PINEHURST MATINEE- RACING'S BEST KEPT SECRET?
Pinehurst Matinee- Harness Racing’s Best Kept Secret?
Pinehurst, NC- There was no gambling, no charted lines, and, in fact, nothing but two-year-olds going behind the gate, but the 63rd Annual Pinehurst Matinee drew over 5,000 race fans Sunday, ranging from the curious to the avid and, for the first time, the festivities also drew the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.
Just a good three-iron from the site of the 2014 U.S. Open Golf Tournament, HHYF was represented by Executive Director Ellen Taylor, along with Project Manager Keith Gisser, and a pair of HHYF program alumni, 14-year-old Alex Schneider, a graduate of an HHYF youth camp at Indiana Downs and last year’s Family weekend at the Red Mile, and her mother, Susan Schneider, who also attended last year’s inaugural Red Mile Family Weekend. The pair drove in from the Charlotte, NC, area to assist.
HHYF offered several activities for youth and adults, including a prize wheel, a chance to wear colors and hold the lines of a harness , a “name the horse body part,” game and the chance to get the feel of pacing, using the organization’s pacing boards. HHYF also offered information on its camps, scholarships and other programs, as well as providing materials about the USTA, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, and others.
“This atmosphere is unique” said Taylor. “From the extravagant tailgate parties to the casual race goers, there was real excitement on the grounds. The Pinehurst Driving Club does a great job coordinating on this event. It really gives the Pinehurst horsemen and the industry a chance to shine in an area that is not noted for a strong harness racing following. It showcases a great facility. We look forward to continuing our involvement with Pinehurst in the future.”