Day At The Track

Ted Gewertz - Monticello's Lifetime Achievement Award winner

03:22 AM 29 Oct 2014 NZDT
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Ted Gewertz, harness racing
Ted Gewertz with Giant Victory
USTA Photo

In 2004 when Ted Gewertz had Windsong Legacy and Housethatruthbuilt he felt as if he was on top of the world. And he was; the harness racing world that is. Together both horses earned purses in excess $2.55 million. Windsong's Legacy had nine wins in 12 starts while Housethatruthbuilt won 11 of her 15 races that year.

"I can't tell you how exciting that season was and what a great time my partners and I had traveling to watch them race," Gewertz recalled." We won the Hambletonian with Windsongs Legacy and the Breeders Crown with Housethatruthbuilt. Wow, what a year we had."

Scant few people have ever owned more horses than Gewertz who got involved with limited partnerships early on.

"I usually owned anywhere from twenty to sixty percent and I was lucky to be involved with top stakes horses," he said. "And for a guy who loves to win that was right up my alley."

Gewertz made two more trips to the Hambletonian winners circle on the prowess of Giant Victory and Deweycheatumnhowe.

"Giant Victory was one of my real favorites, too. We won the '91 Hambo with him but I think I had the most fun with 'Dewey' because we had such a great group of partners,"

Of course, the aforementioned were the cream of the crop as far as the horses Gewertz has been involved with, but make no mistake he helped pay the bills on plenty, currently 800 or so, 74 this year alone.

Originally from the South Bronx (NY) and because of his perspicacity he got a free ride to an education starting at the Bronx H.S. of Science and on to City College of NY (CCNY) and finally to New York University School of Law, where he was a classmate of Colin Powell.

Like many from his era Ted would spend the summers of the mid- 1950's in the Catskills waiting tables at the hotels that brought the population out of the sweltering city. "That was before Monticello Raceway opened but later on I used to go to the races there on occasion."

In the early 1960's Gewertz started going to Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways three or four times a week and he became a fan of several drivers.

"There were lots of great drivers there during that era and everybody loved Sach Werner, but my all-time favorite back then was Hughie Bell."

During those years one could find Gewertz at the Palladium (Dance Hall) in New York City on the nights he wasn't at the racetracks boogying to hot Latin music.

"They call it Salsa, today but it's really not the same as the music from my era," he admits. "And I also liked early rhythm and blues, you know the music prior to 1955. They called it race music but it was great and hard to find on the radio."

After he finished his schooling Ted became a lawyer, and a good one, specializing in corporate law and his firm was, and is, one of the biggest defending corporate America.

Still, harness racing bubbled under, and Ted would spend many an evening at the racetrack

I'll tell you a funny story," he continued. "I used to get thrown out of the box seats so many times until I found out if I owned a horse I would be OK. So I decided to buy a horse so I could sit in a box without any harassment."

During the '60's Ted got involved in handball, an urban sport which utilizes a "Spaldeen", and he became an outstanding handball player. Today, at age 76, despite two hip replacements he still is playing-and winning.

"I play singles exclusively. Since I had my hips done it's hard for me to play doubles anymore."

But it's not hard for Ted to go and watch his stock race.

He has a piece of over 70 horse this year and some of his better ones include; Somwherovrarainbow, Shebestingin, Thirty Two Red Neighsay Hanover and Driving Miss Crazy , to mention a few.

But to fully understand Gewertz's participation in harness racing one just needs to peruse a list of outstanding horses he's been involved with. However, it is much too extensive to be included here.

Harness racing is very lucky to have a gentleman like Ted Gewertz involved. He certainly isn't shy about investing in the industry.

Although he has many accolades in his chosen profession Ted is very proud of his Owner of the Year Award that was given to him by the US Harness Writers Association (USHWA)  in 2004.

On Sunday, November 16, he will add another trophy to his wall when he will be presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monticello- Goshen Chapter USHWA at the scribes 56th Annual Awards Banquet which will be held at The Fountains on Sands Road in Middletown, NY.

by John Manzi, for Monticello-Goshen Chapter USHWA

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