AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It took a lot to get Hollywood Gaming to the Mahoning Valley. Once the state approved of gambling and then horse racing, it took even more to make it work.
One of the main people who were there since the first shovel was turned is getting ready to leave this month.
Penn National Vice President of Racing Mark Loewe is familiar with the assembly of the buglers. He was there as the Mahoning Valley Race Course started racing in 2014 with a memorable beginning.
“After the first race, we had this huge rainbow appear over the race track. It was kinda a sign that we were supposed to be there and good things were going to happen here,” Loewe said.
He felt Youngstown was an untapped market, as he was building a race track in Austintown and in Dayton at the same time. He headed up racing operations at both facilities for Penn National.
Loewe feels Youngstown has embraced horse racing just as much as the gaming floor.
“Every day is the next big winner they’re going to have and it’s going to be the day that changes their lives for many of these people, and that’s what makes it exciting,” Loewe said.
The horse racing side at the Mahoning Valley Race Course has grown in prestige and for the amount of money that is handled.
Before switching over to the administrative side of racing, Loewe began his career as a groomer in 1978 at Yonkers Raceway in New York and eventually earned his trainer’s license. He was a groomer on a horse that won the Little Brown Jug and trained a horse that finished second.
He then opened a public stable, overseeing horses owned by George Steinbrenner and George Segal, among others.
He’s gone from the rail on the homestretch to the Penn National Administration room in a 40-year career.
“I am proud. I think the time I spent here has been productive. I hope I’ve done things the right way,” Loewe said.
Loewe is approaching the wire. He’s retiring at the end of the year. He’ll leave the Mahoning Valley but still keep an eye on things, watching races on TV.
“Absolutely. I might even bet a couple dollars,” he said.
Loewe plans to retire to Goshen, New York, where his wife, Jane Terhune, is executive director of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He also intends to remain involved with the U.S. Trotting Association, where he serves as director for District 7 and board vice-chair.
The Mahoning Valley Race Course is celebrating Loewe during this Saturday’s racing. The first race is at 12:15 p.m.
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