Columbus, MN — The Board of Directors of Minnesota Harness Racing Inc. have elected breeder, owner, and trainer Justin Anfinson to serve as president of the association.
Anfinson is a second-generation harness horseman based in Kenyon, Minn. He trains Minnesota bred and open pacers and trotters for his family, as well as for owners residing in multiple states throughout the Midwest and Northeast.
Anfinson trained 2018 Minnesota Horse of the Year, Burning Blaze, for owners Alan and Cheryl Sandbulte of Maurice, Iowa and Edward Gutin of Massapequa, N.Y. The Sandbultes also bred the juvenile champion.
Burning Blaze, a gelding by Wind Me Up out of the Jet Laag mare Cowgirls N Indians, set a track record of 1:54.1 at Running Aces last summer on his way to a 2-year-old divisional championship. He won seven times and placed twice in nine starts for earnings of $53,250.
Justin, whose uncle, Ron Banks, previously served as MHRI president and who was inducted last year into the Minnesota Harness Racing Hall of Fame, and his wife Stephanie have two young children, daughter Morgan and a new-born son, Carter.
MHRI also welcomes Scott Banitt to the Board. Members elected Banitt, a breeder, owner, and trainer based in Cannon Falls, Minn., to serve a three-year term. He replaces longtime director Vern Devine, who has retired.
Scott and his wife Becki’s stallion Fancy Schmansy, by Jenna’s Beach Boy, has sired multiple winners including the Minnesota champions Dream Chasin and I’m On A Terror. Scott is a strong advocate for County Fair racing in Minnesota.
Following are the results of the MHRI Board of Directors election. At the annual meeting which took place on Saturday (Feb. 23), members elected three directors who will each serve three-year terms.
1. 93 Votes – Rick Magee
2. 79 Votes – Scott Banitt
3. 57 Votes – Mark Corless
4. 47 Votes – Vikki Pfeilsticker
5. 25 Votes – Robin Becklin
The Board of Directors of MHRI gratefully recognizes and congratulates the candidates who have generously offered their time and efforts on behalf of all Minnesota harness horsemen and women. The Board further wishes to thank the members who participated in the election process.