Talented harness driver and trainer Hal Belote was fondly remembered Wednesday night in an Ocean Downs stakes series final. The fourth and final leg of the "Hal Belote Memorial" late closer series was won by Magic Swan, a six year-old gelded trotter.
Hal Belote died at the age of 51 in a May 15th, 2006 on-track accident at Harrington Raceway in Delaware. He was widely recognized for his talents as a top trainer of trotters.
Perhaps his best horse was trotting mare Smashing Jane GT, who had nearly $300,000 in lifetime earnings and was a track record holder at Harrington. Hal Belote also posted 1,986 driving wins in his distinguished harness career.
"It's always good when somebody can be remembered in this business," Sam Belote, Hal's older brother said after the series final leg Wednesday night.
"This is Hal's third memorial (here). You have to make an impression. People forget easy," the 56 year-old Sammy Belote said. "It's a good tribute, to Hal's personality, his work ethics, his ability with a horse, the way he treated people."
Sam Belote is also recognized as a very good trainer of trotters and races regularly during the summer meet at Ocean Downs.
There were numerous entries into this memorial series in honor of Hal Belote.
"Hal made a lasting impression on everybody," Sam Belote recalled. "When something happens to a person in our business, it affects us all. We race because it's a labor of love," There are also "Hal Belote Memorial" races in Delaware at Harrington and in Virginia.
Jim Whittemore, Publicity Director, Ocean Downs