GOSHEN — On a day when the heat index was high, the blankets kept piling up on Rosie Eash's seat.
Harness racing winners at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair are presented with horse blankets and the Eash Racing Stables snapped up a few more on Tuesday, July 22.
"It's always nice to come back to Goshen," said Rosie, husband of driver and trainer Don Eash. "This is where family is."
A year ago, Don and Rosie moved from Goshen to Greenfield to be closer to the pari-mutuel tracks at Indiana Downs in Shelbyville and Hoosier Park in Anderson.
So while Don drove on the half-mile oval in Goshen, Rosie, brother Sam Glick of Elkhart, and grandson Trenton Cooper, of Goshen, watched the action from the grandstand with frequent trips to receive their winning blanket.
Don Eash, who has been a driver at the fair for about 25 years, took four of nine races with four runner-up finishes Tuesday after claiming two Monday, July 21, and earning wins in both the $12,700 Classic XXIV Filly Pace and $13,400 Classic XXIV Colt Pace races Saturday, July 19.
Eash Racing Stables also trained another of Tuesday's winners.
Unlike Indiana Downs (1-mile) and Hoosier Park (7/8 mile), where races are one lap, drivers steer their pacers and trotters for two laps at Goshen.
"It's different for the horse," Don said. "You've got to be more careful about what position you're in. You want to be close to the front end. You don't want to get stuck on the outside going around four turns. You try to stay inside. You cover a lot more ground when you're outside going around the turns."
ERS, which boasts more than 100 horses including 65 in training, had more than 30 entered in the three days of racing at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair. The number includes 13 on Tuesday.
ERS has 13 brood mares and has produced at least nine foals this season.
What makes for a successful harness racing horse?
"The better your bloodlines, the better your chances are," said Don. "We keep the mares on the farm and the stallions are located all over the state."
In the standardbred industry, most horses are artificially-inseminated. This way, a stallion can breed up to 100 mares in a season.
Sweat and muscle also makes the operation go.
"A lot of hard work and good helpers," said Rosie. "We've got eight employees, including some boys that moved down with us from Shipshewana and Millersburg. They get things ready before Don ever arrives."
Elkhart County 4-H Fair Harness Racing
(All Races 1-Mile)
Race 1 (Indiana Sired Fair Circuit 3-Year-Old Filly Pace First Division; $3,000 purse): Skyway Tia (Driven by Don Eash) 1:58, Bodacious Becky, ER Missy, Always Ya Baby, Getouttathewayandmove, Gear Abby.
Race 2 (ISFC 3-Year-Old Filly Pace Second Division; $3,000): Miss Metro Fitz (Jay Cross) 1:58.1, Im A Sand Blaster, Meadow Brook Deana, Lovinmestraight, Million Gears, Straight Sapphire.
Race 3 (ISFC 3-Year-Old Filly Pace Third Division; $3,000): Cutie Palone (Don Eash) 2:00, Hoosiers Fantasy, Nirvana Gear, Best Straight, JD's Renae's Riot, Marysway, Northwest Magic.
Race 4 (ISFC 3-Year-Old Colt Pace First Division; $3,000): ER Oliver (Don Eash) 2:03.2, B's Weddie, My Flight Next, GD U No Watt, Amileormoresmile, Flight Again, Fixem.
Race 5 (ISFC 3-Year-Old Colt Pace Second Division; $3,000): Smart Move (Doug Rideout) 1:58.1, ER Michael, Blue Boy Benji, Geared To Win, Northern Virgin, Isis Ivy, Visual On LCB.
Race 6 (Maple City Trot 3-Year-Old Colt Place Third Division; $3,000): ER Truevalue (Gerald Miller), Sand Fortune, Zachs Rocket, That's A Party Boy, Instant Riches, Harley J.
Race 7 (Maple City Trot 3-Year-Old Filly Trot First Division; $6,700): Miss Lou (Lewayne Miller) 2:02, Dick's Secret, ABC Dream On, Socialdelight, J-S Miss Rosey, One Cool Swan.
Race 8 (Maple City Trot 3-Year-Old Filly Trot Second Division; $6,800): Swan's Mistress (Don Eash) 2:03.2, Skyway Jaylo, JH Pretty, Dojeia Cafe, ER Holly, Kashmir Queen, Nici Bee.
Race 9 (Maple City Trot 3-Year-Old Colt Trot; $13,100): Denver Deal (Carl Putnam Jr.) 2:01.3, ER Justiceforall, Don Swan, Calm As Can Bee, Dojea Adventure, J-S Downtown, Elian's Modocker.