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Mike Tanner to head harness group

Oct 14, 2008 5:00 PM

Staff & Wire Reports | Mike Tanner, who spent his early years walking "hots" at tracks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, never dreamed he would one day be chosen to run the organization that rules harness racing, but that’s exactly what is happening.

Tanner, 42, has been chosen as the new executive vice president of the U.S. Trotting Association, becoming the youngest executive ever to hold that position.

A New Jersey native, his introduction to horse racing took place at Liberty Bell Park in the mid-1970s. That was followed by stints at Philadelphia Park and Garden State Park.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and completing graduate studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Tanner began his career in racing as a publicist at Ladbroke’s Detroit Race Course in Detroit.

That was followed by a number of posts in marketing, media and simulcasting at tracks operated by Magna Entertainment Corp.

From 2003 to 2005, he was assistant to the president at Gulfstream Park, and also served as a member of the National Thoroughbred racing Association Technology Group’s Communications Task Force.

On Sunday, at a meeting at the Columbus, Ohio, headquarters of the U.S. Trotting Association, the search committee, headed by Russell Williams, vice chairman of the U.S.T.A. board, made the recommendation. A teleconference vote then approved the appointment.

Tanner becomes the ninth executive vice president of the organization.

The U.S.T.A. was founded in 1939 as the governing board of harness racing. It not only establishes rules of racing but also maintains a registry of the Standardbred horse and licenses the participants in the sport.