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Niota Bloodstock owner Ken Wills has been celebrated for his terrific contribution to breeding and the harness racing industry, after passing following a battle with ill-health. With his wife Jan, Mr Wills has left an enormous legacy in the sport through Niota Bloodstock, an 80-acre stud and agistment farm near Kyabram, which stands the likes of Sebastian K and Centurion. Harness Breeders Victoria (HBV) executive officer Desiree Pettit-Keating said Mr Wills would “be greatly missed, he was an incredibly ethical operator and a very affable person”. She said the pair had been “very generous” supporters of Harness Breeders Victoria, including as long-term sponsors of their Trotting Broodmare of the Year Award. HBV president Nick Hooper also paid tribute to Mr Wills. “Ken was a very well regarded studmaster over a long period of time who made a significant contribution towards standardbred breeding,” Hooper said. “HBV sends its condolences to Jan and the family on his passing.” Mr Wills’ passing is being felt throughout the industry, including at Echuca Harness Racing Club, of which Niota Bloodstock was a supporter. The club issued a statement that said it was “deeply saddened to learn that (the) long-time club member, sponsor and keen supporter of our club has passed away”. “Our sincere condolences to Jan and family. Ken will be missed by many as he has been a long-time identity in the harness world.” Harness Racing Victoria extends its condolences to Mr Wills’ family and friends.   Harness Racing Victoria

Trevor Beaton is being remembered as a passionate supporter of harness racing who will be sorely missed.  He’s died in Christchurch aged 70 after a battle with cancer.  “For over 40 years he was involved in standardbreds,” says good friend Graeme Iggo, “what quickly comes to mind are his high ethical standards, his passion, his generosity, his sense of humour  and  his loyalty.”  He was a former president of the Canterbury branch of the NZ Standardbred Breeders Association, vice president of the national body of the NZSBA, president of the Hororata Trotting Club  and for two years was a HRNZ Board member. He also worked part time for HRNZ educating and training cadets.   “He was such a positive and jovial guy who was totally immersed in the industry,” says former HRNZ Board member Allan Brown.    Education was a big part of Beaton’s life and he was awarded a Queen’s Silver Medal  (QSM) for services to education. He retired in 2011 after being the principal at Cobham Intermediate  in Christchurch for 15 years.  As a horse breeder he produced over 80 foals and was a highly respected preparer of yearlings for the sales,  having won Best Presented Yearling on several occasions.  “The first mare he bought and bred from was Samantha Scott in 1972 which he paid $2500 for,” says Iggo, “he often laughed about the fact that the horse was worth four times his only other asset at the time – his $600 car.”  Current HRNZ Board member Ken Spicer recalls a trip to the Kaikoura races just last November when Beaton’s health was not good.  “Four of us stayed on course and his horse Admirable won, it was his first win there and a good ending to the yearly pilgrimage,” said Spicer.   “Trevor was a very good mate and we will all miss him dearly” “He had made many friends  in harness  racing  throughout the country,” said Iggo,  “and he will be a significant loss, not only to these friends but to the industry itself.”  Funeral details to be advised.   HRNZ

OBITUARY: Alfred James Wakefield, known as Jim, was an extremely motivated and entrepreneurial man who never shied away from giving back to his community. Former Harness Racing New Zealand chief executive Edward Rennell worked with Wakefield when he was chairman of the industry body, and said the Christchurch man’s contribution to harness racing and his community was immense. “His contribution was not only as an administrator but as a breeder and owner and he was always very professional and had very high standards of integrity particularly within racing.” Wakefield was someone he admired, respected, and learnt a lot from, Rennell said. “Just the way he conducted himself – he was certainly very conscious of doing things right. He was a guy who respected tradition but also acknowledged there needed to be some change within the industry. “We could do with another 10 Jim Wakefields. He’s a huge loss to the racing industry.” Wakefield was a keen boxer in his younger days.               --Steve Wakefield Photo The father of six died on November 27, 2020, aged 87. Wakefield was born to parents Wilfred and Christina Wakefield in Timaru on September 3, 1933. Times were tough for Wakefield as he grew up during the Great Depression. The unemployment rate was extremely high and wages had been slashed for those who did have a job. Wakefield’s father Wilfred, who owned a grocery store in Timaru, was one of the casualties of depression-era New Zealand. His store failed, the family lost their home, and Wilfred was unemployed for a long time. He eventually got a job stamping letters at the local post office, but the family struggled financially. They moved between rental houses and state houses, and had no car or telephone for many years. Although lacking in money, Wakefield was surrounded by a loving family. He attended Waimataitai School, where he was awarded dux, then Timaru Boys’ High School, where he enjoyed academic and sporting success. He played a lot of golf, rugby and cricket, and became captain of the school’s top cricket team. Jim and wife Susan in the Ravenscar Foyer at the Isaac Theatre Royal.    --Steve Wakefield Photo Wakefield loved his time at Timaru Boys’ and instituted an annual scholarship there in 2000, which is awarded to a top student from the school to help them study at the University of Canterbury. His passion for sport continued after he left school. Wakefield and his younger brother, Russell, learnt boxing together, and were coached by a former New Zealand champion. At university, Jim was awarded a blue and recognised as the school’s most scientific boxer. In 1952, aged 18, Wakefield took up a job in Christchurch with growing accounting firm Pickles Perkins and Hadlee, and worked towards gaining accounting qualifications and a bachelor of commerce at the University of Canterbury. He started at the bottom, learned about hard work, and began to build his business experience. Just four years later, Wakefield was offered a partnership in the firm on the condition that he move to Westport to run an accounting practice the firm had just bought there. This was a remarkable achievement as it usually took at least 10 years to be offered a partnership. Always up for a challenge, Wakefield took on the role and moved to Westport with his wife, Pam Stevens, and stayed there for 14 years until 1970. The couple’s family grew during this time, with children Wendy, Steve, Sue and Pete all born on the West Coast. Wakefield also played for the Buller cricket team and advised a variety of businesses, from coal mines and dairy farms to trading companies. Demonstrating his entrepreneurial flair, Wakefield purchased the Charming Creek Coal Company and set up Buller Industrial Investments to create and invest in promising businesses. The company, now called Wakefield Holdings Ltd, continues to operate. Wakefield also formed Bridgevale Holdings Ltd, which was listed on the stock exchange in 1967 and was once the biggest transport operator on the West Coast with more than 100 trucks. After the family moved back to Christchurch, Wakefield focused on serving Pickles Perkins and Hadlee’s bigger clients. He showed leadership in the local branch of the Society of Accountants, later becoming chairman and serving on the national council. He also continued to show his entrepreneurial skills, establishing two publicly-listed companies: Bridgevale Mining, and Coal and Energy. Wakefield left the accounting firm to focus all his energy on making those companies work. He grew the coal mining business in Southland, flew to Texas and secured several oil exploration deals, and was involved in gold mining in Australia. However, both businesses failed after allegedly being defrauded of a significant sum. This did not deter Wakefield and, in 1986, he moved to Auckland to start afresh. He started Avis Car Rental business and built it to become one of the largest leasing operations in Australasia. Wakefield and his business partner later sold Avis for a multimillion-dollar sum. In 1992, Wakefield married Susan Lojkine, a partner at the accountancy firm he had worked for in Christchurch. He and Susan retired to Christchurch and built their dream home, Ravenscar House, in Scarborough in the early 1990s. Ravenscar House before it was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.    --Steve Wakefield Photo The pair loved art and filled the home with a variety of paintings and sculptures from notable Kiwi artists. Ownership of the home and art collection was transferred to the charitable Ravenscar Trust in 1999 with a plan for it to be gifted to the city in the future. The 2011 Canterbury earthquakes destroyed the home, but the collection was saved and put into storage. A new plan was formed with the Christchurch City Council and Canterbury Museum to build a new house on the site of a car park at 152 Rolleston Ave. The Ravenscar House Museum was originally expected to cost $13 million and be completed by 2018, but design complications and the Covid-19 lockdown added another $3m to the construction price and delayed the opening. It is now expected to open about July or August this year. Wakefield and Susan were also involved in harness racing together and had many winners trained by Cran Dalgety. Jim and Susan Wakefield with trainer Cran Dalgety after their horse, London Legend, won a race.  -- Race Images Photo Wakefield was a director and chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand from 1998 to 2010 and was the chairman of the New Zealand Racing Board from 1999 to 2003. He was acknowledged for his services to the racing community in 2012 when he was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Wakefield is survived by his wife Susan, daughters Wendy and Sue, step-daughters Mary and Frances, sons Steve and Pete, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.   by Jonathan Guildford Reprinted with permission from Stuff

YARMOUTH – A resident of Yarmouth for over 74 years, Clayton passed away peacefully at his home on Jan. 25, 2021 in his 100th year. He was born in Lynchburg Va. on July 9, 1921 to Neeley and Vera (Higgins) Smith and the family returned to Portland shortly thereafter. He attended Portland schools and it was at Deering High that he met Marjorie, his wife of 74 years. He enjoyed school and sports, and graduated with the Deering High School class of 1939. After attending the University of New Hampshire he enlisted in the Navy during WWII. He and Marjorie married in 1943 before being assigned to duty in the Pacific aboard the USS Hovey as a bridge officer. When the Hovey sank in the Philippines after a torpedo strike, he was awarded the Purple Heart. After the war, Clayton and Marjorie bought a farm in Yarmouth which remained their lifelong home. Clayton became a teacher at his alma mater Deering High where he taught English, coached baseball, basketball, public speaking, and was involved in school drama productions. Many past students remained in touch over the years and he always remembered them and their individual talents. He had an early interest in harness horse racing, purchasing his first racehorse, Miss Marie Grattan, at the age of 25. This purchase was the beginning of a life-long treasured friendship and partnership with Donald Richards, with Donnie training and racing horses for him and jointly owning several over the years. Clayton’s involvement in harness racing took an unexpected turn when he served as announcer for a friend’s trick horse show held at the Cumberland Fairgrounds. Overheard by track management, he was hired to announce the races for the Cumberland Fair and his career as a track announcer was launched. Eventually leaving teaching altogether in the early 1960s, he became a full-time harness racing official at tracks along the East Coast. He became the announcer at Foxborough Raceway in Massachusetts, as well as a racing official at tracks such as Rosecroft outside Washington D.C., Pocono Downs in Wilkes Barre, Pa., and he enjoyed a long tenure at Rockingham Park in Salem, N.H. Clayton was also a well-known fixture at the Maine tracks of Lewiston, Bangor and Scarborough Downs to name a few. Highly regarded by horse owners, drivers and track management he was honored to be inducted into the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame in 2000. After retiring in 1986 from full time officiating duties he continued to work summers at several Maine fairs, finishing out his career as Director of Racing for the Skowhegan State Fair in 2018 at the age of 97. For many years Clayton also owned and operated Pine Tree Sales Company which auctioned racehorses and equipment at venues across Maine. Clayton was an avid golfer, with memberships at Val Halla Golf Club, Freeport Country Club, and Toddy Brook. He played in countless local tournaments over the years and was a keen competitor in the Maine Seniors Golf Association League. He and Marjorie enjoyed playing together in Maine, and also in Myrtle Beach, S.C. where they wintered in their retirement years. Clayton was also a familiar face on the first tee at Toddy Brook where he worked for several years as a course starter, continuing to work and play golf there until after the age of 93. Clayton is predeceased by his wife Marjorie; sons, Barry and Gregory Smith; his parents; and his sisters, Virginia Knight, Jean Barnes, and Barbara Pride. He is survived by son, Jeffrey Smith, daughter, Andrea and her husband Patrick Mullen, daughter-in-law, Bonnie Smith; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. His cheerful presence, listening ear, helping hand, and generous advice will be greatly missed by family and his many friends. The family would like to thank Dottie, Bonnie, and Darlene for their care given to Clayton in his later years and to Beacon Hospice for providing comfort in his final days. A celebration of Clayton’s life will be held at a later date when it is safe to gather and share memories in person. To share memories and offer online condolences please visit http://www.lindquistfuneralhome.com.

Frank, Richard Arthur D.V.M. STILLWATER Dr. Richard Arthur Frank, D.V.M., 81, died peacefully on January 24, 2021, at the Home of the Good Shepherd at Highpointe in Malta, after a short illness. Born in Middletown on June 27, 1939, the son of the late Joseph A. Frank and Helen Fitzgerald Baummer, he was raised in Goshen and graduated high school from Goshen Central High School. He attended Paul Smith's College and received his bachelor's degree at Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He went on to become a doctor of veterinary science after graduating in 1964 from Cornell University in Ithaca. An equine veterinarian most of his career, he was dedicated to serving the needs of the horse owners and trainers at the Saratoga Harness Track and surrounding area for more than 50 years. He was inducted into The Saratoga Harness Racing Hall of Fame & Museum in 2015. He was a lifetime member of many professional organizations and was always reading and attending conferences to stay up to date in his profession. Affectionately known as "Doc Frank," he had a warm, caring, and generous heart and was well loved by many. He loved the outdoors and when not working, loved to fly his Cessna, hunt, photograph wildlife, work on his elaborate model train sets, and spend quality time with his family on the farm. A loving and devoted husband and father, he is survived by his wife of 56 years, Beverly Stevens Frank, whom he married on November 21, 1964; daughters, Kathleen (Alexander) Gonzalez of Stillwater and Cheryl (Benjamin) Sullivan of Underhill, Vt.; son Gregory Arthur Frank of Stillwater; and grandchildren, Sean and Chloe Gonzalez, Kyley Sullivan, and Kyleigh and Sydney Frank. Keep the Heavens laughing, Doc! The family wishes to thank The Home of the Good Shepherd at Highpointe in Malta and The Community Hospice of Saratoga County for the love and care given to him while a resident and also all the friends who have walked this journey with us. Due to COVID-19 concerns, a celebration of life will be held at a later time when it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to either the Lewy Body Dementia Association at lbda.org/donate or 912 Killian Hill Road S.W., Lilburn, GA, 30047, the Saratoga Harness Horseperson's Association, P.O. Box 171, Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866, or The Community Hospice of Saratoga County, 179 Lawrence St., Saratoga Springs, NY, 12866, in memory of Richard "Doc" Frank.

Former Harness Racing New Zealand chairman and long-time trainer Pat O’Brien is being remembered as a “passionate” advocate for the sport. O’Brien died in Blenheim over the weekend, aged 86. “He was professional and genuine and passionate about harness racing, “ said former HRNZ Chief Executive Edward Rennell, who had a long association with O’Brien. “He understood the industry at all levels, particularly grassroots. ” In 2010 O’Brien received an award for his “outstanding contribution to harness racing”. “He was a great guy with a great sense of humour,” said Rennell. A big supporter of racing in the Central Districts, O’Brien trained 79 winners on his own account from 1971 to 2003, and then had 197 wins while training in partnership with his son Mike. Their best season was in 2006 when they had 26 winners, including Kay N Kayes, Ballroom Babe and Sandstorm. Another of his top performers was Il Campione, who won nine from 46 before being sold to North America. “It won a few country cups and we called it Blenheim Reactor just to wind Pat up,” said Rennell. In 2009 the father and son combo trained the trifecta at Manawatu, with Clinton’s Maid, Rolias and Glengarry Sunrise finishing first, second and third. An accountant, O’Brien was involved in exporting horses to the US in the 1970s. “He forged a business relationship with Charlie Hunter and Brian Meale,” said Rennell. As an administrator O’Brien was on the board of Harness Racing New Zealand from 1997 to 2011, the last three years as chairman. “He is a genuine loss to the industry.” A Celebration of Pat's life will be held at the Springlands Chapel, Cloudy Bay Funeral Services, 15 Boyce Street, Blenheim, on Thursday, January 28 at 1.30pm, followed by private cremation.

Robinette “Robbie” Tucker, 91, of Paducah, Kentucky, beloved and loving wife, sister, aunt, cousin, friend and sweetheart, passed away on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, at Parkview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Robbie was born in Bandana, Kentucky, on Sunday, Dec. 17, 1929, to Vernon and Geraldine Webb. She was a lifelong resident of the Kevil, Kentucky, area, and a member of Kevil United Methodist Church. She retired from Tele-Service and was the first employee for the Kevil-based business. She loved to travel, go camping, fishing and going out to eat. She enjoyed playing cards, hosting fish frys and gardening. Robbie and her husband raised cattle, tobacco and harness-racing horses. She will be remembered for her smile, her love for family, friends, music and dancing with her sweetheart J.W. Mrs. Tucker is survived by her sister, Claudia Webb Lindblad, of Paducah; her sweetheart, J.W. Wallace, of Paducah; several nieces and nephews. Mrs. Tucker was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years, Harvey Tucker; and her brother, Harlan Webb. Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah with Mike Jones officiating. Burial will follow at Woodville Cemetery in Kevil. Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, at the funeral home. Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38105. We appreciate your help in maintaining state mandated COVID-19 restrictions. This includes wearing a mask and maintaining the minimum 6 feet of distancing within our facility at all times. During this difficult time of COVID-19, you may show your support by joining the “Hugs from Home” program prior to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, where your message will be attached to a balloon in the chapel to remind the family of your love and support. Please go to www.milnerandorr.com to send a “hug.” You may leave a message of condolence and light a candle of remembrance at www.milnerandorr.com.  

Pompano Beach, FL...January 23, 2021...Longtime harness racing horseman Mr. Bev KIngston, 76, passed away on January 18 after a short illness. "Mr. Bev," as he was affectionately called, was a native of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada and campaigned at several tracks throughout North America from Mohawk in the north to Pompano Park in the south. His career spanned a half century and, though he never had a very large stable, he was known throughout the industry as a very competent horseman and gentleman. Most recently, Kingston campaigned his small stable at Pompano Park during the winter months and Tioga Downs in the summer. Among his more recent successes were Mach Lee, Keystone Christa and Abrethoffreshart. In an interview as he approached his 75th birthday, Kingston reflected on his career saying, "All of my horses are my children. Sure, I have had success with Keystone Christa and Mach Lee, but I gave the same attention and love and caring to $3,000 claimers like Roger Rambo. I get the same, wonderful feeling when any of them get to the winner's circle." Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey fondly remembered Kingston by saying, "Mr. Bev was a gentleman both on and off the racetrack. He was a very knowledgable horseman that left no stone unturned when it came to a horse's care. We have lost a great one with the passing of Mr. Bev. Lee Cullen, a patron of Kingston's over many years, reflected "I am heart-broken over his passing. In all the years in which I had horses with him, we never had one single unpleasant moment--not a single one! "He was just a wonderful individual...as a trainer and as a person...and this leaves a void in my heart." Mr. Bev is survived by his former wife, Doreen, daughter Raeann, son Bane (Traci), grandchildren Landon, Alaina, Vanessa, Brenna and Mercedes, and one great-grandson, Isaiah. Information on the service for Mr. Kingston is pending. John Berry | ASST RACE SECRTRY

Beloved husband and father, Fred Erwin Zanolli, 92, of Meadow Lands, passed away Saturday, January 16, 2021. Fred was born June 17, 1928, in Meadow Lands, a son of the late Epifino Louis and Sophie Scarpari Zanolli. He graduated from Chartiers-Houston High School. He was a horseman at a Meadow Lands farm breeding, delivering foals and training yearlings for harness racing. On November 19, 1966, Fred married Judith Chropek, who survives. Also surviving are sons, Damian Joseph Zanolli and David Louis Zanolli, both of Meadow Lands; many cherished nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. Fred was predeceased by brothers, Lawrence and David Zanolli; and sister, Ann Zanolli. He was a member of Standardbred Horseman's Association, American Legion Post 902 (Canonsburg), charter member of the Chartiers Houston Fire Department and Bears Club. Fred enjoyed all sports, especially horse racing, baseball, football and hockey. He also loved gardening and any time he could spend with friends and family. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and attended Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all services are private. Memorial contributions in memory of Fred can be made to Washington Area Humane Society, 1527 PA-136, Eighty Four, PA 15330. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to William G. Neal Funeral Homes Ltd., 925 Allison Avenue, Washington, PA 15301. Additional information and guest book are available at www.NealfuneralHome.com.  

Batavia, NY --- Patricia Ellen (James) Waddell-Snodgrass, age 77, a resident of Philippi, New York passed away Thursday December 30, 2020 in the United Hospital Center. Patricia was born February 13, 1943 in Toronto Ontario Canada, a daughter of the late Lewis and Bernice (Hodgins) James. Patricia was united in marriage on August 22, 1985 to Dr. Ralph R. Snodgrass Jr. who preceded her in death on September 13, 2012. Patricia had a love and passion for horses. She was a member of the United States Trotting Association and was pivotal in publicity for the Canadian Trotting Association. She trained a small stable of horses in western New York including Stonegate Payoff, Gails Rusty, VV Dexter and Patrick Will. She was always highly regarded in the Standardbred community as well as the West Virginia Miniature Horse Club. Pat loved everyone she came into contact with. Patricia is survived by daughter Karen F. Waddell-Wellman, grandson David Waddell, step daughter Wendi Chapman and husband Randall, grandchildren Eric Allan Wellman and companion Ashley Mullen, Patric Christopher Wellman, Lauren and Daniel Yung, great-grandchildren, Islas Yung, Adalynn and Levi Wellman. Donations can be sent to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation in her name. In honor of Patricia's request, cremation will be honored and a celebration of life service will be held at a later date. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs

KEVIL — Bobby Earl Lanier, 81, passed away at his home on Wednesday, December 30, 2020. His passion in life started back in 1979 and presently was still involved in harness racing his standardbred horses. Bobby served in the Army during the Vietnam War and was the Commander of The American Legion Post 3 of La Center for 10 years. He retired from Modine after 20 years of employment and was manager at Ferrell Gas of La Center for 22 years. Bobby was a member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Florence Lanier of Kevil; one son, Paul Lanier and his wife Claudia of Kevil; a daughter, Rita Crabtree and her husband Joe of Kevil; three grandchildren, Bobby Joe Crabtree of Kevil, Justin Crabtree of Kevil, and Tanner Lanier of Kevil, five step-grandchildren, James Kelley, Brandon Lynn, Justin Lynn, Brittaney Vines and Amanda Shafer; one sister, Gayle Clark and her husband Harold of Paducah; and several nieces and nephews. Bobby was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Hallie Tomlin Lanier. Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, at Morrow Funeral Chapel in La Center with Rev. Troy Deweese officiating. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Cemetery with military honors. Visitation will be held Sunday, Jan, 3, 2021 at Morrow Funeral Chapel in La Center from 4-8 p.m. We appreciate your help in maintaining state mandated COVID-19 restrictions. This includes wearing a mask and maintaining a minimum of six feet distancing within our facility at all times. Messages of condolence for the family may be left at morrowfuneralchapel.com.

Joseph A. DeFrank Jr. (DeFrancesco) of Lake Pleasant NY passed away peacefully at home on the 12th of December, 2020; at the age of 87. He was born in Holley, NY on the 27th of August, 1933 to Joseph Sr. and Florence DeFrank. He was a proud member of the US army and a 50-year member of the American Legion Post 529 Holley, NY. He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Beryl DeFrank; his children Greg DeFrank (Beth), Doug DeFrank (Betsy), Michelle Goudreau (Mike), Terri Fanton (Gary); grandchildren Shelly Goudreau Jr. (Samantha), Jamie Fanton, Dani Fanton, Nicala Visscher, Scott Visscher (Tiffany); his great grandchildren Noah Goudreau, Taryn Fanton, Korban Goudreau, and his siblings Madelyn Welsh, Dale DeFrank (Ellen), Scott DeFrancesco, and Todd DeFrank.  Joe was predeceased by son-in- law Shelly Goudreau, daughter Beverley Visscher, and siblings Gary DeFrank and Roger DeFrancesco (Kathy). Beyond the racing world, Joe’s main priority was his family which he loved wholeheartedly. Joe and Beryl loved gardening and cooking together. They spent their retirement years enjoying the beauty of the Adirondacks, from their lovely home Butternut Hill in Lake Pleasant. From the garden came many vegetables and herbs to complete the home cooked pasta dishes the family enjoyed so much. Joe fell in love with harness racing at Batavia Downs and that is where he met his mentor and lifelong friend, Don D’Andrea. In 1956 Don recommended to the late Hall of Famer Jim Lynch, that Joe be given a chance as an assistant in the race office at Hilliard Raceway in Ohio. That 40-day “gig” was the start of a long career that took him to the race offices at many other tracks, including Baltimore Raceway, Green Mountain Park, Grandview Raceway, Painesville Raceway, Northfield Park, Windsor Raceway, Freehold, Brandywine and Ponce DeLeon. Joe was hired by the late Delvin Miller to help start The Meadows in 1963. In 1976 general manager Bob Quigley and hiring chief Jack Feketie were on the hunt to staff a newly-built east coast racetrack with rising stars and the sharpest racing minds they could find. Joe was director of racing at Windsor Raceway and Quigley came calling with the offer of the same position at the new racetrack located across the Hudson River from New York City; The Meadowlands, which came under the auspices of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. Joe took the job and convinced several of Windsor’s up-and-coming drivers to relocate as well – Lew Williams, Shelly Goudreau, Greg Wright and Ray Remmen among them – along with a young driver named John Campbell, who along with Joe fast-tracked to eventual induction into harness racing’s Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. While at the Meadowlands, Joe created innovative stakes and early-closers as well as $100,000 claimers, events like Million Dollar Babies and the internationally renowned Statue of Liberty Trot. His legacy includes high-priced races such as the Meadowlands Pace and Woodrow Wilson, both of which offered purses of more than $1 million. The Woodrow Wilson purse reached as high as $2 million, the most ever offered in the sport. He was also instrumental in bringing the Hambletonian from the Midwest to the Meadowlands, where it has been raced since 1981. In addition to his duties at the Meadowlands, when Garden State Park Racetrack in Cherry Hill, New Jersey opened in 1985, Joe was named director of racing. One of the major races he brought to that track was the 1988 March of Dimes Trot. The field included the North American star Mack Lobell and foreign standout Ourasi, with the event turning out to be what many consider to be the sport’s greatest race ever. Joe was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1994, with presenter Stan Bergstein, a former race secretary himself, noting, “I realized quickly and instinctively that he was going places. I simply underestimated how far he was going, how fast he was going, and how impressively he would get there.” “No one in our business has mastered his craft more completely, elevated its power and stature, introduced more new ideas, commanded more respect or ruled with such absolute power as the man we how honor.” Throughout the years Joe received many awards, including the Good Guy of the Year in 1991 by the US Harness Writers, and in 2001 was given the Van Lennep Award by the Hambletonian Society which honored his talent and innovative style for the sport of Harness Racing which he loved so much. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Joe may be made to the Michael J Fox Foundation (Parkinson’s Research) and The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Goshen NY. Funeral Home: William J. Burke & Sons Bussing & Cunniff, INC. Funeral Home located at 628 North Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (518)584-5373. Date of funeral: Saturday, December, 19, 2020 Visiting hours: 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm Funeral Service: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm A private interment service will be held in the Spring at Lake Pleasant, New York.  Steven Wolf

HARRISBURG PA - Frank A. Glasso, 98, a lifetime resident of Rome NY (40 miles east of Syracuse) who was a member of the U.S. Harness Racing Writers for 55 years and an USHWA Director for 16 years, passed away at home on November 5. A son of Italian immigrants who took many trips back to his parents' homeland (frequently visiting the "original" Rome), Glasso graduated from Rome Free Academy, then enjoyed a varied career. At one job, as a broadcaster for WKAL Radio, Glasso received a record request from a nurse at a local hospital - with that request bringing him his wife of 62 years, Margaret, who survives. From 1968 to 1987 Glasso worked as a reporter and photographer at the Rome Daily Sentinel, a position he described as his favorite job, and he carried his press card with him for the rest of his life. He was cited by the Associated Press for his reporting on a major storm in the central New York area. Glasso also wrote about the trotters and pacers at Vernon Downs, twelve miles away from Rome, and avidly followed harness racing. At his passing, only six USHWAns had been a member of the association as long as he had. In addition to his wife Margaret, Glasso is survived by three daughters and two sons-in-law, six grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. A full obituary on Glasso can be found at www.nunnandharper.com. Jerry Connors Jr.

Not sure if this the right person to send this to but I wanted to send my thoughts in on the passing of champion harness racing trainer Bill Robinson.  If you could just put Sara A. that would be great.  If not no worries. I met Bill Robinson through a friend.  I didn’t know him as a horse trainer who was accused of everything under the sun, as I was told after meeting him.  Every time we stopped by his stable he was kind, quiet and struggling with his health.  He had a positive attitude.  He supported his community locally with jobs, sponsored sports teams when-ever called upon.  Helped out a lot of people who worked for him when they were short and probably never got any of it back.  I was told he also helped out a lot of his competitors. The first day I walked into his stable, which was my first time at a harness trainers farm, I was expected to be a little dirty and have some door.  I could have eaten off the floor.  And as I walked thru the barn every horse looked happy and healthy. I was also informed he would never bother anyone and I could see this. He was a big man but was soft as butter.  I don’t know any other of his family members, just Bill and I was later told to call him Bruiser.  To Bill and his family, May He Rest in Peace. Sara A. [Six Nations] Keep on Keeping On

Standarbred Canada is reporting that harness racing former champion trainer "Bill" Robinson has died. Here is the full article. One of the most prolific trainers in Canadian harness racing history, William 'Bill' Robinson of Caledonia, Ont. passed away on Friday (Dec. 11) at the age of 74. Robinson didn't come from a horse racing background, getting involved with racing after going in on a $1,500 claiming horse with a bunch of friends with working at a local Firestone factory. He eventually quit working at the factory to become a trainer and enjoyed tremendous success. After developing horses the likes of Dream Maker and Lime Time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Robinson ranked among the Ontario Jockey Club circuit's top conditioners throughout the later part of that decade and continued that success into the 1990s. As a trainer, Bill Robinson's horses earned more than $54.8 million, captured 2,738 races in 8,998 starts. Fifteen horses he trained won over $1 million dollars each, with three colts winning more than $2 million in a single year. Bill Robinson at the O'Brien Awards with driver Randy Waples Horses successfully campaigned under Robinson's tutelage included Hall of Fame inductees Mach Three ($2,376,700) and Precious Bunny ($2,281,142) along with O'Brien Award winners Riyadh ($2,763,527). Presidential Ball ($3,021,363), Art Major ($2,723,217), Cams Card Shark ($2,498,204), Dragon Again ($2,343,428) and 1997 Triple Crown winner Western Dreamer ($1,812,176) and recent millionaire Nickle Bag ($1,240,110). Robinson-trained horses have won numerous divisional honours in Canada, with O'Brien Award winners the likes of Pacific Rocket, CHRHF inductee Ellamony, Stout, Paling Avenue and Armbro Keepsake. Robinson was a four-time Winner of the O'Brien Award for Trainer of the Year in 1993, 1994, 2002, 2003, and two of his horses won the O'Brien Award for Horse of the Year: Precious Bunny in 1991 and Cams Card Shark in 1994. He was also the winner of the USHWA Award for Trainer of the Year in 1993. Horses trained by Robinson captured the majority of harness racing's major stakes events, and on multiple occasions. Robinson-trained horses have won the North America Cup (4 times), Meadowlands Pace (3), Little Brown Jug (3), Jugette (1), Breeders Crown (3), Confederation Cup (3), Canadian Pacing Derby (4), US Pacing Championship (3), Adios (2), Art Rooney (3), Provincial Cup (3) Messenger (3), Windy City Pace (3), Nassagaweya (5) and Maple Leaf Trotting Classic (1). A full obituary with details will posted when available. Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family of Bill Robinson.

After nearly 50 years’ involvement in the harness racing industry in this country Sam Ballantyne has died in Christchurch, aged 74. A studmaster, trainer and driver Ballantyne was born in Scotland where he bred horses, just as his father had done. He also raced horses regularly throughout the UK at venues such as Prestatyn in Wales and it was during this time he crossed paths with now prominent Auckland trainer Ray Green (of Copy That fame). They would become mates. “The UK scene then was like a league of nations. I’d bump into Sam twice a week and I’d drive horses he bred and then sold on, he was right up there with the best.” “He was associated with a lot of Derby winners – he was a top breeder and he sold a lot.” In the 1970s he made the decision to go to New Zealand. According to Green he was “looking for some adventure in his life.” After settling in Christchurch he married into one of the country’s most prominent harness racing families. His wife Judy was the daughter of Freeman and Peggy Holmes, of Noodlum fame. He also set up his stud operation, Eastwood Lodge. “He was a top stockman," says retired bloodstock agent Bruce Barlass, who worked at the Lodge for five years (1978-83). “His care for the horses, especially broodmares and foals was paramount” Among the other people he employed were now top American-based trainer Mark Harder, Grant Payne and the late Dennis Smolenski. “In the biggest years 250 mares would be served there, to the two stallions Plat Du Jour and Nardins Byrd,” said Barlass. Other stallions there over the years included Australian champion pacer Preux Chevalier. Gee du Jour (Plat du Jour – Geena) won the 1991 Rowe Cup while Folie Bergere,a Plat du Jour – Del Parole filly, trained by Ballantyne, finished third to the colts in the first ever Sires Stakes final in 1984. After starting out in the mid 1970s, Ballanytne trained the last of his 73 winners (Amenophis) at Addington on January 2011. As a driver he had 35 wins with Graikos arguably his best horse (8 wins – 17 starts). Among his stand out performances was a second to Lord Module in the Group 1 Pan Am Mile in 1979. “He was very professional,” says Green , “and his horses were always immaculate.” “He would fit in with anyone, he was likeable and agreeable.” Sam Ballantyne’s funeral will be held at Westpark Chapel, Burnside on Saturday, Dec 5 at 2pm.   HRNZ

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