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Live harness racing under way at Ocean Downs

(June 13, 2014) Live harness racing began Thursday, June 12, at the Ocean Oval to kick off the 65th anniversary of the Ocean Downs Racetrack on Route 589, near Ocean Pines.

Commemorative anniversary T-shirts were to be given away on opening night and guests can also catch them as they will be thrown into the stands during race nights in June, July, and August.

Special events are scheduled throughout the summer including an NFL night, mascot races, pony rides and fireworks displays.

Races will take place every Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday through Sept. 12, except on July 4 and Sept. 4. Races will also take place on Saturday, Sept. 6.

Post time is 7:20 p.m. and with about 10 races each night, the last is scheduled for 10:20 p.m. Admission and parking is free.

Race qualifiers for pacer and trotter take place each Thursday this month at 10 a.m.

Ocean Downs Racing General Manager Peter Szymanski said the season’s daily purse will range from $40,000-$45,000, with a total purse of about $3.8 million. The season purse is up from last year’s, which totaled almost $3.4 million.

Szymanski said he anticipates an average attendance of about 1,000 per night. Attendance, however, is largely weather dependent, but Szymanski said he thinks the anniversary events will draw the large crowds.

For more information about the anniversary events and racing, visit www.oceandowns.com, www.facebook.com/OceanDowns or call 410-641-0600.

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