The 11th annual USTA Speaker Series at the Delaware (Ohio) County Fair, to be held the mornings before the Jugette (Sept. 20) and Little Brown Jug (Sept. 21), will feature the sport’s drivers, trainers, analysts, and executives.
Racing fans are invited to stop by each morning for the informal Q&A sessions in the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association tent next to the Log Cabin on the backstretch of the fairgrounds. Free coffee and donuts will be provided, courtesy of the OHHA. The sessions will also be streamed live on the Harness Racing FanZone’s Little Brown Jug page at http://harnessracingfanzone.com/littlebrownjug/. Those watching remotely can submit questions for guests on the USTA’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ustrotting and Twitter account: @ustrotting.
Hosted by T.J. Burkett, executive editor of Hoof Beatsmagazine, the Wednesday (Sept. 20) sessions kick off at 9 a.m. with trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley. Burke sends three starters into the 72nd Little Brown Jug— Filibuster Hanover, Miso Fast, and R J P. The perennial leading North American trainer in wins and earnings, Burke won the 2014 edition of the Jug with Limelight Beach.
He will be joined by 29-year-old driver Matt Kakaley, who is down to drive Miso Fast in the Jug. Kakaley recently passed 4,000 lifetime wins and won the 2015 Jugette with Burke trainee Sassa Hanover.
Wednesday’s 10 a.m. session features the team behind Fear The Dragon, the No. 1-ranked horse in North America who starts from post three in the first Jug heat. Speaker Series guests include driver David Miller, who is going for a record-equaling fifth Jug win and is being honored as the Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame inductee for 2017; owner Bruce Trogdon, who operates Emerald Highlands Farm of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, and also owns and bred probable Jugette favorite Blazin Britches; and trainer Brian Brown, who sends out Fear The Dragon and probable favorite Downbytheseaside in the Jug. Brown also trains Blazin Britches at his base at the fairgrounds.
The Thursday session starts at 8 a.m. with a handicapping session hosted by Roger Huston, who is calling his 51st Little Brown Jug, and Dave Brower, who was recently installed as the Delaware County Fair simulcast host, replacing the late Sam McKee.
At 9 a.m. Thursday, John Campbell, three-time Jug-winning driver and president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, will join the Speaker Series for the 11th time. He will be joined by first-time guests Bill O’Donnell, two-time Jug-winning driver and president of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association; and Paula Campbell, 2017 Lady Pace honoree, founder and president of the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, and John Campbell’s wife.
The Thursday sessions will end at 9:45 a.m. in time for the Delaware County Fair’s Little Brown Jug driver autograph session, set to start at 10 a.m. in the Jug Barn.
The full schedule is below:
Wednesday (Sept. 20)
9 a.m.: Ron Burke and Matt Kakaley
10 a.m.: David Miller, Brian Brown, and Bruce Trogdon
Thursday (Sept. 21)
8 a.m.: Roger Huston and Dave Brower
9 a.m.: John Campbell, Paula Campbell, and Bill O’Donnell