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Odds on Steno

Odds on Steno

By Sara S. Clark

In the worlds of harness racing and stenography, an unexpected and heartwarming connection has been made. Prepare to be amazed as I unveil the intriguing tale of Odds on Steno, a racehorse named after stenographers.

Sara Clark with her Aunt Jan
Sara Clark with her Aunt Jan

It all began with a casual phone conversation between me and my Aunt Jan, a retired stenographer with an impressive 33-year career under her belt. While catching up on life, I randomly suggested that she and her boyfriend should name one of the many racehorses they own “Odds on Steno” since we are both so fast. She chuckled at the idea, and I thought nothing more of it.

Jan’s boyfriend, Dana Parham, owns many businesses, one specifically involved in the harness racing industry called Odds on Racing. His entities either own the horse 100 percent, or some of the horses are owned in percentage shares with other partners. She brought up the idea to Dana, and before you know it, there was a pacing horse named Odds on Steno. How cool is that?

Odds on Steno, affectionately known as “Steno,” is a beautiful three-year-old filly pacer who spent her winter in Kentucky and is now gearing up for a thrilling season racing in New Jersey. She is not the racehorse you may be thinking of with a jockey on her back; instead, she’s a standardbred pacer who races with a sulky and a driver guiding her from behind.

Odds on Steno win Sept. 1
Odds on Steno win Sept. 1

As the racing season unfolded, the excitement grew. Jan faithfully sent me weekly links to watch Steno’s races online, and I couldn’t wait to share them with my fellow reporter friends. We were giddy with excitement to be a part of this incredible opportunity. You can’t help but smile when you hear the announcer saying things like “Here comes Odds on Steno down the backstretch!” and “Odds on Steno scootin’ through the inside!” and “Odds on Steno with a brilliant sprint for the win!” And those are actual quotes from some of her races.

Reflecting on the commonality between a racehorse and a stenographer, one word comes to mind: Speed. Just as these horses race at breakneck speeds, stenographers are writing as fast as we can. We share another common trait: Unwavering concentration. Stenographers focus so intensely on our work, mirroring a horse’s fierce concentration during a race. Merriam-Webster defines pace as “a fast 2-beat gait (as of the horse) in which the legs move in lateral pairs and support the animal alternately on the right and left legs.”  This resonates with our fast-paced, rhythmic writing. Who would have thought we have so much in common with a standardbred racehorse?

The essence of this story lies in the belief that the odds are forever in favor of stenography and our exceptional talent. Having a horse named Odds on Steno is just one unique way to promote our profession. There are countless other avenues waiting for us to explore if we think outside the box. Imagine a day when a captioner, engrossed in their work, hears “Odds on Steno coming down the homestretch” or a stenographer in the legal setting finds themselves on a case that is connected to the racing industry.  What an ideal opportunity to share this story with those you are working alongside or to inspire others to join our beloved profession. It is our opportunity to “Make Every Connection Matter.”

I urge you to take the opportunity to share with attorneys, judges, or anyone who will listen that stenographers are a unique and special breed – so much so that we even have a racehorse named in our honor. The more we champion our profession and showcase our unmatched ability as the gold standard to accurately transcribe spoken words into text, the brighter the future of our incredible vocation will be for generations to come. 

Keep an eye on Steno’s races, primarily in New Jersey this year, by visiting and using the “search” feature to type in her name, Odds on Steno. You can also contact either me or my Aunt Jan for a direct link once racing begins for the season in late April or early May.

Let’s continue to celebrate the indomitable spirit of stenographers and our connection with the world of harness racing where the “Odds on Steno” are always in our favor. 

Sara S. Clark, RMR, CRR, CRC, is a freelance court reporter and agency owner from Sunbury, Ohio. She can be reached at