Local resident turns passion into career

HARRINGTON — As a third-generation harness racing lover, Harrington resident Heather Vitale has made a career out of covering the sport she loves.

Not only does she love horses, but she has a passion for harness racing and enjoys being able to share her love for the sport with her television viewers and social media followers.

Ms. Vitale produces and hosts a weekly half-hour long television show covering harness racing, which airs on WBOC and can be seen on Youtube, as well. The show, entitled “Post Time,” has been on the air since 1998 with over 900 episodes and counting.

The show has won Ms. Vitale numerous awards, including the Clyde Hirt Media Award in 2014. “Post Time” covers horse racing at Harrington Raceway, Dover Downs and Ocean Downs. But her job also takes her all over the United States, and she’s even traveled to Ireland and Australia to cover the sport.

heather-photo1“One of the reasons I stay in the business is because of the horses,” Ms. Vitale said. “They are so majes tic and so beautiful. There is just something about horses that’s magical. I don’t mean to be over- dramatic with it, but I can tell you that anyone who’s around horses will agree with me and say there’s just something about them that’s hard to explain. They make you better. They bring out something in you that’s just really beautiful.”

While “Post Time” isn’t the only harness racing television show out there, it does happen to be one of the more unique shows on the air right now, according to Ms. Vitale.

“I have a lot of fun with it, and I’ve been blessed because my bosses have been really great with letting me have complete creative control over the content,” Ms. Vitale said. “Since sometimes I do some out- of-the- box things that other harness racing shows haven’t done, like doing theme shows and asking guests funny and unique questions, I think that’s why my show has been so popular. It’s different. I’m not saying what I do is better, but it’s different, which sometimes can be really As much success as the show has good.”

As much success as the show has seen over the years, becoming a television show host wasn’t even Ms. Vitale’s first choice in careers coming out of college. She originally attended school to study meteorology and has always secretly had a passion for space and NASA.

“I wasn’t really planning on being as big of a part of the harness racing business as I have been. I originally went to school to study meteorology, because I kind of thought it was the closest I could get to what I wanted to do with my life. But I ended up majoring in public relations and minoring in journalism by the time I got through college,” she said.

“After I got out of college I ended up getting an internship at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. I knew the people there; my family had raced there over the years. After that I just kept getting jobs at race tracks. So that’s how it kind of snowballed into a full-fledged career, which I absolutely love.”

Her love for harness racing runs in the family, as she is the grand- daughter of the late Elmer and Helen Looney.

“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be into racing,” she said. “They started it all when they bought a horse for $350 back in the 1950s.”

Ever since settling into Harrington nearly 20 years ago, it’s been all about raising her two little boys and promoting the sport of harness racing and passion for horses.

“I can’t even imagine my life being any other way.”

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