Fonner Park

Deja Vu At Atokad: Same Horses Run 1-2-3-4 On Consecutive Days

The same set of four Nebraska-bred Thoroughbreds competing in one-furlong races on back-to-back days at Horsemen's Atokad Downs finished 1-2-3-4 on both Saturday and Sunday. The odd result was the product of the South Sioux City track's ownership, Ho-Chunk, Inc., needing to conduct at least one day of live racing to maintain Nebraska licensure as an active racetrack. That status as a licensed racetrack is required for conducting simulcasting and the eventual development of a racino in a different location within that city. As in recent years, the abbreviated one-furlong...

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Former Trainer Todd Scherer Murdered at Fonner Park

Todd Scherer, who had worked as an assistant trainer and a groom in recent years on the Nebraska racing circuit, was found dead Thursday morning on the backstretch of Fonner Park, the victim of a shooting. He was 62. Scherer trained from 1981 through 1994 and won 60 races in his career. Two individuals have been arrested for their alleged role in the murder. Logan Hunts Horse, 20 of Wounded Knee, S.D., has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit...

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Citing HISA Concerns, Fonner Won't Simulcast Races

With uncertainties regarding the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) still swirling, Fonner Park management announced Friday that it will not simulcast its races to locations outside of Nebraska. The meet is set to begin Feb. 10 and run through May 6. Fonner will become the second track not sending out its signal due to questions over HISA. Last year, the Texas Racing Commission ordered its tracks to cut off simulcasting because of HISA, only to reverse the decision earlier this month after the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of...

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Dustyn Stortzum Named New Fonner Park Announcer

Dustyn Stortzum, a Nebraska native, has been named the new track announcer to begin the 2023 Thoroughbred racing season at Fonner Park. Stortzum replaces Grand Island native Steve Anderson, who called races for 19 years at Fonner Park but passed away in 2022 after a battle with cancer. "I would like to thank my mentors, my parents and my sister for supporting me through all the ups and downs in my early broadcasting career," said Stortzum. "Without their support, I wouldn't be in this position today."

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Fewer '23 Dates, Cut in Purses Proposed by Canterbury

Despite coming off a record-handle season, Canterbury Park is proposing a 10-day schedule slice and a $45,000 average daily purse cut for 2023. The reductions were made public this week as the Minnesota track faced a Nov. 15 racing commission deadline to apply for next year's dates at the same time it is trying to extend or renegotiate an expiring agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Since 2012, that deal has provided purse funding in exchange for the track and horsemen not pursuing additional forms of gambling, and it...

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NHBPA Foundation Assists Nebraska Horsemen Impacted By EHV-1

The National HBPA Foundation, the world's largest Thoroughbred horsemen's organization, is coming to the assistance of Nebraska horsemen whose horses have been quarantined since March 10 following an outbreak of Equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1) by making a per-horse monetary donation to every owner and trainer impacted by the lockdown in two barns at Fonner Park. The Nebraska HBPA also is providing the impacted owners and trainers a per-horse amount of money to use toward expenses that continue to accrue while their horses are prevented from racing. About 110 horses, which includes...

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Lone Star Announces EHV-1 Measures

Officials at Lone Star Park have announced that horses stabled at Fonner Park in Nebraska and Parx Racing, each of which is being impacted by EHV-1 positives, will not be allowed to participate at the Dallas-area oval until further notice. Additionally, the track is continuing to require that all horses admitted to the stable area have a current (i.e. within 90 days) FDA-approved EHV-1 vaccine or booster. Vaccine information must be noted on the certificate for admittance. Horsepeople are encouraged to contact the Lone Star racing office for further information.

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Fonner Barn Quarantined Following EHV-1 Positives

Barn R on the backstretch at Nebraska's Fonner Park has been placed under a 21-day quarantine after a pair of horses tested postive for equine herpes virus (EHV-1). Both horses were subsequently euthanized. On Wednesday, Mar. 9, a horse residing in Barn R had a high temperature and was displaying mobility issues. A first round of testing at NVLS in Ames, Iowa, returned results that were inconclusive, requiring an additional sample to be drawn. A second horse began displaying similar symptoms the same day. On the evening of Mar. 11,...

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Gainesway Steps Up, Plucks Grade II Winner Out of Fonner Park

Conquest Big E (Tapit), an 8-year-old with a win in the 2018 GII Gulfstream Park Mile S. on his record, was acquired privately Friday by his breeder, Gainesway Farm, with the expressed intent of retiring the gelding. A day earlier, Conquest Big E's story was making the rounds on social media, with many worried that his well-being was in jeopardy. He was entered in a $3,500 claimer Friday at Fonner Park, which was to be his first start since he failed to complete the course in a June 19, 2020...

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After a Year to Remember, Fonner Park Returns Friday

In 2020, America discovered Fonner Park in Grand Island, Nebraska. With COVID-19 raging, Fonner was one of a handful of tracks able to soldier on in the months of March, April and May, producing handle numbers that shattered anything they had done before.  Jockeys, trainers and horses who had been toiling in obscurity for years were thrust front and center, their every move covered by TVG. Fonner was a feel-good story at a time when those were in short supply. The little track is back. Fonner's 2021 meet begins Friday,...

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Curtain Comes Down on Historic Fonner Park Meet

As the meet was winding down Wednesday on the final day of racing in 2020 at Fonner Park, trainer Kelli Martinez was getting ready to ship her stable to Prairie Meadows. The Fonner meet was a good one for Martinez, who was second in the standings entering the day with 35 winners, and she was in no hurry to leave. It wasn't just the winners, it was the memories that she would be leaving behind. "It was a stressful meet but it was a very different and very successful year...

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COVID-19 Trends Show Per-Capita Spikes in Several Racetrack Towns

A New York Times study published Tuesday reporting where the COVID-19 outbreak is peaking and waning based on per-capita population statistics shows that Grand Island, Nebraska, where Fonner Park is located, is currently second in the nation in terms of news cases reported in the last two weeks. Grand Island has a population of 85,000. The Times reported 764 coronavirus cases there in the last two weeks, meaning the per-thousand infection number is 8.98. Only Marion, Ohio, was higher (32.13) based on per-capita rankings. On Apr. 22, the Nebraska Racing...

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