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Get To Know Peter Koch

Published: September 17, 2012 2:29 pm ET

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Peter Koch, race secretary for the Delaware, Ohio County Fair, also heads the racing department at the Meadowlands Racetrack, the largest commercial harness track in the United States. This also means that he is associated with the Hambletonian and the Little Brown Jug, the two greatest races in the sport.

“I’m so lucky to be associated with the Jug and Hambletonian. If you did a poll most people in our sport would say the Jug and Hambletonian are the top races they would ever want to win. A lot of the same horses who raced in the $600,000 Meadowlands Pace, including the winner A Rocknroll Dance, are among the 14 three-year-old pacers who will race in Thursday afternoon’s Little Brown Jug.”

The Meadowlands summer race meeting ended August 17, and Koch and director of racing Tom Wright had already began putting the races together. “There are a lot of great supporting races on Jug Day and earlier in the week. We want to get our condition sheets out to the owners and trainers so that they will have time to adjust their schedules.”

“It’s like Old Home Week here in Delaware. You see many of the same people here that you see at the Meadowlands. It is like the great American tailgate party. It is actually a whole different atmosphere than at the Meadowlands. Each is unique in its own way. Another great thing about Delaware is the number of people from Canada who come down for the four days of racing. I think to Canadian owners and trainers it means as much as winning a race in their country.”

Koch, who has served as racing secretary since 2004, is very happy with the 14 colts and geldings that will race in the 67th Little Brown Jug. “The Jug is a very difficult race to win, and sometimes there are horses with a little more hope than ability, but we’re glad to have them. You never know what’s going to happen in a race.”

Koch grew up in New Jersey and attended Manhattan College before transferring to the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Management Program. His first job following graduation was in 1981 as an assistant race secretary at Buffalo Raceway. He worked at tracks throughout the country and in 2008 became race secretary at the Meadowlands.

Peter and wife Cindy live in Shark River Hills, NJ. Cindy’s father, John Chapman, one of the sport’s all-time great trainers, won the 1977 Jug with Governor Skipper. “Cindy and her mother, Janice, did not tell her father they would be coming to the Jug. Cindy asked one of Governor Skipper’s owners to make clubhouse reservations for them not knowing that there is no clubhouse on the fairgrounds. However, they did get to see their father’s colt set a World Record 1:56.1."


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