fonner park

Bruce Swihart Retiring As Fonner Park CEO; Chris Kotulak Named Successor

Bruce Swihart, 67, has announced his retirement as CEO from Fonner Park effective July 31, 2019. Swihart has been employed at Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb., for 43 years. His father Al Swihart was the Fonner general manager from 1956 until his death in 1983. Bruce also worked as assistant general manager under longtime […]

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Nebraska’s Fonner Park Delivers A Snowy Opening Weekend Of Racing

Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb., took a page from the United States Postal Service manual, when it adhered to the USPS motto of: “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Heat certainly was not an issue and the only gloom present […]

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Battle Over Historical Horse Racing Rages On In Nebraska

In the face of mounting pressure from the state, the Nebraska Racing Commission this week reversed course and for now, is not allowing historical horse racing machines at Fonner Park. The commission voted last fall to permit the machines but has backed off following statements from Attorney General Doug Peterson, who said the commission did […]

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83-Year-Old Von Hemel Pushing To Extend His Win Streak At Oaklawn Park

One constant the last four decades at Oaklawn has been trainer Don Von Hemel of Hot Springs. Actually, he’s been more like a sure bet. Von Hemel, 83, has at least one victory at every Oaklawn meeting since 1975, a lengthy streak he will try to extend with Cowboy U Know in Saturday’s first race. […]

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Nebraska Racing Commission Overturns Earlier Ruling; Simulcast Wagering To Continue Statewide

The Nebraska State Racing Commission reversed an earlier decision and approved agreements that will allow simulcast wagering at the state’s four racetracks to continue. According to a report in the Lincoln Journal Star, the decision was announced by Commission Director Tom Sage in a press release early Monday. The Omaha Exposition and Racing Inc., the simulcast provider […]

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‘Heartwarming To See Him Happy’: Millionaire Valid Retired By Jockey Nik Juarez

On Tuesday, jockey Nik Juarez officially announced the retirement of multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Valid. The 24-year-old Maryland native spent his own money to track down the 7-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d’Oro, and had him shipped back to a farm in Maryland to live out the rest of his days eating grass and occasionally […]

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Trainer Jeffery Lynn Loses Battle With Cancer At Age 53

Longtime trainer Jeffery Lynn, a stalwart on the Illinois and Arkansas circuits, lost a two-year battle with cancer on Saturday. He and his wife, Jane, had been married for 21 years, and he leaves behind two children, Dillon, 20, and Carson, 14. Lynn’s training career began in 1993, and his first winner, according to Equibase, […]

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Nebraska: Senator Scraps Controversial Tax Bill

State Senator Robert Hilkemann has withdrawn a bill he recently introduced in the Nebraska legislature that called to raise the taxes on wagers placed on live horse racing. The proposal would have placed a 5.5 percent tax on every dollar wagered in the state, according to an article in the Grand Island Independent. Currently, racetracks […]

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Nebraska Racetracks Facing Potentially ‘Devastating’ Tax Increase

A bill facing the Nebraska legislature has the potential to end horseracing in the state altogether, according to Fonner Park general manager Bruce Swihart. He told theindependent.com that the proposed bill would increase taxes on his track by $420,000, a number Swihart calls “not sustainable.” “Financially, the burden it would place on all of the […]

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Bethke Learning The Ropes As Youngest Jockey At Canterbury Park

Scott Bethke is just 16 years old, and applied for his professional jockey’s license before one that would allow him to drive a car. According to the Star Tribune, Bethke is the youngest jockey riding at Minnesota’s Canterbury Park. “Don’t worry about the racing form,” Troy Bethke, Scott’s father and longtime Canterbury trainer, told him. […]

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