Who is the lady behind Walter Case Junior?

07:59 AM 20 Oct 2011 NZDT
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Luanne Case with her nephews Luanne Case's late partner Greg Sewell Luanne Case Walter Case Jr. Michael's All Star & Walter Case Jr Luanne Case
Luanne Case with her nephews - Chip and Jeffery
Luanne Case's late partner Greg Sewell - (in red) with Shadows Best Buddy
Luanne Case - Wife of controversial yet brilliant driver Walter Case Jr.
Walter Case Jr.
Michael's All Star & Walter Case Jr - at Bangor in the 1988 Paul Bunyan Invitational
Courtesy Of Bangor Raceway
Luanne Case - Eating ice cream with her sisters Lisa and Loree
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Many people know her as the wife of the controversial yet brilliant harness racing driver, Walter Case Jr. - but Luanne Case is herself a quality horse woman who has been around horses for most of her life.

As a child she used to ride and then show Arabian horses. In fact she travelled throughout the grand circuit and has boasted several grand champions.

Case was born in Dayton Ohio and attended Springboro High School.

She then graduated as a cosmetologist and beautician. However she hasn’t practised that trade since leaving Ohio 27 years ago.

It was just prior to leaving Ohio that Case delved into harness racing for the first time.

“A few of my racing friends attended the same bar I used to go to and said they had a ‘hot headed’ mare that they bet I couldn’t get to the races. I took them up on their lack of faith in me.

“I then got Chip Noble to do her driving around the fair circuits and he achieved several new lifetime marks for her. That was quite satisfying and it was at that point I thought wow this harness racing game is quite fun,” the 50-year-old told Harnesslink.

Case’s involvement in harness racing intensified when she met and married Ohio horseman, Jeff Kroninger.

They raced in Ohio and Kentucky and when that marriage ended in 1997 Case moved to New Jersey where she lived with another horseman - the late Greg Sewell, who was tragically killed in a house fire.

Then almost three years ago Case met her husband – the legendary Walter Case Jr, who is rated as one of the best drivers North America has ever produced.

The statistics (as at June this year) prove that:

Top 12 all-time winning drivers: Herve Filion (15,180), Dave Palone (14,466), Cat Manzi (14,167), Tony Morgan (13,832), Dave Magee (11,389), Walter Case Jr (11,038), Billy Parker Jr (10,422), John Campbell (10,417), Michel Lachance (10,199), David Miller (9,833) Jack Moiseyev (9,458), Kevin Wallis (9,070).

“We married in May 2009 and today we work about eight horses together. Both Walter and I can’t wait for him to get back in the sulky again. His probation finishes on October 27. He’s too good a horseman to be on the sidelines,” Case said.

Case served four years of a five year sentence at the Belmont Correctional Institution from 2004 for a felonious assault after stabbing his then-estranged wife in the back with a steak knife. He was a model prisoner.

As well as being the sixth greatest driver of all-time, Case Jr has also amassed $43.7 million in purses. He last drove in November 28 and is expected back in the sulky next month - once his parole is over.

“I have always trained my own horses myself until Walter and I were married. Then we trained together until this summer when we decided that we would take care of our horses ourselves.

"Good help is very hard to find in our younger generation. Often people think that the person in the cart should have a beard or be a man.

“One of the best horses I have trained is Tattoo Hall. He has paced a 1:49 mile. I’ve had him since he was two and he’s still racing,” Case said.

“I have had a nice string of horses on my own. Walter and I compliment each other very well and can work and live together quite well. We are very much alike and have a lot in common. His love and compassion for horses is incredible (for a man) - no insult intended and matches my own love for them,” she added.

She said the two of the better performed horses in their barn were Cambest 3-year-old gelding, Whogoesfirst (1:51.4) and Fake Left 12-year-old gelding Kotare Flame N (1:52.4).

“I just love Cambest and the offspring he has left. I quite often go to the Sales just looking for a Cambest,” Case said.

Outside of harness racing Case said her interests were limited.

“Harness racing is a busy lifestyle and to be honest we don’t get much time away from the sport. Both Walter and I do however love the ocean and the water.

“That is our happy place,” she said.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

(1) Walter Case driving Anniecrombie and beating the boys at Hawthorne (1988)

(2) Walter Case Jr. - Win in First Race Back November 21, 2008:

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