A Fayette County native was honored Saturday by the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association (OHHA) in Columbus for her contributions to harness racing in Ohio.
Alexis Schwartz, from Washington Court House, received the Terry Holton Youth Award and Scholarship on Saturday at the annual OHHA banquet. Schwartz, currently a sophomore in college, is studying equine science and management at the University of Kentucky. Through this major she said she is learning all about horses, but her goal is to eventually become an equine pharmaceutical sales representative.
In high school, Schwartz said she was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA and was also active in school activities, including playing softball and basketball. Her volunteer work included coaching softball and basketball and volunteering for various events at the Fayette County Fairgrounds.
“I am also currently working at Keeneland Race Course to promote horse racing to all types of fans,” Schwartz said. “I teach people how to read the racing program and formulate bets just to help them have a great time at the race track. In the summer, when I am not at school, I am helping my dad (Bret Schwartz) train. We have 14 horses that we are training that will race at fairs or local race tracks like Scioto Downs and Miami Valley.”
Schwartz said when she is not with her father, she is usually with her grandpa, Dr. Robert “Bob” Schwartz, veterinarian with Midland Acres, helping with vet calls. She said both her dad and grandpa are her two greatest role models who helped her find the passion for harness racing.
“One thing that has stuck out to me and was a big impact on our family was when our horse was named 2-year-old Filly Pacer of the Year in 2012,” Schwartz said. “She won the Ohio Sire Stakes final. She had a big impact on our lives and was a really great horse. This last year I had my first broodmare who just had her first foal, so I am really excited to see what her foal is going to do when we bring it in and start breaking it.”
The 20-year-old said Monday she had no idea she was going to receive the award. She was completely shocked she had received a nomination and won. She said those who select the recipients look for youth who are having an impact on the horse racing industry, do things the correct way and are going the extra mile. Schwartz thanked her father and grandfather for helping to show her everything she knows about harness racing and horses.
“I would also like to thank my mom and my dad for raising me and showing me what hard work is, even if I hated it sometimes when I was younger,” Schwartz said. “I am realizing as I get older that it is paying off. I would also thank other horseman I ran into over the years, who have taught me things I didn’t know.”
The second winner was Dalton Walls, from Greenville, who has also been involved in the harness racing industry since he was a child. The OHHA thanked both Schwartz and Walls for their service in the industry and said they looking forward to what both will accomplish in the future.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy