Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hey Kids! It's Your Turn

Vernon Downs plans Harness Racing Youth League camp

VERNON — And down the stretch they come.

For a few days in July at Vernon Downs, there will be some younger drivers on the harness racing track.

The annual Harness Racing Youth League camp, which will take place Tuesday through Saturday, July 6 to 10, is being organized by the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.

The camp will give participants ages 12 to 14 an up-close and personal look at harness racing and caring for horses.

“The original purpose was to create more of an interest in harness racing, but I enjoy watching the kids develop confidence through the week,” Westfield, Ind.-based Harness Horse Youth Foundation Executive Director Ellen Taylor said. “There is no substitute for kids and horses.”

The five-day, four-night camp costs $150 and an application and essay must be submitted. No experience with harness racing or horses is required. The registration fee covers all lodging and meals for the camp.

Daily activities will expose the campers to the ins and outs of the sport, including grooming, harnessing, hitching and driving the horses.

“They love to be able to clean the hooves from the get-go,” Taylor said. “The kids are surprised that they are able to do it.”

Registration will be at 8:30 a.m. July 6 in the lobby of Vernon Downs’ hotel. The camp will end with races July 10.

For more information or for an application, call the Harness Horse Youth Foundation at 317-867-5877 or visit the organization’s website at

Camp information also is available by contacting Jason Settlemoir, regional vice president of racing and simulcast for Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs, via e-mail at

Courtesy: Utica Observer-Dispatch