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Ryder Skinner, the original USHWA Youth member, has promoted his favourite summertime destination for the July USHWA Youth Racetrack Review. The 13-year old Harringston, Delaware resident is a dedicated harness racing fan and participant. He enjoys helping his parents Jason and Susan Skinner with the family racing stable, and is a 2019 Harness Horse Youth Foundation program graduate.   Ryder's involvement in the media side of the sport has become increasingly visible as well. He recently had an article published in the USTA's Youth Beats magazine about his experience presenting at the USHWA Dan Patch Awards in Orlando, Florida.   When Matt Sparacino, the president of the USHWA Delaware Valley Chapter, asked the young horseman if he would like to share what makes Berlin, Maryland's Ocean Downs a welcoming place for younger racing fans, he was happy to contribute. The track has been in operation since 1949, changed ownership several times and once operated under the name "Delmarva Downs". What is consistent is the atmosphere and accessibility that Ryder Skinner outlines in his review:   The word fun is defined as enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure. When I think of fun, being a horseman's son, I instantly think of harness racing. One of my favorite tracks to watch harness racing is Ocean Downs. I have been watching live harness racing at Ocean Downs for nine years.   Ocean Downs offers so much more than other tracks. Even though there is a casino on-site, the racetrack venue is very family-friendly. Since Ocean Downs is only a few miles from the beach, it is a popular pit stop for many families on vacation. As soon as you get out of the car, you feel the atmosphere and know it is going to be a fun night.   The setup of the paddock allows fans to see the horses coming on and off the track, and you get to see the grooms and trainers hard at work. My family and I have always stopped on the way down and grabbed a pizza or subs, before we pull up to the trackside fence and catch all the behind the scenes action.   The winners circle also is extremely accessible, making it convenient to hop in with the winning horse and get your picture taken. Food, restrooms, and racing are so easy to take advantage of at Ocean Downs, making it a terrific summer time destination. Covid-19 has limited fan accessibility to enjoy live harness racing but Ocean Downs is a track I cannot wait to visit when restrictions are lifted.   The 2020 Ocean Downs season got underway July 6, with four nights of racing a week through September 4. Racing continues until September 19, without on-track spectators until further notice, which will be announced on the track's website: Here's hoping that Ryder Skinner and racing fans of all ages will be able to safely enjoy the trackside experience this summer. Know a young harness racing fan and/or participant who would like to share their story about the youth-friendly elements of their favourite track? The USHWA Youth Membership Committee welcomes submissions from young people (aged 21 or younger) who would like to let others know about what makes their favourite track a great place to enjoy live racing, whether now or before Coronavirus restrictions (in provinces/states where attendance is currently restricted). Please contact USHWA Youth Membership Committee Chair Melissa Keith ( if interested in taking part in this project.   From the USHWA  

Ocean City, MD - On Thursday July 23rd Ocean Downs hosted three divisions of the Maryland Sire Stakes for 4 & 5 year old pacers. Race one on the card saw Allie's Finale (Allie's Western) get parked to the 3/8 pole before taking control from Where's Barry. Allie's Finale held off a stretch charge by Rusty's Houdini stopping the clock in 1:55.2 , a 4 & 5 year old stakes record for a pacing gelding at Ocean Downs. Roger Plante Jr. was in the bike for owners Leblanc Racing, Count De Money Stable, William Lutz Jr. and James Stuart. The mare division went to post as race three with a field of seven. Reinsman Eddie Davis Jr. tucked Miss Choptank (Total Truth) third until the 5/8 pole, coming first over, taking command at the head of the stretch. The 1:57.1 clocking tied the stakes record for mares. Tootsy Rolls Quick finished second. Wayne Givens trains the winner for Legacy Racing of DE Inc. and Stephen Townsend. In the third division, the stretch drive was a nail biter as BT's Breeze (Nuclear Breeze) and Bo Breeze (Nuclear Breeze) battled with Bo Breeze crossing the wire a head in front of BT's Breeze in 1:56.1 Tyler Davis drove the winner for Murray Stable LLC and trainer Shawn Murray. Friday July 24 showcased the 4 & 5 year old Maryland Sire Stakes for trotters. The Kerry Welty trainee, What That is (Cam's Rocket) scored a gate to wire victory in 1:58, holding off a last turn challenge from Judge Bob (Great George Two) in the first division. Roger Plante Jr. was the pilot for owner Kerry Welty. The last of the 4 & 5 year old Maryland Sire Stakes went to post as race three. Driver John Wagner was not content getting away in the three hole with K J Charlie (Charlie De Vie), pulling at the quarter to take command from Remarkable De Vie (Charlie De Vie) stopping the clock in 1:58.3. Arlene Cameron trains the winner for Scott Woogen and Pam Wagner. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Sire Stakes

Ocean Downs has canceled the live race card for Monday July 20th due to predicted extreme heat and the heat index. The welfare of the horses and horsemen are our main concern, if you have any questions please call Ocean Downs race office at 410-641-0600 ext. 3211 From the Ocean Downs Race Office

OCEAN CITY, MD - Ocean Downs would like to announce that the post times for the harness racing programs Thursday July 16 and Friday July 17 have been changed to 5:15 pm due to back stretch electrical issues. Horsemen racing on those two affected programs are asked to make the adjustment and arrive one hour earlier. Also horses on Lasix still need to follow the 4 hour window so please arrive early. If you have any questions please call the race office at 410-641-0600 ext. 3211. From the Ocean Downs Race Office

Ocean City, MD - A reminder from the Ocean Downs Race Office; You must have your racing application with your list of horses in the race office before your horses will be accepted in the entry box. Here is the link to find all necessary paperwork. If you have any questions please call the Ocean Downs race office at 410-641-0600 ext 3212   From the Ocean Downs Race Office

All Maryland Stake dates have been changed due to the new live harness racing calendar put out by Ocean Downs and also due to Covid 19 shutdowns. Stake races start with the 4 & 5 year old Open races on July 23 and 24 followed by the 3 year old sire stakes. The two year olds start August 20 & 21 and conclude on Sept. 18. The MSRF Advisory Committee felt this schedule would give all participants the best opportunity to get their horses qualified and not conflict with our neighbor venues that may be racing at the same time. The complete schedule will be available this afternoon on our website and will include purses. The fall schedule at Rosecroft will be updated at a later date.   Please call Cheri Stambaugh, Administrator of the Maryland Standardbred Race Fund at 410-775-0152 or 240-285-0326 with any questions.   By Cheri Stambaugh  

Ocean City, MD - When Ocean City weather turned cool, windy and with spotty rain, a large crowd of beach goers flocked to Ocean Downs to watch a great night of racing. The $70,000 Hubert Jackson Memorial sire stake summer final for freshman trotting fillies went to post as race 5. Reinsman Eddie Davis Jr. sent Cate’s A Keeper (Lockkeeper) gate to wire for the second week in a row stopping the clock in 2:05 for owner-breeder Pamela Wagner and trainer Shannon Trader. Winnie The Goo (Googoo Gaagaa) was seventh and three deep at the ¾ pole and charged down the stretch to take the place spot. Don’t Shock Me (Nuclear Breeze) with Victor Kirby in the bike picked up his first lifetime win after three second place finishes in the $70,000 Charles Keller Memorial for two year old pacing colts and geldings. Jordon’s All In (Rusty’s All In) battled gamely down the stretch, settling for second a half length behind the leader. Don’t Shock Me is owned by Bryan J. Truitt and Jerry Smith, bred by Bryan Truitt and trained by Bryan Truitt Jr. Ocean Downs was also promoting women in harness racing with the sixth race 1 1/16 mile trot featuring all women drivers from several states. Laurie Stark driving Accokeek Mercury cut the mile with Doreen Dailey coming first over behind Done Andover It and the quarter mile battle to the finish ensued with Done Andover It and Doreen Dailey returning for the picture. Hyway Marcus with Sasha Moczulski in the saddle were the winners of the RUS Exhibition race. The Maryland Sire Stakes summer finals continue on Wednesday Aug 28. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Standardbred Development Fund

On Sunday August 25th Ocean Downs with host 9 women harness racing drivers in the 1 1/16 mile sixth race trot. Drivers participating will be Stacy Chiodo, Doreen Dailey, Whitney Bell, Monica Banca, Miriam Toland, Jean Rastetter, Laurie Stark, Annie Stoebe and Hannah Miller. The ladies will hold a meet and greet from 6:30 to 7:30 with local driver Linda MacDonald also attending. The features on the card are the $70,000 Hubert Jackson Memorial Sire Stake Final for two year old trotting fillies and the $70,000 Charles Keller Memorial Sire Stake Final for two year old pacing colts and geldings. Other events will be a RUS exhibition after race four and bouncy horse races. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Standardbred Development Fund

Berlin, MD - NHyway Marcus leads a field of five trotters competing Sunday evening (August 25) at Ocean Downs as part of the Downs' salute to 'Women in Harness Racing'. The trotters will be competing after the fourth race with an estimated post time of 8:10pm. The sixth race on the wagering card is the Powder Puff Trot where nine women drivers will be competing in a 1 1/16 mile contest. Unlike previous RUS MidAtlantic events, Sunday night's tilt will be an exhibition race which will allow newcomers to RUS, both human and equine, to compete. "This race is different in the matter of we are bringing some new faces and horses into the race", said RUS MidAtlantic President Stephanie Jacobs, "We are always excited to bring in fresh riders and mounts. This exhibition race is different than most. With no purse, riders and horses with the support of owners and trainers are coming down with no other intent other than to show their passion for the sport. It is a true testament of the support we have". For riders Sofia Zingale and Molly Gara, the race provides a reunion of sorts, having both come from the show jumping world and the same college equestrian team. When asked about the race, Zingale stated, "I'm really excited for this exhibition race. I think it is fantastic Ocean Downs is supporting women in harness racing with both our RUS race and the powder puff drivers race on the same night. I love the fact that we have new horses and riders in this race. Seabuddy is a full brother to my usual mount "Egosnattitudes" and Rebel Soul has gate speed like you can't believe. It will be very interesting to see". On making her debut appearance, Gara claimed, "I've jumped horses my whole life and just recently got into harness racing. Now I'm so excited to try RUS and I think it's just the beginning"! The other newcomer in the saddle, Nicky Ratledge stated, : "[I] Can't wait to try out RUS. It's something I've always wanted to try with all the Standardbreds that I have ridden over my years of working in harness racing! I'll be conquering another goal!". While it will take a top effort to defeat Hyway Marcus who is in the middle of a five-race win streak (sulky and under saddle), newcomer Pembroke Bada Bing may present a challenge as he has been racing well in sulky at Pocono Downs and Harrah's Philadelphia; finishing a head behind Marcus after cutting the mile from post position seven. "Marcus continually gives me some of the best moments of my life", explains Sasha Moczulski, "so hopefully by opening this race up to new riders and having them experience the thrill of getting behind the gate, we can expand our sport. Having a unique horse that can race both in harness and under saddle just helps make our profession all the more exciting." The field for the exhibition race are:  1. Hyway Marcus (Sasha Moczulski) 2. Rebel Soul (Sofia Zingale) 3. Pembroke Bada Bing (Stephanie Jacobs) 4. Seabuddy (Nicole Ratlledge) 5. Puddin N Pie (Molly Gara) by Allan Schott, for RUS MidAtlantic

Ocean City, MD - The freshman Maryland Sire Stakes preliminaries for pacing fillies and trotting colts and geldings concluded at Ocean Downs on Wed. August 21. In race one, the first division for the trotting colts and geldings, Andy American (Andoversure) repeated his trip from last week going gait to wire, 7 lengths ahead of Lg's Jet (Lear Jetta) in the 2:03.3 mile. Jonathan Roberts received the driving assignment from trainer Charlie Norris for owner-breeder Robert Key. The first split for the pacing fillies saw Fire Me Up (Rusty's All In) pickup her second preliminary win for owner-breeder Pamela Wagner stopping the clock in 1:59.4. Fire Me Up is trained by Shannon Trader and driven by Jared Moyer. My Girl Lu (Rusty's For Real) finished second. Despite a broken buxton flapping most of the mile, Yall Beneath Me (Googoo Gaagaa) destroyed the second split for colt and gelding trotters, winning by 33 lengths in 1:57.2 on the half mile oval. K J Larry (Lockkeeper) took the place spot. Reinsman Russell Foster was in the bike behind Yall Beneath Me for owner-trainer-breeder Richard Hans. Eddie Davis Jr. pulled Maizee Blue (Rusty's All In) first over near the half taking the lead by the ¾ pole and coasting home in the 1:59.2 second division for the pacing fillies. I'd Be Rich (Rusty's For Real) held on for second. Les Givens trains the winner for owners and breeders Leslie Moore and Robert Weyforth. The $70,000 Maryland Sire Stakes Finals for two year olds will be contested on Sunday August 25th and Wednesday August 28th. By Cheri Stambaugh, for Maryland Development Fund

Ocean City, MD - Ocean Downs hosted the second round of Maryland Sire Stake prelims for freshman pacing colts/geldings and trotting fillies on Sunday August 18. In the first division for filly trotters, Cate’s A Keeper (Lockkeeper) broke her maiden in the 2:03.1 mile with Trout’s Legacy (Charlie De Vie) finishing second. Eddie Davis Jr. received the driving assignment from trainer Shannon Trader. Pamela Wagner is the owner and breeder. K J Andrea (Lockkeeper) tied the freshman stakes record of 2:02 for the trotting fillies in her win over Winnie The Goo (Googoo Gaagaa) in the second split. Shannon Trader trains the winner for co-owners Pamela Wagner and Scott Woogen, Clarissa Coughlin was the breeder. Nvrfearlloydishere (Rusty’s All In) driven by Eddie Davis Jr. remains undefeated in three lifetime starts, once again going gate to wire, stopping the timer in1:57.2 a new lifetime mark. Pam Wagner is the owner and breeder and Shannon Trader is the trainer. Fantastic Voyage (Cool Flying Fun) took the place spot. The second split for the pacing colts and geldings went to post as race six. In a race that saw multiple position changes in the field, reinsman John Wagner sent Jordons All In ( Rusty’s All In) to a wire to wire victory 8 lengths ahead of Don’t Shock Me (Nuclear Breeze) in the 1:57.1 mile. Once again it was the Pamela Wagner-Shannon Trader team with the win. If you lost count Shannon Trader trained all four stakes winners for owner or co-owner Pamela Wagner with Eddie Davis Jr. driving two and John Wagner driving the other two. The preliminary action will conclude on Wednesday Aug. 21 at Ocean Downs. By Cheri Stambaugh, Maryland Standardbred Fund

Ocean City, MD - On Wednesday Aug. 7th the first split for trotting colts and geldings saw Yall Beneath Me (Googoo Gaagaa) with Russell Foster in the bike, once again winning by 22 lengths in the Ocean Downs opener. Enough Already (Four Starz Robro) finished second. Richard Hans owns, trains and bred Yall Beneath Me, time for the mile was 1:59.3. Jared Moyer sent Fire Me Up (Rusty's All In) flying out from post six to take control hitting the first quarter in 28.4, pacing the mile in 1:59.2 one length ahead of I'd Be Rich (Rusty's For Real) in the first division for pacing fillies. Shannon Trader trains the winner for owner-breeder Pamela Wagner. Andy American (Andoversure) driven by Jonathan Roberts captured the second division of trotting colts and geldings, stopping the clock in 2:03.2 with Lg's Jet (Lear Jetta) closing for second. Robert Key is the owner-breeder and Charlie Norris the trainer of Andy American. In the second division for pacing fillies reinsman Eddie Davis Jr. took full advantage of post one sending Maizee Blue (Rusty's All In) gate to wire in 1:59.3 for co-owners and breeders Leslie Moore and Robert Weyforth, Les Givens is the trainer. Nat’s A Lady (Rusty's All In) took the place position. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Standardbred Fund

Ocean City, MD - Two splits each for two year old trotting fillies and pacing colts and geldings opened the first round of sire stakes preliminaries at Ocean Downs. A final quarter battle between Gooreatness (Googoo Gaagaa) and Cate's A Keeper (Lockkeeper) had the crowd cheering loudly for their favorite in division one for the filly trotters. When it was over the photo showed Gooreatness winning by a nose over Cate's A Keeper in the 2:03.1 mile. Russell Foster was in the bike for owner-trainer Richard Hans, Arlene Cameron was the breeder. The pacing colts and geldings were up next and Jonathan Roberts sent Fantastic Voyage (Cool Flying Fun) out getting the lead past the quarter in 29.3 holding off Jordons All In (Rusty's All In) at the wire in 1:58. Shaun Callahan trains for owner-breeder Dawn Amiss. The second split for the filly trotters went to post as race three. Reinsman John Wagner behind K J Andrea (Lockkeeper) took the lead by the half, holding off pocket sitting Grey (Charlie De Vie) by a half-length when the clock stopped in the 2:03.3 mile. Scott Woogen and Pam Wagner are the owners, Shannon Trader the trainer and Clarissa Coughlin is the breeder. Nvrfearlloydishere (Rusty's All In) flew out of post seven to go a gate to wire mile in the remaining division for colt and gelding pacers. Don't Shock Me (Nuclear Breeze) came from seventh to get within two lengths of the leader to take the place spot. Shannon Trader trains for owner-breeder Pam Wagner Time for the mile was 1:59.3 The first round of Maryland Sire Stake prelims continue on Wednesday Aug. 7th with pacing fillies and trotting colts and geldings. Ocean Downs also hosted their weekly driver meet and greet featuring Justin Vincent, Victor Kirby and Tyler Davis prior to the Sunday races. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Standardbred Fund

Ocean City, MD - With storms approaching Ocean Downs hosted two Maryland Standardbred Fund Stakes for two year olds on Wednesday July 31. The $23,300 stake for trotting colts and geldings opened the racing card. Reinsman Russell Foster sent Yall Beneath Me (Googoo Gaagaa) from post five to the lead, leaving the rest of the field behind in the 1:59 mile, crossing the wire 22 lengths in front. Mr Herps (Lockkeeper) was second. Richard Hans is the owner, trainer and breeder. The freshman pacing fillies were up next with a purse of $27,500. The pocket sitting Chart Topper (Bettor’s Delight) charged down the stretch to win by a head over the fast closing Fire Me Up ( Rusty's All In) in 1: 59.1. Chart Topper is owned by Brian Gordon and Zippett Racing Stable, trained by Brett Pelling and driven by Jonathan Roberts. Stakes action continues on Sunday August 4 with the first round of Maryland Sire Stakes prelims for the freshman. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Development Fund

Ocean City, MD - Ocean Downs gave the large enthusiastic crowd a variety of events on Sunday July 28th.  The night started with a driver meet and greet at 6:30 with Montrell Teague, John MacKinnon and Frank Milby. Pacing For The Cure also had their table set up with T-shirts, hats, mugs and a one lap walk on the track after the second race, all to raise money for research for MS also Positive Strides Therapeutic Riding Program continued their month long fundraiser. The freshman stakes season opened with four Maryland Standardbred Fund (foaled) Stakes. In the first race for pacing colts and geldings Eddie Davis Jr. sent Nvrfearlloydishere (Rusty's All In) gate to wire in the 2:00.2 mile finishing one length ahead of Jordons All In (Rusty's All In). Arlene Cameron trains the winner for owner-breeder Pamela Wagner. The purse was $13,200. The stakes and track record fell in the first $12,300 split for trotting fillies. Gooreatness (Googoo Gaagaa) with Russell Foster between the wheels controlled every step of the 2:00.1 record setting mile, Cate's A Keeper (Lockkeeper) took the place position. Richard Hans is the owner and trainer and Arlene Cameron is the breeder. The second $13,200 division for pacing colts and geldings went to post in race three. American Nitro (Badlands Nitro) took command early, opening up at every pole, stopping the clock almost eight lengths ahead of Don't Shock Me (Nuclear Breeze) in 2:00.3. Vic Kirby had the driving assignment from trainer Les Givens and owners H. Faragalli III, Nanticoke Racing, A. Feeney and D. Doane. The breeder was Winbak Farm. The final stake of the night was the $12,300 second division for trotting fillies. Reinsman John Wagner pulled K J Andrea (Lockkepper) at the half, blowing by the field, finishing nineteen lengths ahead of Lady At Arms (Muscles Yankee) in 2:02. Arlene Cameron trained the filly for owners Scott Woogen and Pamela Wagner, Clarissa Coughlin was the breeder. By Cheri Stambaugh, for the Maryland Standardbred Fund

The large crowd of summer visitors were treated to a sixteen race harness racing card on Wednesday July 24 at Ocean Downs including four Maryland Sire Stakes for older horses. Reinsman Eddie Davis Jr. gave Boo Boo Baa Baa (Googoo Gaagaa) the perfect pocket trip in the mare trot, charging down the stretch to catch the leader Gaagaa Gone (Googoo Gaagaa) in the final strides. Shawn Callahan trains the mare for his mom's Breakaway Racing stable and his dad Nick Callahan was the breeder. Time for the mile was 2:01. The trot for the 4 & 5 year old boys went to post as race three. Hybrid Henry (Cam's Rocket) and What That Is (Cam's Rocket) opened up on the field by the ¾ pole, battling to the wire in the 1:58 mile with What That Is coming back to the winner circle. Roger Plante Jr. was in the bike for owner-trainer Kerry Welty. Richard Hans was the breeder. Owner Breakaway Racing and breeder Nick Callahan picked up their second stakes win of the night in the mare pace when Cool Toy (Cool Flying Fun) cut the mile finishing a nose in front of Rissy's All In (Rusty's All In). Justin Vincent was between the wheels for trainer Elwood Tignor in the 1:57.1 mile. The final stake of the night was for the male pacers. Jason Thompson pulled Jack Quick (Nuclear Breeze) to come first over at the half taking control by the ¾ mile, stopping the clock in 1:54.4. BT's Breeze (Nuclear Breeze) finished second. Basil Sapienza owns-trains and bred the winner. The Maryland stakes season for two year olds will begin on Sunday July 28th with four Maryland Standardbred Fund stakes. Also on Sunday Ocean Downs will host Pacing For The Cure featuring a walk around the track after the second race to raise money for MS research. By Cheri Stambaugh, Berlin, MD

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