Hollywood Dayton nears Sept. 9 opening
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Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is busily preparing for its sixth season of live harness racing action. The 78-day schedule is set to commence on Monday, Sept. 9 with a 2:15 matinee program and end Saturday night, Dec. 28.
The normal five-days-a-week schedule will be Monday and Tuesday matinees at 2:15 p.m. coupled with Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening racing beginning at 6:15 p.m. The only exceptions will be dark days Sept. 16 through 19 (in deference to Little Brown Jug week at the Delaware, Ohio fairgrounds), additional Sunday matinees on Sept. 29 (Buckeye Stallion Series championships) and Oct. 13 (Ohio County Fair Finals), and racing on Wednesday, Nov. 27 instead of Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 28.
New director of racing Jason Bluhm is optimistic that the 2019 season will be a big hit with both horsemen and patrons.
“We have added an aggressive line-up of promotions and giveaways in hopes of generating new fans and luring old ones back to the track,” he noted. “Plus, in the past month we’ve worked diligently—with the help of noted trackman Jimmy Shelton—to reshape and resurface the racetrack to its original specifications. We’ve restored the 12 percent banking on both turns as well as accomplished the desired consistent base all the way around the five-eighths mile oval.”
The highlight of the meet will be the sixth renewal of the Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby on Friday, Sept. 27. The pair of $150,000 races have annually attracted the best horses and drivers in North America to Dayton Raceway. The list of eligible horses to the Dayton Pacing Derby includes 10 that have earned over $1 million. Among the notables are Lather Up, McWicked, This Is The Plan, 2018 Little Brown Jug winner Courtly Choice and defending champion and track record holder Donttellmeagain. The Dayton Trotting Derby nominees include a half dozen million dollar winners, including Crystal Fashion, Marion Marauder and Homicide Hunter plus Guardian Angel AS.
“I expect another stellar season at Dayton,” exclaimed race secretary Gregg Keidel. “We’ve been blessed with adequate horse supply and full fields in the past and expect the same this year. I believe all of our top 10 drivers plan to return, affording us one of the deepest and most talented colonies in the sport. Welcoming the championship finals of the Buckeye Stallion Series followed by the Ohio County Fair finals on two special new Sunday matinees will add excitement to our program. With our outstanding paddock facility and the complete overhaul of our track surface, which looks great, I believe Dayton Raceway is 'the place to race' for the next four months!”
Hollywood Dayton Raceway will conduct a pre-meet session of qualifying races on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m. Trainers are asked to enter by Friday, Aug. 30 at 1 p.m.
Condition sheets for the initial week of racing have been posted on the USTA website. (Hollywood Dayton)