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3/13/2017 - Training Track celebrating 75th Aiken Trials with special activities

Making the 75th running of the Aiken Trials a special occasion for both horsemen and the general public is Bill Simpson’s goal.

“I wanted it to be more of a community event this year, so there are going to be a lot activities going on in addition to our great racing,” said the Aiken Training Track’s chairman and CEO.

Gates will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Training Track, and there will be six races for thoroughbreds and one for foxhunters.

The post time for the first race will be 2 p.m.

During the opening ceremony that starts at 1 p.m., the Brass Quintet from Fort Gordon will play “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and there will be a presentation of colors by the Fort Gordon Color Guard.

Also scheduled is a flyover by two 1942 Boeing-Stearman PT-17 biplanes from ACE Basin Aviation in Ruffin.

The Rev. Grant Wiseman, rector of St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church, will deliver the invocation.

Afterward, Aiken County Council member Andrew Siders will sing “America the Beautiful.”

Following his performance, there will be an appearance by the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, a welcome speech by Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon and an appearance by Megan Gordon, Miss South Carolina USA.

A lasso tricks exhibition by Oscar Rodriguez will begin at 1:30 p.m.

At 2:10 p.m., employees of the Aiken Department of Public Safety and the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office will be recognized.

At 2:50 p.m., between the second and third races, Dogwood Stable founder Cot Campbell will be inducted into the Training Track’s Ambassador Club.

At 3:30 p.m., between the third and fourth races, the official State of South Carolina historical marker for the Training Track will be unveiled.

At 4:10 p.m., between the fourth and fifth races, there will be another appearance by the Wells Fargo Stagecoach.

Also between the fourth and fifth races, at 4:15 p.m., the Best Hat Contest will be held in the saddling paddock.

At 4:50 p.m., between the fifth and sixth races, the winner of the Best Tailgate Contest will be announce

“We hope people will enjoy spending the day with us,” Simpson said.

In the future, Simpson would like to continue to offer a variety of activities during the Aiken Trials even when there isn’t a milestone anniversary to celebrate.

“We will be laying the foundation for that,” he said.

General admission tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate.

General admission parking costs $10 per vehicle.

For more information, call 803-648-4631.

Information also can be found at or

The Training Track is at 538 Two Notch Road S.E.

Dede Biles is a general assignment reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since January 2013. A native of Concord, N.C, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.