Day At The Track

Muhammad Ali a harness racing driver!

10:59 PM 05 Jun 2016 NZST
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Ali participated in a special harness race during a night of racing benefitting Provident Hospital of Chicago Ali standing over Sonny Liston after knocking out Liston
Ali participated in a special harness race during a night of racing benefitting Provident Hospital of Chicago
Ali standing over Sonny Liston after knocking out Liston
Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, passed away Friday at age 74. He was a champion boxer, a civil rights activist, a humanitarian, one of the best-known people in the world -- and a world champion harness racing driver, listed in the Trotting And Pacing Guide.
 
On March 8, 1977, Ali participated in a special harness race during a night of racing benefitting Provident Hospital of Chicago, at that time the oldest and largest African-American-managed hospital in Illinois.
 
Ali and his pacer, Boozer Beau, happened to draw the rail for the five-horse exhibition contest, and the race happened to be scheduled at a distance of 7/8 of a mile over the half-mile Maywood oval -- which would put the start late on the first turn, a place where very few harness races are programmed to start.
 
Boozer Beau won in 1:57, and set a world record for a pacer over 7/8 of a mile over a half-mile track -- despite, as the picture shows below -- being hitched to a jog cart.
 
Much was made of Ali setting a world record, and the record was even carried in the Trotting And Pacing Guide for a while, until the aspects of the "exhibition" nature of the race caused a rethinking of its listing.
 
But you could look it up.
 
(Ali / Harness Racing Relationship #2: There is a very famous boxing picture, also below, of Ali standing over Sonny Liston after knocking out Liston during the first minute of the first round in an infamous 1965 fight. In what city was that fight held? In Lewiston, Maine -- long a home for a noted Maine harness track.)
 
 
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