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The Southern Harness Racing community and the Southern district in general, has lost a very much loved figure with the death earlier this week of Father Dan Cummings. This was a hard story to start, but having spoken to a host of people who knew Fr Dan well, I’ve been given an insight into this man and feel privileged to be able to reflect that to many who will have known him and valued him. He was a loved family member, priest, and good mate. There’s a lot I didn’t know about, particularly Dan’s life outside of the harness breeding and racing world, but luckily plenty of people have been able to fill in some of the gap, not least of these his sister Julie. Father Dan attended St Kevin’s College in Oamaru as a boarder and upon leaving school, he went home to work on the family farm at Lawrence, before heading to Mosgiel to begin his training for the priesthood. Julie said “He was very close to Mum. She started working on breeding thoroughbreds which he enjoyed and continued (with it) quietly as he continued his training.” Dan had also developed a great love for rodeo, especially calf roping and bulldoging. Training for the priesthood didn’t put a damper on competing; he won numerous titles in the late ‘60s, ‘70s and early 1980’s. “He had a tin calf set up out the back of the Seminary, as local Mosgiel people will tell you, so he could practice his calf roping,” said Julie. Follow rodeo competitor Pat McCarthy of Chatto Creek in Central Otago remembers those early days well. “The first trip I can remember with Danny was that I picked him up after the Millers Flat Rodeo and we drove to Waimate. We had one hell of a trip. We sang songs and laughed the whole way. Just the two of us for the best part of five hours.” He also fondly remembers Dan’s ability to improvise in the days when saddles weren’t tailor-made for rodeo events. “There weren’t many western saddles round in those days. Danny had an old stock saddle -not sure whether it was an Australian breaker or what it was. There was no horn on the front so Danny had a bolt stuck in the pommel. He had it braced back round the seat of the saddle. It was really quite something. Danny used to practice in it. Most people wouldn’t have even got into the saddle let alone trying to rope in it.” In the rodeo world there were road trips, banter in abundance and loads of laughs. Pat continued, “I always associate Danny with the Waimate Rodeo because we used to have a hell of a party at Johnsons Pub. Bill Johnson was a great friend of Danny’s. I remember one night we were in the pub and I said to Danny ‘We should sue you because you married me and you married Bill and none of them turned out.’ You could say things like that to Danny.” Dan also had a few party tricks back in those early days. “Danny was a hell of a gymnast and he kept himself in real good shape. He used to have an act he’d put on in the pub where he’d get up on his hands with his feet in the air and walk along the bar. He was a hard thing and he loved a good time.” McCarthy says he had a deep respect for his follow rider. “Before he went away and became a priest he did a bit of living which a lot of these clergymen didn’t do, so he could relate to anything. I was telling someone the other day ‘If every priest or Preacher was like Danny Cummings, religion would be totally different.” Outside of competing he was also the Secretary of the Outram Rodeo Club for thirteen years and Mid-Canterbury horse trainer Simon Adlam remembers him turning up at his stables proudly wearing the Club’s logo. “He used to rock in here on his way to Christchurch wearing a pair of jeans, a denim shirt with Outram Rodeo on it and a red, white and green Tamizhan cap like the old timers used to wear.  I use to say to people that were here, that they better watch themselves because a priest has just turned up,” Adlam said. As a Catholic Priest in the Otago Diocese he spent some time in many parishes, including St Bernadette’s (Forbury – handy to the race track), Mornington, St Mary’s Kaikorai, Port Chalmers and latterly at St Thomas Aquinas in Winton. “Training to become a priest takes seven years but Danny took two years off in the middle to study for an MA at Otago University,” Julie said. Cummings was in Port Charmers during the 1990 Aramoana Massacre when thirteen people were killed including local policeman Stewart Guthrie. “At that time he was also a Police Chaplain because as a priest they all have other wee jobs. He was very close to Stu and his wife.” Other roles that Dan held included being Hospital Chaplin, and he was in charge of Catholic Education in Otago. Father Dan also spent ten years at the Winton Parish of St Thomas Aquinas where he was able to continue training his pacers which were stabled at Derek Dynes stables. “He loved it down there. He had fond memories of being able to train with Derek. He   got very involved with music for the church, while at Winton. He loved the technical challenge of setting up speakers and sound systems,” Julie said. Dynes son in law Trevor Proctor says although pedigrees were talked about regularly, there was always plenty of other chat. “They used to talk about religion and the other religion (the horses). It used to blow my mind when they talked about breeding. They’d go back years and years. It was unbelievable just listening to them,” he said. Dan held an Open Drivers licence for twenty five seasons. He recorded his only ever win driving Tact Hayley Jane for Dynes at the Wairio meeting in December 2004. “He said ‘I don’t think Derek wanted to win the race so that’s why he put me on.’ He said ‘I drew one on the second line and the horse that drew one (on the front) lead all the way. I think I messed it up for him,” Proctor recalls. And the following day spirits were high at St Thomas Aquinas. “When he won that race Dianne and I got a photo of the win, presented it to him, and it was hung in the church at Winton. On the Sunday after the races he joked that there were more losing tickets on his drive than there was money in the plate.” And Proctor said Dynes was always under pressure to head to church but that was something Dan never quite achieved until the very end. In referring to this, Brent McIntyre from Macca Lodge said “When he was at Winton one of the O’Reilly boys rang Derek and said ‘He’ll get you, he’ll have you going to church every Sunday.’  Old Derek used to say the only way they’ll get me in the church is if they carry me in.” Simon Adlam continued the story – “When Derek passed away, Father Dan took the service. “At Derek’s funeral in Winton the first thing Father Dan said was ‘I finally got ya.” As a priest Dan was required to take a number of sabbaticals and one was to England where he was to stay for nine months, attending a university studying a theological paper, the last three months though were spent at a racing stable In France. Julie said “He didn’t see the need to sit the exam because it wasn’t going to mean anything. So he went to a racing stable in France which he thoroughly enjoyed. He didn’t speak much French so there was a barrier there, but I remember him saying ‘If they give me a grooming brush and a hoof pick I’ll know what they’re saying.’ He was basically the boy. I think he got to sit in the cart a couple of times. As a trainer Father Dan held a training licence for twenty nine years, training seven winners including Petra Star and Maureens Dream. Maureen’s Dream was his first winner at the Tuapeka Meeting at Forbury Park in November 1984. Julie says in his later years Dan returned to live at Lawrence on the home farm, and together with Peter, got great satisfaction in breaking in and training the fillies that the lodge kept and in particular seeing Bonnie Joan perform at the highest level. “He got a huge thrill out of Bonnie. Although rodeo and racing were secondary to his priesthood, in the last few years he’s really enjoyed training the horses. He got a great thrill training two and three year old winners Notaword and Tuapeka Jessie. He never boasted but I think he was quite proud of that.” Notaword won as a two year old at Forbury Park in July 2018 and in November 2019 Tuapeka Jessie won at the same venue as a three year old. Kelvin Harrison with Notaword in America West Otago breeder and trainer John Stiven said when it came to training, one of Cumming’s pet subjects was horses tying up. “He often told me that when he was training from Forbury Park where the horses never got out to grass, he never had any problems with tie ups. When he was at Winton and Lawrence they did. He’s been extremely helpful to me in sorting out Countess Of Arden. He analysed the blood tests we had on her in a totally different way.” Tuapeka Lodge Stud was established in 1965 and since 1977 has been run by Dan, his brother Peter and his sister Julie. “Dan was very aware that it had to pay for itself which it has done over the fifty plus years it’s been operating,” Julie said. Dan, who oversaw the preparation of the stud’s yearlings for the National Sale in Christchurch was a pioneer when it came to publicity using the internet and he was the first to introduce videos for prospective buyers to view. “He liked to push the boundaries by making the videos for Tuapeka Lodge and being the first. He filmed and edited them all himself. He was way ahead of his time. It must be twenty years ago that we started making those videos. He would ride my horse and lead the yearling and we would video it so the people could see the legs and the feet of the horse as they were trotting. He loved the challenge of doing that,” Julie said. Over the years Father Dan has built very strong relationships with a number of people. Perhaps one of the longest is with fellow breeder Brian West who met the Cummings family forty years ago through a work colleague who owned a farm next to Tuapeka Lodge. In 1985 West tried to buy Tuapeka Kay (Smooth Fella – Tuapeka Star) from the Cummings as a foal. “It didn’t happen and we had to buy her at the Sales. So that’s when my connection with the Tuapeka horses began and I met Dan after that.” West says Cummings had a vast knowledge of Standardbred pedigree. “He was a star really. We literally spent thousands of hours talking about what was happening overseas. This of course was way before semen transport and shuttle stallions. We had second rate stallions coming here because at that time racing was thriving in North America. It was very expensive compared to here. On one of my early trips over there horses were grazing on a farm at $12.00 US a day and here it was $1 a day. That gives you a comparison as to where we were in terms of money and strength. In the States the old boys looked after what went on and they looked after their own interests first. That’s why it was so difficult to get stallions to shuttle down under. I mean, who would breed today to an unraced stallion like Vance Hanover. He wouldn’t get a shot especially now days when there’s only about 2000 mares being bred from,” West said. West and Fr Dan enjoyed some trips overseas together, one a month long to North America and Canada with bloodstock agent John Curtin. “We realised during the trip that we were way behind in regards to pedigrees. It was also a great learning exercise for Dan and I because we found out what the American farms were feeding their foals to grow them into good strong yearlings. Nobody here had any idea of what we should be feeding young horses in those early days.” West and Cummings also had a close association at Sale time where their yearling were boxed side by side in the same barn for many years. “In 2008 we actually prepared the yearlings for Tuapeka because Julie and Lew’s farm at Mosgiel where the horses were being prepped was flooded out.” West vividly recalls one standout yearling in the draft that year. “When the yearlings arrived here there was one absolute standout so I phoned Dan and asked him how much he had that yearling insured for. He said $50,000. I told him he should double it. The horse (Tuapeka Mariner) sold for $250,000 so it was a wonderful experience going through that with him as well.” West, Father Dan and Braeden and Caroline Whitelock spent lots of time together. “We did a lot of stuff outside the horse world but we always gravitated back to the horses, pedigrees and families.” After trying for a few years, West finally convinced Dan to go with himself and the Whitelocks to the Breeders Crown in Australia. Fr Dan’s connection with Braeden and Caroline Whitelock who live in the Manawatu, goes back a long way, in fact horse wise, right back to the early 1900’s. It transpires that Braeden’s great great grandfather George Craw owned a horse called Nelson Derby which won the 1915 Great Northern Derby. Unfortunately due to the depression Craw had to sell the horse which ultimately went on to win the 1925 Auckland Cup, but for his new owner. As a sire Nelson Derby sired Single Star which was the grand dam of Hindu Star. Hindu Star’s third foal was Sakuntala (Armbro Del) and co-incidentally Dan’s parents Cliff and Joan bought her in 1974. “When Caroline and I got married we went to see Dan at the Catholic Presbytery in Dunedin. We’d never met him before but we asked him if we could buy a filly. It didn’t come to anything but Dan rang us later and said Tuapeka Star was for sale. Ivan Harris had bought the filly off him a few years before but she hadn’t had a foal for three years,” said Braeden. Subsequently the Whitelocks bought Tuapeka Star and have had great success with the family. She left Braeside Star the grand dam of O Baby which won four Group One races. “We’ve been good friends since. We’ve talked about horses, breeding, and life around many things. He’s (Fr Dan) remarkable to me because he put other people first. He’s done that in his work and his life and hasn’t bothered about material things. His priority has always been the people, their hardships and how he can support them.” I get Whitelock says it was Fr Dan who came up with the idea of a horse trek as a way of supporting well known Christchurch vet Bill Bishop and his wife Helen when they lost their house to a fire. “We got a group of twenty people and trekked from Hawarden to Hanmer Springs over three days, staying in woolsheds. We ended up with a priest, a vet and a couple of Americans. It was great.” “Dan rang one day and said he was a bit bored. I told him that wasn’t a problem.” Braeden purchased Avana which was bought at the 2019 Yearling Sales, and the Cummings took a half share. Dan broke Avana in and worked her up before sending her to Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen at Rolleston where she’s currently in work. Mid Canterbury trainer Simon Adlam has also been a big part of Fr Dan’s life, having trained many Tuapeka horses – the first being Tuapeka Wings in 2004. Their association began on the recommendation of Derek Dynes who spent some time in Mid Canterbury training horses down the road from Robert Cameron whom Adlam worked for. “Dan (asked) Derek when they were both down in Winton if he knew a guy called Simon Adlam. Derek said yeah yeah he’s alright, he’s one of you lot, meaning that I was a Catholic,” said Adlam. Tuapeka Lodge started sending some of it’s race mares north to Adlam. “Often I’d race them through the winter, time trial them and send them back to become broodmares.” Adlam trained good mares Raindowne and Wave Runner for Tuapeka, and with his family he visited Lawrence on a number of occasions. “We called in to see him not long after he’d shifted back to the farm and we took the kids down there because they were educated at a Catholic school. They couldn’t believe a priest could train and would ride horses around a farm. He always had an interest in the kids. This year Caitlin prepared a yearling for the sales and he came over and gave her a few pointers on how to lead the horse round the ring.” Adlam looked forward to getting a call from Dan every fortnight. “He knew what was happening breeding wise and what was going on in America. He was just brilliant.” For the last ten years Macca Lodge has looked after the Tuapeka Lodge broodmares in the spring. After the foals are born and the mares are served they all return to Lawrence. Stud master Brent McIntyre says he always enjoyed visits from Father Dan. “Dan was a straight shooter. He was a great thinker when it came to breeding. He’s done it for a long time so he was an interesting guy to have a yarn too. He would often think outside the square,” he said. McIntyre’s association with Tuapeka Lodge began in the early 2000s when he purchased Jamie (Albert Albert – Tuapeka Tango). Her pedigree goes back to Lumber Dream mare Mains Lady which is another family the Lodge has had great success with. “Both sides of their breed have done a hell of a job. There’s always been a superstar. The family has done a great job in making sure it’s gone ahead.” McIntyre says Dan had a special way with the mares and foals. “He was a great man to come round and inspect his foals especially in the first two weeks when (the mares) are really protective of their foals. But with Dan he’d just walk out in the paddock and say ‘woo stand’ and walk round them and inspect them. It was unreal. He’s the only guy I’ve seen doing that. He must have had a few old rodeo tricks up his sleeve.” However, according to Julie there was one mare he never quite mastered; “Maureens Dream. She was a very strong willed mare. For the ten or so foals she had she would chase the stud master out of the paddock. I remember she was at Peter Cowan’s at Mosgiel once. We told Peter not to go in there but he thought he’d go in on a bike. Well she chased the bike, he dumped it, jumped the fence and she kicked the bike. I remember going with Danny to Wai Eyre and he thought he was cocky enough to walk up to her but he didn’t go too close. So Brent may be right with most mares but not with Maureens Dream,” she said. One of the South’s great successes has been the Southern Bred Southern Reared group of breeders who collaborate to promote southern yearlings that have been prepared for the National Sales in Christchurch. McIntyre says Dan was an integral part of that group. “He going to be missed. He was like the wise old owl. Everyone would be away on a tangent and he would bring them back into line. He had a deep respect.” John and Judy Stiven from Arden Lodge in West Otago also had a close relationship with Father Dan. “We’re really going to miss him at Arden Lodge because when he was down this way he’d would call us from the ‘Koi (Waikoikoi) and say ‘I’m fifteen minutes away, get the billy on.’ “He liked Judy’s baking. He would have a yarn about this and that and then say he needed to get going,” Stiven said. Father Dan at Arden Lodge – Photo Judy Stiven John was one of the founders of Southern Bred Southern Reared and he said initially Dan wasn’t part of the group, but once he joined he really enjoyed the company. “He enjoyed working with a positive group. His experience doing banners on the website was great for us but he still liked to have his Tuapeka Lodge banners up first, and he’d always remind us of the extra hits his site got. One of his strengths was to listen and then sum up on everything that had been said. I guess he learn that by being in the Priesthood. He’ll be greatly missed by SBSR.” Over the last few years Tuapeka Lodge has reduced the numbers of mares the stud breeds, and Bloodstock agent John Curtin recently sold their last three race horses. The Stud is the longest continuous vendor at the National Sales in Christchurch and over its fifty five years of operation it produced an incredible ten sales toppers. 1977: Columbus (Bachelor Hanover – Sakuntala colt) $26,000 1979: Young Tala (Young Charles – Sakuntala colt) $20,000 1985: Tuapeka Direct (Smooth Fella – Sakuntala colt) $81,000 1987: Tuapeka Kay (Sooth Fella – Tuapeka Star filly) $180,000 1990: Ermis (Smooth Fella – Tuapeka Star colt) $34,000 1991: Kokona (Vance Hanover – Maureen’s Dream filly) $25,000 1993: Urrain (Vance Hanover – Marsa Star colt) $85,000 1994: Iraklis (Vance Hanover –Tuapeka Star colt) $88,000 1999: Lavros Harrier (Falcon Seelster – Marsa Star colt) $170,000 2008: Tuapeka Mariner (Christian Cullen-Seamoon colt) $250,000 “He got a huge delight out of seeing them well presented and well behaved,” Julie said of Dan who prepared most of the Tuapeka yearlings. Sakuntala (Armbro Del – Hindu Star) bought by Dan’s parents Cliff and Joan in 1974 from Templeton breeder Ted Graham was certainly the backbone to the stud’s success. Julie says Dan got a great thrill out of watching the many yearlings he prepared turn into outstanding racehorses. However in later years it was Bonnie Joan that held a special place for him. The Somebeachsomewhere mare won ten races; seven as a three year old and she earned $210,464. One of the most satisfying wins for the family was her winning of the 2017 Southland Oaks Final. Bonnie Joan and Dexter Dunn after winning the 2017 Southland Oaks -Photo Bruce Stewart. Julie Davie, Peter Cummings, Dan Cummings, Brent McIntyre, Sheree McIntyre and Jed Mooar – Photo Bruce Stewart Dan said after the win, “Even when she qualified on the grass at Balfour she seemed to be stronger. She’s got a great cruising speed and looks relaxed. The other feature she’s got is gait speed, and she doesn’t have to grind to get to the front. She seems to be able to do it, and then they leave her alone which is great.” “She’s the best filly we’ve raced in our own name,” he added. Dan was able to see Bonnie Joan’s first foal after he was born at Macca Lodge, and Julie said when the colt came home to the farm he was right proud. “He’s a cracker, just stunning and Danny was very very proud of him. I’m not on the farm, but he rang me and said the colt was a real beaut. He’ll probably be called Tuapeka Dan but we haven’t done that yet,” she said. Dan loved a feed of oysters and he loved to go skiing with the family. “Dan, Chris, Peter and Jim (their brothers) did like to go fast.” In his last days Fr Dan had many visitors. Along with other friends, the committee of Southern Bred Southern Reared called into the Lodge to say their goodbyes to him as did Brian West and the Whitelocks. “People round New Zealand came to see him in the end. They all had to go and see his foals. He was pretty proud of them,” said Julie. “Caroline, Brian West and I and a few other friends were lucky enough to go and see him a few weeks ago and spend the weekend with him. It was a very unique time to spend with him, just before the lockdown,” said Braeden Whitelock. “It was extremely difficult saying goodbye to him. He was just a lovely kind generous man.” said West. People from all around New Zealand are sad to say goodbye to Dan Cummings. He had a wonderful presence, and he made his mark in the best possible way on all those he encountered, no matter what the circumstances. We were all very fortunate to know him. Rest in peace Father Dan. By Bruce Stewart

Billy Johnston will be remembered as the most important and influential individual in the history of pari-mutuel harness racing in Illinois and a pillar of the sport in North America for a half century. “I started working with Billy in 1965 and for the next 50 years we had a sometimes contentious but very successful relationship,” said Phil Langley, who served as USTA president from 2003-16. “In my opinion, the success of harness racing in Illinois was due to Billy’s promotional instincts and time after time coming up with new ideas.” The man who left an indelible imprint on the sport died on March 26, 2020 at age 84. “He was a genius in this industry,” said Illinois Circuit Court Judge Lorna Propes, a member of the Illinois Racing Board for 17 years starting in 1989 and its chairman from 2003-06. Johnston’s 45 years of service as a USTA director was exceeded in longevity only by Corwin Nixon’s 47 years. From the mid-1960s through 1997 Johnston headed the Chicago Downs Associations and Fox Valley Trotting Club meetings at Sportsman’s Park, firmly establishing it as one of the premier harness tracks in North America until the sport was discontinued in October 1997. At times during the 1970s Sportsman’s harness meetings outhandled the matinee meeting at one of the nation’s premier Thoroughbred tracks, Arlington Park, located in the same metropolitan Chicago market. “There is no denying that Sportsman’s is one of the most progressive tracks in the nation, striving to do its best for racing buffs and the Chicago racing community,” Jerry Connors wrote in the September 1984 issue of Hoof Beats. The same could be said for Maywood Park and Balmoral Park when Johnston headed the chain-of-command at those Chicago circuit tracks. In 1977 he put together the ownership group of Pat Flavin, Dick Roggeveen, Lester McKeever and Sid Anton that secured a long-term lease to race at Maywood. Early in 1987, under his leadership, members of that ownership group joined with Hawthorne Race Course owners Tom and Bob Carey and members of the family of the New York Yankees’ principal owner, George Steinbrenner, to buy Balmoral Park. Originally all of the Chicago area track owner/operators were planning to pool their resources to buy Balmoral from Edward J. DeBartolo but then Arlington owner Dick Duchossois threw a curveball by announcing he had reached an independent agreement to buy the track. Encouraged by his son, John, Johnston immediately contacted Steinbrenner, with whom he’d established a friendly relationship during visits to one of the four dog tracks he co-owned in Florida. Steinbrenner was eager to stay involved in racing. He had been a 48 percent owner of the Thoroughbred track Tampa Bay Downs before being outbid by his 52 percent partner, Stella Thayer, when they put the track up for auction in December 1996 and she then took control. When Johnston made the Balmoral pitch, he was receptive. Steinbrenner’s family and a business associate invested 50 percent of the $8 million that Johnston offered DeBartolo for the track. DeBartolo felt he owed Steinbrenner a favor and pulled out of the deal with Duchossois. While Steinbrenner had the reputation of being a control fanatic, he announced: “What we do at Balmoral is up to Billy Johnston. I’ll get him the sponsors. After that I don’t have anything to do with it.” Later the Steinbrenner family bought out the Carey brothers’ shares in Balmoral and the holdings of Flavin and Roggeveen in Balmoral and Maywood. “They worked together very well,” Roggeveen said of the Johnston/Steinbrenner partnership. “Billy knew the business through and through and Steinbrenner added a little more muscle. Billy loved the business. He was a natural for it and Phil Langley was hand in glove with Billy in everything.” “I know it will surprise some but Billy was great to work with and very supportive, a good friend for many years,” Langley said. Like Steinbrenner, former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar had great respect for Johnston. “I enjoyed being around Balmoral,” said Edgar, who bred and owned Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds before and after his two terms as governor (1991-99). “Billy was probably as smart a businessman as anybody I ran into in the horse business. I always thought he was a resourceful guy to deal with. “He knew what he had to do to make the tracks viable. He kept an eye on the bottom line so they could stay in business. He wasn’t going to give away any money; you knew that up front. At the same time you always knew he wouldn’t ask for everything. He’d be willing to compromise. If he had to do a compromise with the other tracks or the horsemen you knew he could work something out. “I always found him to be a good person to have in racing.” Johnston headed the hierarchy during the heyday of Illinois harness racing at Sportsman’s in the 1970s and later at Balmoral and Maywood from 1998 through 2015. With him at the helm, Maywood inaugurated its richest and most prestigious race, the Windy City Pace, in 1983 and hosted the inaugural Breeders Crown 2-year-old filly pace in 1984. The following year Sportsman’s was the site of the inaugural Breeders Crown older trot. Johnston’s Sportsman’s and Maywood/Balmoral management teams conducted harness racing after pari-mutuel racing was introduced at the State Fairs at Du Quoin and Springfield and they inaugurated the state’s richest Standardbred race, the World Trotting Derby, in 1981 to replace the Hambletonian, which moved from its long-time home in Du Quoin to The Meadowlands that year. The $700,000 purse for the 1991 World Trotting Derby is an Illinois record that still stands. ‘They did a great job of running the fairs,” Judge Propes said. “They made those into national meets and did a lot of innovative things there to interest fans and push the industry forward. Billy was a true innovator, so prolific and always looking for something to improve.” Year after year the American-National series races lured the finest horses in North America to Sportsman’s and later Balmoral, as did the Windy City Pace at Maywood and the World Trotting Derby and the World Trotting Derby Filly Division at Du Quoin (before they were discontinued following their 2009 renewals because of the state’s continuing budget crisis). In 1988 Sportsman’s had 24 stakes races — 16 of which had purses of $100,000 or more — and stakes purses totaled $3.5 million. The caliber of horses who came to Sportsman’s and Balmoral for the American-Nationals was significantly superior to that which Arlington and Hawthorne attracted for their graded stakes races for Thoroughbreds (with the exception of 1986 when the 13-day tent meeting at Arlington was the greatest in Illinois Thoroughbred history and in 2002 when it hosted the Breeders’ Cup). Albatross in 1972 set his world record of 1:54.3 at Sportsman’s on his way to his second straight Horse of the Year title and such national brandnames as Rambling Willie, Falcon Seelster, Incredible Finale and Pacific later made it their home track. When Sportsman’s introduced the Super Night stakes race extravaganza for Illinois-breds in 1989 it immediately became the biggest night of the year in Illinois harness racing. Super Night’s great success continued at Balmoral after Sportsman’s ceased harness racing following its 1997 meeting for its brief and ill-fated $60 million transformation into an auto racing/Thoroughbred racing venue known as Chicago Motor Speedway. The $3,777,549 bet on Super Night on Sept. 16, 2000 at Balmoral stands as the highest harness handle in the pari-mutuel history of the sport in Illinois that dates back to 1946 at Maywood. “Billy was very persistent and very beneficial for racing in Illinois,” said Dr. Ken Walker, a former member of the USTA board of directors whose Walker Standardbreds is the state’s foremost Standardbred breeding farm. “Phil would throw stuff at him and Billy would take off with it.” In 1992 Balmoral enhanced its stakes schedule by adding the tradition-rich Hanover Stakes, which had led a nomadic existence after being introduced at Lexington in 1947. Before being consolidated and finding a home at Balmoral divisions of the Hanover were raced at Liberty Bell, Freestate Raceway, The Meadows, Rosecroft Raceway and Meadowlands. In 1995 Balmoral held races in conjunction with the World Driving Championships and its leading driver, Dave Magee, won the competition. The emphasis on quality wasn’t confined to the major racing events. After buying Balmoral, Johnston and his partners invested more than $10 million in renovations and upgrades. The clubhouse and grandstand were refurbished; the five-eighths-mile track was replaced with a one mile track; the hub rail was removed; a state-of-the-art lighting system was installed; and a new receiving barn and paddock were constructed adjacent to the grandstand to accommodate the 120 horses on a typical racing card. “As a track operator Billy was par excellence,” remembered Lester McKeever, who went on to become president of Harness Tracks of America after partnering with Johnston in the Maywood and Balmoral ownership groups. “He wasn’t always easy to get along with but he was a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful man of integrity. Integrity was so important to him.” One of the measures Johnston took to ensure the integrity of the racing product was installation of a computerized diagnostic machine for pre-race testing for “milk-shaking,” the practice of tube-feeding a baking soda solution to horses about four hours before they race to block a buildup of lactic acid and thereby increase their resistance to fatigue by allowing access to oxygen reserves. Similar testing subsequently was adopted by other jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada. Johnston and Langley’s innovations set the stage for off-track betting parlors in Illinois. At Sportsman’s in 1984 they pioneered inter-track simulcast betting with the Chicago Thoroughbred tracks. Using the argument that off-track betting parlors would be an extension of the inter-track betting network by allowing each track to have two satellite facilities within a 35-mile radius of the parent track, Johnston was instrumental in persuading the legislature to legalize OTB making Illinois the first state where it wasn’t government-run. Balmoral opened the first parlor in Peoria in 1987. In the fall of 1991 Maywood and Balmoral introduced dual-simulcasting on Friday and Saturday nights, a precursor to full-card simulcasting (that began in Illinois in 1995). The dual simulcasting programs at the mile track Balmoral would begin at 7:45 p.m., those at its little sister half-mile track Maywood would start at 8 p.m. and they would alternate races every 10 minutes until midnight. Johnston also had Balmoral and Maywood rotating racing nights. In addition to Friday and Saturday, Balmoral would have programs on Sunday and Tuesday and Maywood would race on Monday and Wednesday. This was in keeping with Johnston’s long-held conviction that racing six nights a week at the same location is detrimental to the sport. “There are too many races and there are horses and horsemen who really can’t make a go of it,” Connors quoted him as saying in the 1984 Hoof Beats story. “We have to start emphasizing quality over quantity. Everybody has to cut back.” Although calling for cutbacks sometimes put him in conflict with the leaders of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association, he earned the enduring respect of Mickey Izzo, currently projects manager of the Illinois Racing Board and formerly executive secretary of the IHHA. “I was executive secretary of the IHHA from 1985-1998, I sat through many contract negotiations with him and what I can say about Billy was that he was tough but fair,” Ezzo said. Illinois Racing Board member Tom McCauley had a similar experience when he served as the legal counsel for Arlington. “I negotiated with him from time to time and I always liked him,” McCauley recalled. “Billy was a force of nature. Some people found that off-putting but it kind of energized me. He always was a straight shooter in negotiations. He did an awful lot for harness racing.” One of the reasons Johnston knew all of the ins and outs of racing was because of his family background and because of his experience as a harness driver, owner, trainer and breeder. His father, William Johnston Sr., was one of the founding fathers when the Hawthorne Kennel Club was remade into a Thoroughbred track in 1932 and renamed Sportsman’s Park. He went on to become president of Sportsman’s National Jockey Club in 1947 and served until 1967. Sportsman’s was used exclusively for Thoroughbred racing until 1949 when it added harness racing (three years after Maywood inaugurated pari-mutuel betting on the sport in Illinois). Langley’s father, Pete Langley, was a steward at the harness meeting and subsequently became a member of the track’s management team, working closely with Billy’s father in much the same way the sons started doing 20 years later and continued doing until 2015. By the early 1950s Billy was showing up at the track with regularity. After high school he went to the University of Miami (Fla.), where he also furthered his racing education by frequenting the greyhound and Thoroughbred tracks during the winter. After graduating from Miami in 1957 he fulfilled what in the era of the draft was known as “his military obligation” in the Coast Guard and was discharged in 1961. By then he was immersed in harness racing. Johnston recalled in a Chicago Tribune interview that he drove “for about a dozen years,” winning his first race at Maywood and his last at Washington Park. “That was before catch-driving became a big thing,” he said. “There were a lot of guys like me who drove their own horses.” William H. Johnston Jr. first appears in the USTA archives as a driver in 1958 but he probably drove earlier because prior to that year only drivers with 25 or more purse starts had their information recorded. The archives have him driving in 153 races from 1958 through 1966 and recording 20 triumphs, 13 seconds and 19 thirds and earning $22,047 in purses. By far his best year was 1958 when he won nine of 53 starts and had $8,329 in earnings. “The first horse I had was Key Club,” he said. “It was around 1954. Del Miller sent her to me after she made breaks at Roosevelt Raceway. She was considered dangerous and unmanageable. I was told ‘put her nose on the gate and hold on’ and I did what I was told. She won and paid around $44 and her time was the fastest of the night but it was no great time.” Stormy Bidwill succeeded the ailing William Johnston Sr. as president of the National Jockey Club in 1967. Thereafter Bidwill focused solely on Thoroughbred racing, while Billy Johnston continued to concentrate on harness racing with Phil Langley (who became race secretary in 1964) working as his right hand man. “Billy was an extremely good promoter and he got along well with all the big names in racing,” Langley said. “People don’t give him enough credit for all he did.” Just as Billy Johnston followed his father into racing so did his sons, John and Duke. After he moved up to chairman of the board in the 1990s John succeeded him as president of Balmoral and Duke succeeded him as president of Maywood. Like their father, both were innovators and they maintained the high standard of excellence that he had set during his years as a mover and shaker. “Billy’s tentacles reached throughout the industry and he had a great deal of respect from everyone, knowing he was not a pushover but also knowing he was fair,” said his former partner McKeever. “His word was his bond.” “Billy was very open-minded and very willing to come to self-examination,” said McCauley, speaking from both the perspective of his present position as a Racing Board member and his former position as Arlington’s attorney in which he often was an adversary at the bargaining table. “Billy would test ideas and he was thorough in his investigations. “In my evaluation he was very, very good for Illinois racing. I can’t think of anyone who can take his place.” by Neil Milbert Courtesy of the United States Trotting Association

Lochie Marshall –  A club man through and through Harness racing stalwart Lochie Marshall is being remembered as a tireless worker for the industry. Born “Lachlan MacArthur Marshall” he died in his home town of Geraldine this week after a battle with Leukaemia. He had a long association with the sport, as a race-caller, trainer, and administrator. He was a past president and life member of the Geraldine Trotting Club, which is currently celebrating its 150th year.  “He was part of the club’s fabric,” says current Geraldine president Mark Weaver, “the sort that makes every club stick together.” “As a builder his skills were handy …... and the number of trials and work-outs he organised, well god knows how many.” As a commentator Marshall was described as a “chanter” and he was a regular at racetracks and on the airwaves.  He called his first races in 1964 as a 19 year old and while South Canterbury and Central Otago were his most common gigs, he did have stints further afield at Forbury Park, Hutt Park and Riccarton.   He commentated until the early nineties, about the same time he started training winners. He had 13 wins from 196 starters, exclusively with trotters. His most successful association was with Missie Castleton. She has had 81 starts for six wins and $62,701 in stakes. Marshall trained her up until his deteriorating health forced him to transfer her to other stables. Harness Racing New Zealand says “Lochie was very well known and very respected throughout the industry and his craft will be sadly missed by all.”

Born on May 9, 1994, Mr. Harris resided in Forest, Mississippi. Growing up with a love of horses, Mr. Harris learned the sport of harness racing from his uncle, Chad Parker. Mr. Harris started his career by grooming for various stables and then going on to earn his trainer/driver license. Racing at tracks such as Thunder Ridge, Bluegrass Downs, The Red Mile, Mr. Harris also participated in multiple fair circuits; Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. Recently Mr. Harris had been working as a groom for Jamie Macomber at Hoosier Park in Anderson, Indiana. Harris is survived by his mother, Melissa Lefore and father, Calvin Harris. He also has five siblings, Cornelius, Courtney, Kei'Erika, Kanosha and JaMyia, Mr. Harris also left behind his young son, Kharson Harris. A Celebration of Life ceremony has been scheduled for Saturday (2/8), 1pm CST at TrueLight M.B. Church, 1120 School Street, Walnut Grove, MS 39189. Floral arrangements and condolences may be sent to Mapp Funeral Home, 1050 E 5th Street, Forest, MS 39074.   Tara Spach    

Harness racing trainer Liza Milina passed away peacefully on 11 December 2019 after a long battle with illness at the age of 54. Liza was best known in harness racing circles as the owner-trainer of Moment Of Truth, an ageless trotting gelding who was still winning races as a fourteen year old. Liza's farewell will be held at North Shore Memorial Park, 235 Schnapper Rock Rd, Albany at 1pm on Wednesday 18 December.    Harnesslink Media

By Jonny Turner Otago harness racing lost one of its most successful trainers and drivers when Ali Malcolmson died in Dunedin on Sunday, aged 80. The Tomahawk horseman was a high achiever in his home province and in big races on the national stage during his career of more than 50 years. Malcolmson gained his first win training and driving win at Ascot Park in 1968. He went on to 319 races as a trainer and 399 races as a driver.  101 of the horseman’s training victories came at Forbury Park. Malcolmson scored his first victory there with Treasure Girl in 1972. He was involved in the trialling of horses while lights were being established at the venue at that time. Malcolmson’s last victory on his home track came in 2017 with Mr Majestic. His last victory as a driver came at Forbury Park with French Desire in 2014. Forbury Park Trotting Club board member, Marty Denton, said Malcolmson had a made a massive impact on the club. Malcolmson was a highly talented and respected horseman and the pair had become friends during their involvement in the industry, Denton said. By 1978, Malcolmson had risen to competing on the national stage with open class trotter Our One. Three years later, Vita Man has the trainer-driver in the national limelight again. Vita Man won the 1981 Flying Stakes at Addington and ran second in the Great Northern Derby. That earned Malcolmson one of two trips he made campaigning horses in Australia. Malcolmson also produced Vita Man to win the Ashburton Flying Stakes, who beat that year's New Zealand Cup winner, Bonnie's Chance, by more than six lengths. Malcolmson also competed in some of New Zealand’s best races with Beau’s Delight, Stormy Fella and Matthew Lee. The horseman drove those horses and many others in group and listed events. Malcolmson combined with Forbury Park trainer, Kevin Court, to win the 1989 Sapling Stakes and the 1990 Southern Supremacy Stakes with Seafield Inca. He also won the 1991 Kindergarten Stakes with Rarest for trainers Henry Skinner and Alan Devery. Otago-Southland Trainers And Drivers Association president, Geoff Knight, said Malcolmson would be remembered as a talented and humble trainer. “He was an absolute legend of his time.” “He was a great man that achieved a lot in the industry and did a lot for racing in Otago and at Forbury Park.” “He prepared a lot of good horses in his time and he was a very good trainer.” Malcolmson was a fierce competitor on the track, but away from it he was highly respected. “He was an absolute gentleman off the track and had the respect of all of the local trainers and drivers,” Knight said.  Most recently, the trainer-driver had trained a small team of his own horses at his Tomahawk stable. Malcolmson’s funeral will be held in Dunedin on Friday. Reprinted with permission of Harness Racing New Zealand

Harness racing has lost one of its most energetic and passionate leaders, with the death of Danny Frawley in a single car crash at Bungaree, near Ballarat, on Monday. Frawley was among a new seven-person board appointed to Harness Racing Victoria in 2016 and, as well as his administrative role, he was an avid owner who promoted the sport at every opportunity. The former AFL great - ex St Kilda champion player and Richmond coach - died at the scene when his car hit a tree at Millbrook, 20 kilometres east of Ballarat, about 1.30 pm. He was the only occupant of the vehicle. Frawley had a long history in harness racing, growing up in the industry at Bungaree. His late father Brian was a breeder, owner and trainer, who raced champion pacer Vanderport. Brian Frawley, who died three years ago, was a life member of the Ballarat and District Trotting Club, where he had served as president. Danny Frawley was passionately committed to the future of harness racing, and, as with everything he took on, he worked tirelessly and invested of himself. He formed a high-profile ownership group of media and sports luminaries which purchased top performers including a share late last year in superstar pacer Shadow Sax, with the goal of promoting the Victoria Cup. The Stable of Stars group was managed by Frawley and included AFL Women's champion and rising star boxer Tayla Harris, Essendon key defender Michael Hurley, Channel 7's Hamish McLachlan, SEN radio's Garry Lyon and Tim Watson, former champion trainer Peter Tonkin and Sky Racing's Brittany Graham, as well as Garry's father Peter Lyon, who has strong family links to harness racing. Shadow Sax went amiss in the Victoria Cup, but went on to take out the Sokyola Sprint and the Poplar Alm Free For All in November. Harnesslink sends its condolences to the Frawley family. Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

STICKNEY, IL - A fixture on the Illinois circuit for many years, harness racing driver Tim Curtin passed away last night at the age of 61. Currently tied for second in the driver standings at Hawthorne with 23 wins on the meet, Curtin had an illustrious career that spanned back into the late 1970's. Curtin drove home 3,245 horses to victory during his driving career of over 40 years for $22,749,563 in career earnings. Curtin also trained another 30 winners in that timespan as well. His best season for victories came in 1997 when he drove 219 winners on the year while in 2008 he had a career year for earnings with $1,900,785. In 2019, Tim had been the regular driver for top Illinois-bred Meyer on Fire, along with Jazzie Babe, a winner of four of her first five starts to open her career. Tim's son Pat had driven and trained in Illinois for many years as well. A moment of silence will be held in Tim's memory prior to the start of races on Friday evening at Hawthorne. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opened on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller  

Lorraine C. Muscara, departed this life peacefully at home, on Thursday, May 16, 2019.  She was ninety years of age and born in the Olney section of Philadelphia.  She was the daughter of the late Robert and Freda Eakin.  She was a longtime resident of Huntingdon Valley.   Lorraine enjoyed horse racing with her husband and family and was a member of US Trotting  Association.  She also loved spending time at her condo in Florida with her late husband and children.  Lorraine was the beloved wife of Joseph V. Muscara for sixty-five years before his death in 2014.  She was the devoted mother of Joseph Muscara (Johanna), Cheryl Rondinelli (John), Lorraine Muscara (Mark Heron), Robert Muscara (Barbara) and Mark Muscara (Kristie).   She was the loving grandmother of Denise, Gina, Matthew, Cheryl Ann, Tracy, Joseph, Mark, Isabella, Nick and Caroline.   She was very much loved by her husband, children and grandchildren and will be truly missed by all who knew her. Condolences and memories may be left at www.lambfuneralhomeinc.com.  

BRENNAN - Bernard Francis, VMD, of Hobe Sound, FL died peacefully at age 97, April 26, 2019, surrounded by loving family and friends following a stroke on April 16, 2019. Born in Plainfield, NJ, the youngest of three sons of Irish immigrants, Martin Brennan and Elizabeth (nee) O'Shea.    Bernie was a true gentleman who inspired all who knew him with his patience, kindness, humility and humor. A graduate of University of South Dakota (1943) and University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (1946), he began his veterinary practice in Aiken, SC. In 1953 he moved to Westbury, NY where he established his equine practice at Roosevelt Raceway where he was supervising veterinarian and opened a surgical hospital.    Dr. Brennan was an active member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners since its founding in 1954 and served as its President in 1979. He held professional leadership positions in both the New York and New Jersey State Veterinary Associations. Bernard was a long standing member of the Knights of Columbus. He enjoyed sports both as an athlete and an avid sports fan, especially horseracing, football and baseball. He enjoyed golf in his retirement and was a member of the Lost Lake Country Club in Hobe Sound, FL.    He is mourned by his surviving children Barbara Ford, Elizabeth (Robert) Wentzell, Bernard F. Jr., Mary Christine (Bruce) Hagy, Michael (Gayle), Patrick, Nancy, and Brian (Amanda) as well as 21 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his beloved wife of 63 years Florence Thorson Brennan (d.2007) and three daughters, Constance (d.1987), Theresa (d.2014) and Maureen (d.2014).    Visitation Thursday, May 2nd from 2-4 pm & 7-9pm Donohue Cecere Funeral Home, 290 Post Avenue, Westbury. Mass of Christian Burial 11 am St. Brigid's Church, 75 Post Avenue, Westbury, NY. Burial follows at Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, stjude.org or to American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation. Foundation.AAEP.org   Published in Newsday on Apr. 28, 2019

Chester V. Ault, 104, of Chattanooga was born in 1914 on a “frosty December day” in Cedar Bluff, Alabama. He was a long-time resident of Chattanooga, where his many ventures included founding a chain of Ault Hardware and Appliance Stores, developing North Crest Estates on Missionary Ridge and management of Ault Properties where he worked until his death at age 104. Chester was a great lover of nature. Famous for his beautiful dahlias and tasty tomatoes, he had a life-long respect for animals of all kinds. He traveled widely throughout the world visiting 11 African countries. There he not only spent time with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, but hunted big game in Botswana.  He was an avid quail hunter who worked diligently to restore the quail population in Lookout Valley. A world traveler, Chester loved to entertain with his stories of climbing the Great Pyramid and traveling down the Amazon. However, Rome was to be his favorite city, where he returned 5 times to trace the life and death of St. Paul. Chester came into international prominence in 1971 while he and his first wife Katie were managing the harness racing stable of the Dave L. Brown Trust.  It was under their leadership that Steady Star became the fastest harness horse in the world and held the world record for 10 years. In 1997, both the horse and Chester were featured in Sports Illustrated and on CNN. Steady Star and driver Joe O'Brien setting a world's record, 1971 Proud to have served his country during World War II in the Army Air Corp, Chester was very interested in the history of the United States, learning that he was a descendant of both William Brewster and Isaac Allerton who arrived in 1620 on the Mayflower. He was a lifetime member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars. During his lifetime, Chester was a member of First Centenary United Methodist Church, the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club, Fairyland Club, The Walden Club and the Dahlia Society. He was a former member of the Brainerd Kiwanis Club and the Jaycees. He is survived by his wife Rosemary Wilbanks Ault, his daughter Cathie Ault Kasch, and two grandchildren Katie Kasch Bien (Keith) of Wildwood, GA and Andrew David Kasch of Hollywood, California as well as four great-grandchildren, Zoë and Mia Kasch and Tala and Silas Bien. He also leaves behind stepchildren Robert Wilbanks, Emmaly Wilbanks Manuel (Joe) and three step- grandchildren Meredith, Wil and Mary Melissa Manuel.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, Katie Brown Ault, his son, Van Robert Ault, his sister, Catherine Ault Gill and brother, Hugh Ault, Sr. The funeral service will be held on Monday, April 22, at 3 p.m. at First Centenary United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 1–3 p.m. at the church. Graveside service to follow at Forest Hills Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to First Centenary United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 208, Chattanooga, TN 37401. Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, Battlefield Parkway.

Saratoga Springs, NY – George J. Karam passed away on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Born on September 4, 1958 in Rome, NY he was the son of the late George B. and Elizabeth (Abounader) Karam. George was a 1976 graduate of Rome Free Academy and for many years ran the family business, Thrifty Food Store. On December 5, 1997 he married his love, Joy Rolewicz, and together they moved to Saratoga Springs.  George had a lifelong passion for harness racing and horse ownership which led to a career in training and racing horses in Upstate NY. He also served as president of the Saratoga Harness Horseperson’s Association. This in turn led to his dream job of judging harness races. At the time of his passing he was the Presiding Judge at Yonkers Raceway.  Family was everything to George and his love, passion and special bond with his son was undeniable. His greatest joy was watching him excel into The Voice of the Saints and following all the local sports at Saratoga Catholic Central where Brandon is presently a junior.  Survivors include his wife Joy and beloved son Brandon; two brothers Douglas (Fredice) Karam of Rochester Hills, MI and Joseph (Jennifer) Karam of Bannockburn, Illinois; his sister Genevieve (Frank) Tallarino of Rome, NY; sister-in-law Jill (Henry) Koziarz of Rome, NY; step-mother Madeline Karam of Utica, NY and several nieces and nephews.  Relatives and friends may call from 3 to 7pm Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes, 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs (518-584-5373).  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10am Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the historic Church of St. Peter, 241 Broadway by Rev. Thomas H. Chevalier, pastor. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family.  In lieu of flowers please consider donations to an education fund set up for “Brandon R. Karam”, c/o Catskill Hudson Bank, 2452 State Route 9 Suite 104, Malta, NY 12020 (518-289-5463).

Big Rock, IL – Harness racing trainer Mark D. Fransen, 64 of Big Rock passed away March 28, 2019 at his home. Graveside services will be Tuesday (April 2) at 10:00 a.m., at Troy Grove Cemetery, Troy Grove, IL. Merritt Funeral Home, Mendota, IL is handling arrangements. Mr. Fransen was born August 21, 1954 in Mendota, IL to Logan and Cecil (Carney) Fransen. He trained two horses which were inducted into the IHHA Hall of Fame: Plum Peachy (1995) and Broadway Preview (2001). Plum Peachy also earned honors as 1990 Illinois Horse of the Year. He trained the winners of nine Super Night races in Chicago and four winners of the prestigious Maywood Pace. He also trained Illinois State Fair champions Buck and Wing and Skipalong Misty. He trained horses which set track records at Sportsman’s Park, Maywood Park, Balmoral Park, Quad City Downs and the Illinois State Fair. Mr. Fransen was known to racing fans across the state for his versatility as a trainer. His multi-faceted skill set enabled him to excel with colts and fillies, trotters and pacers, and both stakes colts and older horses. He is survived by his daugher Melanie Fransen of Midway, KY; his sister Sandy (Stephen) Arkels of Princeton and his brother Terry (Ellen) Fransen of Utica. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Gary and his sister Judy. Memorial contributions can be made to the family at Resource Bank in Mr. Fransen’s name. USTA Communications Department

LEBANON, OH - Andy Ray, a recent addition to the harness racing open trotters ranks at Miami Valley Raceway, captured the $25,000 Barry Langley Memorial on Sunday afternoon, March 10. The 7-year-old gelding, who banked $175,343 racing primarily at Yonkers Raceway in 2018, was greeted in an emotional makeshift backstretch winner's circle by over 100 of Langley's family, friends and fellow horsemen still in shock over the sudden and unexpected passing of the likeable trainer on Wednesday at age 33. Driver Elliott Deaton chose the gate-to-wire strategy for favored Andy Ray's second local start and the altered son of Crazed responded with a 1:55.2 front-stepping triumph. 11-1 longshot Flight Of The Kiwi (Brett Miller) made a gallant first-over attempt to wear down the winner, but fell one-half length short at the finish. Pine Dream (Chris Page), the winner of the last two top weekly trots, managed a two-hole trip despite an assigned outside post position, but could find no racing room late and settled for the show dough. Yinson Quezada owns Andy Ray, who is trained by Anette Lorentzon. He now sports 22 wins in 110 career starts good for earnings of $545,735. Andy Ray holds off Flight Of The Kiwi to capture the Barry Langley Memorial Open Trot Calling hours for Barry Langley will be from 5-9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at the Shorten & Ryan Funeral Home, 400 Reading Rd., Mason, Ohio. Funeral services will take place at the funeral home at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. A Celebration of Barry Langley's Life will follow the funeral in the banquet room attached to the old Race Office building at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon. Memorial donations are suggested to the Barry Langley Fund, earmarked to benefit Barry's beloved four-year-old daughter Lucy Jean. Contributions will be collected at the calling hours, the post-funeral Celebration gathering, or can be mailed to: Barry Langley Fund, c/o Lebanon Citizens National Bank, P. O. Box 59, Lebanon, OH 45036. Gregg Keidel  

LEBANON, OH - Miami Valley Raceway and its horsemen and women will pay tribute to their dear friend and fellow harness racing horseman Barry Langley during the Sunday (March 10) afternoon matinee. Langley passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in Lebanon, Ohio, on Wednesday at the age of just 33. The $25,000 Open Trot (approximate 6th race post time 3:30 p.m.) has been renamed the Barry Langley Memorial. Following the race the winner will be surrounded in a makeshift winner's circle on the backstretch by Barry's multitude of friends and fellow horsemen to remember their friend. The likeable 6'5" Langley was known to all as either "Gentle Giant" or "Big Chief," due to his native American Indian heritage. He had no enemies, just friends-and lots of them. The apple of Barry's eye was definitely his four-year-old daughter Lucy Jean who he loved with all his heart and soul. The local horsemen at Miami Valley have already established the Lucy Jean Langley Trust Fund and contributions are pouring in with loving tributes from owners, drivers, trainers and caretakers who Barry befriended in his horse-related travels throughout North American over the past 15 years. Rest In Peace, Big Chief! Gregg keidel    

Lawrence (Larry) E. Marsh (86), founder of the first Arlington Million, co-founder of Hollywood Park Racetrack in Los Angeles, member of both the IHHA Illinois Harness Racing Hall of Fame and the Illinois Standardbred Racing Hall of Fame, and most eligible bachelor from coast to coast passed away peacefully in his home in Safford, AZ on Saturday February 16th.   Son of the late Ernest S. Marsh, President and Chairman of the Santa Fe Railway, and Agnes LaLonde Marsh, loving brother of Jack, Peggy (Lambert), Neva Jo (Schiltz), and Colleen (McCarthy), Larry is survived by his adoring 14 nieces and nephews, their many children, and their many more children’s children.  Larry’s love for his family was only rivaled by his deep love for animals. He raised many award winning horses and dogs throughout his lifetime and devoted extensive time to rescuing and rehoming animals due to natural disasters. Possessed with an entrepreneurial spirit, Larry began his working career as a cook at Evanston Hospital at age 13 before attending the University of Colorado, where he studied Marketing. After graduating, a stint in the United States Navy and a short while working as an engineer on the Santa Fe Railway, Larry embarked on a decorated and trailblazing career as a Hall-of-Fame horseman.  He was lauded as “the man who really changed the face of” and “the finest thing ever to happen in the history of” Illinois racing (John Berry – Illinois Sulky News; Chicago Tribune, March 16, 1967).  During his tenure in Thoroughbred and Harness Racing, he impacted nearly every aspect of the business. Working as a Lobbyist and Director of Racing and Racing Secretary for Arlington Park and Washington Park, Larry was also founder of Marsh Stud, a state-of-the-art breeding and training facility that was home to celebrated horses Poplar Byrd, Egyptian Dancer, Nevele Dancer, and more.  His passion for the industry took him to California, where he co-founded the Hollywood Park Racetrack and served as the Director for the United States Trotting Association.   After retiring from the world of racing, Larry’s passion for innovation and sustainability led him to create Solarflame Inc., one of the first solar energy companies, and LeRoy Power Alcohol, Inc., an ethanol fuel production company.  He spent much of his later years as a certified EMT and ACE certified personal trainer, using his experience as the 1994, 1995, 1998, and 1999 National Champion of the AWA Olympic Weightlifting Masters Track and Field (Seniors Swimming, Seniors Powerlifting) to inspire his peers and improve the health of seniors across the country.   A man of endless curiosity, unsurmountable drive, and impressive vision, Larry will forever be remembered by those that love him for his passion, beautiful voice, laugh that could light any room, and for the love and generosity he brought to his family and friends. Visitation: Saturday, March 2, 2019 10:00 a.m. until time of the Funeral Service:11:30 a.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home, 10045 Skokie Blvd. at Old Orchard Rod. Skokie, IL 60077. Interment: All Saints Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial contribution to:  Illinois Equine Human Center  47W635 Beith Road  Maple Park, IL 60151 or  PAWS PO Box 1037 Lynnwood, WA 98046   Info: 847 675-1990 or www.donnellanfuneral.com. 

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