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A slow day at the track in Saratoga (Source:  Brian Mann)
A slow day at the track in Saratoga (Source: Brian Mann)

North Country harness racing tradition gambles on a future

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The North Country has a big presence in horse-racing, from a top thoroughbred breeder in Ray Brook, to the group of friends in Sackets Harbor who raced into the record book with a horse named Funny Cide. Their success on contemporary tracks draws from a long tradition of racing in the region. This week, we'll wrap up the summer by telling some of their stories. For many fans in the North Country, the sport of choice has always been harness racing. That means sturdy, standard-bred horses pulling drivers in stripped-down racing carts. You can still see cutthroat competitions at county fairs from Malone to Westport. But harness racing has fallen on hard times in recent years. As Brian Mann reports, new efforts to bring the sport back have meant bigger purses and also new controversy.

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A trotter surrounded by video slot machines

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