Horse races begin in Aberdeen

Farm Forum

The Brown County Fairgrounds will turn into horse racing central this month.

The 64th annual Northeast Area Horse Races began May 11-12 at the Brown County Fairgrounds. The races will take place the next two weekends, culminating on Memorial Day weekend.

Mike Schmidt, the general manager of the Northeast Area Horse Races, said getting the track prepared for this year’s races took longer because of the snowy weather through the entire month of April.

“The weather of course really put us behind,” he said, “but the races will go off as always.”

Aberdeen enjoyed solid turnouts all six days last year and there were around 3,000 people that attended the Sunday of the last weekend. The betting handle on that last Sunday was close to $67,000.

“I think we had good weather all six days,” Schmidt recalled.

There will also be a couple of memorial races this year. There will be memorial races for long-time board member Harold Sanderson and for long-time Northeast Area Horse Racing manager Roger Munger.

There will be between 8-10 races everyday and there will be close to 300 horses total, which Schmidt said is a little bit more than normal. He said that the race track in Lincoln, Neb., is not running this year, so that will draw more attention to the Aberdeen track.

“We have tried to put on a good show for horsemen and for the public,” Schmidt said.

There will be betting seminars on how to place wagers each day of the races, starting at noon in the clubhouse west of the grandstand. The betting windows will open at 12:30 p.m., with the races starting at 1 p.m.

There will be drawings for prizes each day of the races and other features as well, such as free pony rides for kids from 1 to 5 p.m. May 18 and May 19. Admission is free to all of the races.

“We are trying to entertain the public and put on a good show,” Schmidt said.