjvtxygc76bnouq3mdkpfbjs5nvc6ff2pufnjg#StayatHomeOrder PA Information for Travelers:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx PA COVID-19 FAQs:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/FAQs.aspx Questions about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania? 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) PA Department of Labor & Industry:   https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx PA Department of Revenue:   https://www.revenue.pa.gov/Pages/AlertDetails.aspx PENNDOT:   https://www.penndot.gov/pages/coronavirus.aspx PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs:   https://www.ddap.pa.gov/Get%20Help%20Now/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx PA Department of Community and Economic Development:   https://dced.pa.gov/resources/ PA Department of Banking and Securities:   https://www.dobs.pa.gov/Businesses/COVID-19%20Information%20and%20Guidance/Pages/default.aspx CDC COVID-19 Testing Guidelines & Symptom Self-Checker:   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html PHHA Partner Tracks The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Updates:   https://mohegansunpocono.com/updates.html Harrah’s Philadelphia Updates:    https://www.caesars.com/corporate/coronavirus-guest-information Luzerne County (Pocono):   https://www.luzernecounty.org/1263/Luzerne-County-COVID-19-Response Delaware County (Harrah’s):   https://www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/coronavirus.html PHHA Health Coverage Information – 3/24/20 The PHHA has transitioned to working remotely but are still available for assistance by calling the PHHA office at 610.874.5200.  Moving forward, the PHHA will not be billing any of its members for their April health premium. If a member has paid ahead, those monies will remain on their account as a credit. Additionally, the PHHA is encouraging all members to take advantage of MDLIVE, a free service through Independence Blue Cross in which a doctor can be accessed remotely.  https://www.mdlive.com/   Virginia – Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association   Wisconsin – Wisconsin Harness Horsemen’s Association Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Harness Racing was halted about two weeks ago at The Meadows, shut down because of social-distancing measures and the threat of coronavirus. But horses need to exercise, and it takes humans to train them and care for them. That continues at The Meadows and all over the country. The lack of competitive racing also threatens stakes racing and the big-money purses that go with it. The Meadows is no exception. While stakes racing isn’t scheduled until the Pennsylvania Sire Stake series starts May 2 at the North Strabane Township track, other events such as the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old pacing fillies (May 22) and for pacing colts (June 20) also are in question. The Adios eliminations are scheduled for July 25 with the final set for Aug. 1. Until further notice, racing has been limited to one harness track in the country, Cal-Expo in Sacramento, Calif. The California Horse Racing Board approved the track to begin racing last Friday. Racing will be held there Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 22. The Meadows’ return to racing might be determined by the reopening of the casino and return to work by state employees because race judges are employees of the state. Races cannot be contested without judges. For now, keeping horses active and their handlers healthy is a main objective. “Most days, (horses) are coming out and exercising,” said Ron Burke, the top trainer in the world. “We’ve turned some out, so they are put in paddocks. But there’s not enough paddocks for all the horses. “The horses have to come out and either jog lightly or some days they go closer to race speed. So, when races pick up, they are fit and ready to go. Basically, with a barn bigger like ours, we’re able to simulate races.” Jim King, Jr., one of the top trainers in the country, has his horses at his farm in Delaware. He has a number of stakes-eligible horses. He’s attempting to strike a balance. “It kind of changes every day,” said King. “We don’t know what is going on ourselves. There is no change in what we do with the horses. Jim King, Jr. “I had a half-dozen ready to qualify. In fact, I dropped them into qualifiers, but they didn’t draw in. They were that close. A couple more were a few weeks away. I had to finish getting them ready and once they are ready, I’ll back off. My other horses will keep going with an abbreviated schedule. They’re jogging, not as far as usual and only training once a week.” Dirk Simpson, who owns a significant stable of horses at The Meadows, said horsemen have been through racing lulls in the past, pointing to planned weeks off and a layoff in 2018 because of a deadly virus. Racing at The Meadows was shut down for more than one month early in 2018 because the virus was contracted by a handful of horses in late January. “The first week, it’s just kind of normal business,” Simpson said. “We’ve been down before. You think it’s OK and things are going to be the normal. We’ve survived it before. “Now, we’re into two weeks and there is no sign of racing. I’m thinking, my own personal point of view is that at some point the state will open it back up. We can operate with a small group of people. The governor will eventually allow (state employees) to go back to work. Dirk Simpson “I’m trying to be optimistic. Two years ago, we were shut down a month and my barn was hit hard. We just weathered through it. You get 60 days; it’s a totally different thing to tackle. If this goes longer than three weeks, it would be a hardship – first the smaller stables and then the larger stables. It’s scary right now. I’m staying as positive as I can.” Neither Burke, King nor Simpson have laid off any workers. None has reported anyone who has become ill with the virus. The entire harness racing industry is looking forward to getting back on the track. “We need the end date,” Burke said. “I don’t think we’re anywhere near finding the end date. “We’re trying to keep people from congregating and they’re good at it. It’s not like we have cubicles we’re sitting in to watch our horses. Once on the track, those horses keep you separate.” Burke is stressing to employees to maintain social distancing, washing their hands and staying healthy. “We need to stay healthy because the horses need us to take care of them,” he said. King has 3-year-old filly pacer, Lyons Sentinel, who’s coming out party came at The Meadows, to be concerned with. Lyons Sentinel won nearly $900,000 as a 2-year-old. “She was a little behind most of them (his other horses) anyway,” King said. “She’s training but nowhere near. … She’s six weeks from qualifying anywhere. I have to keep the horses moving, not race read but moving enough so I can have them race-ready in 10 days.” Burke thinks the harness racing industry could return faster to close to normal operations than other industries. “It could be done under any system they want, 40 to 50 people,” Burke said. “Horses have to exercise anyhow. There are ways. It would take some adjustments. The way we prepare, you’d have to cut the number (of people) and change the way you go to the paddock. You could put the horses together and we could separate people. “We should be able to get back about the quickest of any industry. We don’t need interaction. People can bet from their phone and on computers. I have a little hope for whatever social-distancing requirements there are, we can manage it.” Reprinted with permission of The Observer-Reporter

When Kurt Sugg looks back on his childhood, some of his fondest early memories of harness racing involved climbing into the family's Ford Ranchero and accompanying his father, Ivan, on trips to the county fairs in Ohio. Sometimes, they would stop on the way to pick up driver Jeff Fout, then continue on their journey to the races. One horse in particular at that time, a pacer named On Bret, was the center of Kurt's attention. The reason was simple. On Bret found his way to the winner's circle on a regular basis. The colt won 13 of 19 starts as a 2-year-old in 1978, just as the then 9-year-old Kurt was becoming immersed in the sport. "I remember going to the fairs and (On Bret) would win all the time; at least it seemed that way when I was there," Kurt said, adding with a laugh, "I guess I got to thinking it was pretty easy back at that time. Being a kid, you don't realize it's not as easy as it appears. But from a child's eyes, that's the way it appeared to me." Kurt jogged his first horse that same year. "My toes just barely could touch the stirrups and my butt was just on the edge of the seat," he said. "This is kind of all I ever really wanted to do. After school, we were always down at the barn helping dad when we got old enough to clean stalls and harness horses and things like that. That's kind of where it started. "And I always liked the competitiveness. That really got me into it. I like being competitive." Eight years after On Bret's rookie season, Kurt won his first race as a driver. In the ensuing 34 years, he has added 4,319 more, plus 1,067 as a trainer. Not surprisingly, he has cited his father as the biggest influence on his career. Ivan was the 2003 Trainer of the Year after guiding No Pan Intended to the Pacing Triple Crown and was inducted into the Ohio Hall of Fame in 2006. "I didn't work for my dad back then (when No Pan Intended raced) so it was kind of different, but I was happy to see my dad have that success in the business, which I think he deserved," Kurt said. "He did this his whole life. "When I was a kid, we went to the horse sales and dad would buy some yearlings, but they were always on the cheaper side, and he developed them into good stakes horses. When he got some little better horses, he proved what he could do with his training ability. That was a thrill for me to watch." Last year as a driver, Kurt won 361 races, the second-highest total of his career and not far from the 375 victories he posted in 2016. His $2.78 million in purses in 2019, though, were a lifetime best. He was off to a strong start this season, with his 96 triumphs tied for seventh among all drivers in North America, before racing was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was second in the driver standings at Northfield Park, trailing only five-time national dash champ Aaron Merriman. "This was by far the best start to a year I've ever had," Kurt said. "Everything was going along very nicely for me. I'm anxious to get back to racing, but I understand we need to do what we need to do to protect ourselves and the whole nation as far as this goes. "We have a big farm here, so we can get out and move around. But, still, not being able to go and do anything is really tough." Kurt has 10 horses at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster and another five horses at home. "We can sit in the living room and look out the window and see the horses in the field, so we really enjoy that a lot," he said. Although the sport faces an uncertain time, Kurt said people in the industry will work together to come through it. "We're pretty competitive on the track but when it comes down to somebody needing something and the welfare of the horses, people are going to band together to help them out," Kurt said. "That's good to see." Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

URGENT- Message from the Standardbred Retirement Foundation - an emergency situation exists for our retired horses and immediate help is needed.   Anything you can spare (even as small as a dollar) from thousands of different horse lovers & supporters will help feed and care for these magnificent animals....!!!   PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TODAY....!!!   Urgent Message From The Standardbred Retirement Foundation   Harness Racing Alumni Show

The California Horse Racing Board conducted two separate meetings on Thursday, March 26, by teleconference. The public participated by dialing into the teleconference and/or listening through the audio webcast link on the CHRB website. Both meetings were chaired by Dr. Gregory Ferraro, joined for the first meeting by Vice Chair Oscar Gonzales and Commissioners Dennis Alfieri, Damascus Castellanos, Wendy Mitchell, and Alex Solis. Commissioner Mitchell did not participate in the second meeting. The audios of these two meetings are available on the CHRB Website (www.chrb.ca.gov) under the Webcast link. In brief, during the first, regular meeting: Chairman Ferraro opened the meeting by welcoming Commissioner Castellanos to his initial meeting as a member of the Board. Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Commissioner Castellanos on March 10. In two separate but related actions involving both emergency and permanent rules, the Board voted to re-establish the 48-hour restriction on the administration of medications or other substances to horses entered to race unless otherwise authorized by regulation. The change to the emergency regulation went into effect immediately, while the permanent rule was approved for 15-day public notice. The Board approved a regulatory amendment prohibiting the administration of the anti-bleeder medication furosemide to 2-year-olds. The amendment also reduces by half the level that can be administered to horses permitted to race with furosemide. The Board put over to the April 22 meeting further discussion of a regulatory amendment clarifying that racing veterinarians are under the direction of Official Veterinarians, allowing racing associations input, as requested by The Stronach Group. The Board approved for public notice an amendment to the rule governing penalties that makes veterinarians and other licensees who violate shock wave therapy regulations subject to the same penalties as trainers. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring individuals to hold an assistant trainer's license in good standing for one year as a qualification for a trainer's license. The Board approved a requirement for practicing veterinarians to use an electronic on-line form prescribed by the Board when submitting their required veterinarian reports to the Official Veterinarian. The Board approved a regulatory amendment requiring trainers to maintain treatment records of all medications they administer to horses in their care at facilities within the CHRB's jurisdiction. The Board authorized the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club to distribute $90,839 in race day charity proceeds to nine beneficiaries and another $13,744 to four beneficiaries. The Board designated the 2020 fair racing sessions in Pleasanton, Sacramento, Ferndale, and Fresno as a combined meet for pari-mutuel purposes. The Board approved an industry agreement.to use a designated portion of Advance Deposit Wagering revenue that would ordinarily go to horsemen's purses and racetrack commissions to be used to fund a California co-op marketing program. After the conclusion of the first, regular meeting, the Board reconvened the teleconference to hold a special meeting to address a single agenda item. The Board approved a change to the license application of Watch & Wager LLC, allowing harness racing at Cal Expo to switch race days from Fridays and Saturdays to Tuesdays and Wednesdays.   Reprinted with permission of The Paulick Report

CHICAGO — The daily schedule of harness racing trainer Hosea Williams hasn’t changed much since COVID-19 started to batter Illinois’ economy. He still rises at 4 a.m. each day and heads for the stables of Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero where his six Standardbreds await their daily exercise. There is one difference, though. Once the weekend comes, there will be no racing — and thus, even as his expenses mount, no income. “I’ve got a payroll — not a huge one, but I pay three people every week,” Williams said. “I will be OK. But you’ve got people there who are not OK.” Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home order issued to combat the coronavirus outbreak has hammered many trades, but none more than the equine industry. From racetracks to trail rides, many who make a living through horses have seen their incomes dry up almost entirely. But unlike other businesses, horse owners say, they can’t merely hunker down and wait for things to get better. Frizell Thomas, left, is shown at Hawthorn Race Course on Thursday. The Pandemic is expected to have a devastating impact on the Industry “If you’ve got a movie theater, you shut it down and put a closed sign in the window,” said Gerald Hansen, a Monee-based owner and trainer of harness horses. “With horses, they’ve got to eat every day. They’ve got to be worked every day. If this thing goes more than a month, we’re in deep trouble.” Hawthorne began its season the second week of February but got in only five weekends of harness racing before it had to close. No racing means no betting, no purses and no way to offset the roughly $1,500 in monthly expenses each horse racks up. Hosea Williams with his horse, Rollin Coal, at Hawthorn Race Course on Thursday in Cicero. STACEY WESCOTT, CHICAGO TRIBUNE The track briefly planned to keep racing without fans in the stands -- betting would have continued online -- but shut down entirely after Pritzker limited the size of public gatherings. About 600 horses are still boarding at the track, Hawthorne spokesman Jim Miller said, and the backstretch workers who care for them are still there too. He said the Cicero school district, which many of the workers’ children attend, is providing meals for the kids. The stay-at-home order runs through April 7, meaning the track will be idle for at least two more weekends. But Pritzker has suggested the order could be extended, a thought that unnerves the harness racing community. “As this goes on, two weeks, three weeks, we could be OK,” said Tony Somone of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. “But as it hits four weeks, five weeks, six weeks, we’re going to see some horsemen struggle to feed themselves and feed their horses.” Should it come to that, some will have to sell their horses in a glutted marketplace, though Hansen said the destination of last resort isn’t the proverbial glue factory — it’s Amish country, where families use harness horses to pull buggies. Somone said some in the sport are pursuing emergency small business loans offered by the state, though he questioned whether the money would arrive before racing resumes. The situation isn’t much better with thoroughbreds. The racing season at Arlington International Racecourse is supposed to begin May 1, but that start date seems unlikely. The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which represents owners and trainers, was still negotiating a contract with the track when major sporting events began to be canceled. The talks have remained on hold since no one is certain when public gatherings will again be allowed, said executive director David McCaffrey. “It’s very much shooting in the dark,” he said. Churchill Downs Inc., which owns Arlington International, did not return a request for comment. Though some tracks elsewhere in the country remain in operation, Chris Block, an Illinois-based trainer and breeder, said many horses have nowhere to race. Thoroughbred sales have also felt the impact of the virus: Upcoming auctions have been postponed after the last one saw many horses sold for a fraction of their value, if they sold at all. “A lot of those buyers are heavily involved in the stock market and were hesitant to buy horses (after the market tanked),” he said. Other corners of the industry are also feeling the pain. Paula Briney, president of the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois, boards and trains 30 horses near Springfield, and said while fees for those services have continued to come in, that won’t last forever in the coronavirus economy. .............................................................................. Horsemen's Council of Illinois March 24 at 3:26 PM ·  Horsemen’s Council of Illinois - Statement on COVID-19 The Governors executive order states that all Illinois residents are to stay at home if at all possible. If they are using outside space, they must maintain social distancing of at least six feet. All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside of a single household or living unit are prohibited. Any gathering of more than ten people is prohibited. All places of public amusement are closed to the public. Horse stables should be considered as such and should be closed to the public except for facility owners and/or essential staff unless arrangements with facility owners have been made to limit exposure to all parties. Only maintenance of the animals (they should be fed and watered as appropriate) housed on these properties should be conducted at this time and this maintenance should be conducted by a limited number of people. All recommendations are to be considered guidance and not legal advice. For further questions pertaining to your situation please contact your Local Health Department or the Department of Public Health. • Closure of facilities to boarders and guests • Cancel riding lessons and training sessions • Essential care of horses should be performed by facility owner(s) and essential staff • Emergency Veterinary and farrier care should be allowed. Facility Owner(s) and staff will assist vet/farrier. Boarder participation should be evaluated on a case by case basis. • Boarders wanting to pick up equipment, tack or personal belongings should contact the facility owner(s). Where possible, boarders could arrange “curb-side” type pickup. For more information please visit the Horsemen’s Council of Illinois Website at www.horsemenscouncil.org ................................................................ The “Shelter in Place” order is difficult for many but please remember that although you can likely survive the Coronavirus, you might carry it to someone who might not be able to survive. This is a temporary situation but with compliance from all we can flatten the curve and return to the full equine lifestyle we share. “The longer this drags out, the more (parts of the industry) this is going to affect, and people will struggle to stay in business and/or keep their horses,” she said. Stables that provide trail rides or lessons are already hurting, she said, though some patrons are underwriting the care of favorite horses despite being unable to ride them. The carriage business run by Tony Troyer near Mendota has taken a big hit, too, with all of his events in April and May on hold. Still, he expressed a note of optimism, saying people in the equine business are naturally resilient and resourceful. “At some point this is all going to turn around,” he said. “We just don’t know where the end of the tunnel is yet because we’re still right smack in the middle.” BY JOHN KEILMAN  Reprinted with permission of The Chicago Tribune  

With our recent “stay at home order” through April 10, 2020 and continued closure of non-essential businesses through May 1, 2020 Running Aces will delay the opening of our harness racing backside to no earlier than May 18, 2020.  We are continuing to review stall applications and will continue contacting each of you directly to discuss our timelines for allocation as they continue to change as well as any changes to your existing applications for stalls, trailers, and access for ship ins.  Please contact Ben Blum should you have any changes to your submitted application. We are also evaluating and planning with MHRI board members for our live season to begin on or around June 2, 2020 with qualifying events leading up to our opening.  Full details are not yet available as this process is ongoing and details regarding state and national status of the COVID-19 pandemic are updated frequently. Running Aces will provide additional information regarding these key dates as more information becomes available as well as the timelines associated with any potential changes to this update.  We look forward to reopening our facility and life returning to business as usual! Stay safe, and thank you for your continued support of Racing here at Running Aces. Taro Ito, John Betts, Ben Blum and the RA Team   Ben Blum Director of Mutuels & Simulcasting P• 651-925-4514 | C• (651) 260-8961 E• bblum@runaces.com

The Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen's Health Insurance (O.H.H.H.I.T.) Trustees as administrators of the Harness Horsemen's Health Insurance Trust would like to announce financial relief for all Harness Horsemen's Health Insurance Plan Participants. As-of the date of the first Order cancelling racing (March 20, 2020), each Self-Pay Plan Participant will automatically receive a credit for two months of health insurance plan premiums at their existing coverage level. For example, if a horseman has paid their April premium costs for family coverage, they will receive a credit for their May and June family coverage premiums. If the April family coverage premium has not been paid, the credit will apply to family coverage for their April and May premium costs. There is no need to do anything to receive the credit. It will automatically be applied to all self-pay coverage classes. Note that if there are changes in coverage to a higher level of coverage (i.e., single to family coverage) during the credit time-period, the credit for the lower level of coverage will apply and the difference between the higher and lower premium cost will have to be paid. In addition, during this time, existing Breeding Farm Employees and Racetrack Grooms that are employed and active in the Plan, will continue to receive their premium costs covered. Separation from any covered employer will be handled as-per the Plan's rules. The Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association will provide updates regarding financial relief initiatives as they take place via www.ohha.com and social media outlets. For immediate updates, please subscribe to the OHHA Emergency and Informational Text Blast system by texting "OHHA" to 1-888-808-1507. Frank Fraas Outreach and PR Coordinator Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association

Capitol Hill and Virgin Eyes, two hard-knocking performers, get top billing in Saturday night's $5,400 filly and mare harness racing pacing feature. Watch and Wager LLC will present 10 races with first post set for 6:10 p.m. Capitol Hill is a 9-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover who goes about her business for George McChrystal and Kathie Plested with Steve Wiseman training and Jacob Cutting in the sulky. A lifetime winner of $143,000 with 25 wins from her 164 starts and a 1:53 2/5 mark that was set here three years ago, Capitol Hill is coming off a solid runner-up finish where she ignited late but was unable to catch upsetter Surprisingly Sweet under these conditions. Virgin Eyes has been doing all her work in the Open ranks and should appreciate the class relief in the headliner. Her most recent trip to the charmed enclosure came on February 29 at the top level. The Always A Virgin mare carries the banner of Aleksandra Karl, is conditioned by Robert Corbin and will once again be guided by Dean Magee while departed from the No. 5 slot in the cast of six. Rounding out the field are Along Came Jane, Relentless Dancer, Brian's Magic Girl and Place At The Beach. Heza Real Diamond continues to shine Heza Real Diamond recorded his fourth straight victory at the head of the class last weekend, with all of those victories coming from the demanding No. 10 post position. The 4-year-old son of All American, who is owned by Orlando Nevarez and conditioned by Edwin Quevedo, has been sensational with Nick Roland giving directions with all of those victories coming in handy fashion. In last week's score, he was parked to the lead by the quarter, took complete control of things from that point and came to the line with two and three-quarrter lengths to spare. His 1:51 1/5 clocking in his previous tally equaled his lifetime standard. *** There are two wagers offered here each night that come with a reduced 16 percent takeout rate - the 20-cebnt Pick 5 and the 20-cent Pick 4. The Pick 5 starts with the opening race, while the Pick 4 is decided over the final four races on Saturday's program. The Pick 4 features a $40,000-guaranteed gross pool on Saturday and a $30,000 guarantee on Friday. To give an example of the value added with the lower takeout, last Friday night's Pick 4 returned $988 for each correct 20-cent investment. That would have been $895 using the regular rate, a difference of $93 for each winning ticket. By Mark Ratzky, publicity - Cal Expo Harness  

Flemington, NJ — Deo Volente Farms is excited to announce the arrival of its first two Lazarus N foals of 2020. The first is a colt out of Worldly Beauty p,4,1:49.3 ($1,900,255). Worldly Beauty is the matriarch of the farm’s pacing broodmare band and was the 2- and 3-year-old Dan Patch champion filly of the year. Her full sister, Worldly Treasure, is the dam of superstar stallion Captaintreacherous. “This baby is beautifully bred, strong and handsome,” said Deo’s farm manager Fidencio Cervantez. Deo’s second colt is out of Daut Full p,1:51.3f ($158,994). Said Cervantez, “We are very happy with the looks of both these colts and we can’t wait for the arrival of two more foals by Lazarus this season — one out of Rocklamation 1:48.3 ($2,277,384), and one out of Double Jeopardy from the family of Delinquent Account.” Deo Volente has also been receiving news about other Lazarus N foals that have arrived. Ken and Kathy Weed, of Shadowbrook Farm, have welcomed a colt out of The Signature p,3,1:56.1f ($37,047) and a filly out of Make Magic p,4,1:53.4f ($137,133). They stated, “Our two foals from Lazarus are stunning. They are smart, correct, and very athletic. They travel across the field faster than their mothers can keep up. We can’t wait to see them on the racetrack. Both babies are a joy to be around. They handle like a Porsche. We are very excited and blessed.” Jess Smith also welcomed a colt from Veiques p,3,1:56.1f ($37,639) from the family of Sannabelle Island. Jess said, “We are very pleased. The colt is well conformed with great bone. His head and eye are sharp with a regal bearing. I look forward to getting started on next year’s crop!” In addition to being extremely impressed with Lazarus N’s first two foals, Fidencio Cervantez went on to say that in his 30-plus years in the business he has never seen a stallion with such an impressive and near perfect conformation as Lazarus N. He is so thrilled with Lazarus N and the first two colts that he decided to personally purchase a share in the Lazarus N syndicate. Mike Gulotta, CEO of Deo Volente Farms, had this to say about the arrival of Lazarus N’s first two foals. “We are grateful to Duncan and his brothers at Taylormade Stallions for their confidence in Deo Volente. By the looks of these foals, Lazarus is certain to make his mark on the pacing world. “New Jersey’s future has never been brighter due to the tremendous support from our state legislators and from the contribution to racing revenues from sports betting. Our new breeders’ award program, increased NJ Sire Stakes and other NJ restricted race purse increases are making it quite attractive to breed in New Jersey.” Limited breedings are available to Lazarus N for the 2020 season. Deo Volente Farms

Alan Schwartz president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen's Association, said that we were informed that racing at Monticello Raceway was going to cease on March 16th. "Our family of drivers, trainers, grooms was devastated, Schwartz noted. "Not only did they fear for themselves being unable to eat but what was going to happen to the horses at the track. They need care on a day- to- day basis so abandoning them was definitely not an option." So Schwartz got things moving. He reached out to the track's parent company, Resorts World Catskills, and with their financial help, every horse stabled at the track would be provided with feed, hay and straw. Each driver, trainer and groom would get a monetary subsidy for two weeks based on their prior 2 weeks of income. After meeting with track's parent management Schwartz negotiated that horses would be able to jog every day and it was agreed that the track would provide a maintenance crew that would come every other day. "Seems this is extraordinary to have been accomplished when none of the other race tracks has gone the extra mile to take care of those people and animals that support their track all year long," Schwartz said. "Where are the owners of these tracks hiding ? Don't they have some responsibility as well?" Perhaps this should be known throughout the industry as a prime example of helping when help is truly needed. from the Monticello Harness Horseman's Association  

Cream Ridge, NJ - 3/27/2020 - Covid19 is causing the Standardbred Retirement Foundation,(SRF) to cancel, not postpone, three of its very impactful fundraisers.   It is also being slammed by the need for Americans to quarantine, keeping adopters away during the busiest time of the year for finding homes.   More than 400 trotters and pacers are under the SRF's expense and care. What this means is that there will be no funds to feed every one of its horses. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY SITUATION.   SRF desperately needs to reduce its expenses and the number of horses now. It has already reduced staffing by 80%, This extremely productive, 31 year old organization does not receive any regular funds from any source, its support comes primarily from people who care about this beautiful and majestic animal that has given so much.   The following is needed as the first effort to be able to keep all 403 horses fed and to avoid drastic action:   SRF is asking for Standardbred farms, and breeders with pasture to take in a one horse or more. It can be permanent or temporary. It seeks pleasure farm owners who have room to help by either providing a home, foster home, or pasture. Please can you squeeze one in for any period of time. Use of farms with grassy pasture for horses to graze help with the cost of feeding. Foster homes are such a huge help. SRF has everything set up on the website for those who can help with foster homes. This is the perfect time to be a foster, the weather is good, and you can quarantine at your your own farm. Foster a horse Horse sponsorship, this will keep a horse with SRF fed during this crisis; it can be in any amount for any period of time. Sponsor a horse Tax-deductible donations will make it possible to get through this crisis, feed the horses and provide emergency care, if needed. Donate More than 200 Standardbreds are living out their lives with SRF, many had sizable earnings in the past, have lost their adopted homes, and are now considered too old to live a life under saddle in a new home. SRF is requesting all racing owners and breeders whose horses the non-profit is helping, to help SRF now by sponsoring their horse, even if it was years ago that their horse came into the program. Make a donation so care can continue. To get this accomplished, SRF asks all to share its needs and encourage others to help.   Some horses just need a patch of grass, feed and general care, others require a little extra TLC, some are on the rebound from emaciated conditions and need more attention, some are already riding, others need a little training. Their ages range from 3 to aged, are mares and geldings, and are located in about 12 different states. They all have good brains, and great manners. Here is a link to a list of the horses in need, horses are being added until the list is complete.   These are desperate times that could never have been predicted. Every one of these horses is in imminent danger of SRF having to take other measures to get this manageable and must count on good people to reach out to help. On average, the cost per day just to feed the herd is approximately $4,000.   The link below provides information on adoption, fostering, sponsoring, and how to make a tax-deductible donation to help these horses. Please email to offer help, calls are being taken at 609-738-3255, but responses may be slow so please be patient.   To adopt, foster, sponsor, or make a tax-deductible donation please go to AdoptaHorse.org, for questions please email SRFhorsesandkids@gmail.com, or call 609 738 3255. This an EMERGENCY.    Standardbred Retirement Foundation provides humane care and services for horses in need of lifetime homes, and in crisis, through rehabilitation, training, adoption, life-long follow-up or life-time sanctuary, and offers therapeutic equine opportunities for children and adults.   SRF is a 31 year old registered non-profit organization, donations are tax-deductible.     Tammy Cailliau Phone: 609-738-3255 Email address: SRFHorsesandkids@gmail.com  

Billy Johnston will be remembered as the most important and influential individual in the history of pari-mutuel harness racing in Illinois and a pillar of the sport in North America for a half century. “I started working with Billy in 1965 and for the next 50 years we had a sometimes contentious but very successful relationship,” said Phil Langley, who served as USTA president from 2003-16. “In my opinion, the success of harness racing in Illinois was due to Billy’s promotional instincts and time after time coming up with new ideas.” The man who left an indelible imprint on the sport died on March 26, 2020 at age 84. “He was a genius in this industry,” said Illinois Circuit Court Judge Lorna Propes, a member of the Illinois Racing Board for 17 years starting in 1989 and its chairman from 2003-06. Johnston’s 45 years of service as a USTA director was exceeded in longevity only by Corwin Nixon’s 47 years. From the mid-1960s through 1997 Johnston headed the Chicago Downs Associations and Fox Valley Trotting Club meetings at Sportsman’s Park, firmly establishing it as one of the premier harness tracks in North America until the sport was discontinued in October 1997. At times during the 1970s Sportsman’s harness meetings outhandled the matinee meeting at one of the nation’s premier Thoroughbred tracks, Arlington Park, located in the same metropolitan Chicago market. “There is no denying that Sportsman’s is one of the most progressive tracks in the nation, striving to do its best for racing buffs and the Chicago racing community,” Jerry Connors wrote in the September 1984 issue of Hoof Beats. The same could be said for Maywood Park and Balmoral Park when Johnston headed the chain-of-command at those Chicago circuit tracks. In 1977 he put together the ownership group of Pat Flavin, Dick Roggeveen, Lester McKeever and Sid Anton that secured a long-term lease to race at Maywood. Early in 1987, under his leadership, members of that ownership group joined with Hawthorne Race Course owners Tom and Bob Carey and members of the family of the New York Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner, to buy Balmoral Park. Originally all of the Chicago area track owner/operators were planning to pool their resources to buy Balmoral from Edward J. DeBartolo but then Arlington owner Dick Duchossois threw a curveball by announcing he had reached an independent agreement to buy the track. Encouraged by his son, John, Johnston immediately contacted Steinbrenner, with whom he’d established a friendly relationship during visits to one of the four dog tracks he co-owned in Florida. Steinbrenner was eager to stay involved in racing. He had been a 48 percent owner of the Thoroughbred track Tampa Bay Downs before being outbid by his 52 percent partner, Stella Thayer, when they put the track up for auction in December 1996 and she then took control. When Johnston made the Balmoral pitch, he was receptive. Steinbrenner’s family and a business associate invested 50 percent of the $8 million that Johnston offered DeBartolo for the track. DeBartolo felt he owed Steinbrenner a favor and pulled out of the deal with Duchossois. While Steinbrenner had the reputation of being a control fanatic, he announced: “What we do at Balmoral is up to Billy Johnston. I’ll get him the sponsors. After that I don’t have anything to do with it.” Later the Steinbrenner family bought out the Carey brothers’ shares in Balmoral and the holdings of Flavin and Roggeveen in Balmoral and Maywood. “They worked together very well,” Roggeveen said of the Johnston/Steinbrenner partnership. “Billy knew the business through and through and Steinbrenner added a little more muscle. Billy loved the business. He was a natural for it and Phil Langley was hand in glove with Billy in everything.” “I know it will surprise some but Billy was great to work with and very supportive, a good friend for many years,” Langley said. Like Steinbrenner, former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar had great respect for Johnston. “I enjoyed being around Balmoral,” said Edgar, who bred and owned Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds before and after his two terms as governor (1991-99). “Billy was probably as smart a businessman as anybody I ran into in the horse business. I always thought he was a resourceful guy to deal with. “He knew what he had to do to make the tracks viable. He kept an eye on the bottom line so they could stay in business. He wasn’t going to give away any money; you knew that up front. At the same time you always knew he wouldn’t ask for everything. He’d be willing to compromise. If he had to do a compromise with the other tracks or the horsemen you knew he could work something out. “I always found him to be a good person to have in racing.” Johnston headed the hierarchy during the heyday of Illinois harness racing at Sportsman’s in the 1970s and later at Balmoral and Maywood from 1998 through 2015. With him at the helm, Maywood inaugurated its richest and most prestigious race, the Windy City Pace, in 1983 and hosted the inaugural Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly pace in 1984. The following year Sportsman’s was the site of the inaugural Breeders Crown older trot. Johnston’s Sportsman’s and Maywood/Balmoral management teams conducted harness racing after pari-mutuel racing was introduced at the State Fairs at Du Quoin and Springfield and they inaugurated the state’s richest Standardbred race, the World Trotting Derby, in 1981 to replace the Hambletonian, which moved from its long-time home in Du Quoin to The Meadowlands that year. The $700,000 purse for the 1991 World Trotting Derby is an Illinois record that still stands. ‘They did a great job of running the fairs,” Judge Propes said. “They made those into national meets and did a lot of innovative things there to interest fans and push the industry forward. Billy was a true innovator, so prolific and always looking for something to improve.” Year after year the American-National series races lured the finest horses in North America to Sportsman’s and later Balmoral, as did the Windy City Pace at Maywood and the World Trotting Derby and the World Trotting Derby Filly Division at Du Quoin (before they were discontinued following their 2009 renewals because of the state’s continuing budget crisis). In 1988 Sportsman’s had 24 stakes races — 16 of which had purses of $100,000 or more — and stakes purses totaled $3.5 million. The caliber of horses who came to Sportsman’s and Balmoral for the American-Nationals was significantly superior to that which Arlington and Hawthorne attracted for their graded stakes races for Thoroughbreds (with the exception of 1986 when the 13-day tent meeting at Arlington was the greatest in Illinois Thoroughbred history and in 2002 when it hosted the Breeders’ Cup). Albatross in 1972 set his world record of 1:54.3 at Sportsman’s on his way to his second straight Horse of the Year title and such national brandnames as Rambling Willie, Falcon Seelster, Incredible Finale and Pacific later made it their home track. When Sportsman’s introduced the Super Night stakes race extravaganza for Illinois-breds in 1989 it immediately became the biggest night of the year in Illinois harness racing. Super Night’s great success continued at Balmoral after Sportsman’s ceased harness racing following its 1997 meeting for its brief and ill-fated $60 million transformation into an auto racing/Thoroughbred racing venue known as Chicago Motor Speedway. The $3,777,549 bet on Super Night on Sept. 16, 2000 at Balmoral stands as the highest harness handle in the pari-mutuel history of the sport in Illinois that dates back to 1946 at Maywood. “Billy was very persistent and very beneficial for racing in Illinois,” said Dr. Ken Walker, a former member of the USTA board of directors whose Walker Standardbreds is the state’s foremost Standardbred breeding farm. “Phil would throw stuff at him and Billy would take off with it.” In 1992 Balmoral enhanced its stakes schedule by adding the tradition-rich Hanover Stakes, which had led a nomadic existence after being introduced at Lexington in 1947. Before being consolidated and finding a home at Balmoral divisions of the Hanover were raced at Liberty Bell, Freestate Raceway, The Meadows, Rosecroft Raceway and Meadowlands. In 1995 Balmoral held races in conjunction with the World Driving Championships and its leading driver, Dave Magee, won the competition. The emphasis on quality wasn’t confined to the major racing events. After buying Balmoral, Johnston and his partners invested more than $10 million in renovations and upgrades. The clubhouse and grandstand were refurbished; the five-eighths-mile track was replaced with a one mile track; the hub rail was removed; a state-of-the-art lighting system was installed; and a new receiving barn and paddock were constructed adjacent to the grandstand to accommodate the 120 horses on a typical racing card. “As a track operator Billy was par excellence,” remembered Lester McKeever, who went on to become president of Harness Tracks of America after partnering with Johnston in the Maywood and Balmoral ownership groups. “He wasn’t always easy to get along with but he was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful man of integrity. Integrity was so important to him.” One of the measures Johnston took to ensure the integrity of the racing product was installation of a computerized diagnostic machine for pre-race testing for “milk-shaking,” the practice of tube-feeding a baking soda solution to horses about four hours before they race to block a buildup of lactic acid and thereby increase their resistance to fatigue by allowing access to oxygen reserves. Similar testing subsequently was adopted by other jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada. Johnston and Langley’s innovations set the stage for off-track betting parlors in Illinois. At Sportsman’s in 1984 they pioneered inter-track simulcast betting with the Chicago Thoroughbred tracks. Using the argument that off-track betting parlors would be an extension of the inter-track betting network by allowing each track to have two satellite facilities within a 35-mile radius of the parent track, Johnston was instrumental in persuading the legislature to legalize OTB making Illinois the first state where it wasn’t government-run. Balmoral opened the first parlor in Peoria in 1987. In the fall of 1991 Maywood and Balmoral introduced dual-simulcasting on Friday and Saturday nights, a precursor to full-card simulcasting (that began in Illinois in 1995). The dual simulcasting programs at the mile track Balmoral would begin at 7:45 p.m., those at its little sister half-mile track Maywood would start at 8 p.m. and they would alternate races every 10 minutes until midnight. Johnston also had Balmoral and Maywood rotating racing nights. In addition to Friday and Saturday, Balmoral would have programs on Sunday and Tuesday and Maywood would race on Monday and Wednesday. This was in keeping with Johnston’s long-held conviction that racing six nights a week at the same location is detrimental to the sport. “There are too many races and there are horses and horsemen who really can’t make a go of it,” Connors quoted him as saying in the 1984 Hoof Beats story. “We have to start emphasizing quality over quantity. Everybody has to cut back.” Although calling for cutbacks sometimes put him in conflict with the leaders of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association, he earned the enduring respect of Mickey Izzo, currently projects manager of the Illinois Racing Board and formerly executive secretary of the IHHA. “I was executive secretary of the IHHA from 1985-1998, I sat through many contract negotiations with him and what I can say about Billy was that he was tough but fair,” Ezzo said. Illinois Racing Board member Tom McCauley had a similar experience when he served as the legal counsel for Arlington. “I negotiated with him from time to time and I always liked him,” McCauley recalled. “Billy was a force of nature. Some people found that off-putting but it kind of energized me. He always was a straight shooter in negotiations. He did an awful lot for harness racing.” One of the reasons Johnston knew all of the ins and outs of racing was because of his family background and because of his experience as a harness driver, owner, trainer and breeder. His father, William Johnston Sr., was one of the founding fathers when the Hawthorne Kennel Club was remade into a Thoroughbred track in 1932 and renamed Sportsman’s Park. He went on to become president of Sportsman’s National Jockey Club in 1947 and served until 1967. Sportsman’s was used exclusively for Thoroughbred racing until 1949 when it added harness racing (three years after Maywood inaugurated pari-mutuel betting on the sport in Illinois). Langley’s father, Pete Langley, was a steward at the harness meeting and subsequently became a member of the track’s management team, working closely with Billy’s father in much the same way the sons started doing 20 years later and continued doing until 2015. By the early 1950s Billy was showing up at the track with regularity. After high school he went to the University of Miami (Fla.), where he also furthered his racing education by frequenting the greyhound and Thoroughbred tracks during the winter. After graduating from Miami in 1957 he fulfilled what in the era of the draft was known as “his military obligation” in the Coast Guard and was discharged in 1961. By then he was immersed in harness racing. Johnston recalled in a Chicago Tribune interview that he drove “for about a dozen years,” winning his first race at Maywood and his last at Washington Park. “That was before catch-driving became a big thing,” he said. “There were a lot of guys like me who drove their own horses.” William H. Johnston Jr. first appears in the USTA archives as a driver in 1958 but he probably drove earlier because prior to that year only drivers with 25 or more purse starts had their information recorded. The archives have him driving in 153 races from 1958 through 1966 and recording 20 triumphs, 13 seconds and 19 thirds and earning $22,047 in purses. By far his best year was 1958 when he won nine of 53 starts and had $8,329 in earnings. “The first horse I had was Key Club,” he said. “It was around 1954. Del Miller sent her to me after she made breaks at Roosevelt Raceway. She was considered dangerous and unmanageable. I was told ‘put her nose on the gate and hold on’ and I did what I was told. She won and paid around $44 and her time was the fastest of the night but it was no great time.” Stormy Bidwill succeeded the ailing William Johnston Sr. as president of the National Jockey Club in 1967. Thereafter Bidwill focused solely on Thoroughbred racing, while Billy Johnston continued to concentrate on harness racing with Phil Langley (who became race secretary in 1964) working as his right hand man. “Billy was an extremely good promoter and he got along well with all the big names in racing,” Langley said. “People don’t give him enough credit for all he did.” Just as Billy Johnston followed his father into racing so did his sons, John and Duke. After he moved up to chairman of the board in the 1990s John succeeded him as president of Balmoral and Duke succeeded him as president of Maywood. Like their father, both were innovators and they maintained the high standard of excellence that he had set during his years as a mover and shaker. “Billy’s tentacles reached throughout the industry and he had a great deal of respect from everyone, knowing he was not a pushover but also knowing he was fair,” said his former partner McKeever. “His word was his bond.” “Billy was very open-minded and very willing to come to self-examination,” said McCauley, speaking from both the perspective of his present position as a Racing Board member and his former position as Arlington’s attorney in which he often was an adversary at the bargaining table. “Billy would test ideas and he was thorough in his investigations. “In my evaluation he was very, very good for Illinois racing. I can’t think of anyone who can take his place.” by Neil Milbert Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association

Hightstown, NJ — Mark Ford was a guest on the ESPN “In the Gate” podcast produced and hosted by Barry Abrams. Ford discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on harness racing, particularly the deaths of John Brennan and four members of the Fusco family, including trainers Carmine and Vincent. Ford, a trainer with more than 3,900 wins, is on the U.S. Trotting Association Board of Directors and president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey. He was a close friend of Brennan and the Fuscos and shared his thoughts about their passing as a result of COVID-19. Followed are excerpted comments, edited for clarity and length, from the podcast. Ford said he talked with Brennan in the hospital the day before his passing on March 10. Brennan also was a USTA director and on the board of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York. He was the horsemen’s representative at Yonkers Raceway. “It really put things into perspective and it really shook me up because he was such a dear friend,” Ford said. “He was such a dear friend to the industry, too. John was always there to fight for the horsemen. He was not only a real good friend, but a really, really good guy. We’ll certainly miss him. “He didn’t have a big family, he didn’t have any kids, but he spent a lot of time with the horsemen and more or less adopted a lot of their kids. He had lots and lots of friends around. “When I first came to New York, he was one of the first people that you met on the backstretch. He always had, not a big stable, but 10 or 12 (horses) all the time and was always there. He was just a good guy and it’s a terrible shock.” Ford said the passing of Carmine Fusco as well as Vincent, their mother Grace and sister Rita, was a devasting blow for a family that was almost synonymous with Freehold, N.J. “You can’t imagine Freehold, N.J., without the Fusco family,” Ford said. “It’s one thing to lose a member of their family, they’re very tight-knit … (but) now, you lose Carmine and his mother and sister and it just keeps going. Vinny was another one. They’re New Jersey horse people that have been around forever, you don’t ever expect them to be anywhere else. “You look around, it’s hard to believe that Carmine Fusco is not going to be here anymore, or five or six of the people we deal with, literally on a daily basis, aren’t going to be here anymore. It’s just devastating. “How do you understand this? It wipes out a big part of your population and they’re all good friends too. Personally, it’s been a terrible week. Life must go on, but it’s not going to be near as easy as it was.” He added about the impact to the harness racing community, “This has happened so fast. I know that it’s been two weeks now since it’s happened, but people are walking around in a daze. It’s just rocked our whole world. It’s one thing to cancel the racing, where none of us have any income, but this is real. “With this stuff, it could be one of us tomorrow. People I’m sure didn’t take this very seriously at all, or maybe they’re still not taking it seriously enough, but these are things we have to deal with. This is a tremendously big deal because it could be anyone of us tomorrow or the next day. It’s serious stuff and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it yet.” To listen to the “In the Gate” podcast in its entirety, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

Owner & inventor of the aluminum modified bike, Vincent Tantillo (Tel-Star Sulky) joins Freddie, Bob & Trade on the Harness Racing Alumni Show to discuss his innovative sulky business that changed our sport over 40 years ago.    Many other interesting harness racing topics are covered in this interview.    Don’t miss it…!!!   Harness Racing Alumni Show       Harness Racing Alumni Show Vince Tantillo 3 26 20 Source: https://www.spreaker.com/user/6959769/harness-racing-alumni-show-vince-tantill Owner & inventor of the a...  

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