(June 12, 2015) Live harness racing is now underway for the summer at the Ocean Downs Racetrack on Route 589 in Berlin.
To celebrate the kickoff to 66 years of racing at Ocean Oval, ‘There they go,’ T-shirts were given away last night during opening races. Attendees can catch T-shirts thrown into the stands during every Friday night race in June, July, August and September.
Races will take place on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday through Sept. 4 — except June 15.
Additionally, numerous special events are scheduled throughout the summer, including a presentation from the Ocean City Air Show tomorrow, Saturday. The Lucas Oil Sky Divers will land on the track during a “Salute to our Armed Forces Celebration.” The event begins at 7 p.m., with an American Legion Bike Riders Armed Forces flag display, face painting and balloons with Lollipop the Clown, a meet and greet with the jumpers and a fireworks display at dusk.
Racing continues on Sunday with an autograph session prior to the races with drivers. They will pose for photographs and answer questions. These meet and greets will take place a few times each month.
Look forward to the popular carriage rides about three times a month, which gives visitors a tour of the facility during the early evening races.
The 2015 season also includes pony rides, fireworks displays, a children’s camp in conjunction with the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, fashion shows, a Racing Under Saddle exhibition, demonstrations from a trick rider and a Back-to-the-Track celebration with giveaways and prizes.
Starting at the end of June and continuing throughout July and August, some of the state’s best young racehorses will be showcased in Maryland Sire Stakes and Maryland Standardbred Race Fund events.
On Friday, July 24, the third annual mascot race will begin at 7 p.m. with appearances from the Orioles Bird, Baltimore Ravens’ Poe, Phil the Crab from Phillips Restaurant, The Greene Turtles, Sweet Frog, the Frontier Town cowboy, Elmo and SpongeBob to name a few.
National Football League night at the track will take place on August 23, August 30 and September 4. Each night attendees are encouraged to wear their team jersey and be one of the first 100 fans for a chance to win tickets to a Ravens or Redskins game.
Race qualifiers for pacers and trotters take place each Thursday through Aug. 27 at 10 a.m.
Post time is 7:20 p.m. and with 10 races each night the action lasts until about 10:20 p.m.
Ocean Downs Racing General Manager Peter Szymanski said the season’s daily purse will range from $50,000-$55,000, with a total purse of about $2.7 million.
“It will be a fun-filled racing season,” Szymanski said. “The racetrack has been here 66 years, it’s been a great ride and will continue to be.”
Szymanski said he anticipates an average attendance of more than 1,000 people per night. On special promotions nights such as firework displays or free giveaways, the Ocean Oval can see anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 attendees.
“Parking and admission is free; betting is not,” Szymanski said.
For more information about events and racing, visit www.oceandowns.com or call 410-641-0600.
Ocean Oval summer events:
During June, July and August, race attendees will have the opportunity to catch a T-shirt, which will be thrown into the crowd every Friday night. There will also be carriage rides and opportunities to meet the drivers.
– Saturday, June 13: Beginning at 7 p.m., the Casino at Ocean Downs will host an Air Show Performer Party where the Lucas Oil Sky Divers will land on the Ocean Downs track during a “Salute to our Armed Forces Celebration.” There will be an American flag giveaway, face painting and balloons with Lollipop the Clown, a meet and greet with the jumpers, Post 166 American Legion Color Guard presentation, American Legion Bike Riders Armed Forces flag display and a special appearance by “Lucky U,” the Ocean Downs Race Track mascot. There will be food, cold beverages and a fireworks display at dusk.
– Friday, June 26: A children’s camp will take place from 10 a.m. to mid-afternoon in conjunction with the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.
– Friday, July 3: Fireworks, military fundraiser, T-shirt blow out, and a Farm & Fashion Country Magazine fashion show.
– Friday, July 10: A Back-to-the-Track celebration with giveaways and prizes, a Racing Under Saddle exhibition, a Farm & Fashion Country Magazine fashion show, Lollipop the Clown, carriage rides and a T-shirt blow out.
– Friday, July 17: Trick Rider makes its first appearance of the summer with trick horse riding in between the live races. A T-shirt blow out and carriage rides.
– Friday, July 24: The third annual mascot race will begin at 7 p.m. with regional, national and local businesses’ mascots. Lollipop the Clown and a T-shirt blow out. Clydesdales Horses make an appearance at the races.
–Thursday, July 30: The races will be in conjunction with the Pocomoke Fair Race to celebrate harness racing. There will be pony rides, slot dollar giveaways and Lollipop the Clown will make an appearance.
–Sunday, August 23 and 30: NFL night at the track. Wear your team jersey and be one of the first 100 fans for a chance to win tickets to a Ravens or Redskins game.
–Thursday, August 27: Carnival of Racing will feature the best racers with slot dollar and prize giveaways, carriage rides, Lollipop the Clown, pony rides and Clydesdales Horses.
–Friday, September 4: NFL night at the track. Wear your team jersey and be one of the first 100 fans for a chance to win tickets to a Ravens or Redskins game. There will be fireworks, a T-shirt blow out and a meet and greet with the drivers.