first published in the October 2023 Equiery
Standardbred harness racing went out with a bang at the Ocean Downs Live Meet this summer. Every facet of the harness racing game – from horses to handle to purses – showed exponential growth over 2022, which was itself a record year. The only exception was the on-track handle, hampered by rainy weather on race days.
The 2023 meet gave out almost $ 6.7 million in purse money, an impressive 17% increase from 2022, and the live signal posted a gain of $900,0000, which was a 9.5% increase. About 3,000 of the 4,200 horses who ran at Ocean Downs this summer, the equivalent of 70% of all entries, were either Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired. Lastly, the track maintenance done over the winter prepped the track exceptionally well. Horses are racing longer and staying sounder as a result, a terrific shot in the arm for harness racing’s license to operate.
Maryland-bred Standardbreds are world class, and Maryland harness racing is booming!