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New Schedule, Leadership At Aces

Published: January 27, 2021 8:53 am ET

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Preparations have begun for the 2021 live racing season at Running Aces, which will mark the 14th year of racing operations at the Minnesota oval.

The new season will also usher in a new face at the helm of the racing side at Running Aces, as Steve Carpenito was selected this winter to be the new director of racing for the track. Steve brings a wealth of harness racing knowledge and experience with several decades under his belt serving in many different capacities throughout the industry, and his new role in Minnesota will include oversight of all aspects of the live racing, simulcasting and mutuels departments as well as taking the helm of the race office. Steve got the opportunity to familiarize himself with Running Aces last summer while serving in the judges' booth during the 2020 season.

The racing dates for 2021 were recently approved and finalized by the Minnesota Racing Commission and offer a couple of changes to the Running Aces schedule, including a return to the more popular evening post times after having raced afternoon programs for the first time in 2020 - a change for last year that was largely due to circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time ever, live racing will be offered on Thursdays, which will replace Saturdays in the weekly schedule - with the expectation being that the Running Aces racing product will enjoy better national exposure in the Thursday slot versus the overcrowded racing market on Saturday evenings. Sunday evenings will remain in place and offer the popular opportunity for family and weekend trips to the track for local race fans, and the always popular Tuesday evening cards return as well. The upcoming season will offer the most race days ever at Running Aces, with 55 cards of racing that will span from May 16 through Sept. 18.

Another change for 2021 is a new post time of 6:05 p.m. for all race days, which is a departure from 7 p.m. post times on Tuesdays that stood as the norm for many years. The Running Aces team feels that a consistent post time for all race days is much easier for fans to rely on when planning trips to the track or planning to watch and play Running Aces from out of state.

There are a few exceptions to the Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday schedule:

• Dark on Sunday, July 4
• Live racing on Monday, July 5
• Dark on Thursday, Sept. 16
• Live racing on Friday, Sept. 17 and Saturday, Sept. 18 (Minnesota Night of Champions)

Pre-season qualifying races have been scheduled for Friday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 12 with post time at 11:30 a.m. for both days. During the live season, qualifiers will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays before the live racing cards. There will also be two special morning qualifying sessions offered in June to accommodate two-year-olds as they begin their freshman campaigns.

Horsepeople are invited to visit the Running Aces website to download the 2021 stall applications. Interested parties should fill out the applications completely and return them promptly to director of racing Steve Carpenito. The deadline for stall applications is Monday, March 15. Those with questions about racing in Minnesota this summer can contact Carpenito via email at [email protected].

(Running Aces)

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