Little Brown Jug

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Harness Racing's most exciting race, the 78th renewal of the pacing classic "the Little Brown Jug" will take place on Thursday, September 21 in Delaware, Ohio over the most famous half mile track in the world at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.

Racing kicks off on Sunday, September 17 and concludes after five days of the best racing in North America with the Little Brown Jug on Thursday, September 21.

When is the Little Brown Jug?


The Little Brown Jug is on Thursday, September 21, 2023.

Where is the Little Brown Jug?


The Little Brown Jug is raced at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio.

Where can I watch the Little Brown Jug?


You can watch the Little Brown Jug live on OffTrackBetting.com.

Where can I bet on the Little Brown Jug?


You can bet on the Little Brown Jug online at OffTrackBetting.com! All members have access to Little Brown Jug horse race betting, Little Brown Jug odds, horse racing results, live video, replays and cash back rewards.

2023 Little Brown Jug is expecting a $1,000,000 purse

Officials of the Little Brown Jug are pleased to announce that the expected purse of the 2023 Little Brown Jug (Thursday, September 21) will be $1,000,000.

"We are extremely excited to announce this purse increase," said Tom Wright, president of the Little Brown Jug Society. "We have had tremendous support from our industry partners, the State of Ohio and have significantly increased our sponsorships that have allowed us to do this. We would like to especially thank the Ohio Harness Horseman's Association and the State of Ohio Legislature for helping us reach this milestone."

The 78th edition of the pacing classic headlines the Delaware, Ohio Grand Circuit week with five days of racing (Sunday, September 17 through Thursday, September 21).

"It has been our goal and mission to bring the purse to the $1 million mark," noted Wright. "We have always felt that the Jug deserves to be the richest pacing event in North America. Our fans are the greatest in the sport and we wanted to reward their support with this historic event."

The Jug eliminations will be raced for $50,000 each and the balance will be handed out in the second heat.

The previous record Jug purse was $677,000 won by Wiggle It Jiggleit in 2015.

Three-year-old pacers not eligible after February 15, 2023 sustaining deadline may, with a payment of $45,000, supplement to the 78th edition of the Little Brown Jug.

Fans wanting to be part of this historic Little Brown Jug are encouraged to visit LittleBrownJug.com to explore admission, seating and hospitality options. Those who can't attend in person will have the option to watch the Little Brown Jug and some of it's undercard on Fox Sports' "A Day at the Races."

Little Brown Jug History

The Little Brown Jug, the premier pacing classic for 3-year-olds, provides a fascinating chapter in the more-than-a-century-old history of harness racing and the standardbred sport.

The Little Brown Jug, enriched by the tradition of the famed Grand Circuit and the picturesque backdrop of the Delaware Ohio County Fairgrounds, steadily maintains the flavor of the sport and competition from the days of its origin.

The founding of the Jug, which actually set its roots more than 65 years ago, is as unique as it is interesting. It began in 1937 when the Delaware County Agricultural Society's members, at their annual meeting, voted to move the County Fair, held since its inception at Powell, to Delaware on a tract of land at the northern edge of the city. Two years later a half-mile track was built and provided the stage for harness racing. R.K. McNamara, a local contractor, designed and built the lightning fast track.

Enter attorney Joe Neville, whose family had been identified with the standardbred horse racing sport for many years, and his friend, Henry C. "Hank" Thomson, sports editor of The Delaware Gazette. Neville, who had campaigned horses on the Grand Circuit and was familiar with its officers and stewards, was successful in obtaining Grand Circuit dates for the new Delaware track. Concerned over the years by the emphasis placed on the trotter, Neville turned his efforts toward showcasing the pacers, particularly the 3-year-olds.

The Little Brown Jug Society was formed to stage the Grand Circuit meeting, and Neville headed the organization with Thomson as secretary-treasurer.

Then came the birth of the Little Brown Jug, named through a newspaper contest, with its previews in 1944 and 1945. The initial Jug in 1946, with a purse of $35,358, was won by Ensign Hanover with Delaware's Wayne "Curly" Smart driving. Smart, a most successful trainer-driver on the Grand Circuit, was later to become an integral part of the Jug's operation as the track superintendent.

Over the years the track monopolized the half-mile record section with world standard performances, mainly through Smart's skill in maintaining the fastest racing strip of its size in the country. Through its humble beginnings, the Little Brown Jug grew slowly to become perhaps the most traditional stake on the pacing gait. In 1956 the Jug provided the anchor for the newly designated Triple Crown of Pacing to go along with The Cane Pace at Yonkers (N.Y.) Raceway and the Messenger Stake then at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, N.Y.

Little Brown Jug Showcases Some of the All-Time Greats

A review of Jug winners over the years produces the names of many of the all-time greats in the sport.

The great Tar Heel, driven by Del Cameron, produced the first two-minute mile in 1951. Adios Butler, reined by Clint Hodgins, broke the two-minute barrier with a 1:59.2 clocking in 1959 and went on to become the first triple crown winner.

Bret Hanover, with Frank Ervin in the sulky, added to Jug lore in 1965. After Smart-directed track maintenance crews scraped the racing surface following 24-hour rains, Bret Hanover won in the sensational time of 1:57. Bret's time remained the fastest until 1977 when Governor Skipper, driven by John Chapman, won in 1:56.1. Hot Hitter was the 1979 victor in 1:55.3, Niatross in 1980 in 1:54.4, and Lonestar Legend became the first 1:50 performer in 2008 with his 1:49.3 mile.

This pacing stake has maintained its impeccable reputation through the efforts of the Little Brown Jug Society with the cooperation of its host, the Delaware County Agricultural Society.

The Little Brown Jug is a part of Americana. And it shall ever remain so.


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