Lebanon, OH --- Just four weeks remain before harness racing gets an exciting new venue with VLT-infused purses, a five-eighths-mile oval built from scratch by the reknowned Coon brothers, and an immense new 156-stall paddock attached to a modern racing administration building.
With opening night scheduled for Friday (Feb. 7), construction crews are busy completing a myriad of projects to insure a successful start to the 66-night meet which features racing five nights a week through May 4. Miami Valley Raceway will present live programs every Wednesday through Sunday with a 6:30 p.m. post time.
Condition sheets for the first week of racing are currently available on the USTA website. Ship-in applications will be available on the Miami Valley Gaming website by Jan. 20.
Qualifying races have been scheduled for 12 noon on both Saturday (Feb. 1) and Wednesday (Feb. 5) with modest qualifying standards intended to allow horses to get back to racing as soon as possible. Ohio racing regulations require any horse that has not performed within 45 days to go a qualifying trip prior to entering to race.
A double draw for the track’s initial cards on Feb. 7 and 8 will be conducted Tuesday morning (Feb. 4). Thereafter, the raceway will adhere to a two-day box with an afternoon draw.
The James K. Hackett races for Ohio-sired 3-year-old colts and fillies, staples at nearby Lebanon Raceway for years, have been enhanced and moved to Miami Valley. The finals on April 26 have been increased to $25,000 with eliminations the week prior going for $7,500 each. A single nomination fee of $250 will be due on March 15 and entry blanks will be included in the annual Ohio stakes booklet being mailed out soon.
Miami Valley will also host the first legs of the 2014 Ohio Sire Stakes program when the state’s best 3-year-old pacers and trotters will compete on closing weekend. Fillies are scheduled for $40,000 legs on Friday (May 2) with the colts lining up for their first OSS tests on Saturday (May 3).
The Sunday (May 4) season-ending program will feature a pair of new Grand Circuit races for older mares on both the pace and trot. The new Miami Valley Distaffs carry estimated purses of $50,000 each and will be serviced by the Hambletonian Society.
A preference system will be in place to assure Ohio-sired horses and horses trained by Ohio trainers or for Ohio owners a consistent weekly racing schedule.
With a 14-race paddock and racing conducted five consecutive nights a week, plenty of other horses will be needed to fill well-received competitive cards.
A limited amount of stable space is still available at the Lebanon county fairgrounds, which is just minutes from new Miami Valley Raceway.
Horsemen with questions about the rapidly approaching inaugural season at Miami Valley Raceway are encouraged to e-mail Race Secretary Gregg Keidel at firstname.lastname@example.org.