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Local horses do well in Harness Racing

Verlin Yoder of Bell has been a busy man for the past few years. He trains Standardbred horses at Gilcrest Farms in Gilchrist County for much of the year. Yoder’s two year old filly Woodside Charm won the 2018 Breeders Crown. Yoder drove Woodside Charm to a 1:54.1 win in the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Trot final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. Yoder and his wife Rachel live and train horses locally at Verlin Yoder Stables and have since 2011 when they moved to Gilcrest Farms.
Yoder was working in a factory as a foreman building RVs in Indiana for several years before becoming involved with Harness Racing. Verlin and Rachel grew up Amish. He said having 300 employees was very stressful for him. So Harness Racing became a hobby for him. As time passed they purchased a couple horses that did well on the track so he left the factory to become a full-time horse trainer.
He went on to say that owning 10-12 horses and training them kept he and Rachel very busy, but they enjoy working with the horses. Yoder said when he budgets for a horse, it costs about $100 dollars a week in feed and at least one hour’s work per day.
One of Rachel’s favorite horses Natural Herbie was purchased for only $2,000, since that time he has won over 1 million. These days Herbie is nine years old and nearly at the end of his racing career. Rachel said, “We race him now because he just loves to race.”
The Yoder’s have three sons who all attended Bell High School. Two of the three are in the horse industry today, and the third, Tony, is a student at Webber University where he is studying Computer Science. Each of the boys while in high school had to clean the stalls before going to school each day.
In the warmer months, the Yoder’s travel north to race their trotters. Much of their year is spent here in Gilchrist County training and caring for their horses.
When talking about Gilcrest Farms Yoder said, “There have been some mighty good horses come out of here.” Their family’s stable is not the only local stables that has produced winners in recent years. The Dan Patch Awards have been won the past three years by horses in stables at Gilcrest Farms. In 2016 the Dan Patch Award was won by Control the Moment, trained by Brad Maxwell. In 2017 the Dan Patch Award was won by Lost in Time, which was trained by Jim Mulinix. In 2018 the Dan Patch Award went to Woodside Charm the 2 year old Filly owned and trained by Verlin Yoder. Winning the Dan Patch award in the Harness Racing world is equivalent to winning an academy award if you were an actor.
During the month of April there are qualifying races at Gilcrest Farms track every Saturday at 1 p.m. Verlin Yoder, who serves as the President of the Gilcrest Farm Owners Association, invites the public to attend the April races. There is no charge to attend.
Dino Miliucci, who served as a director on the board at the Home Owners Association said, “Everyone loves horses, young and old alike and the qualifying races are exciting to watch.”
Come out to the track in April and see these beautiful animals as they race.

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