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2/27/2017 - Training Track has special plans for Aiken Trials

Aiken Training Track officials are finalizing their plans for celebrating the 75th running of the Aiken Trials on March 18.

Before the races begin at the thoroughbred facility on Two Notch Road, there will be an opening ceremony.

A Fort Gordon-based detachment of the 282nd Army Band will play and a color guard also will participate, said Training Track Chairman and CEO Bill Simpson recently in a telephone interview.

In addition, Megan Gordon, who is Miss South Carolina USA for 2017, will greet spectators and serve as a trophy presenter after one or more of the races.

An appearance by one of Wells Fargo’s red and gold stagecoaches also will be part of the festivities.

Simpson said the Training Track’s board of directors has invited officers from the Aiken Department of Public Safety and the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office to attend the Trials.

“We want them to enjoy a day of relaxation, and we want to recognize them and thank them for their service,” Simpson said. “We will be pleased to have them as our guests.”

There also will be an induction ceremony for Dogwood Stable’s Cot Campbell, who will become the first member of the Ambassador Club.

Training Track leaders created the club late in 2016 to honor people who have supported and promoted the track over the years.

“We’re looking forward to a great day, and we’re excited,” Simpson said. “We encourage the public to come out and have fun while watching these beautiful and magnificent horses run.”

Other activities might be added to the program between now and the Trials, he said.

Gates will open at 10 a.m., and the post time for the first race will be 2 p.m.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.aikentrainingtrack.com or www.aikentrials.com.

The Trials will kick off the 2017 Aiken Triple Crown.

The Aiken Spring Steeplechase is scheduled for March 25, and Pacers & Polo will be held April 1.