New Owner Discusses The Plunge

Published: February 23, 2017 05:09 pm EST

It’s been less than two years since Brian Witt and his brother, Aaron, purchased their first harness racing horse. Since then, Witt has found his way to the winner’s circle with several horses – including open-level pacing mare Aniston Seelster – bought a 30-acre farm/training centre, and just generally had a lot of fun.

“We got into it pretty quick and deep,” said Witt, a 45-year-old Cedarville, Ohio resident. “We haven’t been in very long, but I’ve learned a lot in a year and a half. What to do and what not to do. It’s been interesting. I really like it.”

This weekend, Witt and his wife, Kara, will watch as five-year-old Aniston Seelster competes in Friday’s Fillies & Mares Open at Miami Valley Raceway, seven-year-old male pacer Latest Desire races in Saturday’s Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap at the Meadows, and five-year-old male pacer My Hero Ron makes his seasonal debut in Saturday’s Horses & Geldings Open Handicap at Miami Valley.

Witt owns My Hero Ron with neighbor Cory Atley. They purchased the horse, who has won $493,458 lifetime, last June. Atley’s father, Carl, previously owned open-level pacer Mykindachip and was one of the people who helped Witt down the road to horse ownership.

“When we first started thinking about getting a horse, Carl invited me and my wife to Miami Valley to watch Mykindachip race,” said Witt, who is a grain and livestock farmer. “That was in February of 2015. We went and Mykindachip won and we had a really good time. That’s when I did a little more homework on the whole horse thing.”

Kara had a feeling that evening her husband was going to get involved in harness racing.

“My children when they were younger always showed cattle,” Brian said. “That was our sport. The girls got older and my wife knew I was going to have to have something else to do. She said harness racing is going to be your new thing.”

Four months later, Witt and his brother Aaron claimed then-six-year-old gelding Talk Back for $20,000 at Scioto Downs with encouragement from trainer Keri Brammer. Talk Back became near-fatally ill soon thereafter, but recovered and won in his return to Scioto Downs in September.

“That was probably the ultimate,” Witt said. “It’s fun to win the Opens and things, those are great moments too, but that was a trying month and a half. We almost lost the horse. When he came back, and Keri trained that horse back up and won at Scioto, that was a thrill.”

Witt, his wife, and his brother own, or are partial owners, of nine horses at the moment. Kara sometimes uses the nom de course Fairway Stables, which is a nod toward Witt’s nephew, Mason, who late last year helped Team Ohio to a third-place finish in the PGA Junior League Golf National Championship in Arizona.

“My wife is a great lady,” Witt said. “She loves (harness racing) too. She’s an RN but if she has a couple days off in a row she goes to the horse farm and helps Keri with the barn work. She’s not afraid to get dirty.”

The Witts’ horses are trained by a various group, including Brammer, Virgil Morgan Jr., and Danny Dubeansky.

“Keri was very influential in getting the ball rolling and we’ve met a lot of nice people along the way,” Witt said. “I think it’s good to have a couple different trainers and horses positioned in different places where they can be successful.

“We’re kind of focusing now on the higher quality horses, as you can probably see by what our purchases have been. I’m really comfortable with where I am now. Once I got four or five months into it, my goal was to have an open pacer, an open mare and an open trotter. I think we’re kind of there now. We might be light on the trotter side but we’ll see. I guess time will tell.”

Witt is looking forward to seeing My Hero Ron return to action Saturday. As a three-year-old in the Ron Burke Stable, My Hero Ron was a multiple winner on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit, finished second to Wakizashi Hanover in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, and was third in the Little Brown Jug.

My Hero Ron, trained by Dubeansky, won two of 12 races for Witt and Atley after they acquired the horse.

“I see him three or four times a week at the horse farm,” Witt said. “He’s looking good. I know Danny is really excited about this year. He said he’s come back a beast, that’s how he put it to me. We’re hoping to see some good things out of him.

“His last race in September he got interfered with, another driver’s bike rubbed his leg a little bit, so we just decided at that time to give him his break with the hopes he would come back really strong this year. I think he’s going to have a good year. He just acts a lot different. I know Saturday is his first race back and we might not see his true colours yet, but I think soon we’ll see what we’re dealing with. He’s a big, strong horse.

“We’ll see how it continues to go.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit

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