The 2020 Harness Season: A What’s What In May

Profile Picture: Frank Cotolo

May 10th, 2020

The standardbred industry is currently flooding media with press releases about raceways opening to jump-start the 2020 season.

We have put such information into briefs, offering an oversight of harness racing’s hopes to reopen and an updated list about stakes that are skipping the season.

By now during any other season, TwinSpires harness blog would present The Hambletonian Trail, a spin-off blog featuring stakes that lead to the colt-and-filly August classics. Of course, the trail has shortened considerably with the canceling of Freehold racing (where the trail begins). Soph-colt and-filly trotters’ events elsewhere have also cancelled as scheduled at other tracks, some of which are aiming for the 2020 season to continue.

The main events remain in play until any notice otherwise. This year the finals are planned for the second week in August at the Meadowlands, with the first week of the month offering elimination heats. 

Pennsylvania—The Meadows, Philadelphia and The Downs At Pocono)—seeks the governor’s approval for racing to return (applying safety measures for the well being of everyone involved). The state is slowly loosening its lockdown has the governor considering giving horse racing a green light.

Pennsylvania’s racing commission postponed some sires stakes (PASS) and Stallion Series races in June for sophomores. These races will be rescheduled in 2020. The dates are pending.

The Meadows’ Currier & Ives Trot for soph-filly trotters has been postponed from its May 22 date with a new date pending. The Currier & Ives Trot soph trotters are currently scheduled for June 20. A decision about conducting that event on that date is being reviewed

Indiana harness racing is on the brink of another season. Hoosier Park reopened its barn area, welcoming 600 horses. A return to normal hours and days of training will take place on Monday, May 18. Opening day’s date is pending. Hoosier hosts the 2020 Breeders Crown races this season.

In Ohio Northfield Park cancelled Battle of Lake Erie (June 6) and the Cleveland Trotting Classic (July 3) for older pacers.

Running Aces is set to open its backstretch area from June 1—June 8.  The purpose the expanded time is to allow for a period of self-isolation and social distancing, as well as new safety protocols for those working in close proximity on the backstretch. 

There’s news from New York, per Yonkers. There were two New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) legs scheduled at Yonkers in May, a soph-filly trot and a soph-filly pace. Updates on those events will be coming from the NYSS program.

Decisions on placement of stakes that were disrupted in March will be made “once more clarity emerges on when racing can return at Yonkers.” Those disrupted stakes include the former “Levy,” now the MGM the Borgata Pacing Series, and the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series.

Though raceways wait committing to dates for action, one certainty is the only betting audience will be online, since live attendance won’t be on the menu yet. Your TwinSpires account is your best and safest way to get back involved when harness racing’s 2020 season gets moving again.

And you will have the TwinSpires harness blogs to follow as the season ensues, featuring our valued advice for all types of races and bets, as well as our direct connection to the sport’s insiders, all to assist the betting public.