Hall of Fame harness racing trainer/driver Jimmy Arthur, 93, died Oct. 21, 2012, in the Tampa, Fla., area. He had been living with his son Bill, a former racing official.
Mr. Arthur's family moved to Hanover, Pa., in the mid-1930s, seeking more favorable working conditions for his father, not necessarily a career for then high school-aged Jimmy.
His father went to work for Henry Thomas, then the private trainer for Hanover Shoe Farm's racing stable. Jimmy Arthur followed him, first at Hanover Shoe Farm's breeding farm, and later for Henry Thomas.
Among his first jobs for Hanover as a teen was caring for the then-retired Peter Manning, a gelding trotter who had been the world champion for 15 years, before Greyhound took the mark away in 1937.
Mr. Arthur was a standout athlete in track and boxing at Hanover High School, and joined his father as a groom for Henry Thomas after graduating from high school.
Mr. Arthur soon hooked up with Delvin Miller, who was then stabled at Haines Park in York, Pa. Among the horses Mr. Arthur cared for was Lady Zombelle. World War II soon interrupted the careers of both Miller and his protégé, with Mr. Arthur enlisting just five days before Pearl Harbor, in 1941. Mr. Arthur was an aircraft mechanic based in England, and earned a Bronze Star for solving a problem that vexed the Army Air Force engineers.
After the war, Mr. Arthur returned to the United States, re-joined Miller and served as his assistant trainer for the next 20 years. He helped develop and train champions such as Tar Heel p,T1:57 ($119,148) and he drove Darn Safe 1:59 ($475,745) to a world record in 1957. Among his duties was supervising shoeing for as many as 90 horses.
A dustup with the stable's cook after he served leftover hotcakes for lunch ended with Arthur being put in charge of the culinary department, but Miller gave him another responsibility -- which ended much better. Mr. Arthur won the 1961 Hambletonian with Harlan Dean, trained by Miller.
He opened his own stable in 1965 and in 1968 became head trainer for Leonard Buck's Allwood Stable and went on to develop Overcall p,6,1:57.1f ($784,006) and the 1975 Horse of the Year, Savoir 3,1:58.1 ($1,365,145).
After Buck's death in 1974, Mr. Arthur developed and drove the world champion trotting filly Japa 3,1:56.3 ($270,905) for John Simpson, Sr. in the mid-1970s. He was reunited with Miller in the mid-1990s, when the 85-year-old Miller asked him to come out of retirement to help train a small stable of young horses. He drove and trained his last race in 1997.
Mr. Arthur was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Arrangements will be posted when they are available.
by Ellen HARVEY Harness Racing Communications