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Delray Beach, FL - Four members of the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) were out Saturday morning at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village, making trophy presentations to last season's winners. Due to the pandemic, the Florida USHWA Chapter was forced to cancel its 2020 awards dinner and went out to the training center to bring the trophies to the award winners at the facility. On hand for the presentations were Florida Chapter President Steve Wolf, Chapter National Director and Treasurer, Thomas H. Hicks, Chapter members Victoria Howard and Bob Marks. Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame induction trophies were presented to Tony Alagna, Tom Merriman and Casie Coleman Herlihy (for Ed James) for McWicked. Other awards presented went to Peter Wrenn, the Stanley Dancer Award for training trotters, Casie Coleman-Herlihy, the Frances Dodge Van Lennap Award to an outstanding female in the sport, two president's awards to Myron Bell of The Deck and to Ongait.com's Eric Cherry and Maurice Chodash. Each award winner also received a printed copy of the awards journal that was never printed as last year's dinner was canceled due to Covid-19 lockdown. The Florida Chapter of USHWA thanks Chris Tully for doing all of the photography for the chapter at Sunshine Meadows and fellow chapter member Thomas H. Hicks for providing bagels, cream cheese and butter for The Deck. For more information about the Florida Chapter of USHWA, please visit www.ushwa-florida.com/ or Facebook, click here. From the Florida Chapter of USHWA  

HARRISBURG, PA - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), harness racing's leading group of industry communicators, held its annual Directors and Membership meetings this past Saturday and Sunday - using the Zoom technology, as the group's annual "weekend" including these meetings and culminating in the Dan Patch Awards banquet had to be cancelled due to the health pandemic. Dan Patch award winners were honored through a virtual "Dan Patch Awards" program before a Saturday night card at The Meadowlands. That effort was chaired by Gordon Waterstone, and was brought to fruition largely through the efforts of Jason Settlemoir, Jeff Gural, and many members of The Meadowlands' communications office. The show was watched through The Meadowlands' signal, and through a number of USHWA and other social media platforms, which generated much viewing and engagement. The loss of the Dan Patch Awards Banquet will mean that USHWA will not make a profit in 2021, since the sponsorships and Souvenir Journal ads, the main sources of USHWA income, will not be available. However 2021's situation comes after five straight years of profit for the organization, during which it doubled its cash position, largely through the efforts of Barry Lefkowitz, Tom Hicks, and others. The transition of the meetings from "live" to "virtual" was a long and difficult process, but the end result was a generally-positive process in which 26 Directors and over 70 members took part. Credit for much of the needed research and co-ordination goes to USHWA president Kim Rinker, host of the meetings, and meetings' facilitator Debbie Little. The annual process of discussing and voting on changes to the association's By-Laws and Rules and Regulations was orderly this year, whereas in some years there was long and heated debate on some topics. Voters expressed their views through discussion and then through the Zoom system's voting capacity, and after amendments, all of the changes passed by a large margin. Elections of officers were held during the Membership meeting. Kim Rinker, administrator of the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund, was returned as USHWA President. Kim French, editor of the United States Trotting Association's Hoof Beats magazine, was elected to the Vice President post. USHWA Immediate past president Shawn Wiles, executive director of Racing/Facilities at Monticello Raceway, remained Chairman of the Board by USHWA by-law. Bill MacDonald, controller of a Maine construction firm and a leading disseminator of Maine harness racing information for many years, received the nod as USHWA's treasurer. Jerry Connors, freelance writer and a member of the Communicators Hall of Fame, was voted secretary for the twentieth consecutive year. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Harness racing stallion breedings to benefit the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) are currently available online at ongait.com. The breedings are to pacing stallion and newcomer to Delaware Royal Mattjesty, and trotting stallions Glidemaster and EL Platinum. The Delaware Valley Chapter would like to express their gratitude for the generous donations from Winbak Farm for the breedings to Royal Mattjesty and Glidemaster as well as Sonja Booth and Platinum Breeders for the breeding to EL Platinum. The proceeds will benefit Delaware Valley USHWA, a non-profit organization who has supported various industry causes such as the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, Goshen Historic Track and developed its first ever Caretaker of the Year award in 2020 for DE/MD/VA, which was recently awarded to David Wisher. The auctions expire Friday January 29 at noon. The listings can be viewed via ongait.com. Matt Sparacino

Kelly Smith, who has worked for Hall of Fame harness racing trainer Chuck Sylvester for more than three decades, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Caretaker of the Year Award sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Smith was announced the winner during the USHWA Dan Patch Virtual Awards Show on Saturday, Jan. 16. "I was very surprised and honored," said Smith. "The competition was fierce, that's for sure. There are some of the others nominated who are very good friends of mine. Everybody nominated was well deserving; clearly somebody thought we were special. "I am very appreciative of this. Chuck has meant everything to me." Smith was nominated by Sylvester himself. "Kelly often knows more of what's going on with me than anyone else," Sylvester wrote in his nomination letter. "She is there every day starting at 5 a.m., feeding all the horses, turning them out for a few hours, waiting for vets or blacksmiths and staying with the horses, holding them during their appointments. "Kelly is honest, reliable, trustworthy and absolutely passionate about the horses! She is extremely smart and could do anything, but she chooses the horses. "This last year Kelly even went above and beyond her usual excellence and complete loyalty. When I was unable to go north this year, as I needed to stay home with my wife Sharon, Kelly went ... and was my eyes and ears. She is my unsung hero." All caretakers in North America were eligible for the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year Award, with nomination letters submitted detailing the skills and special qualities of the nominee. A seven-member panel -- all USHWAns who were former caretakers themselves -- selected Smith as the winner. As winner of the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year Award, Smith will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and a trophy etched with a likeness of her and a favorite horse, Breeders Crown champion Spider Blue Chip. Including Smith, 16 names were submitted for the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. All nominees will receive an honorary certificate commemorating their nomination. Here are all the nominees, with the stable for which they work noted in parentheses: Erin Bonno (George Ducharme) Margaret Gillon (Ron Burke) Bethany Graffam (Graffam Stable) Shelly Greico (Linda Toscano) Michelle Hallett (John Hallett) Kim Hines (Jason Robinson) Diane Lewis (Joe Holloway) Trish Nappi (Cory Deyermand) Lisa Palmiter (Chris Lakata) Katie Remmerswaal (Nancy Takter) Kelly Smith (Chuck Sylvester) Sierra Smith (Gerry Sarama) Anki Wernis (Jim Campbell) Dave Wisher (Joe MacDonald) Vicki Wright (Noel Daley) Cheyenne Yoder (James Yoder) From U.S. Harness Writers Association  

The Ohio Chapter will honor Louise and Jay Weller as the recipients of the Winner’s Circle Award for the Ohioan who has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the past year; Chris Presley as the Peter Haughton Memorial Award winner as the young Ohioan who is an “up-and-coming” star among harness racing horsemen; Jim Dailey into the Immortal Hall of Fame; Dancin Yankee into the Standardbred Hall of Fame; and Kurt Sugg as the winner of the Rambling Willie Award for the Ohioan who has done the most for harness racing over the past two decades. The Weller’s were the owners of Designer Specs, the two-year-old filly trotter who completed her freshman season a perfect 14-for-14 and was the winningest two-year-old in all of North America. The daughter of Full Count concluded her season with a gutsy victory in the $40,000 Ohio Fair Championship at MGM Northfield Park in a lifetime best 1:57.4. Presley is a 25-year-old native of Michigan and resident of Heath, Ohio. He is enjoying a great year with 76 driving wins and seasonal earnings approaching $600 thousand million in purse money. Presley currently sits just outside the top 10 in the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway driver’s standings. As a driver, James “Bill” Dailey made 2,301 trips into the winner's circle. He trained multiple Ohio Triple Crown winners and numerous Ohio and Indiana Sire Stake champions. He conditioned at least 1,200 winners and in excess of $12.3 million in earnings. He was awarded the Jerry Kaltenbach Memorial Award as the OSS’s top trainer on three occasions. Dailey passed away suddenly in 2018 at the age of 57. Dancin Yankee is a double World Champion and a three-time Ohio ‘Older Pacer of the Year.’ The son of Yankee Cruiser recorded 80 career wins and over $2 million in earnings. Dancin Yankee had several ownership groups and is currently owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Melissa Patterson and Larry Karr. Next spring Dancin Yankee will stand his first season at stud at Cool Winds Farm. Driver/trainer Kurt Sugg was born into a harness racing family – the son of Hall of Fame trainer Ivan Sugg and Patty Sugg. A veteran of 34 years, Sugg has won more than 4,600 events as a driver and has over 1,000 victories as a conditioner. His career earnings are more than $26 million. He has been supportive of all levels of Ohio racing. Sugg will finish 2020 with more than 375 driving wins and $2.9 million, both are career highs, despite missing a significant amount of time due to the COVID shutdown. The award winners will be honored at the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association’s virtual banquet on Saturday, January 16.   Jay Wolf

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will host a special harness racing Dan Patch Virtual Awards Show, on Saturday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 6 p.m. This Virtual Awards Show has been made possible in large part by Jason Settlemoir and The Meadowlands, Roberts Communications Network, and the United States Trotting Association (USTA). The Dan Patch Awards Show can be watched live on USHWA's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/USHarnessWriters), as well as through the Meadowlands simulcast signal, on the track's website (www.playmeadowlands.com) and through the RTN broadcast network. The next day it will also be archived and available on USHWA's website (www.usharnesswriters.com) and Facebook page as well as the USTA's YouTube channel. To be announced on the Virtual Awards Show will be the 12 divisional winners in the racehorse categories, along with Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and the prestigious E.R. Harriman Harness Horse of the Year. Also to be announced are the Norman Woolworth Owner, Driver, and Breeder of the Year, the Trotting and Pacing Broodmares of the Year, and the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. A unanimous selection by all the USHWA chapters, Nancy Takter has already been announced as the winner of the Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year. Here are the finalists for the human awards and broodmares: Driver: Dexter Dunn, David Miller Owner: Caviart Farms, Crawford Farms, Pinske Stables Breeder: Brittany Farms, Order By Stable, Runthetable Stables Trotting Broodmare: Dunk The Donato, Nantab, Margarita Momma, Steamy Windows Pacing Broodmare: Beachy Girl, Great Memories, JK She'salady, Swinging Beauty   (USHWA)

HARRINGTON, Del. - David Wisher, of Smyrna, Del., was named the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association's harness racing 'Caretaker of the Year' for 2020. Wisher is the inaugural recipient for the award. He has worked with Standardbreds since 1970, including a current longstanding career working for trainer Joe MacDonald since 1987. Wisher was nominated by Joe and his wife Linda MacDonald, who acknowledged his attention to detail and skillset in multiple facets of the trade, including breaking yearlings, jogging/training and personal attention to each horse. Wisher will receive a $200 award, courtesy of the Delaware Valley Chapter of USHWA. "We are delighted to be able to recognize someone like David Wisher for this award," said Delaware Valley Chapter President Matt Sparacino. "Caretakers are a vital part of racing and can be some of the most dedicated workers in the industry." The award was conceptualized by Delaware Valley USHWA members Mark Short and Judy Wilson and unanimously adopted by the chapter. All other award nominees will receive swag bags. Matt Sparacino

The deadline for nominations for the 2020 harness racing Caretaker of the Year, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), is nearing on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. The Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year Award recognizes the unsung heroes of the sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible to be the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. "Leah and I were very honored to continue the tradition of recognizing the outstanding caretaker of the year last year and we look forward to again rewarding an exceptional individual this year," said Zubrod. "While the racing season may have been altered a bit with the covid-19 pandemic, caretakers continued to work as hard as ever. A caretaker's work is important to the success of not only the horse, but the entire stable." The Fair Island Farm 2020 Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500 and a trophy that will include a photo of the winning caretaker and a favorite horse. "In 2020, caretakers have had to endure and persevere in spite of the overwhelming obstacles associated with the pandemic," said USHWA President Kim Rinker. "These folks are the backbone of our industry and have seen to it that racing has continued to not only survive, but thrive, in these troubled times. This award is a shout-out to grooms across North America and beyond who dutifully care for their equine athletes." All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, and sent to committee chairman Tim Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. With the deadline near, it is recommended to email all nomination letters at this point. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Bojarski, Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker, and Shawn Wiles. From USHWA

HARRISBURG PA - Frank A. Glasso, 98, a lifetime resident of Rome NY (40 miles east of Syracuse) who was a member of the U.S. Harness Racing Writers for 55 years and an USHWA Director for 16 years, passed away at home on November 5. A son of Italian immigrants who took many trips back to his parents' homeland (frequently visiting the "original" Rome), Glasso graduated from Rome Free Academy, then enjoyed a varied career. At one job, as a broadcaster for WKAL Radio, Glasso received a record request from a nurse at a local hospital - with that request bringing him his wife of 62 years, Margaret, who survives. From 1968 to 1987 Glasso worked as a reporter and photographer at the Rome Daily Sentinel, a position he described as his favorite job, and he carried his press card with him for the rest of his life. He was cited by the Associated Press for his reporting on a major storm in the central New York area. Glasso also wrote about the trotters and pacers at Vernon Downs, twelve miles away from Rome, and avidly followed harness racing. At his passing, only six USHWAns had been a member of the association as long as he had. In addition to his wife Margaret, Glasso is survived by three daughters and two sons-in-law, six grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. A full obituary on Glasso can be found at www.nunnandharper.com. Jerry Connors Jr.

Harrisburg, PA — Nancy Takter was named the 2020 Trainer of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) – and her year was so spectacular that the decision to have her receive the award did not even have to go to a vote.   How? There are 12 chapters in USHWA and an at-large gathering – and Nancy was nominated for top honors among trainers by all 13 of these groups. As such, the award was decided at the end of the nomination process as no other candidates were brought forth by the communicators. With her trainees amassing over $8 million in purses, a 31 percent strike rate and a UTR of .442, Takter’s stable seemed to almost never miss in the big events. The leader of the barn was Tall Dark Stranger, a 3-year-old pacing colt who is a prime candidate for Horse of the Year honors off of a year where he won 11 of 13 starts — including the Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace, Pepsi North America Cup and two Grand Circuit events at the Red Mile — and earned $1,302,681, tops among all North American harness horses. Takter also trained the great trotting mare Manchego, whose 1:49.3 victory at Plainridge, a five-eighths-mile track, was not only the sole sub-1:50 trot of the year, but probably the most impressive trotting mile of all. There was also Kissin In The Sand, who capped her year with seven straight wins against the top older pacing mares, including in the Breeders Crown. When informed of her selection, Takter was pleased, but was quick to spread the credit around: “It’s a very big honor, and I think it’s almost more of a Stable of the Year award, really, because I am nothing without my team. They executed the work, adjusted to the COVID circumstances, and never lost their focus. “I knew coming into the year that we had good horses coming back, which makes my job easier, but then there were all of the adjustments we had to make. It wasn’t always easy, but we never lost our sense of purpose. That was huge.”   from the United States Harness Writers Association

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Caretaker of the Year. The award, sponsored by Art Zubrod and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm in conjunction with the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), recognizes the unsung harness racing heroes of the sport - the caretakers who maintain the health and welfare of the horses on a daily basis. Initially titled Groom of the Year Award when first presented in 1982, the honor was instituted as a result of a suggestion made by Delvin Miller at the annual Harness Tracks of America meeting when he received HTA's Stanley F. Bergstein Messenger Award. Previously sponsored annually by HTA and Hanover Shoe farms, the tradition lapsed in 2014 but was re-established in 2015 by Hard Rock Northfield Park and USHWA, with Fair Island Farm coming on last year. "Leah and I were very honored to continue the tradition of recognizing the outstanding caretaker of the year last year and we look forward to again rewarding an exceptional individual this year," said Zubrod. "While the racing season may have been altered a bit with the covid-19 pandemic, caretakers continued to work as hard as ever. A caretaker's work is important to the success of not only the horse, but the entire stable." The Fair Island Farm 2020 Caretaker of the Year will receive a cash prize of $500 and a trophy that will include a photo of the winning caretaker and a favorite horse. "In 2020, caretakers have had to endure and persevere in spite of the overwhelming obstacles associated with the pandemic," said USHWA President Kim Rinker. "These folks are the backbone of our industry and have seen to it that racing has continued to not only survive, but thrive, in these troubled times. This award is a shout-out to grooms across North America and beyond who dutifully care for their equine athletes." Any caretaker working for any stable or farm in North America is eligible to be the Fair Island Farm Caretaker of the Year. All that is needed to nominate is a letter or email, 200 words minimum, from an individual or group detailing the skills and special qualities of the caretaker. The winner will be chosen by a seven-person selection committee comprised of USHWA members, all of whom are former caretakers: Tim Bojarski (chair), Tom Charters, Moira Fanning, Dean Hoffman, Rob Pennington, Kim Rinker and Shawn Wiles. All nomination letters and emails must be received and/or postmarked by Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, and sent to Chairman Bojarski at a159star@gmail.com or mailed to Tim Bojarski, 7523 Maple Road, Akron, N.Y. 14001. From the United States Harness Writers Association

The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) is formally announcing that due to travel concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Dan Patch Awards Banquet, scheduled to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort on Feb. 21, 2021, has been cancelled. The 2020 divisional equine awards will be announced virtually, as will an abbreviated roster of human awards. In addition, USHWA will hold their Directors and General Membership meeting exclusively online. The determination was made through a unanimous vote of USHWA's Executive Board and President's Advisory Committee. "This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone and health was our priority in making the decision to cancel the 2021 Dan Patch Awards Banquet," said Kimberly Rinker, USHWA President. "USHWA's executive and presidential advisory teams have worked diligently to ensure that the Dan Patch Awards will continue in 2022 and beyond." As well, there will be no Dan Patch Awards Journal in 2021 and USHWA will not be soliciting advertising or sponsorships. "We are eternally grateful for the years of advertising and sponsorship support by so many in the harness racing industry," Rinker continued. "USHWA relies on these monies to put on a first-class event in the Dan Patch Awards Banquet. I think people are tired and frustrated by the events of the past year and they need a break. When things return to normal, I'm confident that those folks who have supported USHWA in the past will continue their support." USHWA's Executive Board and President's Advisory Committee will convene Sunday, Nov. 29 to determine the agenda and full schedule for the virtual 2021 Dan Patch Awards and USHWA's Meetings. That information will be disseminated once all the details have been finalized. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Although its 2020 harness racing season concluded September 6, Clinton Raceway instantly comes to mind when Ryan Clements is asked about the most youth- and family-friendly tracks he's visited. Known for developing games like Off and Pacing, Catch Driver, and Top Jockey, he's also a Standardbred owner/trainer who enjoys harness racing as a betting/spectator sport. Introducing his nearly-four-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to the game he loves is important to him.   And the ideal track for that is Clinton Raceway, an Ontario half-mile landmark that conducted its first extended pari-mutuel meet back in 1970. This COVID-19-impacted year, Clinton was able to accomodate a limited number (100) of fans each race day, starting in July. The Huron County track still hit an all-time-high handle on closing day, as bettors sent $118,041 through the actual and virtual windows.   "I guess for me, the best time for family racing is summer, weekend, daytime racing," says a slightly-nostalgic Clements. "That's truly the best chance to get out as a family, because weeknights after school and after work, we're not going out to the track as a family. Maybe on a special occasion, once a year or something, but really, summertime weekends are when we plan it: 'Hey, let's drive out to Clinton and watch the races!'" Recalling previous years' visits to the small-town track, he describes what makes it special: "I just love their environment. You can sit on the grass and pull out lawn chairs. It just makes for a great atmosphere with the young kids."   Hopefully 2021 will bring opportunities for Clements and family to get back to Clinton Raceway, alongside many others who share their high opinion of the venue. "It's a very casual experience," says the member of the US Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Youth Membership Committee. "We go there to spend the day, just being able to get the food from the food truck or whatever they've got there and enjoy the weather. For my daughter, she loves the horses, but they won't keep her attention all day. The fact that she can run around on the grass and play and have a fun day outside keeps her entertained. She'll see the horses a little bit, get a high-five from a driver, but it's a part of keeping her happy for the day."   Clements' photos from Clinton trips in 2017-2018 illustrate what makes the track a welcoming attraction for fans old and new. "As far as young kids go, one day we were there, [well-known harness racing artist] Michelle Hogan was there with her twins," he notes. "There's a lot of families in that situation, enjoying it. A lot of times, it's three generations: The grandparents are there in their lawn chairs, and everybody's just out for a casual day at the races."   Charlotte shares her dad's enthusiasm: "She's always loved the horses. We were living on a horse farm when she was born, so we'd always walk out, see the horses, see the baby horses in the springtime. [...] When we go to the track, she's pretty happy to watch the horses run by."   Why bring children to the racetrack, when it's become a challenging or even forbidden practice at some, even pre-pandemic? Clements is clear: "I've always taken the stance that you can't introduce someone to horse racing through the gambling; they have to have an interest in the sport first. I think that's true whether people are betting on the NFL or any other sport; the interest in the sport comes first, or they'll end up betting on something they enjoy more. It's true of really any sport: You go to a hockey game, it's at a totally different level than experiencing it on TV. But our sport in particular, with these majestic animals... When you can stand right beside a 1000-pound animal running down the stretch, and you can hear it and feel it, it really is totally different in real life than watching it on TV."   The technologically-minded horseman admits that accommodating youth in grandstands is "a difficult problem to solve" in fall and winter, when some of the sport's most family-/youth-oriented locations have concluded their annual meets, and those that remain open must designate some indoor space as off-limits to the under-19. "I don't think a lot of the tracks are trying to solve the problem right now. I don't think it's at the forefront of their minds," he observes, noting the reality that COVID-19-era restrictions mean limiting even the number of wagering-aged customers permitted indoors during colder months.   "I think that once we get back to some sense of normal, and you can be at the track and in the grandstand, it's just about making it somewhere that can be fun for families and can feel welcoming for them, not jammed in a corner, feeling like you're out of place there," continues Clements. "These kids, they don't want to be in the simulcast area. That's not going to appeal to them at all, so it definitely is harder when the weather gets bad, but [it's possible to make] it something fun, like the dining room giving them a place where they can actually enjoy it. We brought my daughter to the dining room at Mohawk and she really enjoyed watching the horses from up there."   He sees the business case for not excluding kids, or fans in general, from racetracks--even racinos. "The primary purpose of casino companies is to run casinos, and they have to run racetracks in order to operate their casinos, so that's obviously going to be their focus," says Clements. "It's unfortunate the way that the situation is right now, we're sort of put at odds with each other rather than being able to help each other in a lot of different places. So it's definitely an unfortunate situation, and I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to be restricting who can be at the races. A lot of times it's not just the restriction, it's the fact that it becomes very clear whether kids are wanted there or not; whether or not they are banned is a different story, but you can tell when you're at a track that has no interest in having them. And it goes beyond kids. You can tell when you're at a track that has no interest in people being there to watch the races. You can tell by the way you are treated and what's available for you, if they want to make it compelling to bring people out or not."   Harness racing's most compelling places could be called "destination" racetracks. Clements names another favourite that's well worth the drive: "Hanover [Raceway] in the summer, for example. Prior to COVID, they had plans this year for putting in a patio-level spot for young adults to go and have some beers and have live music. Tracks in Ontario can make a lot of revenue from casual racing fans." With colder weather settling in, tracks with ongoing race dates can still make their dining rooms as appealing, inclusive, and socially-distanced as possible to draw present-day revenue and create customers for the better years ahead. "I think there's opportunities all over in that area," he says, describing how a good grandstand restaurant can be a successful business- within-a-business. "People are looking for entertainment options right now, while they are limited, and I really thought that this was an opportunity, when [tracks] re-opened."   Do you know a harness track that's open to children and young adults attending live races in the late fall/winter, at least in a regular year? What are some of the ways it provides a comfortable and memorable afternoon or evening at the races? Please contact USHWA Youth Committee Chair Melissa Keith with your recommendations: mkeith71@gmail.com.   by Melissa Keith with Ryan Clements, for the USHWA            

Coral Springs, FL - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will host the final free harness racing handicapping contest for the 2020 season on Scott Alberg's Facebook page Saturday, October 31, at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Breeders Crown Night. One of the Breeders Crown races will be the special race that contestants will be challenged to handicap and entry is free of charge. There is no purchase necessary to play. All you have to do is select the correct exacta. (first two official finishers in the race. Must submit their starting post position by number). Harrah's Hoosier Park is sponsoring the three prizes that will be given away. First place will receive a $150 gift card, second place a $75 gift card and third place a gift box with 30 different popular candy bars in it. Scott Alberg, the 2006 National Harness Handicapping Champion, who also has numerous other handicapping titles, has been a Standardbred owner in the past, and has agreed to partner with USHWA as the contest's title sponsor. To enter the free contest, fans must go to Scott Alberg's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scott.alberg.3,, where the contest will be prominently displayed. Entries will be accepted beginning Thursday, October 29. Alberg, as he has done in the past, will run the contest. Participants have until 4:00 pm Saturday afternoon (Oct. 31) to enter the contest. All rules and regulations will be posted for the contest. Anyone who is not on Facebook can still enter the contest by sending in their selections via email to CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. USHWA members Garnet and Nicholas "Ace" Barnsdale will host the Facebook Live Drawing to determine the contest winners at 12:00 noon Sunday, November 1 at www.facebook.com/USHarnessWriters. For more information check out Scott Alberg's Facebook Page, USHWA's Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram accounts or the USHWA website at www.usharnesswriters.com. A list of prize winners is available anytime from either Scott Alberg's Facebook page or via email at CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. Sorry, but all current USHWA members are not eligible for this contest. By Steve Wolf, for USHWA

Coral Springs, FL - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) will host the next free harness racing handicapping contest on Scott Alberg's Facebook page Sunday, October Sunday, 11, at the Red Mile on Kentucky Futurity Day. One of the Red Mile races will be the special race that contestants will be challenged to handicap and entry is free of charge. There is no purchase necessary to play. All you have to do is select the correct exacta. (first two official finishers in the race. Must submit their starting post position by number). National USHWA is sponsoring the three prizes that will be given away. First place will receive a $150 gift card, second place a $75 gift card and third place a gift box with 30 different popular candy bars in it. Scott Alberg, the 2006 National Harness Handicapping Champion, who also has numerous other handicapping titles, has been a Standardbred owner in the past, and has agreed to partner with USHWA as the contest's title sponsor. To enter the free contest, fans must go to Scott Alberg's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scott.alberg.3,, where the contest will be prominently displayed. Entries will be accepted beginning Friday, October 9. Alberg, as he has done in the past, will run the contest. Participants have until 10:00 am Sunday morning (Oct. 11) to enter the contest. All rules and regulations will be posted for the contest. Anyone who is not on Facebook can still enter the contest by sending in their selections via email to CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. USHWA members Garnet and Nicholas "Ace" Barnsdale will host the Facebook Live Drawing to determine the contest winners at 8:00 pm Sunday, October 11 at www.facebook.com/USHarnessWriters. For more information check out Scott Alberg's Facebook Page, USHWA's Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram accounts or the USHWA website at www.usharnesswriters.com. A list of prize winners is available anytime from either Scott Alberg's Facebook page or via email at CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. Sorry, but all current USHWA members are not eligible for this contest. By Steve Wolf, for USHWA  

Coral Springs, FL - The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) with Scott Alberg, have come up with the best free handicapping contest of the 2020 harness racing season and it all revolves around the Pepsi North America Cup at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Toronto, Canada. The contest is called USHWA Drive Me Some Cash, and contestants must try and select the correct exacta finish (first and second place) in the 6th race this Saturday, August 22. The contest will be open to enter on Thursday, August 20. USHWA current members are not eligible to enter. There will be three grand prize winners chosen from the people that select the correct exacta finish. There will be a first, second and third place finishers selected from a virtual drawing at noon on Sunday, August 23, 2020. Then the contest gets even better for the three winners as the following week the first, second and third place finishers select a driver competing on Pepsi North America Cup Night (Saturday, August 29), and USHWA will play $10 to win (1st prize), $5.00 to win (2nd prize) or $2.00 to win (3rd prize) on every race the driver they select is competing in. The three winning contestants must make their driver selections after scratch time that Thursday. Winning contestants cannot choose a driver that is already selected. 1st place names their driver first, 2nd place names second and 3rd place names their driver third. The chance to win hundreds of dollars in cash is likely with this special contest as some of the top drivers in harness racing could be competing in ten or more races that evening. For the complete rules and regulations for USHWA Drive Me Some Cash is on the USHWA website at www.usharnesswriters.com. This Saturday's exacta selections must be entered on Scott Alberg's Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/scott.alberg.3 by 6:00 pm. Anyone who is not on Facebook and wants to enter the competition can do so by 6:00 pm Saturday by emailing their exacta selection to CustomerService@4NJPicks.com. By Steve Wolf, for USHWA  

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