Harness racing has long been a staple at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon, mostly during a two-day period at the county fair, and, in recent years, through the Indiana Sired Fair Circuit.
With no county fair this year due to COVID-19, the only day of racing took place Aug. 19 when the ISFC came to town.
Indiana harness racing includes both racing at county fairgrounds tracks and racing at the wagering track, Hoosier Park, in Anderson. Some stables focus exclusively on competition at one or the other, and some race at both, often with a preference for one type.
Three of the top stables that race in big numbers at county fairgrounds tracks were among the many entrants in Corydon.
The Don Eash Stable of Greenfield brought 20 horses, the King Racing Stable of Wilshire, Ohio, brought 17 horses and the Les Raber Stable of Loogootee brought 10 horses. These 47 out of the 100 horses racing were quite successful.
Of the 20 races contested on a warm day in Corydon, Eash horses won four, King Racing horses won five and Raber horses won six.
The top driver of the day was Mike Peterson, who had six wins driving mostly for King Racing.
Les Raber drove five of his six winners himself, and Don Eash drove three of his stable’s four winners.
Raber’s win total of six out of 10 horses entered is even more remarkable in that neither of the two best horses from his stable won their races. When asked to account for his trotters’ success in Corydon, Raber said, “I think our horses handle the tight turns here a bit better than others, especially the first turn where it gets pretty sharp down there.”
Local horses included Charlie Conrad with his 2-year-old pacing colt Ultimaroca, who won his race in a time of 2:00:4 The 3-year-old pacing fillies Hayswood Linda and Hayswood Pacifica, owned by Hayswood Farm of Corydon, were both fifth in their races. The 2-year-old trotting colts Pilgrim’s Image, from the Simon Girod barn of Salem, and Aslar, from the John Spotten stable, both finished fifth in their races as well. Both of these colts train on occasion at the fairgrounds track in Corydon.
Corydon track records for both trotting and pacing were not threatened, but several fast times were recorded.
The fastest 2-year-old pacing filly was Rollonbeauty, driven by Clifton Bell and owned by Curtis Rice of Starkeville, Miss., who raced home in 2:01:2. The fastest 2-year-old pacing colt was This Kit Rocks, driven by Hoosier Park star driver Joey Putnam, who made the trip down from Anderson worthwhile with a time of 1:59:2.
The fastest 2-year-old filly trotter was Molly’s Joan, trained by Les Raber but driven by Jay Cross to a winning time of 2:08:2. The fastest 2-year-old colt trotter was Eash’s Major Hooligan in a time of 2:05:3.
The fastest 3-year-old filly pacer was Alvin’s Cookie, from the King barn, with a time of 2:01:4. The fastest 3-year-old colt pacer was Fast Freddy Jo Jo, also from the King barn, with a time of 1:59:3.
Turning in the fastest time on the day for a 3-year-old filly trotter was Back Road Kiss, driven by Peterson but from the stable of Enos Lengacher of Grabill in Allen County. She trotted twice around the Corydon track in 2:05:1.
The fastest 3-year-old colt trotter was Quaker’s Credit, driven by Michael Deitweiler for trainer Leander Schwartz of Milroy. He trotted the mile in 2:06:4.
The Indiana Sired Fair Circuit has one more regular session of racing scheduled, this time in Shelby County, on Friday. Then, attention turns to the championships and consolations for the Governor’s Cup in all eight divisions of 2- and 3-year-olds, trotters and pacers, colts and fillies.