Welcome back On Track! In this month's edition, covering the August 2014 issue, we visit a county fair that's working hard to bring fans to the races; hear from racing's top trainer; meet a longtime Maine trainer who survived a horrific accident; and see some of the finest harness racing photos of the summer. Enjoy! --TJB
|The Defiance County (Ohio) fair is on the cover of the August issue of Hoof Beats.|
Like many county fairs, the Defiance County Fair saw harness racing as an attraction that could be eliminated.
In 2010, they told the horsemen in that northwest Ohio county that harness racing would be axed to make more room for concerts, tractor pulls and demolition derbies.
But the horsemen wouldn't let that happen. They banded together to create the Defiance County Area Horsemen's Association, and vowed to pay for all the expenses incurred while putting on the racing.
But their efforts didn't stop on the track or in the barns. They also made a concerted effort to attract and entertain local racing fans, and for that, they were named the 2014 USTA Blue Ribbon Fair Award winner.
See the story and the excellent video here and in the August issue.
Ron Burke, harness racing's perennial leading trainer, gave the keynote speech at this year's USTA Driving School, and he gave some great tips while answering some of his critics as well.
This month's Hoof Beats includes an excerpt of that speech, where he talks about how he went from car dealerships to horse trading; how his stable is a family affair; and how the perception of his methods have changed as his numbers have climbed.
The transcript, which can be read here, is only part of what Burke covered for those in attendance at the Harness Racing Museum that night in June. The full video, shot by the museum's Chris Tully, is also available at the link above, and is certainly worth a look.
Last January, some disheartening news started to trickle out of Maine.
Donnie Richards, the longtime Pine Tree State trainer, had gotten kicked by a 2-year-old and suffered severe injuries to his face. Miraculously, Richards showed that he may be the hardiest 81-year-old in harness racing when he survived and is almost back to training today.
Lynne Snierson got the story, which can be found here.
The Hoof Beats Photo Contest has been live for about three weeks now, and the photos coming in show just how beautiful our Standardbreds can be and how much folks in the sport love to care for them.
This contest will run through October, so be sure to go to the Hoof Beats Facebook page to see the photos and vote for your favorites. The photographers with the most popular shots will win Hoof Beats subscriptions, copies of 100 Years in Harness, and could even see their photo on the cover of a future issue of Hoof Beats!
There's still time to enter your photos as well. Take your best shot and enter today!