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HARRISBURG PA - Maurice J. "Maury" May, former president of the United States Harness Writers Association and a member of the harness racing organization for 55 years, passed away December 8 in Amherst NY at the age of 92. A high school graduate at age 14, May began a 47-year career at the Buffalo News in 1942; he is remembered by colleagues as "the aide who ripped the news flash of the D-Day Invasion off the teletype machine." After serving in the Navy, he returned to the News and rose through the ranks to become assistant sports editor. Among his several "beats" during his News career was the strong harness racing circuit of Buffalo-Batavia in Western New York, where he chronicled the local racing and also kept his readers abreast of area horses and horsemen who did well on the national harness racing scene. "Maury's Picks" were a longtime feature in the News. May served the first of his 24 years as an USHWA director in 1966, representing the Western New York Chapter, of which he would become president. He was elected national president of USHWA for the 1985-1986 term, and received a key to the city from Buffalo mayor James Griffin. He was the Buffalo Area Bowling Council's Man of the Year in 1983, and in 1997 he was one of the first inductees into the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame. May is survived by two sons, Maurice Jr. and Michael; a daughter, Marcia May Farley; a brother, Richard; four grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Mary Kurch. There will be no services. United States Harness Writers Association

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – There is no question Meridian Farms has been the biggest player in Atlantic Canadian harness racing for the first part of the 21st century and sadly the chief architect of its P.E.I. operation has left us far too soon. Brian Andrew passed away Wednesday at the age of 70 after a lifelong career in the Island education system and a passion for harness racing. An accomplished trainer and driver, Andrew operated Meridian Farms in Milton in partnership with younger brother William. A devoted fan of the industry, Andrew poured his life into Island racing, serving on boards like the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Classic Sale Committee, among other commitments. No one could ever question Andrew’s resolve to lend a helping hand to other horse people and always make decisions that were in the best interest of the industry as a whole. Known for his friendly demeanour, Andrew could almost always be seen with a smile on his face and always called anyone he came across pal. RELATED: Click here for a 2014 feature on Andrew. His standardbred nursery and racing operation at the Meridian Farms location in Milton was always pristine with Andrew making sure everything was always presentable and professional. Under Andrew’s tutelage, Meridian Farms would stand the top stallions in the Atlantic Sires Stakes program and would be the top consignor to the two Atlantic yearling sales every fall. A fierce competitor on the race track, Andrew drove some of the top overnight pacers at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP) with horses like Ironside, War Cry Ranger, Victory Creed, Matt Trapper and Every Day and would dabble with trotters racing the open classes like Players Champion and Shy Beauty, among numerous others. As a driver, Andrew recorded 398 wins and $485,587 in earnings since his first trips in the race bike in the 1970s. His driving duties were toned down considerably this season with just 45 drives and his last trip to the winner’s circle as a driver was in June at the CDP aboard trot mare Hello Chipper. As a trainer, Andrew conditioned 270 horses to 270 wins with more than $310,000 in prize money. Fittingly, Andrew’s final training win was in an event steeped in history as Keep Coming claimed the Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational pace at Truro Raceway in Bible Hill, N.S., with a 1:55.1 victory for driver David Dowling. We have lost another giant of the game. To his wife Carol and children Blake and Rachel, I share my deepest sympathies. As for Brian, may you rest in peace pal. Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at nicholasoakes@hotmail.com. Reprinted with the permission of The Guardian

HARRISBURG PA - Steven C. Beck, former superintendent of Hempt Farms, the "Home of the Keystones" of the late Hall of Famer Max C. Hempt, passed away on October 30 at the age of 74. Born in Freeport IL, Beck went into the military service of the country soon after high school. While with the Navy, he was stationed in, among other places, Cuba and Panama when they were international "hot spots." He ended his military service attached to a Marine battalion deployed in Vietnam. In 1968 Beck went to work at Hempt Farms and spent almost a quarter of a century at the Mechanicsburg PA nursery. He rose through the management ranks there until retiring as Farm Superintendent in 1992. He met his wife Betty Ann Hobbs, known as Ann, in 1971, and they were married a year later. After Beck left Hempt, he and Ann established the small breeding operation Anchor Farm in Carlisle PA until full retirement in 2006. They were living in Mechanicsburg at the time of Beck's passing. Besides Ann, Steve Beck leaves behind twin sons Craig and Jeff, along with six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a sister, Barbara Bacus. Beck was interred on November 14 at West Branch Cemetery in Haldane IL.  

Neil, who has been in indifferent health for some time, suffered severe back pain late in the week and was removed to hospital on Thursday. The family, including his wife, Rose  were summoned on Friday evening and he passed some hours later. His last harness racing runner, Mach Up, had been a winner for Mark at Addington a few hours before.  He was 80 Neil has been closely associated with Mark's training career from the start of it. "We had been family friends for years. Neil was in Kumeu earlier and transported the horses down south for Roy and Barry and was then in Christchurch so the association continued when I moved south" Mark said. Neil played a key role in that stage of Mark's career as a backer, advisor and "volunteer" stable hand. In more recent times he was the man finessing the track before fast work at Rolleston and master of the kitchen for staff breaks. But he did a lot more than that. Much more. He raced any number of successful horses, most notably the $2.5m winner Smolda and his contemporary Fly Like an Eagle as well as outstanding horses like Waikiki Beach (19 wins), Major Mark (12 NZ wins)  Follow the Stars (16 wins), Classic Cullen (16 wins) Border Control (18 wins)  Ohoka Dallas and  Russley Rascal ) to name a few.  But he remembered with affection lesser winners of earlier days in the north of which he told many stories. And his winning tally could have been much higher but for the fact that Neil just loved "the deal" and was always prepared to sell horses for export before they reached their potential. He preferred to race with one or more partners than solo ownership though he did both, "You always leave something in the horse for the next owner. I have always followed that and if you do it they will come back for more" he used to say and a lifetime of experience in doing deals meant he was a man to listen to. "He was just a really good bloke and of great support to me in so many ways" Mark said "Roy and Barry had a horse for him, I think Speedy Demo who  started his racing association with our stable. He was a good friend of Peter Wolfenden in those days and Peter Young trained for him as well. He was a regular at the Kumeu track which is where we got to know him well" "Like everyone else you always expected him to bounce back from a bout of bad health. He had done it so many times" "It is a sad day for those of us who knew him but you are reassured by the knowledge that Pilch had done so many things in his life that he would have gone having no regrets" Although Neil realised he was nearing the end of his life it never affected his spirit. He went to the Yearling Sales and spent $120,000 on one lot {"He was one of our owners we couldn't put a limit on !" Mark says) and more recently has invested in several new ventures including the trotter Musculus just two weeks ago in anticipation of another Harness Jewels runner. He had hoped to be at Addington Friday where he had three runners engaged and then head north for Cambridge. It is a great sadness for Neil Pilcher's family and many friends as well as a host of associates that this time he will not be there. Courtesy of The All Stars site

Pompano Beach, FL…May 15, 2018…Prominent harness racing breeder Betty L. McGreevy, 87, passed away recently in Aurora, Colorado. Known for her meticulous ways in caring for her horses, Mrs. McGreevy had been involved as an owner and breeder for several decades, breeding champions in Florida along the way. Born July 14, 1930 in Petersburg, Indiana, she, eventually, moved to Terre Haute, Indiana where she owned and operated Lark Commercial Painting and Sandblasting. After the passing of her first husband, Betty married Mike McGreevy, a champion mini race car driver in the 1950’s. They purchased a farm in Perrysville, Indiana and, in 1979, relocated to Trenton, Florida where they began breeding, training, racing and boarding Standardbreds. Among her many successes as a breeder were Spin Mogul, Cracker Gold and McRyan Michael, all Super Night champions during their respective racing seasons. In 1986, she was named Florida Breeder of the Year. Betty retired in 2014 and she and her husband moved to Bell, Florida before moving to Colorado. Her husband preceded her in death by 45 days. Known for her forthcoming wit, Betty once said, “My father was wider in the eyebrows than most men in the shoulders.” Betty McGreevy is survived by her daughter Elaine (Ed) Koschik, grandsons Mike (Jessica) and Chris, and four great-grandchildren, Ryan, Joshua, Matthew and Sophia. By John Berry

WAYNE COUNTY, Ill. -- A two-vehicle crash in rural Wayne County, Illinois, Friday claimed the life of Fairfield, Illinois man Brian P. Cotton. Cotton, 31, was working as a driver for a local Amish construction company when he was killed in a crash at the intersection of Ill. Rt. 161 and Enterprise Road in northern Wayne County. According to Illinois State Police, Cotton was traveling westbound on Ill. 161 in a 2015 Dodge Ram pickup truck when he ran beneath the trailer of a northbound semi that allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection. Cotton was pronounced dead at the scene by Wayne County Coroner Jimmy Taylor. A passenger in Cotton’s truck, Amish worker Emery Stutzman, Jr. 32 of Cisne, Illinois, received major injuries and was airlifted from the scene to Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. The driver of the semi, Steven S.F. Vanarkel, 29 of Holt, Missouri, and two passengers -- his wife Jessica N. Vanarkel and the couple’s 10-year-old son -- escaped injury. An Illinois State Police accident reconstruction officer has joined the investigation into the crash. Authorities say charges are pending. Cotton was well-known across Southern Illinois as a harness racing driver, competing at many county fairs. By Len Wells Reprinted with permission of The Courier & Press

Pompano Beach, FL…May 10, 2018…Pompano Park’s iconic handicapper, Ed Ransom, 77, passed away recently at North West Hospital in Coral Springs, Florida after a short illness. He, along with his brother, Ronald, published the popular Kelly’s Tip Sheet for many years. Edward John Ransom was born in the small town of Walton, New York on February 14, 1941 and was educated in New York before graduating from Duke University in 1965. Having taken an interest in law, he attended Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law, graduating from that private institution in 1969. Although he worked in various capacities in the field of law, his true passion was working in the equine industry and, indeed, he was able to find work as a timer and photo finish operator at various tracks, enabling him to create the tip sheet which has been a “bible” to many horse racing aficionados. In a recent interview, he said, “It gives me great satisfaction to pick a winner or two for our visitors at the track. Over the years, I have made countless friends so I wouldn’t trade places with anyone in any other vocation.” Mr. Ransom is survived by his wife, Glynis, two sisters, Marianne McNabb of Lake James, N. C. and Beth Ransom of Winter Springs, FL, as well as the aforementioned brother, Ronald, of Margate, Florida. Funeral arrangements are pending. by John Berry

Batavia, NY---James E. Boyd, age 83, of Batavia, New York died peacefully Thursday April 5, 2018 at the Northgate Health Care Facility in North Tonawanda. Widely known as "Gentleman Jim", Boyd took over the Batavia Downs track announcing duties from the legendary Max Robinson in 1984 and continued to call races there until it closed in 1996. He was also the announcer at Buffalo Raceway and called races at Finger Lakes racetrack. Mr. Boyd called the richest race ever held at Batavia Downs, the $268,756 Breeders Crown aged-mare trot in 1988 won by Armbro Flori and also Getting Personal's 1:53.3 track record in 1993. "Jim was known for a very steady voice and very accurate calls," Todd Haight, Director/GM of Racing at Batavia Downs said. "Even though it's been over 20 years since his retirement, our old-timers still ask about him." Besides calling the races, Jim was also a salesman in the Buffalo area for many years, Boyd was born in Batavia, the son of the late Harry S. and Marjorie (Price) Boyd and was also preceded in death by his wife Josephine (Nevin) Boyd and siblings, Raymond, Robert, Ronald "Don" and Harry "Jack" Boyd. He was a graduate of Batavia High School and Alfred State College and served honorably in the US Army during the Korean conflict. Upon returning home he became a member of the Glenn S. Loomis Post #332 of the American Legion in Batavia and rose to the position of Post Commander. Boyd is survived by his beloved daughter, Deborah (William) Evans of Nevada, dear friends, Paula (Frederick) Leigh of Batavia along with many nieces and nephews. The family will be present from 10 - 11am Thursday April 12, 2018 at the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel LLC located at 4120 West Main Street Road, Batavia, New York 14020 where his Funeral Services will be celebrated by Jim's nephew, Rev. David Boyd at 11 a.m. He will be laid to rest alongside his beloved wife in Grand View Cemetery with military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials in his memory are suggested to Volunteers for Animals of Genesee County.   By Tim Bojarski for Batavia Downs  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Longtime Western New York harness racing owner and trainer Robert Gruber III of Lakeview, N.Y., passed away on Saturday, March 31 after suffering a medical emergency during an on-track training session.   Mr. Gruber, 52, started his training career in 1991. During his 27-year career, his horses made 9,220 starts and won 1,235, making over $4.8 million in purse earnings. His best campaign was in 2009 where to found the winner's circle 130 times, collecting more than $565,000.   Racing throughout the Northeast, Mr. Gruber's operation was based in Western New York. His stable made many of their starts on the Buffalo Raceway/Batavia Downs circuit.   He was the husband of Carol Gruber, father of Robert Gruber IV, brother of David, Karen, Kim and Denise. Visiting hours for Mr. Gruber will be Sunday, April 8 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Lombardo Funeral Home (Southtowns Chapel), 3060 Abbott Road near Lake Avenue in Orchard Park, N.Y. Funeral services will follow immediately with interment in the Marilla Cemetery.   On-line condolences may be made at www.lombardofuneralhome.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

The industry will farewell a friend and beloved brother this Friday when a service will be held to honour Doug Webster. The trots owner, stablehand and brother to prominent trainer Geoff Webster passed last week, inspiring an emotional salute from driver Emmett Brosnan when he won only hours later on Geoff’s horse Courageous Affair. “That was pretty special,” Geoff said. “It’s been pretty tough, but (Doug’s) had a good life.” Geoff said his brother had been born with a disability and had been cared for by his parents and then Geoff. “They didn’t think he’d get past 30 or 40, but we had a good 50th and then a good 60th birthday,” Geoff said. “It has been a tough road for him, but he is just one of those people who makes a lot of friends along the way.” Geoff said Doug had a great connection with horses, both helping in hands-on roles as well as a prolific owner. “He’s had a lot of nice horses and has always been really interested in horses, they’ve been his life,” he said. “He often helped Mark Webster and me train in Adelaide, and then when I came over here he helped me in Victoria. “Probably his best one was Scruffy Murphy, who he had in partnership with Greg Lutze. And he had a win the other week with Rift Valley, who was another one he had with Greg Lutze. There have been a lot of other horses along the way, especially with Dom Martello.” A service for Doug Webster will be held at St Mary’s Basilica, 136 Yarra St, Geelong, from 11am on Friday, April 6. HRV extends its sincere condolences to Mr Webster’s family and friends. Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

The harness racing fraternity is mourning the passing of legendary administrator Max Laughton OAM. Mr Laughton, a Penrith harness racing icon, passed away last night. He was the longest-serving President at Penrith Paceway, serving on the Executive Committee since 1964 and had been President since 1988. Amongst this, Mr Laughton worked in the New South Wales Police Force, starting his career in 1948 at Penrith and eventually became the Chief Police Inspector in 1984. After 40 years of service in the Police Force, Mr Laughton was awarded a Merit of Services Award. Retiring from the Police Force in 1988, Mr Laughton devoted all of his spare time to Penrith Paceway. He originally obtained the 'harness racing bug' at the age of 24 when he began working horses with Alf Phillis. Mr Laughton was a foundation member of the Penrith Harness Racing Club and in 1999 it was his decision to build the registered club. As a mark of respect, drivers will wear black armbands at tonight's race meeting at Penrith. A funeral for Mr Laughton will be held next Wednesday, March 28, at Pinegrove in the North Chapel at 3pm which will be followed by a wake at Penrith Paceway. Harness Racing New South Wales extends sincere condolences to Max's beloved wife Lorna, his family and friends. "Max was an admired administrator, a rock for the Penrith Club and will be sorely missed in all harness racing circles," HRNSW chief executive John Dumesny. Amanda Rando

Harness racing and rugby league lost one of its favourite sons last Tuesday with the passing of former trainer-driver and rugby league stalwart John McMartin, aged 73, after a long battle with cancer. Well known amongst his peers as 'Macka', the former Cronulla Sharks and Parramatta Eels hooker played 92 games for Cronulla (1976-79) after having previously racked up 167 appearances for the Eels (1967-75). He also played one game for New South Wales in 1975 and was an integral member of the Cronulla team that made its way through to the Grand Final in 1978. Following the drawn Grand Final, he was ruled out by injury in the midweek replay loss to Manly. He was a Life Member of the NSWRL. John's other great passion was harness racing. A successful trainer and driver and breeder, John had a lot of enjoyment racing his beloved pacer 'Lenny', better known as Gotashotaway who won 22 races and earned just shy of $160,000 in prizemoney. Gotashotaway, a sire of one winner before being gelded, was John's last winner as a trainer-driver on October 6, 2011. John had success with many other horses having trained 70 winners including the trotter Krysta who won the Franco/Australian Trotters Final at Harold Park in 2005 with John in the sulky. A funeral for John will be held on Wednesday (February 21) at the Allan Drew Heritage Chapel, Castle Hill, commencing at 10.00am. Harness Racing New South Wales extends sincere condolences to John's wife Kathy, family and friends. AMANDA RANDO

Cyril Potts was an unsung hero of harness racing in the north of South Australia for well over forty years. From the 1950’s through to retiring in the 1990’s and moving across the border to Victoria. As a leading trainer, Cyril shared his love and passion for the sport with many people including Paul Fitzgerald and Ken (Bones) Smith.  However, the most notable was Peter Thompson, who himself became the Leading Trainer in the North for several years. Cyril keenly respected his owners, of which he had many, and would work hard to maintain his horses to high standard whilst keeping his training fees as low as he could at his cherished Simpson Road Stables. In the 1950’s dedicated himself to the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club Committee.  You would often find him at working bee’s for the Club with some of his owners in tow to help.  The Port Pirie Harness Racing Club held its very first Driver’s Invitational meeting In the mid 1960’s with Cyril being integral in securing leading Victorian drivers for the event. This Driver’s Invitation race remains a strong part of the Club’s calendar today. Aside from training horses, Cyril had a great ear for listening and provided a valuable service every Sunday at the track known fondly as “Sunday School”.  This was an opportunity for anyone in the industry to come the track, have a drink, share their issues and solve the problems of the world.  Fortunately, Cyril was a big man and a non-drinker, so if there were any physical difference of opinions, Cyril could easily step in as ‘crowd control’.  Stories from Sunday School sessions are legendary. Port Pirie Harness Racing Club awarded Cyril Life Membership in the mid-1970’s and the honoured with Legend status in 2013. Even once he moved to Victoria, Cyril always remained in close contact with the Club and the harness racing community, including remaining a regular trophy donor.  His philanthropic donations to the Club even extended to paying for the presentation area when the new track was built in 2000.  The Port Pirie Club are truly grateful for his support. Many people will have their own stories about the great man but all would agree, he was a great worker, hard but fair and a true legend of harness racing in Port Pirie. Office of the General Manager, Gary Crocker

John E. Bach, Sr., age 93, of Goshen, died Thursday, February 8, 2018 at Valley View Center, Goshen, NY. John was born July 3, 1924 in Goshen, NY, the son of the late Frederick W. Bach and the late Rebecca (Brede) Bach. He served in the U.S. Army in the 15th Air Force during World War II, as a bombardier with the 455th bomb group and later became a first lieutenant. He flew a total of 39 combat missions as a bombardier navigator aboard B-24 Liberator bomber planes. His combat took him to the Rhineland, Northern Apenines, Po Valley, the Balkans, North Africa, Italy, and Egypt. He was reported missing in action over Germany in 1944 and spent time as a POW in Germany and Poland, after his plane was shot down in Krakow, Poland. For his service, he was awarded an Air Medal and three oak leaf clusters. Upon his liberation and honorable discharge in 1945, he found work as a real estate broker and went on to establish a career in title insurance industry spanning five decades. He formed Goshen Abstract Corporation in 1959, PJ Enterprises Inc. in 1966 which was the first title insurance agency in Orange County and Hill N Dale Abstracters in 1972 with his fellow colleagues Paul G. Miller and Elmer Budd. His professional legacy lives on today through his son attorney, John E. Bach, Jr., and stepsons John and James Wood who succeeded to his ownership in Hill N Dale Abstracters, Inc. Although he retired in 1999, he was able to remain a strong presence at Hill N Dale Abstracters until his 90th birthday in 2014. John was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Monroe, VFW, the American Legion, Cataracts Engine & Hose. Most importantly, John was a 35-year member of the Goshen Historic Track and U.S. Trotting Association. He spent his entire life in Goshen, his beloved home. He was proud to be one of the last “Goshen Boys”, and loved to reminisce about the good ol’ days as a farm boy growing up at the racetrack. Harness racing was in his blood. His father worked as a teamster at Good Times Track, and John and his brothers spent their childhood summers volunteering at the track during racing season. As teenagers, they worked as ushers and valets during the Hambletonian. John worked every aspect of the sport, as a clerk, a jogger, a timer, served on the Board of Directors, and even tried his hand at driving. He loved to boast that the only years he was ever absent from the July 4th Racing Weekend was during his service in World War II. Born on July 3, he lived for this weekend, and could be found in his box seat every year up through his 91st birthday. John also owned race horses for the majority of his adult life, buying his first horse in 1973 and selling his last in 2014. He accomplished his life-long dream of winning a New York Sire Stake in Buffalo on June 19, 2010 with racehorse “Flirtinwithcowboys”. John is survived by his wife: Carol (Mesnica) Bach at home; children: John Bach Jr. of Chester, Kevin Bach and wife, Celine of Middletown, Bernice Holmbraker and husband, Peter of Goshen, Rosemarie Tveit and husband, Stanley of New Hampton, Marguerite Bach of Raleigh, NC, Jamie Neumann and husband, Joseph of Hilton Head, SC and Rebecca Columbus of Wrightsville Beach, NC; stepchildren, Cheryl Samz and her husband, Gary from Waukesha WI, James Wood and wife, Wendy of Goshen, and John Wood and wife, Marlene of Montgomery; 21 grandchildren: Jessica (Kevin) O’Shea, Michael (Kristin) Guilfoyle, Kristen (Tim) Farber, Aaron Tveit, Fr. Jon Tveit, Kayla Neumann, Bradley (Alexandra) Neumann, Bryan Columbus, Paul Columbus, Thomas Columbus, Michele Wood, Sara Wood, Ryan Wood, Jared Wood, Erin Wood, Katie Rose Duff, Brian Duff, Taylor (Matt) Raimondo, Kyle Doce, Allen Faust and Alana Buono; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by four brothers: Frederick, William, Robert, and Peter; and two sisters, Joan Cox and Rose Bach. Visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. on Monday, February 12 at the Donovan Funeral Home, Inc., 82 South Church St., Goshen, NY. Funeral Service will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, February 13 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 21 Still Road, Monroe, NY. Burial will follow in the Orange County Veteran’s Cemetery, Goshen. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s name to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 21 Still Road, Monroe, NY 10950 or the Goshen Historic Track, 44 Park Place, Goshen, NY 10924. Arrangements under the care of the Donovan Funeral Home, Inc. To leave a condolence visit www.donovanfunerals.com Reprinted with permission of The Times Herald-Record

The harness racing industry is mourning the loss of owner-breeder and administrator Mr Bill Green. The former Bulli Harness Racing Club Foundation Member passed away on Thursday morning, aged 84. “Mr Green was not only a member (of the Bulli HRC) but also a sponsor of numerous events for the Club over a long period,” said Bulli HRC official John Crittenden. “He was exceedingly supportive of our efforts with the Keira High School students when we commenced this initiative.” Well liked amongst his peers, Mr Green also raced many talented horses over the years. This included 1997 Kilmore Cup winner Experte, Talk About Charles, Kiwi John and in more recent times had success with the likes Lettucerockthem and Iam Mr Brightside to name a few. “Bill was one of nature’s gentlemen,” said former trainer Peter Morris senior. “He was mates with everybody and would help anyone he could, he was just one of those blokes. “He loved the game and the people in it and had some nice horses along the way. “Bill was also a successful businessman through his trucking company (Tex Transport).” Former harness racing scribe Ray Corridan said: “Bill was one of the nicest blokes and was very, very well liked in the industry. “He was a very close friend of mine.” A funeral for Mr Green will be held on Thursday (February 15) at Hansen and Cole Funerals, Kembla Grange at 2pm. Harness Racing New South Wales extends sincere condolences to Mr Green’s family and friends. Amanda Rando

HAMILTON, OH --- Howard F. Beissinger, 94, a member of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame for 44 years, died February 6, 2018 in Hamilton, Ohio. Born on May 23, 1923 on the family farm near Hamilton, Beissinger died only a few miles from where he'd been born. He won the Hambletonian, America's greatest trotting classic, three times, earning the nickname "Hambo Howard." He enjoyed international fame, and raced across the United States and Canada as well as at tracks in Russia, Germany, Sweden, Italy, and elsewhere. He was also a member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame and the Butler County (Ohio) Sports Hall of Fame. He was known for his tough, no-nonsense approach to his profession. His unfailing attention to detail in matters such as proper shoeing won him the admiration of many of his fellow horsemen. He is best known as the trainer and driver of the great trotter and stallion Speedy Crown. Speedy Crown was foaled in early 1968 and raised on the Beissinger family farm in Hamilton. In 1971 Speedy Crown won the Hambletonian in straight heats and went on to a breeding career that would make him legendary in the world of trotting. Two years earlier, Beissinger had won his first Hambletonian with Lindy's Pride, a colt that overcame faulty hooves with his speed and competitive spirit. Beissinger drove him to victory in the trotting Triple Crown---Yonkers Trot, Hambletonian, and Kentucky Futurity---in 1969. His third Hambletonian victory came in 1978 behind the meteoric Speedy Somolli, a son of Speedy Crown that Beissinger always said was the fastest trotter he'd ever driven. Beissinger learned the horse business from his father, who farmed and raced a few horses in the summer. After World War II, when Howard told his mother that he planned to make horse racing his profession, she greeted the news with tears. Her son achieved success quickly, however, becoming one of the leading drivers on the tough Chicago racing circuit. His abilities and his work ethic drew notice and he began to attract the support of prominent owners. In 1955, he married the former Ann Wingers. They were divorced in 1999. In the mid-1960s Beissinger earned the confidence and patronage of the Antonacci family of New York, a partnership that lasted for decades. For the Antonaccis and partners, Beissinger developed and raced countless stakes winners. Howard's peers in the training fraternity admired his mastery of all aspects of horsemanship. For decades he campaigned a stable that competed with success in the sport's largest stake races. In 1984, Beissinger entered four trotters in the Hambletonian, but decided to find other drivers for all four horses so that he didn't show favoritism to certain owners. In 1987, he drove Defiant One to victory in the Breeders Crown in Toronto, Ontario at age 64, and he is still the oldest driver ever to win a prestigious Breeders Crown event. For a half-century, he was also involved in rodeo and traveled across North America to visit rodeos and connect with his cowboy friends. His daughter Vana was extremely successful as a barrel racer in rodeo. Beissinger produced rodeos throughout the Midwest in partnership with Don Hight, a South Dakota cowboy Howard greatly admired. Beissinger was well known in the rodeo world to the cowboys and cowgirls, as well as stock contractors and officials. In many ways, Beissinger personified the Cowboy Way: he was strong, independent, and resilient. He was up every day before dawn to start work, and his associates marveled at his energy and work ethic. Beissinger was fearless in pursuing his passion for adventure. When he became interested in rodeo, he took up steer wrestling, an event in which the cowboy jumps from a running horse onto the back of a running steer and wrestles it to the ground. This event is often called "bulldogging" and it's most appealing to young men who feel invincible, but Beissinger began steer wrestling when he was in his 40s. He earned the nickname "Bulldog Beissinger." On his 80th birthday, he went para-sailing off the coast of Florida. A decade later on his 90th birthday, he went hang-gliding at 3,000 feet near Lookout Mountain, Georgia. He is survived by daughter Jane Freeman (Dave) of Naples, FL; daughter Gloria Beissinger (Joseph Rickard) of Naples, FL; son Orrin (Minna) of Randolph, NJ; daughter Vana Beissinger; and two grandchildren Julia Ganzi and Markus Beissinger. A memorial service will be held at the Webb-Noonan-Kidd Funeral Home in Hamilton, OH on March 10. Dean Hoffman      

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