The fall of 2006 brought two important blessings to legendary Yonkers Raceway and its harness racing horsemen. One was in the form of the beginning of a revenue stream from a massive and highly successful video lottery terminal parlor. The other was in the person of master racing surface conditioner Ed Ryan.
While the racino enjoys only its fifth year of service, Ed Ryan has exhibited his tremendous value to the harness racing industry for five decades. After 50 years of continuous contributions to the sport, it was only fitting that Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York recognized and thanked Mr. Ryan on Saturday evening, June 16, in the Hilltop Oval's winner's circle.
From humble beginnings as a tractor driver at Monmouth Park in 1962, Ed progressed in both knowledge and skill. His years of service as Vice President and General Manager at Freehold Raceway and later as President and General Manager at Ohio's Scioto Downs is testament to his dedication, as well as his reputation among track managements and horsemen alike.
Since 2006, Yonkers Raceway and its horsemen have been truly privileged to enjoy the labors of Track Manager Ed Ryan. He, in turn, receives the support of track superintendent Bob Young and a top flight staff, ensuring that under Ed's careful supervision and tutelage the Yonkers racing surface is kept in consistently pristine condition.
Ed's service extends beyond major pari-mutuel racetracks. He has designed training and racing surfaces on two continents.
His generosity to the sport is also second to none. His arduous work in resurfacing Vermont's Orleans County Fair garnered him the United States Harness Writers Association's 2010 Railbird Recognition Award.
Like a fine wine, Ed Ryan has gotten better with age. It's hoped by all in the industry that the unique talents of this affable racing professional will be enjoyed for many more years to come.
by Joe FARALDO