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Ohio's Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry

Published: February 24, 2020 4:23 pm ET

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In recent years, the Standardbred racing industry has ramped up its efforts to highlight its economic importance to provincial and state governments. Harness racing leads to millions upon millions in economic activity, and the most recent entity to trumpet that fact is the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Spectrum News 1 has put together a video report focusing on the positive economic impact that harness has on the State of Ohio.

The report focuses on Delaware County’s world-renowned Little Brown Jug week, and understandably so, but it also discusses Ohio’s Standardbred industry in general. The industry is strong, it’s booming, and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association wants legislators to be fully aware of that.

The Ohio Harness Horseman’s Association has stated that horse racing is a multi-billion dollar industry in Ohio. According to OHHA, the industry generated an estimated economic impact of $2.8 billion in 2018, and it accounted for 21,000 direct jobs, which, in total, led to $900 million in income that year.

Speaking in regard to the Delaware County fairgrounds, specifically, Little Brown Jug Publicity Director Jay Wolf explained that, “We’ll have up to 200 horses that train here year round. So we’re collecting monthly stall rent, the farmers are supplying hay. You’ve got veterinarians, trainers, grooms who live in town, work in town. It’s an absolutely important part of the economy here in Delaware.”

Wolf went on to explain to Spectrum News 1 that, “obviously the horses will need hay, they’ll need oats, they’ll need water, they’ll need vets,” but that the economic impact goes beyond agriculture-specific metrics. For one example, horsepeople ship racehorses all across the state, and therefore lend great support to the auto industry that makes the trucks and trailers, businesses that have anything to do with the infrastructure surrounding shipping, etc.

“We have more county fair racing in the state of Ohio than anywhere else in the world,” said starting gate operator Mike Woebkenberg, who explained how deep the industry runs in Ohio. “We are literally a world-class event that nobody knows about.”

To watch the Spectrum News 1 video report, click here.

(With files from Spectrum News 1)


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