Wagner honored for 55 years training, racing horses

Wagner honored for 55 years training, racing horses

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During the recent Wayne County Fair’s harness racing program, there was a special recognition of local horse trainer Ron Wagner, who has trained harness horses at the fairgrounds for 55 years.

Over the years of training standardbreds, he trained horses for local owners Dr. R.E. Mairs, Rich Snyder, Leonard Buckner, Dean Davis and Larry Acker. He also trained and drove horses for other prominent Ohio standardbred owners across the state including Dick Steimel of Millersburg and Dan Miller of Orrville.

Some of the many horses he trained and drove in the early days included fair and raceway winners and Ohio Fair Stake winners. In more recent years, his best stake winners included the 2012 two-year-old Filly Pacer of the Year, and in 2014 he trained Western Coby, the winner of the $200,000 Ohio Sires Stake Final and also named 2-year-old Colt Pacer of the Year in Ohio. Wagner is the only Wayne County standardbred horse trainer to have trained an Ohio Sires Stake champion.

Also on hand at the presentation in the winner’s circle were Wagner’s wife of 56 years, Kay Krites Wagner; daughters Sharon Wagner Smith and Rhonda Wagner Grove; granddaughter Megan Grove; and grandson Ryan Grove.

Wagner grew up in Illinois and followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father in horse training. After serving in the Army from 1961-63, he began training and racing horses in Ohio, and during his illustrious career, he also raced and drove horses at major raceways in Chicago, Detroit, Lexington, Kentucky and Washington, Pennsylvania.