horse racing · tunbridge world's fair

Harness Racing at the Tunbridge World’s Fair

In a continuation of my day at the Tunbridge World’s Fair, I present to you a picspam of harness racing!

(Previously: pony pulling; lo, it was awesome.)

Fairgrounds harness racing is apparently a different sport from regular track harness racing. For one thing, many owners drove their own horses, and there’s something of a tradition of one-horse owners who do just the fairgrounds circuit.

(Aside: basically the whole time I was watching this racing I had the line from Music Man stuck in my head: “Not a wholesome trotting race, no! But a race where they sit down right on the horse – like to see some stuck up jockey boy sittin’ on Dan Patch? Make your blood boil? Well, I should say!” Continue on to 76 trombones, etc.)

Anyway: here’s the race card for the day.

You can click to embiggen if you want to read it more clearly. Races were split between trotters and pacers, and all races were a mile. All purses were $520 or $530 – not huge money!

I confess, this made me laugh and laugh: the national anthem was played by holding a microphone up to what looked and sounded like a cassette player.

The track looked (and felt, since we walked across it several times) to be quite hard. I’m not sure I would’ve raced Tristan down it! They also didn’t so much drag it as grade it about halfway through the race card – it looked like scraping the dirt, rather than churning it up.

So I took about 8 million pictures, working on my timing, and from now I’ll only insert occasional commentary. Enjoy gorgeous trotting horses at an historic track!

As you may be able to see, the near horse broke quite spectacularly – this was a very tight final stretch with the finish line about 100 yards to our left, and both drivers were yelling and cheering the horses on!

And two videos, one of pacers and one of trotters.

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