Thursday, December 11, 2008

Harness Tracks

There are 46 harness tracks in the United States. They are clustered for the most part in the Northeast and Midwest, with a lone track on the West Coast in California. Cal Expo is home to the only harness track in the west. Also catering to the Thoroughbred crowd, this track in Sacramento also offers amateur racing for drivers who are licensed but have not been paid for their services.

Heading east, in Minnesota you can enjoy harness racing at the Running Aces Harness Park. This is one of many harness tracks that also offers a hotel and casino to its visitors. Live racing takes place from April to July, and simulcast races from around the country are shown in the off season. Iowa offers Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino. If you prefer Illinois, you can choose between Balmoral Park, Hawthorne Racecourse, Maywood Park or at two fairs: the Du Quoin State Fair and the Springfield, Illinois State Fair.

Michigan provides you with harness racing excitement at Hazel Park, Jackson Harness Raceway, Northville Downs, and Sports Creek Raceway. Indiana's harness racing tracks include Hoosier Park, Indiana Downs, and an annual meet at the Indiana State Fair. Kentucky isn't just for Thoroughbred racing, it also offers three prime harness tracks. Take your choice from Player's Bluegrass Downs, The Red Mile and Thunder Ridge. The Red Mile is home to the Kentucky Futurity, one of harness racing's Triple Crown jewels. Florida is home to Pompano Park Harness, which offers winter racing.

Ohio is home to Northfield Park, Raceway Park, Scioto Downs and a fine fair meet at the Delaware, Ohio Fair. Virginia has the Colonial Downs harness track, and Maryland offers Ocean Downs, which caters to family entertainment, and Rosecroft Raceway. Delaware has two tracks: Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. New Jersey has Freehold Raceway and The Meadowlands, home of the Hambletonian. This is harness racing's biggest race of the year.

Pennsylvania hosts three harness tracks: Harrah's Chester Casino and Racetrack, The Meadows, which offers year-round live racing, and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. New York is far and away the home of the most harness tracks in the United States. Batavia Downs, Buffalo Raceway, Monticello Raceway, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs will provide you with plenty of harness action. Yonkers Raceway is home to the Yonkers Trot, one of trotting's Triple Crown races. Goshen Historic Track sits in the "Cradle of the Trotter." Many famous harness horses are buried on site near the famous Hambletonian tree, beneath which Hambletonian, foundation sire of the Standardbred breed, grazed.

Massachusetts hosts the Plainridge Racecourse as its only harness track. New Hampshire is home to Rockingham Park. This track is home to the Breeders' Cup. Maine has two harness tracks: the Bangor Raceway and Scarborough Downs. Scarborough advertises free admission and parking. If you are fortunate enough to live near any of these harness tracks, take a day to enjoy the races! You may be bitten by the harness bug! It happens to most people who attend these exciting events. Many celebrities have gotten involved in harness racing because they went to the track one day and got bit by the racing bug.

No comments: