Day At The Track

Hall of Famer Hal Jones, 90, dies

06:55 AM 03 Feb 2015 NZDT
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Hall of Famer Hal Jones
Hall of Famer Hal Jones
USTA/Mark Hall photo
Montgomery, NY --- Hall of Famer Hal Jones, 90, of Montgomery, N.Y., died Jan. 31, 2015, with his loving family at his side.
Mr. Jones was born Dec. 23, 1924, in Southgate, Ky., the son of Walter and Nina Jones. A product of the Great Depression, he grew up in Ohio and Kentucky, attending 13 different schools and he lived in three log cabins, as the family moved from town to town. They eventually settled in Westerville, Ohio, where he attended high school and played football, and worked for his father at Mac Dot Farms on weekends.
He was drafted to serve in the Air Force in March 1943 and served more than two years in England during World War II.
He rejoined his father at the farm after returning from the service in Dec. 1945.
Hal and Marie Buck married on Feb. 24, 1950, a marriage that was still going strong after 65 years.
From 1951 to 1969 Mr. Jones managed Pickwick Farms in Bucyrus, Ohio, for Walter Michael. In the late 1950s, Gene Abbe was the top stallion at Pickwick. He produced the pacing star Stephan Smith.
Stephan Smith's popularity prompted Mr. Jones to start breeding the mares by artificial insemination, instead of breeding by live cover, which was the norm at that time.
Before Mr. Jones' innovations a stallion's full book was typically 50 or 60 mares. In 1961 Gene Abbe became the first stallion of any breed to register more than 100 foals in one breeding season.
In a three-year period from 1961 to 1963 Gene Abbe produced 338 foals; during the same three-year period Tar Heel produced 134 foals, Adios produced 81 foals and Good Time produced 159 foals.
Gene Abbe's numbers made him No. 1 in the nation in money earnings. The Standardbred breeding industry was changed forever.
In 1971 Mr. Jones went to work for Hanover Shoe Farms and was their manager for seven years. During that time he would purchase a share of a horse that, in his words, "would change my life." That horse was Albatross. The income generated from his two percent ownership of Albatross would give him the opportunity to buy several good broodmares and eventually buy his own farm -- Cameo Hills Farm.
During his career he managed Pickwick Farms, Blue Chip Farms, Hanover Shoe Farms, and Lana Lobell Farms of New Jersey, where he handled many of the top stallions in the sport -- Gene Abbe, Most Happy Fella, Tar Heel, Star's Pride, Albatross, Super Bowl, Speedy Somolli, No Nukes and Speedy Crown.
Hal and Marie Jones started Cameo Hills Farm in 1982. That farm has produced harness racing's newest Hall of Famer -- Deweycheatumnhowe -- as well as Check Me Out, Goalie Jeff, Housethatruthbuilt, Pedigree Snob, Speed Merchant and many other top horses.
In 2009 Mr. Jones received harness racing's highest honor when he was voted into the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. His induction ceremony was in July 2010.
Mr. Jones is survived by his wife, Marie; sons, Michael and Steve; daughter-in-law, Kathy; and grandchildren, Ayden, Matt, Auriel, Tyler and Jake.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory can be made to Goshen Historic Track, P.O. Box 192, Goshen, NY 10924.
Services will be private at the request of the family.
Gordon Waterstone
The Horseman And Fair World




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