Berlin, MD --- Friends of Maryland Standardbreds, a group devoted to the promotion of harness racing in the Free State, will host a fundraiser at Ocean Downs on Saturday (Sept. 7).
Clarissa Coughlin, founder of the group, encourages horsemen as well as fans to come out and support the auction being hosted by Friends of Maryland Standardbreds, which will include a variety of sports items as well as a dinner and stay at the Atlantic Hotel in Berlin.
The fundraiser, the third one FOMS has hosted, will benefit Our Military Kids, a group that helps the children of those in the military. Previous fundraisers benefited the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Coughlin said the group decided to fundraise for a different organization this time in an effort to catch the interest of some who might not be familiar with harness racing.
“I thought maybe we’d get some new people there,” she said.
To help with that, Ocean Downs will offer free programs to past and present members of the military on Saturday.
Items to be auctioned during the races include a Baltimore Ravens helmet signed by Ray Rice, a framed Ravens Super Bowl photo and a piece of the Super Bowl football. Participants can also win a package that includes a one night stay at the Atlantic Hotel, a gift certificate for dinner and a pair of diamond earrings.
Other items include two framed Elizabeth Bell pictures of Adios Butler.
“We will auction these items to horsemen in the paddock area,” Coughlin said. “We wanted to recognize horsemen and women for their hard work and dedication and felt they would appreciate the prints.”
Although this is the final Ocean Downs fundraiser this year, Coughlin said she hoped to do several next year to continue to support HHYF and other youth causes. She said it was important to her that the events benefit children because they started as a way to honor her nephew, Anthony Agostino, a devout harness racing fan who was killed in a car accident.
She believes the FOMS fundraisers are a way to remember her nephew and promote harness racing at the same time.
“We’re trying to get more people out to the track and do something for a good cause,” she said. “We all need to get involved and work together to attract new fans.”
FOMS will also be sponsoring a race at Ocean Downs Saturday. Several members of Agostino’s family will be there for the blanket presentation.