Wendy Ross has joined the U.S. Trotting Association’s communications department as social media and public relations coordinator and Jason Turner has been promoted to assistant editor of Hoof Beats and digital brand strategist for the USTA.
In addition, James Witherite has been hired as a freelance editor for the newsroom on the USTA’s website (ustrotting.com).
“We are excited to add Wendy to the communications team for the skills and experience she will add to our social media and publicity efforts,” said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. “And we’re pleased to provide Jason with a larger role with our magazine as assistant editor of Hoof Beats as well as a new opportunity to assist us in shaping the USTA’s digital strategy moving forward.
“With these additions, we’ve diversified the skills of the communications department and added creativity to our team, which will allow us to do an even better job of promoting the sport of harness racing.”
Ross, a third-generation horsewoman, is a familiar face to harness racing fans through her work as an on-air television personality at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Northfield Park, The Meadows and The Little Brown Jug.
Following in the footsteps of her mother, Ross began her career at the age of 15 as an outrider at local fairs in Ohio. She later worked in that capacity at Northfield Park and Tioga Downs and has had the opportunity to be an outrider at some of harness racing’s most prestigious events including the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Elitloppet in Sweden.
After leaving the industry for about a year-and-a-half during 2016 and 2017, Ross recently returned to harness racing at The Meadows where she has been back in front of the camera doing live interviews in the paddock and winner’s circle on the track’s simulcast.
Turner started his USTA career as an intern for Hoof Beats in 2006. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism, he was hired as a full-time publishing assistant in 2007 and, later that year, was named as editor of Youth Beats magazine, a publication whose subscribers have grown from 40 to 1,700 under his guidance.
A year later, Turner began writing and copy editing and had his first feature story published in Hoof Beats. In 2011, he was promoted to graphic designer.
Also in 2011, Turner was named the recipient of the International Media Award for Best Feature Article for his ‘Racing and the Recession’ story in the November 2009 issue of Hoof Beats. His work on the magazine has also won multiple American Horse Publications and Hervey Awards for writing and design.
Witherite currently serves as the chart caller and racing analyst at Harrah's Philadelphia. Previously, he was a track announcer from 2006 to 2016 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. He also served as morning line oddsmaker and program handicapper at The Meadowlands and makes numerous appearance as the bugler at many of harness racing's top events.