Harness racing has come to halt
Harness racing, along with much of everyday life, has come to a virtual standstill in North America. As the stock market plummets, so do the economic circumstances of the Hoosier harness racing community as many owners, trainers, grooms and drivers lose income and value in their horses.
It is not known when the regular summer racing schedule, both at county fairgrounds and at Hoosier Park in Anderson, may resume.
The last race in this area involving a local horse was March 16 at Miami Valley raceway north of Cincinnati. Hayswood Ron, a 4-year-old pacing gelding owned by Hayswood Farm of Corydon and King Racing of Ohio, finished eighth in a time of 1:55:1.
Hoosier Park was preparing for a scheduled opening of racing on March 27. Management there first halted the location of any new stables onto the grounds and later decided that, since any possible resumption of racing in Indiana was completely unknown at this time, all horses and people currently located there should be removed within 14 days. This created an uproar as many had no place to go.
However, quick negotiations reversed the decision and, for now, 163 horses in stalls and the 10 grooms who live in the track dormitory will be allowed to stay. Hoosier Park has stall space for about 750 horses.
No local horses were stabled at Hoosier Park although many are at training centers in the Anderson area and at county fairgrounds in central Indiana. Hayswood Farm is in a ownership group which trains a 2-year-old pacing colt at Pacesetter Farm in Anderson. The Conrad stable is located at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
Some Hoosier trainers and local horses are remaining in training in hopes that racing will happen perhaps this summer. Some have ceased training and have returned to their home farms. One such horse returned to Corydon, as Hayswood Pacifica is now at Hayswood Farm south of town. Her scheduled race on March 20 at Miami Valley was canceled.
The only racing in North America still operating is at CalExpo in Sacramento, Calif. Lanesville native To the Limit, a son of Alvin Walther’s mare Hoosier Vacation, won his race on March 28 in a time of 1:54:1.
Spring is a time of sorely needed optimism, so it’s noted that Hoosier Vacation is close to delivering her 2020 foal. With the success of this foal’s siblings, including To the Limit, the arrival is much anticipated.