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Harness racing dates announced

Harness racing dates announced Harness racing dates announced

The Indiana Standardbred Breed Development advisory committee met Jan. 4 in Indianapolis to set the dates for this summer’s county fair harness racing.

Summer county fair racing is divided into two series. The early summer series will begin at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Converse on June 3, with at least one and sometimes two or three county fair race dates each week, and will culminate with the championship races at the Indiana State Fair on Aug. 13.

This championship series was renamed “The Governor’s Cup” to emphasize Gov. Eric Holcomb’s support of the horse industry in Indiana. He will present the championship trophies at the state fair.

The fall series will begin Aug. 19 in Elkhart and will continue each Saturday in the fall, ending with the championship races at the Jay County Fairgrounds in Portland on Oct. 10.

Racing will take place at the Harrison County Fair in Corydon on Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19, beginning at noon each day. The fall series of racing will come to Corydon on Saturday, Sept. 26, with a full program beginning at 11 a.m. that day.

Indiana county fair harness racing is limited to 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers, colts and fillies. In addition, all horses competing at the fairs must be born and raised in Indiana and must be sired by a stallion that stands in Indiana.

This program includes purses of $3,000 for each race all summer, funded by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission. In addition, a larger program, called the Indiana Sire Stakes, is raced at the pari-mutuel track in Anderson known as Harrah’s Hoosier Park. These horses are also 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers, colts and fillies, and also must be sired by Indiana stallions.

Typically, these ISS horses have proven themselves to be much faster than county fair horses.

Purse money for ISS races is higher, with many 2020 ISS “legs” all summer set at $85,000. There are several dozen of these qualifying “legs,” and the top horses race at the end of the summer for a final purse of $250,000 in each of the eight divisions.

Several Harrison County horses are currently in training with hopes of racing at the fairs and at Hoosier Park in 2020. The Charlie Conrad stable has several colts and fillies in training. Hayswood Linda, a three-year-old pacing filly owned by Hayswood Farm of Corydon, and Hayswood Pacifica, owned jointly with King Racing of Willshire, Ohio, are pointing toward county fair racing.

Alvin Walther of Lanesville has an ownership interest in the 3-year-old pacer Crusin Virgin, who will race next summer.

Hayswood Farm is also part of a group which owns a promising 2-year-old pacing colt purchased at the fall 2019 yearling sale in Indianapolis. This colt, a gray son of Indiana stallion JK Endofanera, is called Caption This and is housed at Pacesetter Farms training center in Anderson under the direction of noted Indiana trainer LeWayne Miller.