Jason Settlemoir will be honored at the upcoming Awards Banquet of the Monticello Goshen Chapter USHWA on November 16. A man who wears and has worn many hats in the harness racing industry will be the recipient of the chapter’s Good Guy Award.
|Jason Settlemoir (USTA Photo)|
However, much of his fortune was dictated by fate. First his association with trainer/driver Terry Holton and then later with a meeting with Dave Stoltz.
When Jason was a youngster in Newark, Ohio he found out that Terry Holton moved and was on his paper route and it was his association with Holton that helped direct Settlemoir’s future.
“When Terry found out I was interested in harness racing he took me under his wing. He was like a dad to me and took me with him when he raced around the fairs and raceways and taught me all about racing. Terry had wanted me to be a catch-driver but I refused to clean stalls,” Settlemoir remembered.
“When we traveled I’d practice calling races in the car and I enjoyed it. So instead Terry helped me to call races at some of the fairs. I got to call my first race at the Hartford (Ohio) Independent Fair.”
But vivid in his memory is the time Terry helped him to get me the announcer’s job at the West Virginia State Fair.
“I was only 13 years old at the time so I had to get my mother and grandmother to drive me there, “ he laughed.
Settlemoir graduated high school in 1995 then matriculated at Ohio State University and then at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
In 1995 he went to work at Scioto Downs for Bob Steele and Jerry Kalb and he was there for nearly 10 years where there wasn’t anything there that he didn’t do, or learn to do.
“I was the simulcast program manager, worked in the money room, worked in admissions and programs, assistant race secretary, track announcer, you name it I did it,” Settlemoir said.
Two mottos that Settlemoir said he learned and lives by are; “I will never ask someone to do something that I wouldn’t do or have not done and the other is ‘an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of gold’.
In 2005 he worked for a while at the USTA as director of advertising and it was there that he had a conversation with a customer he met at Scioto Downs Dave Stoltz; a meeting that would forever change Settlemoir’s life.
“Dave asked me how would I like to work for a good friend of his who had two race tracks in New York. He gave me his number and told me to call him.
I did. It was Jeff Gural and he asked me if I’d like to join his organization. Unfortunately it was at a time when I had many personal problems; my granddad had recently passed away and Terry Holton had advanced pancreatic cancer, I thanked Mr Gural and told him at this time I can’t.”
However it wasn’t too long after that initial phone call that Settlemoir again heard from Gural. This time Gural called him and this time they connected.
“I asked Mr. Gural about a contract and he told me he doesn’t do contracts. He told me to shake my hand and we’ll have an agreement,” Settlemoir explained. “I guess you could say I’m a pretty lucky guy that I got an opportunity to work for him. He’s a man of his word.”
Initially Jason was heavily involved with both Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs but when Gural and his company started the New Meadowlands Settlemoir had more on his plate. And he responded to his new duties magnificently.
In 2006 he was awarded the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Lew Barasch Breakthrough Award for his work in opening up Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and was inducted into the Upstate New York Chapter of USHWA's Hall of Fame in 2011.
Settlemoir is also simulcast director for the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio as well as the second announcer at the legendary racetrack. He is vice president of Harness Tracks of America; and past president of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and sits on the board of directors for the United States Trotting Association, and in September of this year Settlemoir was elected to the prestigious Little Brown Jug Society. He is also active in the sport as a Standardbred owner and he was appointed to the Board of Directors for American Racing and Entertainment in September 2011.
Also in 2011, he received the Tioga County United Way Appreciation Award. Jason sat on the board of directors for the Tioga County Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Tier Red Cross and the Tioga County United Way, where he was chair for the annual campaign drive before making his move east.
Currently he is the CEO/GM of New Meadowlands Racetrack and Winners OTW at Bayonne, N.J., and is vice president of racing, simulcast and sponsorship for American Racing and Entertainment (Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs).
He and his wife, Lori, reside in Cream Ridge, New Jersey, with their sons Jeffrey and Travis. Born in the Buckeye State, Settlemoir is an avid fan of Ohio State sports and Cleveland Browns football. He likes spending time at home with the family.