Harness Races scheduled for Saturday at McGhees’ Mile

March 9, 2019

Saturday’s forecast is calling for partly sunny skies, a high temperature of around 71 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of precipitation, according to the National Weather Service in Columbia.

That means conditions should be pleasant for the Bruce McGhee Memorial Harness Races at McGhees’ Mile in Aiken.

“It will be a fun day,” said Janis McGhee, who owns McGhees’ Mile with her family. “People can sit down, relax and watch some promising horses. They can learn a little bit about our sport.”

When Standardbreds race, they trot or pace. Each animal pulls a two-wheeled cart called a sulky that has a driver in it.

Most of the horses that will be competing Saturday are 2-year-olds that have been getting ready for their inaugural season of racing.

“This will be the first time they’ve been in front of a crowd and they’ll be getting used to a real racing environment,” McGhee said.

The gate will open at 9 a.m., and a carriage parade is scheduled for noon.

The parade probably will be followed by a time trial in which a single Standardbred will race against the clock for a mile, McGhee said.

A race for miniature horses is also scheduled.

The post time for the first of the 13 1-mile Standardbred races will be noon.

In addition, Mexican dancing horses will perform after the seventh Standardbred race.

Several vendors will be selling food, beverages, and horse and dog supplies.

General admission tickets can be purchased in advance for $12 apiece at McGhees’ Mile, Aiken Saddlery, Aiken County Farm Supply and the Aiken County Visitors Center.

On the day of the Harness Races, tickets will be available at McGhees’ Mile for $15 apiece.

Children under the age of 10 will get in free.

Parking will cost $5 per vehicle.

McGhees’ Mile will be conducting a 50/50 raffle, and tickets will be sold at the gate.

Fifty percent of the money collected will go to the winning ticket-holder, and 50 percent will be used to fund a track-resurfacing project at McGhees’ Mile.

Attendees will also have another opportunity to win a prize if they purchase a racing program.

“One will be sold that will be a little bit different from the rest,” McGhee said.

Its buyer will receive a basket filled with gifts.

The Bruce McGhee Memorial Harness Races are named for Janis McGhee’s late husband, who died last year at the age of 89. He purchased McGhees’ Mile in 1977 when the Standardbred training facility was known as the Aiken Mile Track.

For more information, call 803-617-8511.

McGhees’ Mile is at 620 Banks Mill Road S.E.