Over the weekend top racehorses competed in the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. But there were also races taking place a little closer to home. The Northeast Area Horse Races are happening this month in Aberdeen.
This is the 67th annual para-mutual horse races at the Brown County Fairgrounds. Ray Sauerwein is a member of the Northeast Area Horse Racing Board. He says the competitors in today’s races come from South Dakota and surrounding states.
“The kind of horses that we race are not the top of the line really expensive horses but they’re really nice,” Sauerwein says. “We’ve got some really nice horses on the grounds this year that are expensive horses that will go to Canterbury when they’re done here. They’re just kind of training them. But for the most part a lot of the horses are horses that came off of bigger tracks that are just kind of winding their careers down, so they run in South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota.”
Sawerwein says there are also races in Fort Pierre.
Horse trainer Bubby Haar has a couple of horses racing today. He says he enjoys seeing them progress and improve throughout their careers.
“We kind of joked about it with some of my friends that are owners and trainers as well. When you own a racehorse it’s one of the worst drugs that there is because when you win you can’t wait to do it again,” Haar says.
Haar’s horses are Eternitys Echo and Lakota Bell. There are several fun names on the track today.
If I were betting, I’d pick the name I liked the best. But Al Kuckelburg and his wife have a slightly more sophisticated method. They’ve come to these horse races since 1973.
“You just basically study all of the information the program gives you, including their past performances, and win, place, shows,” Kuckelburg says. “It’s just a combination of everything, speed indexes, everything that goes with that.”
Today Kuckelburg is changing his strategy a bit. His favorite to win?
“Jenna’s Easy Eagle, because we have a granddaughter named Jenna,” Kuckelburg says.
Race goers have three more days to pick a winner when the horse races continue on Memorial Day Weekend.