Harrington Raceway’s 74th season opens Monday with no spectators

USHWA Harrington Raceway horse of the meet Slick Tony (7/2, Russell Foster), who is slated to make his first start since March 5 in the featured $10,000 Open Pace, the 5th race on the 9-race card. Submitted photo/Harrington Raceway

HARRINGTON — Although a lot will be different when Harrington Raceway opens without spectators for its 74th season of live harness racing Monday, some things will remain familiar.

Most notably perhaps is the return of 2019 Delaware Valley USHWA Harrington Raceway horse of the meet Slick Tony (7/2, Russell Foster), who is slated to make his first start since March 5 in the featured $10,000 Open Pace, the 5th race on the 9-race card.

Owned by his breeder/trainer George Leager, the 5-year-old No Spin Zone stallion is a graduate of the Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund program, which jumpstarted his $670,043 in career earnings. A 16-time winner last year, he banked $231,449 as a 4-year-old and despite the COVID-19 related disruption to racing, he remains on track for another $100,000 season.

Slick Tony will face a quality field of 8, which is the anchor leg of the early pick four wager (races 2-5).

Another regular sighting will be the return of last year’s driving champ, Art Stafford Jr., who had a career year in 2019 and has 5 drives on the card. Two-time defending leading trainer Joe Columbo will have a busy night with 5 entries from his stable. All of the Columbo-trained entries will be driven by former track driving champ Mike Cole, who is part of a formidable driving colony opening the meet.

Tim Tetrick, who was recently voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, will compete in all 9 races on the opening card. Many of his drives will come from the uber powerful barn of Joanne and Jim King Jr., who trained 2019 Dan Patch Horse of the Year, Shartin N.

Last year was a landmark year for Harrington-based horses, as the town with a population of less than 4,000 has become a hotbed for harness racing talent with prior champions like Wiggle It Jiggleit, Rainbow Blue and Adios Harry, just to name a few. Its most recent success stories from 2019 are Lather Up, who raced out of the George Teague stable for trainer Clyde Francis stabled on the east side of Harrington. Lather Up is the co-fastest horse in the sport’s history with a 1:46 win at the Meadowlands and the aforementioned Shartin N, who not only was the Horse of the Year, but is also the sport’s fastest mare ever.

Not to be outdone was 2-year-old pacing filly of the year Lyons Sentinel — also trained by the King Jr. barn, on the west side of town.

Post time for the Monday program is 4:30 p.m. Live racing will continue on a Monday through Wednesday schedule through July 15. There will be a break in the schedule before resuming Aug. 17.

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