Columbus, OH --- Gary John Bergmann, 65, a lifelong resident of Washington, N.J., died at home with his family by his side on Oct. 10, 2016. He was born on Dec. 5, 1950, in Phillipsburg, N.J., to the late Charles and Ethel Bergmann. Mr. Bergmann was a graduate of Warren Hills High School class of 1969. He was formerly employed as general manager for Stonegate Farms in Glen Gardner. He was adventurous, enjoyed sailing, and was captain of the seaworthy vessel, Sagacious. He was an avid reader, had a passion for cooking and above all he loved his family. Mr. Bergmann is survived by his beloved wife of 26 years, Kathleen; loving children, Will and Annalee; brothers, Kent (Kate) and Eric; brothers-in-law, William Costello, Kevin Costello, Padraic Costello, Dennis Costello and Tom Caracio; sisters-in-law, Moira (Robert) Ranney and Deirdre (Daniel) Codispoti; nieces and nephews, Megan (Keith) Wan, Kevin Ranney, Christina Coldispoti, Natalie Codispoti, Kevin, Keith, Jon, Chris Caracio and Shannon Iacobucci. He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Barbara. Family and friends may pay their respects on Thursday (Oct. 13) from 5-8 p.m. at the Warren Hills Memorial Home, 234 W. Washington Ave., Washington, NJ 07882. Funeral services will be Friday (Oct. 14) beginning at 9 a.m. at the funeral home followed by a 10 a.m. funeral mass at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 398 County Road 513, Califon, NJ 07830. Interment will be conducted at Stewartville Presbyterian Cemetery in Greenwich, N.J. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 6725 Lyons Street, P.O. Box 7, East Syracuse, NY 13057. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Warren Hills Memorial Home. The USTA Communications Department
An interesting footnote to the life of General "Bubba" Washington Jr., who recently passed away and whose obituary was listed on the sport's websites, is that he was the first African-American man to win a not-$100,000 race. Here's what we mean. Washington had qualified Mary Ann Hobbs for the New York Sire Stakes three-year-old filly trot Championship, scheduled to race for a purse of $100,000 on October 8, 1974. I believe 1974 was the first year of the New York Sire Stakes Championships, based on an article written by Times writer Joe Nichols in the October 9 edition of the paper, which can be found online. Going for the big money, Washington was going to put Herve Filion (who would win his 5000th race the next night) down to drive her, but I remember a story that one of Washington's sons, perhaps Cedric, who still campaigns at Monticello, persuaded "Daddy" to drive the horse himself, and Washington resolved to do so. (This parallels to some degree the Hambletonian of 2005, where a Pennsylvania horseman was bringing his horse to the big race, and was going to ask Cat Manzi to drive him, but Manzi told him -- Roger Hammer -- to drive, saying, "If you win, you'll remember it for the rest of your life." Hammer did drive Vivid Photo, and the rest is well-documented history.) So Washington did drive Mary Ann Hobbs in the Championship, and she made a break. But so did three of her six other rivals. And Washington was able to rally Mary Ann Hobbs to the victory in the Championship. Time: 2:12.1. So General Washington Jr. became the first African-American driver to win a $100,000 race, right? Well, ... The 3-5 favorite for the race, Coral Belle, warmed up lame before the race, and the judges ordered her scratched (necessitating an $80,000+ refund). Another figure that changed was the purse, as the official purse for the contest is listed as $98,000. It's just a guess that there was a $2000 starting fee, and with the scratch the starting fee was refunded, and thus the purse dipped to $98,000. But a good case can be made that it was "a $100,000 race." Upon the man's passing, this seemed to be the time to tell this story, as one of the pioneer African-Americans in a sport where Wiggle It Jiggleit is currently the best pacer in North America. Jerry Connors
Arthur Cupitt, who died last Saturday night, was a veteran harness racing enthusiast and former Sydney trainer. Mr Cupitt, 72, who was first licensed as a trainer in 1983, handed his ticket in back in 2005, with his 403 starters for 22 winners and 72 minor placings. A helper at Jarrod Alchin's Tabcorp Park, Club Menangle stables in recent times, Mr Cupitt loved harness racing, and in particular the horses. "Arthur was friends with just about every trotting person around this area," Alchin said. "He was everyone's handyman, and his pleasant disposition saw him make friends easily, and keep them for life. "He'd turn up at the stables every Sunday morning with a hard luck punting story about the previous night - we'll all miss Arthur...our Sundays will never be the same without him." His favourite horses, and a multiple winner, was Society Princess, who won seven races in the early-mid 1990s, including Menangle Park. Mr Cupitt's last winner was Uwin, a 1:58.7 performer just after the turn of the century, before the mare left two sub-2:00 winners. Mr Cupitt, who died suddenly, is survived by two daughters and a son. Kate Dumesny
Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) was saddened to learn of the passing on Saturday of long-time industry stalwart Brian Frawley, at age 82. Mr Frawley is the father of recently appointed HRV Board Member Danny Frawley. He enjoyed considerable success as a trainer, including multiple Moonee Valley winners Noble Man, Evarestis and Grumpy Ole Man, as well as other classy performers in Lahaina and Noble Gent. Mr Frawley served on the Committee of the Ballarat & District Trotting Club for in excess of 35 years, leading the club as President from 1981 to 1986 and being awarded Life Membership in 1988. His greatest moment in the sport came when Vanderport, a horse he part-owned, ran 2nd to Village Kid in the 1986 Inter Dominion Grand Final at Albion Park in Queensland, when driven by his daughter Anne. READ THE BALLARAT COURIER'S TRIBUTE TO BRIAN FRAWLEY HRV extends its sincere condolences to his wife Shirley, their six children and the extended Frawley family. Mr Frawley’s funeral will be held at 10.30am on Wednesday at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Sturt Street, Ballarat. Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
Columbus, OH --- Larry Rheinheimer, 72, a beloved bastion of Indiana harness racing and the breeder/trainer of Breeders Crown champion Freaky Feet Pete, died on Saturday (Sept. 24). In deference to the family, further details will be forthcoming when available. USTA Communications Department
The harness racing industry was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of former trainer-driver Oscar Gatt on Monday afternoon, aged 79. Oscar was tragically killed in a car accident, just a month out from his 80th Birthday. He trained and drove countless winners during his time in the sport. Some of Oscar's better performed horses were Izar De Pone, Undertaker and Post And Rail. Oscar was 72-years-old when he drove his last winner which was Cosmic Beauty at Penrith in May, 2009. The Maltese-born drove in races until he was 73-years-old. To all of Oscar's family and friends, Harness Racing New South Wales passes on its deepest condolences. AMANDA RANDO
Harness Racing New South Wales was saddened to learn of the passing of in one of the sport's stalwarts in Lionel Donald Clough OAM, aged 89. 'Donny' or 'Cloughie' as he was best known by his many friends had been struggling with his health for the last few months. He will certainly be remembered as an absolute legend of the sport as he truly did it all. For several years Don in his "retirement" helped in an administration role at Penrith Paceway until just recently and his memory will live on at that track forever with the new stabling complex named in his honour late last year. Prior to this, Don fulfilled virtually every role in harness racing, from owner, trainer, driver, breeder, studmaster and punter. To all of Don's family and many friends, Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest condolences. Further details to be announced. AMANDA RANDO
Bonnie Christine Insko, 82, wife of Hall of Fame harness racing driver Del Insko died August 25, 2016, in her home, with her husband and family at her side. Born April 1, 1934, in Rolph, IA, daughter of Andrew and Christine (Stephensen) Nelson. United in marriage to Delmer Insko on March 26, 1951, in Humboldt, IA. Bonnie was the co-owner of the Del Insko Stables, she was for 16 years employed with the Rockton School District and a longtime member of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church. She is survived by her husband, Del of South Beloit; children, Delvin (Katherine) Insko of Winnebago, Christy (Joe) Taddei of Tulsa, OK, Thomas (Sandra) Insko of South Beloit; grandchildren, Jackie, Erik, Andrew, Aaron, Danielle, Joshua, David, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Christy; great-grandchildren, Gemma, Gabriel, Judah, Mercy, Coby; siblings, DeLon "Butch" Nelson of Roscoe; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceded in death by her parents and brother, Arlo Nelson. A "Celebration of Life" was held Sunday, August 28, 2016, at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church.Share a memory or condolence at www.graceFH.com.
The industry was saddened to hear of the passing of Dubbo harness racing horseman John 'Macca' McKinnon. John passed away last Thursday after a lengthy battle with leukaemia, aged 69. With a family involvement in harness racing, John dabbled with pacers over the years and trained a handful of winners. A roof tiler by trade, John also trained thoroughbreds and in recent times had a lot of success with a galloper called Something Borrowed. A funeral service will be held at the Dubbo City Crematorium for John this afternoon (Wednesday August 17) at 2:30pm. Harness Racing NSW extends its deepest sympathies to John's family and friends. Amanda Rando
Ronald Ingrassia, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and harness racing trainer/driver at the Monticello Raceway, passed away on Thursday, August 4th, 2016 at his home in Hurleyville surrounded by his family. He was 75. The son of the late Charles Ingrassia and Elizabeth Cerullo Ingrassia, he was born November 7, 1940 in Corona, NY. Ronnie was first a family man - he loved being with his children and grandchildren. He was also a lifelong horseman. Harness racing was in his blood from an early age. He raced professionally as driver for 30 years from 1962 until 1992, and continued on as a trainer until his death. With over 900 wins as a driver, his best year was 1982 where he had 862 starts and 160 wins. Ronnie leaves behind his wife Carol, his daughter Barbie, his sons Ricky & Randy, 8 grandchildren - Hailey (14), Richie (14), Hannah (13), Kaytlyn (10), Lilly (9), Ashley (9), Anthony (7) and Joey (2), his son/daughters in law Jake, Jennifer, and Kathleen, his brother Frank & Jacquie Ingrassia, his brother Robert & Carol Ingrassia, his sister Lenora & Jay Sperling, and his sister Betty Lou Ingrassia Carroll & Danny, and his many nieces and nephews to numerous to mention. A graveside service was held Sunday August 7, 2016 at the Hurleyville Cemetery. Obituary of Ronald Ingrassia Fred Hudson
FREEHOLD, NJ - August 5, 2016 - George Luchento, brother of horseman Tom Luchento, passed away today [Friday, August 5, 2016]. Tom Luchento is the former president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and former owner-operator of the restaurant, Luchento's. George, 67, was from Easton, PA and was the retired Vice President/ Global IT Vendor Management and Procurement for National Starch & Chemical. He earned his bachelors in industrial management at Seton Hall University and his MS in computer science from Pratt Institute. George Luchento leaves his wife, Alice Danow Luchento; his daughter, Janet Luchento-De Nise; granddaughter, Allison; two brothers, Tom and Michael, and father, Nat.
Batavia, NY --- Long time Western New York harness racing trainer / driver / horseman, David A. Spaziano of Rochester, New York, died on July 25, 2016 at age 76. According to his family, "If we had to sum up David's life in one picture, this one says it all. Horses and horse racing were his heart and soul." Mr. Spaziano drove home 152 winners during his harness racing career. His trainees won over 70 races. Some of his most popular horses include Scorpion Prince and Passion Time. His last driving win came at Buffalo Raceway on November 12, 1997 behind Handsome Boy. David is predeceased by Ida & Anthony Spaziano. David is survived by daughters Laurie, Layna and Michelle (former spouse Ann Marie Spaziano), son David (companion Gloria Jean Ricci), grandchildren Frankie, Michael, Shane and Kendra, sister Dolores (Lee) Capomaccio and brother Al (Elaine) Spaziano . Celebrate David's life with a night at Batavia Downs. No calling hours. Tim Bojarski
Nathan Price, 36, of Wickhaven, Pennsylvania passed away suddenly on Tuesday, July 19. Nate was a member of the USTA and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, and had been involved in harness racing throughout his entire life, through his father, Gary, an owner/trainer at The Meadows. Born in Elyria, Ohio, Nate graduated from West Allegheny School District in Pennsylvania and was self employed as an electrician. He also worked daily with his pacing filly, Elegantly Vicious. He is survived by his wife, Jonelle Zeiler Price, his parents Gary and Betty Jo, three brothers and one sister-in-law Doug and Renee Price, Jeffery Price and Shawn Price, his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Debbie A. and John Zeiler, grandfather-in-law, Elmer J. Zeiler, one brother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, John A. and Leah Zeiler and Rachelle Zeiler, one nephew, Gavin Price and one niece, Coralynn Price. Services were held in private.
Richard Rastetter, a longtime harness racing member of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and United States Trotting Association, passed away on June 11, 2016. He was 74. Rastetter, of West Alexander, Pennsylvania, was a Standardbred horse breeder, owner and trainer for several decades. His survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Ann, and his daughters Jean and Amy. The Rastetters owned their horses together as a family, with Jean handling the training in recent years. Some of his top horses were Idadazzle, County Treasure and Zorgwijk Kingpin. Memorial contributions can be made to the Christian Harness Horsemen's Association, c/o The Meadows, 210 Racetrack Road, Washington, PA 15301. from the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association
Arthur George Shaw, 77, of Jensen Beach, Fla., died June 5, 2016, in Stuart, Fla. He was born June 16, 1938, in Milwaukee, Wis., to the late Arthur (a harness racing driver) and Letty Shaw of Elkhorn Wis. Mr. Shaw graduated from Elkhorn High School then went on to Bradley University and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, where he graduated, and then on to Northern Illinois University with a law degree. He followed in his dad's footsteps and became a leading Standardbred driver, driving horses from New York to California. He was one of the top driver/trainers in the country. He was also one of the first single importers to import Standardbreds from New Zealand to the United States. Mr. Shaw met his wife DeDe and they were married February 21, 1971. In a few short years they brought a baby into the world their son, A.G. In 1980 Mr. Shaw was introduced to a company called Shaklee. He started building a Shaklee business with DeDe and together they exploded the business into the largest Shaklee business in the world. Later on in life he missed the racehorse environment so he ventured into Standardbred stallions. This is where he pioneered the dual hemisphere Standardbred stud service in the U.S. where in the off season he would fly the horses to New Zealand to stand for stud. This has now become common practice. He own and shuttled the great stallion In The Pocket to New Zealand and this stallion has changed the breed Down Under producing outstanding sires and racehorses and now broodmares. In The Pocket has produced the great stallions Christian Cullen and Courage Under Fire. In The Pocket and his son Christian Cullen have dominated the broodmare sires list in New Zealand over the last three years. In The Pocket is the current leading Broodmare sire in Australia. He and DeDe got into quarter horses and traveled the country together showing their horses, winning the top shows in the country including the NSBA World and Congress Championship. He was on the Board of Directors for the Florida Quarter Horse Association. He served on many boards over the years, including the Shaklee Masters Executive Committee as chairman multiple times. He was on the Nation Snaffle Bit Association. He was also on The Small Businessman board where he worked with Senator McCain. He was on the Illinois Harness Driver Association and he co-chaired the Heart Association for Martin County, Fla. His life was full of experience and he lived life. He also lived to make life better for others. He is survived by his wife, DeDe; son, A.G. (Maureen); and grandchildren, Tyler and Ella. USTA Communications Department
MANALAPAN, NJ -- June 13, 2016 -- Leo C. McNamara III, a third generation harness racing horseman and executive administrator of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) for the past 15 years, died early Sunday morning, June 12. Mr. McNamara died of complications following a hard fought battle with cancer, just two weeks short of his 61st birthday. Born June 30, 1955, in Carmel, Ind., Mr. McNamara was the son of Leo McNamara Jr., whose father, Leo, founded Two Gaits Farm in Indiana, where Adios was foaled and the pacing stallion Hal Dale stood at stud. Leo C. McNamara was also a founder of the U.S. Trotting Association, the Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, N.Y., and at one time an owner of The Red Mile. The McNamara family moved east in the late 1950s and Mr. McNamara III spent some time as a youngster at Hanover Shoe Farms, where his father served as farm superintendent. The McNamara family returned to Carmel before selling the family farm and moving east again when Leo McNamara Jr. joined Pine Hollow Stud Farm in New York. While living in Pine Bush, N.Y., Mr. McNamara III began working on the Pine Hollow Stud Farm. After graduating from high school in 1973, he continued on at Pine Hollow Stud Farm, becoming an assistant manager. Mr. McNamara III moved to Kentucky's Bluegrass horse country and worked at Dan Hollibaugh's Holly Lane Stud in Lexington, serving as manager there from 1981-1985. Mr. McNamara's next stop was Almahurst, where he served as farm superintendent of the breeding nursery's flagship farm outside of Lexington during the era when it was one of the sport's showcase operations. Mr. McNamara III left Almahurst in 1988 to run the new Dreamaire Farm nursery in New Jersey founded by Bob Boni and partners. Boni knew Mr. McNamara III from their days together at Pine Hollow Farm. Leo's family moved to New York in 1973 when I was the yearling manager at Pine Hollow Stud Farm and as a high school senior he became my weekend and then summer help, said Boni. We forged a great friendship over the next 40-something years, regardless of where our travels took us, and he will forever be one of the most special people I have ever known. Leo was a great advocate for the horsemen and horsewomen of New Jersey in so many ways and always with the fairness and decency that characterized his personality. He loved and adored his wife Cathy and his daughter Celeste and he will be missed by anyone fortunate to have known him. After Dreamaire closed its operations, Mr. McNamara III re-established Two Gaits Farm in New Jersey and bred and boarded horses. In 2001 Mr. McNamara III began working for the SBOANJ, becoming executive administrator in 2006. During his years with the SBOANJ, Mr. McNamara III worked with racetracks in the Garden State to keep tabs on the purse accounts, becoming an astute expert of analyzing handle from various sources with various percentages going to purses. I've been a director of the SBOA for 10 years, and Leo was invaluable, said Mark Ford, president of the SBOANJ. I don't think the horsepeople in New Jersey can realize how invaluable he was advocating for horsemen and horsewomen and protecting our interests. He always brought knowledge and commonsense to the table and could always come up with a commonsense approach or solution. Because of Mr. McNamara's knowledge of the purse account and percentages of handle earned, he played a significant role in Jeff Gural's acquisition of the Meadowlands from the state of New Jersey. Leo was a straight shooter and a great guy to work with, said Jason Settlemoir, CEO and general manager of the Meadowlands Racetrack. He's going to be missed from both an industry standpoint and as a friend. Mr. McNamara III is survived by his wife, Cathy; a daughter, Celeste, assistant professor of history at University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom; two stepchildren, Dr. Daniel J. Dooley and Katie Pidge Decker; his mother, Irene; one brother, Joe (Meg Booth); eight sisters, Anne Slosky, Coleen (Frank) Benedett, Bridget (Jeffrey) Fenessy, Kate (David) Smith, Mary Coleman, Kelly (Patrick) Kennedy, Celeste (Brian) O'Neill and Jane (Glenn) Taylor; 14 nieces and nephews; and more than 100 cousins. Visitation will be held Thursday, June 16, from 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. at Peppler Funeral Home, 122 Crosswicks St, Bordentown, N.J., 08505. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Church, 45 Crosswicks St., in Bordentown. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, 16575 Carey Rd., Westfield, IN 46074. By Kathy Parker, The Horsemen and Fair World