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Goshen, N.Y. - Newly inducted member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Bruce Nickells, drew the random letter "W" from a lottery-style basket for hip number allocation at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Sunday (July 3) evening. Yearlings whose dam's names begin with the letter "W" will start the Goshen Yearling Sale, and continue through the alphabet for the 160 colts and fillies being offered on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at the Mark Ford Training Center, Middletown, NY. Consignors and principles of the sales company were on hand to witness the ceremonial draw, which took place on the patio of Haughton Hall during the cocktail hour of the annual Hall of Fame event. Representing Winbak Farm was Hall of Famer Joe Thomson, who is also a director of the sale company. Russell Williams and Dale Welk observed the proceedings on behalf of Hanover Shoe Farms. The son and daughter of Immortal Hall of Famers represented their respective farms; Steve Jones from Cameo Hills Farm and Jean Brown of Blue Chip Farm witnessed the draw. David Meirs from Concord Stud completed the group of consignors, with Mark Ford and Bob Boni also on hand to represent the sales company. With hip numbers now drawn, pedigrees receive a final update next week with a digital version of the catalog being available on the sales company website on Thursday, July 21. Printed catalogs will be mailed Aug. 4th and will also be available during the Hambletonian festival at the Meadowlands. For more information, or to request a catalog, visit the sales company website at: GoshenYearlingSale.com by Chris Tully, for the Goshen Yearling Sale

Goshen, NY---Breeder and industry executive Charlie Keller III and trainer Bruce Nickells were inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame during ceremonies held at the Harness Racing Museum Sunday (July 4) evening. Also honored were Communicators Hall of Fame inductees David Carr and Jerry Connors; Living Horse Hall of Fame inductees Real Desire, Muscle Hill, Solveig and Arl's Troublemaker; Immortal inductees Carl Allen and Princess; 2015 Del and Mary Lib Miller Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit; 2016 Amateur Driving Champion Hannah Miller; and U.S. Harness Writers Association Unsung Hero Award winner Joanne Young. Keller took over management of Yankeeland Farm after the death of his father, Charles Keller II, in 1990. From then until the farm's closure in 2006, Yankeeland produced such standouts as Hambletonian winners Muscles Yankee and Yankee Paco; Breeders Crown winners Cashmere, Yankee Slide and Strong Yankee; longtime standout sire Yankee Glide; North America Cup winner Yankee Cruiser. Keller was also a longtime industry executive, serving as executive chairman of the Hambletonian Society and a director of the USTA. He thanked his parents, wife, children and nephews for their help in supporting his harness racing career. "This is not an award only for me," he said. "It's for the family and my family put me in this position. I'm a very blessed person." Nickells, who has been training horses for 70 years, first gained prominence as the trainer of such horses as Kentucky, Batman, Fast Clip, Combat Time and Sprite Rodney. He vaulted on the national stage when he trained six pacing fillies that took divisional honors in the 1980s and 1990s: Follow My Star, Central Park West, Miss Easy, Hazleton Kay, Immortality and Freedoms Friend. He was named Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year in 1991. The trainer, who turns 88 on July 5, shared a recent conversation he had with fellow trainer Peter Wrenn. "He said, 'Hey Nickells, you got your speech all ready?'" Nickells said. "I said, 'No, I haven't got one at all. I might not make one.' "Pete said, 'There's nothing to it. Just get up there and start talking like you are trying to sell someone a horse.'" Communicators Hall of Fame David Carr, recently retired director of information and research at the USTA, founded that department in the mid-80s and headed the group for more than 30 years. He was integral to the development of the Pathway online statistical database, the Trotting and Pacing Guide, Crosses of Gold, sales pedigrees and state stallion directories. He thanked Dean Hoffman for hiring him at the USTA, along with Stan Bergstein for calling attention to his work. "When you wander through the museum, you get a chance to see the names and images of the men and women who created and advanced the sport," said Carr. "And they were giants. There are many giants here tonight. When we reach for the stars, we stand on the shoulders of giants. When we try to reach farther into the frontier, we walk along a path that was blazed by giants. I have my own giants that I would like to recognize tonight." Over a career spanning four decades, Connors worked as a sire stakes administrator, track publicist, public handicapper, track announcer, race timer and charter and magazine columnist. He's also been an USHWA director for 23 years and the organization's national secretary since 2002. He thanked the industry leaders who helped him in his formative years for helping him enter the Hall of Fame. "Look at some of the groups I've worked with," said Connors. "Four of the first five people that hired me are in the Hall of Fame: Marv Bachrad, Bruce Stearns, Dean Hoffman and Jim Lynch. When I worked for the USTA, I worked with six Hall of Famers: Dean, now David (Carr), John Pawlak, Carol Cramer, George Smallsreed and Ed Keys. How could I miss?" Living Horse Hall of Fame Real Desire p, 2, 1:50.4; 3, 1:49; 4, 1:48.2 ($3,159,814) qualified for the Hall of Fame based on his $3 million in lifetime earnings and being voted Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada in 2002 at age 4. He was driven throughout his career by John Campbell for trainer Blair Burgess and co-owners Brittany Farms, Perretti Farms, Bob Burgess and Karin Olsson Burgess. "This horse was a life-changer for us," said Blair Burgess, whose wife, Karin, groomed Real Desire. "He allowed us to buy a farm, which we always wanted to do. And to this day-which is probably a bad sign because it was 15 years ago-he was probably the fastest horse I ever had. He had that line gait that Bruce Nickells told me you need in a pacer-no wasted motion." Muscle Hill t, 2, 1:53.3; 3, 1:50.1 ($3,273,342) qualified for induction by all criteria: he was a $3 million lifetime winner, unbeaten in 12 starts at age 3, and voted Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2009. He also won 95.2 percent of his lifetime starts for driver Brian Sears, trainer Greg Peck, and co-owners Muscle Hill Racing LLC, Southwind Farm, T L P Stable, and Jerry Silva. "You don't start in this industry as an owner with Muscle Hill," said Silva. "You start many years ago with other horses, whether they are claimers or babies or whatever they are. You need a lot of luck; you need a good trainer and a good vet; and you need a lot of money to succeed." Solveig t, 4, 1:54.4f ($820,791) was elected for owners Solveig's Breeders after producing Shake It Cerry 3, 1:51.2 ($2,497,785), Uncle Lasse 3, 1:51.4f ($931,268) and Dontyouforgetit 3, 1:52.1f ($598,049). Spending her broodmare days at Winbak Farm, Arl's Troublemaker produced Art Maker p, 1:49.1 ($1,036,217), Stock Market Wiz p, 1:49.3 ($739,283) and Breakin The Law p, 1:49.4 ($504,932). Immortal Hall of Fame A trainer and driver for 30 years, Carl Allen is best known for training 1995 Horse of the Year CR Kay Suzie. He was voted Trainer of the Year in 1994. He trained and drove 1998 divisional winner CR Commando and trained 1999 Breeders Crown winner CR Renegade. He died in 2004. Living from 1846-1877, Princess took a mark of 2:30. In a series of match races in 1859, she pushed Flora Temple to set the all-age record for trotters four times, including the mark of 2:19-3/4 that stood for eight years. Bred to Hambletonian in 1863, she produced Happy Medium, whose sire line still flourishes today. 2016 Harness Racing Hall of Fame Amateur Driving Champion Hannah Miller, 24, set a single-season record for amateur drivers when she recorded 32 victories in 2015. Last year she drove at 21 North American racetracks, represented the U.S. in an amateur driving contest in Majorca, Spain, and this year will represent the Stars and Stripes in the International Amateur World Cup in Budapest, Hungary. USHWA Unsung Hero Award Joanne Young, development director at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame, was presented with the Unsung Hero Award for her tireless work in recruiting members and raising money for the Hall. She was unable to attend the Dan Patch Awards dinner in March to be given her award, so she was presented with the award in her own backyard. Ken Weingartner

A reminder that this Sunday, July 3 is Hall of Fame Day at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. Tickets to attend Sunday evening's Hall of Fame Dinner can still be had. Individual tickets are $125. Call the Museum at 845-294-6330 for information. There will be live harness racing at neighboring Goshen Historic Track Friday through Monday, July 1-4, including the classic Hall of Fame Invitational Trot on Sunday, Hall of Fame Day. Post time is 1:00 each day. Admission is $5 and children 12 and under are free. If you can't make it to Goshen this weekend, watch live streaming video of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the USTA's website at www.ustrotting.com. Festivities begin at 7:00 p.m. ET. While you're online, visit the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame's new, redesigned website at www.harnessmuseum.com. Museum news, Hall of Famer biographies and historic harness racing photographs make up just some of the updated content you can explore at our informative new site. From the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

Goshen NY - Bruce Nickells, a trainer/driver who was associated with many top horses during his 70-year career in harness racing and who specialized in the developing of young pacing fillies into champions, was selected for induction into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame by the Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the sport's leading media organization, under a "Veterans" provision incorporated into the organization's by-laws earlier this year. Nickells, 87, has developed champions for more than four decades, an impressive feat by any standard. At the age of 13, Nickells got his start as a part-time groom with the late C.F. Rumley. He got his first drive and first win at Aurora Downs in 1949 and opened his own stable in 1953. His career stats are incomplete since USTA record keeping began well after Nickells started his harness racing career, but he is still credited with more than $6 million in purses as a driver and more than $7 million in training earnings in the pre-slots racing era. Nickells developed some outstanding horses, including the trotter Scribe Rodney, Combat Time, Batman, Kentucky, and Fast Clip. Nickells' prowess soon caught the attention of Grand Circuit patrons, and his training of the great mare Follow My Star in 1985 resulted in a partnership with mega-owner Lou Guida - one that would rewrite the record books. He trained six freshman divisional winners and/or the richest freshman filly of the year. Nickells broke his own single season earnings record set by Follow My Star in 1991 with the great Miss Easy, who won 25 of her 32 lifetime starts (including an 11-race win streak), with earnings of $1,777,656. For his management of Miss Easy, Nickells was voted 1991 Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year. Miss Easy was a repeat divisional winner as a sophomore. Other top horses for Nickells include Hambletonian Oaks winner Park Avenue Kathy, Central Park West, Hazleton Kay, Immortality, Freedoms Friend, Bruce's Lady, Efishnc and six Breeders Crown champions. His Crown starters earned $1.9 million, currently ranking him 15th in all-time Crown earnings even though he's started just one horse in the series since 1999. For the last 20 years Nickells has concentrated on the winter training and breaking of colts, and gave youngsters such as Cypress Creek ($384,000) and Grinfromeartoear ($1.7 million) their early lessons. Nickells has turned his stable over to his daughter, Brooke, and is an active consultant and trainer in their rotation from Pompano Park in the winter to summers at Hoosier Park. Nickells will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 3, 2016, going directly to the Hall under the Veterans provision. He will be joined on that day by candidates who receive 75 percent of the yes-no vote from eligible USHWA and Hall of Famers in late summer voting: Hall of Fame nominee Charles Keller III and Communicators Hall of Fame nominees David Carr and Jerry Connors. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Here is the stable roster for Standardbred at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village Part II. Sunshine Meadows is located in Delray Beach, FL and features both a one mile and five-eighths mile training track. EDGAR CLARKE STABLE Second trainer - Cheri Clarke Older Horses Barbarian 4p g by Somebeachsomewhere – Righteous Renee Gold Star Spike 6p h by Rock On - Onora Hold On Tight No Monkey’s Allowed 8p g by Rocknroll Hanover – Weeping Wanabe Yankees In Six 7p g by Panspacificflight – Law And Order STEVE ELLIOTT STABLE 2-Year-Olds Light One Up p f by Woodstock – Bad Girls Club Princess McArdle p f by McArdle – Lightning Princess Q T Pie Hanover p f by Dragon Again – Queen Teen Soulmate Hanover p f by Well Said – Sayo Hanover Stacin Hanover p f by Western Ideal – Stolly Up Blue Chip Combat p c by Art Magic – Barks Like A Dog Deep Stack Hanover p c by Yankee Cruiser – Dragon Moon Gleneagles p c by Mysticism – Bolero Athena In Force p c by Western Terror – Rat’s Treasure Rock N Roll Gangster p c by Rocknroll Hanover – Joyous Rock’s It Again – p c by Rocknroll Hanover – Place Your Best Saidwithconviction p c by Well Said – Nancy Luck Lady Talk Show p c by Art Major – Lush Lombaugh 3-Year-Olds Twain Drive t c by Credit Winner – What’s Your Name Rock Me Gently p f by Rocknroll Hanover – Cam Swiftly Faithful Friend p c by Artistic Fella – Bolero Athena Artistic Major – p c by Art Major – Western Dancer Rock Shooter – p c by Rocknroll Hanover – More Than Most Star Guitar – p c by Rocknroll Hanover – Ineverwearum DOUG MILLER STABLE 2-Year-Olds Dame Edna f t by Broad Bahn – Cathwithac Sun Devil Hanover t f by Donato Hanover – She’s A Blizzard Shoemaker Hanover t c by Cantab Hall – Sheena Blue Chip 3-Year-Olds Williams Wish t f by Crazed – Valley Aryanna Older Horses Pittsburgh Hanover 4t h by Yankee Glide - Phaeton Scat Meister 4 t g by Glidemaster – Musical Mystery BRUCE NICKELLS STABLE Trainer – Brooke Nickells Stable Manager – Bryce Nickells 2-Year-Olds Magical Valentine f t by Kadabra – Renes Pockets Pine Stick t f by Big Stick Lindy – Pine Career Caviart Taylor p f by Shadow Play – Caviart Cheyenne Joan D Arc p f by Always A Virgin – Firm Fatale Deuce Deuce Deuce t g by Swan For All – Modern Romance Lovin Feeling t c by Jailhouse Jesse - Reena 3-Year-Olds Cantabs Charm  f t by Mr Cantab – Charmin Striking Cheetah f t by Deweychetemnhow – Striking Pockets Abassi Hanover  t g by Swan For All – Andrea Hanover Older Horses Elocutionist 4p g by Well Said – Graceful Motion Amen Amen 5t g by Like A Prayer – Silhouette Star Majestic 7p g by Mach Three – Synchronized Ideal Choice 8p g by Western Ideal – My Baby And Me KELLY WALKER STABLE Second Trainer – Marty Cooper 3-Year-Olds Persuasive Action f t by Donato Hanover – Perfect Paddy Older horses Always Sunday 4m p by Liz Mara – All That And Heez Perfect 9 t g by Andover Hall – Perfect Paddy Don Dorado 4t g by Donato Hanover – Quintessential K Global Power 5t g by Glidemaster – Set You Free Rush N Supreme 11t g by SJ’s Caviar – So Far Kosmos PETER WRENN STABLE 2-Year-Olds Naughty III t f by Here Comes Herbie - Msnaughtybynature Poppin Tag t c by Triumphant Caviar – Top Bait Rat A Tat Herbie t c by Here Comes Herbie – Secret Choice Granite p c by Real Desire – Precious Stone Bluebird Synergy p c by Rockin Image – Day Lily Hanover Docdor Frisky p c by Feelin Frisky – Lady Shuffle Big Bad Cam c p by Big Bad John - Camturo 3-Year-Olds Stormont Park t c by Earl Of Stormont – Mentelle Park Run With Me t c by Mr Cantab – Bridge To Nowhere Gold Star Dynasty p f by Six Of Diamonds – Gold Star Rosie Fools Desire p c by Real Desire – Trinketsntreasures Undisputed Truth p c by Total Truth – Armarillo Sky Jimmy CR p c by World Of Rocknroll – Rowcrest Cam Beast Skyway Dante p c by Panspacificflight – Daten Time From Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village

Billy Haughton is tied with Mike Lachance for the most wins by a driver in the Little Brown Jug at five. However, Haughton also trained a record six winners. Stanley Dancer is second in that category with four. He is truly the “King” of the Little Brown Jug. Haughton drove in 28 editions; some years he handled more than one horse. His first was Ankaway in 1949 when he was 26-years-old, and his last was Panorama, in the final heat of the 1984 Jug when he was 60. Good Time won that 1949 edition—the fourth—for Frank Ervin. Haughton managed to finish third in his second heat with the modestly skilled Ankaway. And it would be three years before he made it back to the race, this time with Wilmingtons Star, who won a heat and went on to win the Good Time Pace at Yonkers the following year. The 29-year-old was getting noticed. He led the nation in earnings; finished second in wins; and was the top driver at Roosevelt Raceway. It took three years for all those accolades to translate into a win in the Little Brown Jug. It came in 1955 with Quick Chief, a quality pacer who took his division at two and three, won the Cane, and was the first sophomore colt to earn $100,000. 40,000 attended the race that year and there were 17 entered. Haughton was 32-years-old and regularly topping Stanley Dancer, Joe O’Brien and Johnny Simpson in wins and money. Haughton had a couple of more shots at the classic in the 1950’s, his best being with the Jug Trial winner, Bachelor Hanover, a half-brother to Dancer Hanover. But Noble Adios, a full-brother to the winner of the 1954 Jug, Adios Harry, proved too tough. It would be 1964, nine years after his first win, that Haughton got his second with Vicar Hanover, a speedy son of Torpid. He and Combat Time, driven by Bruce Nickells, were co-favorites in the race-off at 4-5, but it was the 25-year veteran, Haughton, who slipped off the rail and took the prize. Despite the raw 50 degree temperatures, the race generated a record handle of $184,497. Haughton was slated to start a five day suspension in New York the following day; the win made that a little more palatable. The following year Romeo Hanover, who was so dominant that he was barred from the betting, won convincingly for George Sholty, while Haughton was seventh with the Tar Heel colt, Clay. Romeo had impressed Haughton as a freshman with wins in the Sheppard and the Roosevelt Pace, so he bought his younger brother Romulus at the sales for what he considered a bargain price of $35,000. Haughton said repeatedly that Romulus was the greatest horse he had ever driven, so it was particularly disheartening for him to have his star give him mediocre results in the first two heats and ultimately to be scratched from the race-off when it was discovered he was running a 104 degree temperature. The fact that the race was delayed a day due to heavy rain probably didn’t help matters any. Ohio bred and owned Best Of All won that Jug for Jim Hackett. Ah, but all was not lost; the following year, when Haughton was 45-years-old, he got his third LBJ triumph with Triple Crown winner Rum Customer, who went on to be the fourth millionaire in the history of the sport.   He won each of his heats in 1:59.3, the final one at 1-5. Haughton won more than a million dollars in purse money that year, for the third time in his career, and in July of 1969 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two months later he separated himself from fellow three-time winners Frank Ervin and John Simpson Sr. when he captured his fourth Jug with Laverne Hanover, who won 22 of 23 starts the previous year and 21 of 28 at three. During the next four-year stretch Haughton received the Award of Merit from the Grand Circuit for winning more top dollar races than anyone else in the sport, but that didn’t help him beat the likes of Most Happy Fella, Nansemond and Strike Out in the Jug. Although in the fifth year, 1974, when he was 51-years-old, Haughton experienced his most satisfying Jug Victory with the Airliner colt  Armbro Omaha, who had gone 2 for 17 as a freshman. This was the colt 19-year-old Peter got his first big win with when Del Miller convinced Billy to let the kid drive him in the Prix d’Ete. He won his division that year. This was Haughton’s fifth Jug win. In subsequent years Billy tried his hand at winning a sixth with Bret’s Champ, Boehm’s Eagle, Windshield Wiper, Crash, Falcon Almahurst, Set Point, Trenton Time, Set The Style, McKinzie Almahurst, Ticket To Ride and Panorama, but none of them crossed the line first in the final. During this dry period, in January, 1980, Peter was killed in an automobile accident at age 25. Haughton achieved that sixth training win with Nihilator in 1985. It was his first start over a half-mile track and the fleet son of Niatross won in 1:52.1 for Bill O’Donnell. Nine weeks later, 27 days after Haughton’s 62 birthday, Nihilator was retired with a record of 35 wins in 38 starts. And seven months later, while driving Sonny Key in the first Sheppard elimination at Yonkers, Haughton was rendered unconscious when thrown violently to the track. He succumbed to his injuries ten days later. Bill Haughton participated in the Little Brown Jug most years between 1949 and 1964 and every year during the 19 year span from 1966 to 1985. We are approaching the 28th edition to be raced since he was taken from us. The fact that no driver or trainer has outdone him over all those years speaks to his greatness. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

World Champion Miss Easy passed away at her home at Hanover Shoe Farms this morning. She was 26. Miss Easy was bred and raised by Stoner Creek Farm. She was purchased as a yearling by Rose Guida and Royal Palm Stables for $30,000. She was broken and trained by Bruce Nickells and was primarily driven by John Campbell throughout her racing career. As a two year old she was voted "Two Year Old Pacing Filly of 1990". She won 15 of 17 starts and earned $1,128,956. At 3, she was voted "Three Year Old Pacing Filly of 1991" She won 10 of 15 starts, earned $648,700 and concluded her racing career with two and three year old earnings $1,777,656. Unfortunately her success on the racing front did not carry forth to her career in the breeding shed. At best, her achievements as a mother of quality racehorses could be considered to have been moderate. So great was the perceived disappointment in her that January of 2002 found her being offered for sale in the Meadowlands Winter Sale as a barren broodmare. Jim Simpson of Hanover Shoe Farms was there together with Farm Manager Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky and P.R. Director Murray Brown. Dr. Jablonsky mentioned the disappointment that a mare who was as great as Miss Easy was going to be auctioned and would likely just bring a relative pittance. The three decided that if indeed that would transpire, Hanover would purchase her and she would be guaranteed a forever home. At the time, the thought was that she would be retired and turned out with Hanover's noted group of retired mares. When booking season came along Dr. Jablonsky said that Miss Easy was in great shape and suggested that she be booked along with the rest of Hanover's active mares. After all, she was still the one and only MISS EASY!! That happened and she subsequently produced eight foals for Hanover bringing a total of $220,500. She never became the great producer that she was as a racehorse. But she spent her remaining years enjoying the good life that she had earned and deserved. Miss Easy was laid to rest in the Farm's cemetery opposite its main entrance From Hanover Shoe Farms

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the opening night of harness racing at Pompano Park, named the "Winter Capital of Harness Racing" by its founder, innovator and leader Frederick Van Lennep and his original management team. Built on a large 300 acre plus parcel that today is occupied by Wal-Mart and a host of commercial enterprises (on what was the mile track and training center), and across Racetrack Rd. by the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park, the structure and its storied past, are best recalled by remembering Van Lennep, who passed away in June 1987. The Sun-Sentinel's remarks about Van Lennep are shown below: "He was 100 percent class," said Hall of Fame driver Stanley Dancer. "It wasn`t just that he had a nice word for everybody. He always had time for you. And he was a generous man. There was nothing he wouldn`t do to help anyone." Dancer, though, remembered a time he helped Van Lennep after putting his friend though a little bit of worry. "I had a horse in 1975 named Bonefish that I wanted to sell for a stallion," said Dancer, who served with Van Lennep on the board of directors of the United States Trotting Association. "Mr. Van Lennep told me he wanted to buy it. I told him it would cost him $1 million. He said fine and the deal was completed that fast." "I came back and drove that horse for him later that year in the Hambletonian. It was a four-heat race, and we finished ninth in the first heat. In the second heat, we finished third. We finally won the last two heats to win the race, but not after we got everybody worried." Van Lennep, who headed Castleton Inc., one of the leading standardbred breeding operations in the country, was best known as an innovator in the harness industry. What many people did not realize was that Van Lennep, who was born in Philadelphia on July 6, 1911, was an innovator in other areas as well. "Few people knew that my father had a very impressive physics background," said Hector Van Lennep, a retired general manager at Pompano. "After he graduated from Princeton (1933), he invented a motor that became the basis for the Sperry gyroscope. He was a firm believer in solid fuel propellants long before there was a fuel shortage, and he developed a process to freeze-dry coffee and citrus juice for soldiers fighting in Korea. He was always an innovator." Van Lennep did not become involved in the horse industry until he married his first wife Celeste McNeal. "My mother was quite an equestrian; in fact, she was the first woman to get a thoroughbred trainer`s license," Hector Van Lennep said. "My father was more or less dragged into the business, but he quickly loved it. He became a `gentleman driver` for a lot of amateur races, and he became more in love with the industry." Van Lennep opened Pompano Park in 1964, and doggedly kept the track open though it lost money in its first few seasons. His efforts did not go unnoticed, as he was voted to the Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, N.Y., in 1975. "His death is a deep, deep loss to the racing industry," said William E. Simon, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, who was a partner of Van Lennep`s in Pompano Park and in the ownership of several horses. "I first met him in 1977, and I have never known a finer man. He brought so much class and integrity to the industry. There is no way to gauge how much he`ll be missed." One of Van Lennep`s major concerns was the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Last September, the university established a $1 million endowed professorship in Van Lennep`s name in hopes of luring top scientists to the center. Simon donated $250,000 toward the endowment. "My father had a lot of favorite horses," said Hector Van Lennep. ":He loved Speedy Scot because he won the Triple Crown. He watched that horse grow and win the Triple Crown and it was very special to him." "But there was another horse named Worthy Boy. Every time he saw my father, he would talk to him. It never failed. As soon as he saw father, this loud whinny would come out. He just had a special affinity toward my father. A lot of people did, too." Pompano Park, under the leadership of Van Lennep and later John Cashman, Jr., was at the forefront of harness racing's best competition. It hosted the Breeders' Crown, in whole or part, from 1984-1993, producing some of the series' best performances by its best equine stars. Pacing events that I recall vividly are Bay's Fella that won the 1990 Open Pace for Paul Macdonell in a huge upset, Call For Rain in 1987 for trainer/driver Clint Galbraith in the Three Year-Old Colt pace, Miss Easy in the 1991 Three Year-Old Filly pace and Bruce Nickells' four-timer in the Two Year-Old Filly pace with Central Park West, Miss Easy, Hazleton Kay and Immortality. Legendary Artsplace took the 1990 Two Year-Old Colt pace for the late great trainer Gene Riegle. On the trotting side, the Breeders' Crown got its Florida start in 1984 when Baltic Speed took the Three Year-Old Colt trot for Jan Nordin, starting off a European impact on the trotting divisions. Other three year-old winners at Pompano included legendary Chuck Sylvester trainees Mack Lobell and Pine Chip and not so legendary Esquire Spur, Embassy Lobell (trained by Jerry Riordan), Giant Victory (trained by Per Eriksson) and Baltic Striker. Mack Lobell also won the Two Year-Old Breeders' Crown at Pompano in 1986 and was followed by Valley Victory in 1988 and then Royal Troubador (trained and driven by Ocala's Carl Allen), Crysta's Best (trainer/driver Dick Richarson, Jr.), Eriksson's King Conch and Giant Chill and trainer Raz MacKenzie's Wesgate Crown in 1993. Two Year-Old filly winners at Pompano included the Tom Haughton trainer Peace Corps, Eriksson's Delphi's Lobell, Soren Nordin's Jean Bi, Chuck Sylvester trained Armbro Keepsake and Winky's Goal and Gleam, owned by Mal Burroughs who won the Hambletonian Oaks driving this filly. Peace Corp returned to Pompano to capture the Breeders' Crown at age three for trainer Tom Haughton and as an aged mare in 1990 for then trainer/driver Stig H. Johansson in 1:54.2f., a time mark that was not lowered until 2004 and that on a mile track. Other memorable Three Year-Old Filly Breeders' Crown winners at Pompano included Sylvester's Armbro Devona, Armbro Fling, Me Maggie (Jan Johnson trained, Berndt Lindstedt driven), Twelve Speed, Imperfection (1992 winner trained by Ron Gurfein) and Expressway Hanover. And in the Aged Open category, who can forget the 1990 score in 1:55f by No Sex Please, the son of Brisco Hanover bred by Earl Lennox, trained by Ron Waples, Jr. and reined by Ron Waples (he won the same event two years later at Mohawk). Pompano Park enjoyed a fine run at the top of standardbred racings' leaderboard and remains in-action today with its attractive 126 race-day fall-winter-spring meet, simulcasting and as host to the Florida Breeders' Stakes program. Many Grand Circuit two year-olds are developed annually on the five-eighths mile raceway and South Florida also attracts a host of well-bred hopefuls at the Sunshine Meadows and South Florida Trotting Center facilities with trainers including those who won the early Breeders' Crown events at Pompano. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com    

Pompano Beach, FL -- This Saturday night, October 6, the Isle Pompano Park opens for its 50th anniversary season of harness racing. Don’t know how happy Fred and Frances Dodge Van Lennep would be if they were still around to see what has taken place with the Taj Mahal that they built. They would have loved the casino and raved about it to everyone, but then they would have cried over what has happened to the former Winter Capital of Harness Racing. Over the years the prior owners and then the Isle never invested much more than a dime or two in keeping the building up to code and now it is in disarray. The track had opened to much fanfare back on February 4, 1964. The greatest trainers, drivers and horses in the world would winter at Pompano Park. Some 2,000 horses and 500 horsemen and women would stable there during the glory year with four tracks, an executive golf course, driving range and a beautiful track kitchen overlooking the training tracks. The Top of the Park Dining Room was exquisite with reservations and a jacket (for men) a must. They could seat well over 600 people and everyone had a great view of the track. Patten’s Place on the fifth floor was the ultimate speak easy. The Clubhouse Box seating area sold out months in advance. Now the glass planes are falling out from the sixth floor and you are limited to where you can walk on the track apron. When Niatross raced for the last time on December 27, 1980, more than 18,000 people jammed the track to see him and the right lane going north on Powerline Road was closed off and used as additional parking. People bought $2 win tickets just to save as souvenirs. Now there is just the Florida Chapter of the US Harness Writers Association’s Florida Hall of Fame picture display left to remind you of the people and horses that made the track great. The track held the Breeders Crown numerous times with world records set every season….Stanley Dancer, Billy Haughton, Del Miller, Joe O’Brien, Bruce Nickells, Ted Taylor, John Campbell, Bill O’Donnell, Bill Popfinger, Peter Wrenn and many other top horsemen were household names. Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Jackie Gleason were weekly regulars during the track’s heydays. But that is all gone now. If you are lucky you can stand on part of the track apron and watch the races or go up to the casino and watch the horses come around the final turn but you can’t tell who was the winner unless you go inside and look on a TV. The opening night card features ten races, two of which are Florida Sunshine Stakes for three-year-olds. All-time leading driver Bruce Ranger is back along with Jim McDonald, Tom Sells, Jay & Kim Sears, Tom Audley and some new faces too. Once the major stakes season is over up north a lot more trainers and drivers will return. Plans call for a shorter season than normal with the meet ending in late May. Usually the track would have something special for the fans on opening night, maybe a baseball cap, beach towel or t-shirt giveaway. No swag this year. Track management said they will be doing something to commemorate the 50th anniversary so we will sit back and wait and see. Fred and Frances Van Lennep made their dreams come true for a harness racing Mecca in south Florida. They would be pretty upset if they could see it today. The track opens up and races live Wednesday and Saturday then add Monday’s on October 14. First race post time is 7:05 pm. Both parking and admission is free. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com

The year was 1971 when, shown in the photo below, driver-trainer Bruce Nickells was all smiles in the Maywood Park winner’s circle after guiding his star pacer Kentucky to a record-breaking mile of 1:58.4 in a second round division of the $120,000 Maywood Pacing Series. Joining Nickells in the winner’s that Friday night was (left) Arthur Galt Jr., president of Maywood Park and (right) executive vice-president Sid Anton. That same year Kentucky won an $20,800 elimination of the American National Maturity Pace at old Sportsman’s Park in 1:59.2 and then came back that same night to capture the $62,400 Final with Nickells in 2:00.3. Kentucky will always be remembered by veteran Chicago circuit racing fans as the horse who pushed Albatross to his world record 1:54.2 mile a year later on the old five-eighths mile track when he finished second behind the horse that paced “the fastest harness race of all-time” on July 2, 1972. Kentucky ended his racing career with $497,270 in purse earnings for his owners Quaker City Stable of Salem, Ohio. By Mike Paradise The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association.

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