Harness topics find spotlight at annual Congress

Feb 19, 2002 7:25 AM

Harness racing executives will address the future of the sport in light of the Internet age and the growing trend toward creating simulcasting giants this week during the Harness Racing Congress to be held at the Mirage Resort Hotel/Casino.

Highlighting the Congress will be the Night of the Stars Awards Dinner Thursday, during which the industry will honor its 2001 divisional champions.

Co-sponsoring the Congress are Harness Tracks of America and the U.S. Trotting Association with the organizational responsibilities being handled by Stanley Bergstein, executive vice president of the Harness Tracks of America and Fred J. Noe of the U.S. Trotting Association.

Among the participants will be members of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown; Harness Horse Youth Foundation; Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame; North American Harness Publicists Association; Racetracks of Canada; Standardbred Canada; Standardbred Investigative Services, and the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

During the awards dinner, this year’s Horse of the Year as well as the Trotter and Pacer of the Year, as chosen by members of the USTA, will be announced.

Awards also will be presented to divisional champions including: Andover Hall, two-year-old trotting colt and Cameron Hall, two-year-old trotting filly; SJ’s Caviar, three-year-old trotting colt; Syrinx Hanover, three-year-old trotting filly; Vareene, older trotter; Western Shooter, two-year-old pacing colt; Cam Swifty, two-year-old pacing filly; Real Desire, three-year-old pacing colt; Bunny Lake, three-year-old pacing filly, and Gallo Blue, older pacer.

Hall of Fame inductees will be Jim Dennis, Harry Harvey and Catello Manzi.

Seminars will begin Wednesday following the opening remarks by David Willmot, president of HTA, and Corwin Nixon, president of the USTA.

Morning speakers include:

Lonny T. Powell, president & CEO of Racing Commissioners International and Alan Foreman, chairman/CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen/s Association on the subject of “Medication Issue: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?”

Bennett Liebman, former member of the N.Y. State Racing and Wagering Board, “Living With The People Who Regulate Your Lives.”

Lyle Sussman, University of Louisville, “Thoughts on Managing in the Racing Industry.”

Tom Aronson, Television Games Network (TVG), “The Realities of International Simulcasting.”

James J. Hickey, Jr., president of the American Horse Council, “Racing Industry Issues At The Federal Level.”

U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) “Washington Today, and Some Harness Racing Remembrances.”

John R. Long, Churchill Downs, and Jim McAlpine, Magna Entertainment Corporation, “Big and Small: What’s Ahead for Harness Racing in the Age of the Giants?”

On Thursday, sessions will begin with J. Terrence Lanni, chairman and CEO, MGM MIRAGE Inc., speaking on the subject of “The Internet: Racing’s Bright Future or Fearsome Threat.”

This will be followed by Professor Richard Thalheimer, University of Louisville, “The Depth of Disaster: The Economic Impact on Harness Horse Breeding.”

Philip M. Sugar, CEO Smart Button Associates, Inc. “Database Marketing.”

Nick Eaves, and Andrew MacDonald, Woodbine Entertainment Group “Product Distribution.”

Mary Midkiff, author of She Flies Without Wings, “What About All Those Ladies Who Love Horses”

Al Bergstein, Microsoft Corp., “What Harness Racing Can Expect in Technnology Before Its Next Congress.”

Bill Heller, Alan Kirschenbaum, Debbie Little, New York Post, Rob Longley, Toronto Sun, Phil Pikelny, Landmark Broadcasting, “Print, Radio and Television Coverage in the Age of Simulcasting.”