Kevin Altig has been around horses all his life, but later this month, a lifelong dream will come true.

Altig, 32, earned his standardbred harness racing license last month and plans to be in the driver’s seat with the reins in hand as Trap Queen, his father’s 5-year-old pacer, competes in a qualifying race around Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington at the end of the month.

Altig, his father, Brian Tomlinson, and his cousin Dave Mayne spend nearly eight hours a day, 365 days a year caring for and training about nine standard breed pacers at the stables at the Frederick Fairgrounds.

“I gotta be here. No one else is going to feed them,” Altig said.

Each morning, the horses are fed and watered and then usually exercised on a 3-mile jog that takes them six times around the fairgrounds’ oval gravel track. Weather seldom prevents the workouts; only freezing rain or an ice-covered track will keep them from practicing. When the horses are in jogging or training mode, they travel clockwise around the track at a more modest pace.

Friday was a special day for Altig, of Frederick, as he prepared two horses for the start of the racing season at the end of the month.

Another horseman at the stables, Craig Parker, and he took four of their horses on three short warm-up laps clockwise and then reversed direction for a fast two laps around the track. The horses are trained to react to the direction in which they are running. The racers can reach speeds of 40 mph on the track. A good race will cover the 1-mile course in under two minutes.

The family houses and trains their horses at the fairgrounds, but then travel to Rosecroft, Laurel and Ocean City, but return for four days of racing each September during The Great Frederick Fair. The horses can race about 11 months of the year.

Once the fast, counterclockwise lap was finished Friday, Altig led Trap Queen back to the barn with steam rising off her back. Then, it was a hot shower, a warm blanket and back to her stall to await the second of three feedings of the day.

On Saturday, the training will continue at the small section of barns at the rear of the fairgrounds.

(10) comments

The Grape of Wrath

Looks like animal cruelty to me. This guy harnesses up a horse, forces it to pull a wagon at high speed just for his own entertainment, hoses it down with cold water in the winter. Not long ago, a guy with a team of horses pulling a wagonload of children at Xmastime shut down because it was claimed making horses pull a wagon at a walk was cruel. So why are these guys allowed to whip their horses into a frenzy?

C.D.Reid

Ask the vile, filthy mouthed cowards who protested the carriage rides.

Alice Jones

Cowards? One has to look no farther than 1600 for cowards.

C.D.Reid

Just have to find a way to include an anti Trump comment in a completely unrelated conversation, huh Alice? I'll bet you sore losers won't give up even after he's served his inevitable second term. [lol]

Alice Jones

I don't agree with those protesters actions, either. But one naturally thinks of el dumpo when they hear the word coward. It's reflex. Sore losers? Surely you jest. It's the sore winners that just can't seem to get over Hillary. Either way, you have a nice day.

C.D.Reid

But one naturally thinks of Trump when they hear the word coward, Alice? I'm one, and I don't. You should be more specific and say that only Trump haters naturally think of him when they hear that word. You seem to forget that there were enough of we Trump supporters to get him the presidency. It happened in '16 and can very easily happen again this year. Keep your safe space clean and tidy, you're gonna need it come November. Have a Trump in '20 day.

Alice Jones

Yes, I do. How many times do I have to tell y'all that I do not hate? It's not worth it. However, if it makes you feel better and it provides some sort of meager justification, than continue to think that way. Thank you for the tip on my safe space, I will take it under advisement. I'll advise you to the same if Biden takes it. The sore winners we saw in '16 will be twice as angry if their boy wins. We'll see what happens. You have a nice day.

Alice Jones

Horse racing is another evil industry. Check out what has been going on at Santa Ana.Same thing happens at tracks all over the world.

Boobear1991

First off they use hot water to wash the horse in any kind of weather, and these horses were breed to race it in their blood line.

Alice Jones

Keep on telling yourself that, boo.

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