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The Nation's First and Best

The New York Sire Stakes program was the first program of its kind developed in North America and later became the model for state-bred racing programs in nearly all of the major harness racing states and provinces on the continent.

The New York Sire Stakes was inaugurated in 1961 to spur the breeding industry and was created by the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and the state's harness tracks, which pledged money to the events. The Harness Horse Breeders and tracks then worked tirelessly to procure state support for these races.

The group, led by Dr. Harry M. Zweig, was finally successful when the LaVerne Law was enacted in 1965. That legislation created the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund, which collects a portion of handle to redistribute to state-bred horses through the New York Sire Stakes program.

The Harness Horse Breeders and the state's racetracks banded together once again in 2001 to advance the sport of harness racing in the state, with Bruce Hamilton carrying the banner this time and supported by many behind-the-scenes workers. After a long and hard campaign in the legislature and a national disaster centered in New York City, the law allowing video lottery terminals (VLTs) at the state's racetracks was passed.

Following a revision to that law in 2003, the plan to grow purses at the harness tracks and supplement the New York Sire Stakes program was put into action and the first VLT facility opened in January 2004.

Noelle Duspiva, President
Kenneth Jacobs, Vice President
Jean Clearwater, Secretary

Michelle Crawford

Jeff Gural

David Hanson

Dan Henry

David Kane

Wanda Polisseni

Larry Sautter, DVM

Erin Shantal

Honorary Director:

Anne Zweig- Treasurer

Director Emeritus:
Ted Zornow

Betty Holt, Executive Director
Maryann Olstad, Executive Assistant
Judith Spadaro, Executive Assistant


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