A beautiful Sunday for racing in Wisconsin

by Rick Tittsler

Mineral Point, WI — Sunday (June 28) was a delightful day for racing in southern Wisconsin, with temperatures in the upper 70s and a steady 20-mph breeze cooling the Iowa County Fairgrounds, home track of Hambletonian winner Yankee Paco. The weather was cool but the racing action was hot, as 35 went to the post in the eight-race card sponsored by the Iowa County Horsemen.

Rick Tittsler photo

The horses were behind the starting gate this past Sunday in Mineral Point.

Starting just four across on this historic track makes for great action, especially in the first turn and again at the top of the lane. It’s even more exciting when there are ten 2-year-olds in harness, many racing for the first time.

June racing in Wisconsin is about competition, conditioning, schooling, and folks having fun — on the track and in the stands. It’s about seeing what you have in the barn, and seeing if the old gal “still has it.” It’s about racing for a blanket or a harness bag, and it’s about bragging rights for the year.

It’s also about possibilities — just ask Amber Sawyer who trains the 8-year-old mare, Windleaves Zarina. A week ago, she finished a distant fifth in a five-horse field at Elkhorn, Wisconsin in her first lifetime start. On this day, however, she circled the oval twice in style and found herself posing for a photograph. From worst to first in just eight days!

Dan “Pooch” Clark coordinates this annual event for the Iowa County Horsemen, and the Bloomfield Buddies 4-H club provided food and drinks for this 2009 edition. The Wisconsin Harness Horse Association sold great harness-logo items in the grandstand, with cash drawings, raffles, and a pick-a-winner contest filling the time between races.

If you haven’t been to a fair track lately, I encourage you to gather up the extended family and make a day of it. You’ll find great racing, good food, and VIP access to our sport. The USTA makes it easy to find local racing on their Web site, just click on “Fairs (2009)” on the homepage to find a fair in your area.

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