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Saunders To Speak At Driving School

Published: March 14, 2012 10:05 pm ET

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Bruce Saunders, trainer of 2010 U.S. Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven, will be the keynote speaker when the 2012 class of the USTA Standardbred Driving School gathers at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York, on May 30.

“Bruce is a class-act who always seems to say the right thing at the right time to further the image of the sport,” said driving school head Chip Hastings of the USTA. “We are very happy that he has agreed to come to speak and share his experience and knowledge with our students.”

A licensed trainer since 1979, his best horse to date is millionaire Rock N Roll Heaven. Saunders had “the time of his life” campaigning that colt to Horse of the Year honours in 2010. He also received numerous personal accolades that year, including the Grand Circuit Trainer of the Year Award and the W.R. Haughton Good Guy Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

Saunders also trained two different Delaware Valley Horses of the Year winners – Perky Fiddler and Chipper Frost – early in his career. Some of the other top pacers that he has handled include Misfit, Casimir Camotion, Mandretti, Indiana Sam, Master Barney, Die Lute, Armbro View and On The Way Again.

In 2012, Saunders will campaign Hitting The Cycle, from the first crop of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere and out of Artistic Vision, dam of Rock N Roll Heaven. Last fall at the Lexington Selected Sale, Hitting The Cycle drew a winning bid of $450,000, surpassing the previous record of $430,000 for a pacing colt set in 1983 by Mustang Almahurst. Saunders signed the ticket on behalf of owner Frank Bellino, who also campaigned Rock N Roll Heaven.

For the first time in 2012, the USTA Standardbred Driving School will be conducted in the Goshen, New York area from May 30 to June 3. Classroom instruction will be held at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame with all stable work taking place at the Mark Ford Training Center and Goshen Historic Track.

The school serves as a fantasy camp for those who imagine themselves someday training or racing a champion trotter or pacer and gives an entry-level education in the sport of harness racing. The program is open to those age 16 and older; tuition is $350 and includes most meals and the fee for taking the first level of the USTA drivers or trainers test.

Participants will be in the stables at Goshen Historic Track each morning, learning to groom, harness, jog and care for a horse. Afternoons include classroom instruction from some of the sport’s top professionals in driving strategy, conditioning, stable management and veterinary care.

On the closing day, there will be a race for some members of the class and all will have the option to take the written test for the first level of driving licensure. Dozens of graduates of the school have gone on to compete in harness racing as amateurs or professionals.

For more information, contact Jennifer Daniels at 877-800-8782, ext. 3281, or e-mail her at jennifer.[email protected].


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

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