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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      

Columbus, OH --- Former Hoof Beats editor and Communicators Hall of Fame member Dean Hoffman has reported that harness racing 'Hall of Famer' Howard Beissinger, 94, died Feb. 6, 2018, in his home state of Ohio. One of the sport's top trainer/drivers and trotting specialists, Mr. Beissinger won three Hambletonians, with Lindy's Pride (1969), Speedy Crown (1971) and Speedy Somolli (1978). Mr. Beissinger drove Lindy's Pride to win trotting's Big Five in 1969: the Yonkers Trot, Kentucky Futurity, Hambletonian, Dexter Cup and the Colonial. The third generation Beissinger to make harness racing a profession, he also had Lindy's Crown, who held a world race record of 1:54.4 before Cornstalk broke it in 1984 with a 1:53.4 mile. Cornstalk was also driven by Mr. Beissinger. He was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1975. More information will be posted when available. USTA Communications Department

Pompano Beach, FL…January 29, 2018…Theodore S. (Ted) Colby, 78, passed away suddenly as a result of an accident in Bronxville, N.Y. Mr. Colby, an accountant by trade, was involved in the Standardbred industry as a breeder and owner for over 25 years and enjoyed considerable success with I’m Just Special (p, 1:50.3--$789.299) and Special Sweetheart (p,3,1:50.4--$860,933), among others. Trainer Tom Artandi described Mr. Colby as a “real gentleman and extremely generous” and said that all trainers should be lucky enough to have owners as great as he. Information on services are, at this time, pending. John Berry

The harness racing breeding industry has lost one of its giants with the shock passing of Bob McArdle. The 76-year-old who imported so many top stallions to New Zealand through his days at Nevele R Stud died in his sleep on Wednesday night. He is survived by his wife Denise and children Lisa and Baeden. Few people have every contributed as much to, or for that matter accrued as much information about the Australasian breeding industry, as McArdle. Not only was he a breeder, owner and agent but with the late Wayne Francis set up Nevele R, the stud whose footprint on the industry worldwide is enormous. Not only did they breed hundreds of winners of thousands of races but Francis and McArdle brought the likes of Falcon Seelster, Holmes Hanover and earlier Timely Knight and El Patron to New Zealand to mention just a few. Later, through his breeding and selling business Bromac Lodge, McAcArdle had a huge presence at the yearling sales, with 12 from that property to be sold at the Christchurch sales in a few week and three at Karaka. “Bob’s impact on the industry here is impossible to overstate,” says PGG Wrightson’s Peter Lagan. “What he and Wayne did at Nevele R will be felt across the industry for decades to come. “And his knowledge of breeding in this part of the world might be the most detailed of anybody I have ever met. “When you think of all the horses he bred, sold and was agent for he has put a lot of money in a lot of people’s hands over a very long period of time. “He was a very smart businessman and knew what he wanted but no matter how frank a discussion or even disagreement you had with Bob, he would get over it and get down to business “The New Zealand industry owes him a lot.” Bob’s best horse he actually owned was probably Howard Bromac, who won an Auckland Cup and was placed in a New Zealand and Hunter Cup when trained by Kirk Larsen. “He was maybe the best we had but Bob owned a hell of a lot of good horses,” says Larsen. “We probably trained for him for over 30 years. He would breed horses and then we would train them, sell plenty but keep some. “Bob had great knowledge and was a businessman first when it came to the horses but he loved the good families and was very loyal to them.” No details are available yet for McArdle’s funeral. Michael Guerin

The harness racing industry was saddened to hear of the passing of renowned strapper Julian 'Shamo' Attard. Julian passed away last Sunday after battling cancer for serval months, aged 69. He trained and drove his own horses but in the later years of his life, Julian assisted the Fitzpatrick stable in Cawdor as a strapper. "He worked with us for 10 to 15 years," Gavin Fitzpatrick said. "He was great friends with Jeffrey Usher, who owns Sally Fletcher, and he just started coming over and helping out one day. "He worked at the Ingham's factory for many years and loved it there but he loved his horses too. "He drove winners at Harold Park back in the day and did train and drive his own horses." The last winner Julian trained and drove was Bashful Dancer at Gosford on March 26, 1984. A kinder man was hard to find on any racetrack according to Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny. "Julian never had an unkind word to say about anyone or anything in the industry he just loved," Dumesny said. "This can be measured by the fact he respected everyone and everyone that knew Julian respected him. "His welcoming face will be sorely missed at racetracks across the state. "On behalf of the industry, I offer the deepest condolences to his family and friends." A funeral for Julian will be held on Monday January 15 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Leppington, in the North Chapel at 10am. The Board and Management of HRNSW extends their deepest sympathies to Julian's family and many friends. AMANDA RANDO

Gary Alan Warner passed away unexpectedly at his home in San Jose, CA on December 14, 2017. He was just 52 years of age. The son of Donna (Provenzano) Warner and the late David Warner, Jr. and nephew of James Samberg and the late Barbara (Provenzano) Samberg as well as the grandson of Pat (Barbara) Provenzano. It was Mr. Provenzano who introduced pari-mutuel harness racing in western New York when he opened Batavia Downs in Batavia, NY in 1941 and it became a family business. Gary was born on April 17, 1965 in the 10th Ward in Rochester, NY , He attended Sacred Heart Cathedral Grammar School, Cardinal Mooney High School, and Gannon University. He excelled in many sports including golf, basketball, and soccer. Gary's easy-going demeanor and quick wit made him popular with everyone he met. He was especially proud of his high school soccer team at Cardinal Mooney and recalls with pleasure, the year they won the NYS Championship , Gary was the admissions director at Batavia Downs for many years where one of his favorite parts of the profession was greeting patrons, most of whom he knew by name. After his tenure at Batavia Downs Gary moved to Palm Desert, CA in 1992 to pursue a career in the golf industry. It was there that he met his wife, Melissa. They were married in La Quinta, CA in the very room in which they met. Gary became the Director of Corporate Tournaments at PGA West and he continued with that organization for many years before moving to San Jose, CA where Melissa was residing prior to their marriage After moving to San Jose Gary became Warehouse Manager at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos, CA and for over 11 years and he loved, and was loved, by his "work family". Gary's passions included family, friends, the Pittsburgh Steelers and he treasured summers in Thousand Island Park, New York. He so enriched the life of his wife Melissa Warner and was the devoted, proud father of Riley Warner, and embraced and cherished his step-son Grant Hendricks. Gary also left behind a tight family which includes his mom Donna, sisters: Amy (Carl) Munding , Julie (Michael) Miller and brothers David J III (Mary Beth) and Eric (Julia Poli). He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and countless friends. There will be a memorial service held in San Jose, CA on January 20, 2018 and a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester, NY on February 17, 2018 at 10.30am. John Manzi

Batavia, NY---Francis R. Bond, 86, a longtime harness racing owner, driver and trainer at Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway, died peacefully Tuesday morning, December 26, 2017 at United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, NY. "Franny" Bond was born in Buffalo, NY on July 27, 1931. He became a Marine after leaving school and began boxing while in the service in the Armed Forces Title Fights. He fought in the lightweight class and eventually worked into the featherweight division. The then 126-pound "fighting Marine" was described as "a game and lively scrapper who could take a hit and come back with a better one." Corporal Bond became one of the Marine's top boxers, winning a featherweight title in 1953 while often times fighting men from the professional ranks between service bouts and sometimes competing in higher weight classes. Bond continued to fight professionally in the Golden Gloves after he left the service under the name Bobby Bond and was trained by Angelo Dundee who also conditioned the likes of Muhammad Ali, George Foremen, Sugar Ray Leonard and Carmen Basilio. He competed in 15 professional fights all over the eastern seaboard including New York City at Madison Square Garden. Bond first got involved in harness racing in 1966 and eventually got his trainer and driver's licenses. He ran a small stable for the next 39 years, seeing most of his driving success in the 1970's (where he scored 135 of his 189 careers victories) and most of his training accomplishments (total of 108) between 1990 and 2000. Bond also occasionally catch-drove horses when the opportunity arose. Bond's last winning effort came on May 16, 1996 behind H F Harriet at Buffalo Raceway. Bond was an entrepreneur and made a buck anyway he could. He owned a soft drink distributorship, ran the track kitchen at Batavia Downs and sold hay, straw and feed for many years while, and after, he was competing himself. He was known by everyone on the backstretch and was an affable individual his entire life. No memorial information has been relayed. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

Chesapeake City, Md. - Francis J. Tierney of Chesapeake City, Md. passed away Thursday, Dec. 12/2017 at the age of 97. Born June 27, 1920 in Newark, Del., the second of eleven children. He attended Newark Public School, then entered St. Charles College in Catonsville, Md. followed by St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, graduating in 1942 with a BA in Philosophy. He continued studying Theology and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. in December 1945. For 31 years, Father Tierney served as pastoral assistant at St. Mary's, St. Ann's, and St. Helena's in Wilmington, Good Shepherd in Perryville, Md., and chaplain at the Veteran's Hospital at Perry Point. He also served as Captain and Chaplain in the Delaware National Guard, then as Pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Ridgely, Md. He was founding Pastor of St. Polycarp Parish in Smyrna, Del. then returned to the Wilmington area as Pastor of St. Mary Magdelain Parish and Dean of Suburban Wilmington. After a brief leave of absence, he returned to Ridgley, Md. as pastor until his retirement from active ministry and laicization. Married to Carol Gerstenberg in 1976, Frank and Carol devoted themselves to breeding, training, and harness racing and settled in Chesapeake City. Among the young people who were associated with his harness stable was Joe Holloway. Frank is survived by his wife, Carol of 41 years; his sisters Gertrude McKay of Tolland, Maine and Marguerite Downey of Atlantic City, N.J.; brother, Joseph Tierney of Long Grove, Ill.; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, 12/20/2017 at 11:00 am at St. Rose of Lima Church, 301 Lock Street, Chesapeake City, Md. 21915. Visitation will begin at 10:00 am. Burial will follow the service at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery.  

Pompano Beach, FL...December 16, 2017...Longtime harness racing horseman Fred Cohen, 66, died on Thursday, December 14, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Cohen's career stretched over more than four decades in which he sent 703 horses to the winner's circle. Though he also drove--sparingly--he piloted well over 150 winners, with his last one earlier this year with Thekeptman in a Florida Amateur Driving Club event. "I love that club," he recently remarked, "because they do so much good for so many people." Among his many successes over the years were Prairie Tracker, who dominated the Open Fillies and Mares events when she raced, Buttler, Fox Ridge Eric, Karen Miller and Legacy Franco, of which competed in high class claiming events. When asked recently about a few of his most memorable highlights during his career, he said, "Well, the trotter You're Next is right up there, I'll tell you that." You're Next won the first 13 starts of his career under the guidance of Cohen. Another 2017 highlight was in the 2017 Sweetheart Pace, which was won by the Cohen trained Cabo Real in 1:53.1 for driver Laurie Poulin. When asked what advice he gave his Sweetheart driver before the race, Cohen said, "I told her to drive him like Wally Hennessey would drive him--nothing more!" Laurie sent Cabo right to the front and led the entire route, winning by almost two lengths. "See," he smiled, "you did exactly what I told you to do!" A memorial will be held honoring Fred Cohen at a later date. John Berry

Time is a great leveller and the last act is to remove us from this life. In so doing, "time'' makes the Duke and his gamekeeper equal, as both are dust. Last Sunday, "time'' took a "game keeper” and elevated him to freedom from pain. Col McDougall was born at Ipswich Hospital on July 1, 1944 and was reared at Churchill in the company of Spellekens' and McCoombes' where trotting was firmly entrenched. His first job was with Brisbane City Council at the Mt Crosby water treatment plant, residing there for a period. Later, Col returned to Churchill and drove a truck on Ipswich City Council for a great part of his working life. He married Faye Spelleken and the couple raised two fine children in Julie and Bradley. When I first encountered Col, he was renting a couple of stables at Noel Spelleken's property at Three Mile and working a couple of pacers each and every afternoon. The horses raced at Ipswich Showground and Rocklea on Saturday afternoon. Col loved his horses, loved his wife and kids, and most of the people that he was associated with. He was the bloke that harness administrators classify as a "hobbyist”. He put in countless hours with average stock, accepting defeat on the racetrack as a part of life, yet never losing heart. He never lost sight of the "bunny of success” chasing hard all the way. Taken in context, his stats are not that shabby. As a trainer, he had 1356 starters for 78 winners, 264 placings and $137,378. In the sulky, Col went around on 705 occasions for 34 wins and $50,000 in the bank. His best season was 1988/ 89, hitting the bullseye eight times. His best horse may have been Slippery Lobell, bred by local owner/breeder/ trainer Bill Crosby. A shocking accident at Rocklea, when a horse reared up at the start and fell across Col crushing him to the track caused severe injury, probably wrecking his harness aspirations. As so often happens, the occurrence seemed to trigger a long chain of health issues, culminating last Sunday. Col was the man you wanted to see coming when you were broken down by the roadside or needed help in other ways. "I'll give you a hand mate” was his watchword, and while he would argue the leg off a table on some matters, his word was very much his bond. While Col may have been one of life's "gamekeepers”, his depth of character made him a Duke. Corruption crackdown THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner has welcomed the decision to charge a harness racing code participant with perjury. "The Racing Crime Squad has charged Mathew Neilson with perjury following evidence he gave at a Crime and Corruption Commission hearing,” Commissioner Ross Barnett said. "The Racing Integrity Commission is working hard to restore integrity to harness racing and where we can enlist the help of other law enforcement agencies we will. "I'd like to thank the CCC for its support.'' The Commissioner has previously suspended 35-year-old Neilson's harness driver and training licences after he was charged with match fixing last month. Ten people associated with harness racing in Queensland have now been charged with match fixing and other offences as a result of the work of investigators involved in Operation Oscar Swallowtail, including a 65-year-old Yeronga man who was arrested at the weekend. "It's important to remember that those charged so far only represent a small proportion of the total participants in the sport,'' Commissioner Barnett said. "Law-abiding participants can be assured that confid- ence in the harness racing code will improve once the race fixers are identified, charged, convicted and banished from the sport.” Big Marburg program IT'S the entry to the festive season, and what better way to kick it off than the Marburg trots today. A big nine-race program is on offer with Santa, lollies, and a jumping castle for the kids coupled with a monster raffle, $1350 "pick six” jackpot and $100 gate draw. Marburg is the place to be. Gates open at 10am. Admission is adults $5, members and pensioners $3, with race books $3. Trials start at 10.40am with the first race at 11.40am. Handy tips SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight. R1: Box trifecta 2-6-10: Max Richter (G Dixon)-Overlap (P McMullen)-Jackaroo Bromac (A Sanderson). R2: Quinella 4-10: Young American (M Grantham) and Stuunder (J Lee). R3: E/w 1: Come Cullect (J Lee). R4: Box trifecta 1-4-8: Im Norma Jean (P Greig)-Psychedelic (J Cremin)-Clintal Do (G Whitaker). R5: Quinella 2-8: Top Trio (M Grantham) and Gas Monkey (C Geary). R6: E/w 2: Lucifers Legend (T McCarthy). R7: Quinella 2-7: Avonnova (M Dux) and Glenferrie Hood (P McMullen). R8: Box trifecta in four 10-13-14-15: Blazing Under Fire (P McMullen)-Iona Grinner (R Morris)-Our Dainty Lady (D Graham)-Our Overanova (G Dixon). R9: E/w 3: Horace Foxley (Trent Dawson). R10: Box trifecta in four 1-4-5-6: Feel The Courage (P McMullen)-Chapter One (T Dixon)-Bettabeperfect (C Turpin)-Smokey Quartz (R Morris). Marburg picks today: R1 - 2-1-5. R2: 1-6-2. R3: 5-1-8. R4: 1-6-4. R5: 4-7-9. R6: 1-6-4. R7: 2-4-5. R8: 8-3-1. R9: 3-2-7. A very predictable leader board coming into Christmas. Most of the prezzies addressed "care of the lower Brisbane Valley”. Top trainer Darrell Graham had a healthy tally of five winners for the week. Narissa McMullen stood out in the sulky, getting home on four occasions. Honour board Albion Park, December 8: Rubys Bad Boy (Lachie Manzelmann for Darell Graham); Constantlysideways (Danielle McMullen for Bill Crosby); Firebby (Danielle McMullen for Christine Monte); Blazing Under Fire (Pete McMullen for Blake Fitzpatrick); Mach Torque (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin). Albion Park, December 9: I'm Johnny Jet (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Django Mach (Narissa McMullen). Warwick, December 9: My Ultimate Fella (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Machbino (Nikki Chalk for Tess Neaves). Albion Park, December 12: El Swavo (Clint Sneddon for Karen Bennett); Donny Jones (Taleah McMullen for Ron Wells); Our Mels Dream (Narissa McMulen for Ron Sallis); Horace Foxley (Trent Dawson for Tahn Camillieri ); Bet I'm Special (Danielle McMullen for Shannon Price). Redcliffe, December 13: Georgia Grace (Adam Sanderson for Shawn Grimsey); No Confession (Narissa McMullen for Tayla Gillespie); Stuunder (Narissa McMullen for Shane Sanderson); Punters Delight (Dylan Ferguson for Ron Sallis); Its All Go (Sheree Tomlinson for Matt Elkins); Western Falcon (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen). Redcliffe, December 14: Mighty Montana (Darrell Graham); Mister Hart (Darrell Graham); Heavens Hint (Pete McMullen for Stewie Dickson). by TROT TACTICS with Denis Smith Reprinted with permission of The Queensland Times

Victoria’s trots industry is mourning the loss of a gentleman of the harness racing sport after Bob Conroy died on Tuesday at age 88. The Daylesford trainer and brilliant horseman enjoyed a life dedicated to harness racing, which he shared with his wife Pat and their five children, including Glenn, Anne-Maree and Peter, who themselves have combined to drive more than 800 winners. Renowned as an outstanding trainer of trotters, Mr Conroy spent a life training from Daylesford, having been raised in nearby Korweinguboora before occupying the former Daylesford Trotting Club track, from where he would often venture into neighbouring Hepburn Regional Park to educate his horses. A trots trainer, driver and breeder, Mr Conroy’s training successes include Mary Beverley’s win in the 1973 V. L. Dullard Cup, Lincoln Star's win in the 1978 Bendigo Pacing Cup and 1978 Italian Cup, and the Lightfoot Laurels on four occasions (Lucy Lastic 1997, Miss Universe 1999 and 2001 and False Gem on 2008). His greatest stakes win came when Amazon captured the $30,000 Australasian Trotters Championship final in 1984 and then the same year the E B Cochran Memorial Trotters Cup, while notable triumphs also include Mister Everest in the 1990 Chris E Howe Trotters Cup, two Central Victorian Trotting Championships in 1991 (Omaorio) and 2005 (Sutters Glory), the 1996 Coulter Crown with Lucy Lastic, First Signal's win in the 1999 Cranbourne Trotters Cup and then the R C Freestone Trotters Cup with Miss Universe. Other notable performers he trained throughout his distinguished career included multiple metropolitan winners King’s Pride, Eden’s Return, Magic Madge, Minnesota Fats, Hot And Dry, Kyvalley Duke, Speeding Fine, Baltic Prince and Looks Like Me. Mr Conroy’s trotters Bootleg Bert and Margaret Ruth delivered his last trotting wins. Bootleg Bert won the Decron Trot at Melton on December 4 while driven by Glenn and Margaret Ruth won at Geelong on Saturday night, when Anne-Maree drove her to victory in a heat of the Vicbred Platinum Mares Sprint Championship. Harness Racing Victoria extends sincere condolences to Mr Conroy’s family, colleagues and friends. Harness Racing Victoria      

Pompano Beach, FL...December 9, 2017...Long time harness racing trainer Paul Bernardo, 65, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, December 7. The popular Bernardo had just completed installing flooring at his residence and was preparing refreshments when he was stricken. He had a very successful career in harness racing and was in the midst of a very fruitful year in 2017 with a .340 UTRS on the strength of a 31-38-24 scorecard in 177 starts with $215,619 in purses won for his owners. Career-wise, Bernardo made 453 trips to the winner's circle, campaigning a relatively small stable throughout his career stretching more than a quarter century. This semester at Pompano Park, Bernardo campaigned several winners including J Black, Dee's Golden Joy, Dee's Rocketman, Pedro's Dream and Sing For Me George, a current lifetime winner of $474,241 owned by Joseph Martinelli, Sr. of Staten Island, N.Y. Sing For Me George won the opening night feature at Pompano Park on October 1 and has chased the vaunted Panocchio home on several occasions, as well. Probably Bernardo's finest accomplishment as a trainer was with the Argentinian bred Chucaro Ahijuna, a double gaited world champion who took a pacing mark of 1:51.4 at Pompano Park in 2003 followed by a 1:53.3 trotting mile at Woodbine in 2004, a mark equalled at Pompano Park in 2005 in the prestigious $80,000 Mack Lobell Trot Final. Bernardo trained the son of Noble Speedster for Martinelli's Berry Stables. Trainer Jim McDonald said, "Paul was universally liked and respected here at Pompano Park and everywhere else he raced. He was an true animal lover and he cared for his horses like a devoted father cares for his children. They broke the mold with Paul, no doubt about that!" Information on services will be forthcoming. by John Berry                 

ROCK HALL — Elva L. Webb of Rock Hall, MD, died on December 2, 2017 at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, MD. She was 61. She was born in Dover, DE on August 24, 1956, the daughter of the late Charles Hurd and Gloria E. Turner, of Henderson, MD. Residing in Chestertown, Elva worked with horses at Moffett’s Horse Farm preparing them for Harness Racing. She not only trained the horses but also, due to her love of animals, made sure they were well cared for. Elva then worked with David A. Bramble Construction as a flagger and later with Eagle Hill Florist as a designer. Elva joined the Rock Hall Vol. Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary on June 1, 2005 and in 2009 served with the Fire Police and later as Auxiliary Captain with the Rock Hall Police Dept. Elva gave countless hours of volunteer service to both RHVFC Fire Police and RHPD. She loved all animals, hunting for arrowheads and sheds (antlers), she loved her birds and enjoyed shooting. In addition to her mother, she is survived by her companion of 40 years, Robert G. Wetmore, of Rock Hall, MD; her siblings: Robert E. Hurd (Patricia), of Dover, DE; Linda S. Hyatt, of Michigan; Daniel A. Hurd, of Illinois; Lawrence P. Hurd, of Greensboro, MD; Gloria L. Thompson (Timmy), of Henderson, MD; along with several nieces, nephews, and her Rock Hall Fire Police Family. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, December 7, 1 p.m. at St. Paul’s Cemetery, Kent. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Humane Society, P.O. Box 352, Chestertown, MD 21620. Arrangements by Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam Funeral Home, Chestertown, MD.  

Kenny Ross was running a small used car lot in Philadelphia when he learned there was a Chevrolet dealership for sale on Pittsburgh’s North Side. The year was 1953 and Mr. Ross, then 26, hustled across the state with his wife, Claire, and his 1-year-old son for the chance to buy it. Eventually that single dealership grew to 10 locations and the Kenny Ross Automotive Group became the largest auto sales businesses and one of the biggest private companies in the Pittsburgh region. Regardless of whether they bought his cars, Pittsburghers for decades recognized his name from a long-running series of newspaper ads and TV commercials that featured the outspoken Aunt Penny. The white-haired, trademarked character -- who wasn’t really his aunt but whom his family said always remained an inspiration to the company -- whipped up elderberry jelly and told viewers, “You always get plenny from Kenny,” and “Tell them Aunt Penny sent you.” Mr. Ross, who in addition to running his dealerships was a real estate developer, co-founder of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Big Brothers Big Sisters charity, and an accomplished harness racing driver, died Friday after a brief illness. He was 90 and lived in Squirrel Hill. “He dropped everything in Philadelphia to come to Pittsburgh,” said his son, Jim Ross of Squirrel Hill, who now chairs the company that is based in North Huntingdon. When he bought his first dealership here, his son said, Mr. Ross was among the youngest Chevrolet dealers in the country. By the time New York private equity group GPB Capital acquired a majority stake in the company in June, the business had expanded to include franchises for Ford, Nissan, Subaru, GMC, Mazda and Toyota. Revenues were close to $700 million last year, and it employs more than 700. Even after Mr. Ross retired from day-to-day management in the 1970s, he remained closely involved with the company. “He never stopped paying attention to it,” said Jim Ross. “His title was ‘The King,’ and he had an innate sense of how things were going in the business whether he was there or not.” Stepping away from the car business gave him time for other pursuits. He launched Ross Development Co., which is based in Shadyside and is run by another son, Tony Ross of Squirrel Hill. The company built dealerships and facilities for the Kenny Ross Automotive Group as well as office and retail properties in the city and suburbs. “It wouldn’t be unusual to find Dad on a job site at 6 a.m.,” said Jim Ross. Despite his business success, his sons said, he was proudest of helping to start the local affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters in 1965. The nonprofit provides mentoring for at-risk boys and girls, and Mr. Ross had a personal connection. “He came from modest circumstances and as a youngster in Philadelphia was prone to getting in trouble,” said Jim Ross. “He became a ‘little brother’ there and he felt it changed his life incredibly.” He also spent years as a professional harness racing driver and a trotting horse owner. A horse in which he had a majority ownership, Tom Ridge, was named for the former Pennsylvania governor who was Mr. Ross’ close friend. That horse was favored to win the prestigious Hambletonian Stakes in 2004. Held at the Meadowlands in New Jersey, the Hambletonian is the first event in the annual Triple Crown of Harness Racing. After leading for part of the race, the horse was outpaced and failed to place. A few weeks later, though, Tom Ridge set a world record time at the World Trotting Derby in Illinois. In addition to his sons, survivors include a daughter, Joanne Simon of Squirrel HIll; a sister, Flora Wenick of Philadelphia; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Visitation is from 11 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Ralph Schugar Chapel, 5509 Centre Ave., Shadyside, followed by the funeral at noon. Memorial contributions may be made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, 5989 Centre Ave., Suite 1, Pittsburgh PA 15206. By Joyce Gannon: or 412-263-1580. Reprinted with permission of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Kumeu harness racing trainer Errol Downey has been tragically killed in a car accident over the weekend. Downey had a successful training career in New Zealand, training 62 winners over a period of fifteen years.  The best horse he trained was Sanchiola (Chiola Hanover - San Mateo) who won 15 races as a trotter in the 1990's. Her progeny included the boom Australian trotter Kyvalley Road (20 wins) and the speedy Sanchipola (8 wins). Downey's last win as a trainer was by the good trotting mare San Diego Love, who won on 15th April 2015 when driven by master reinsman Tony Herlihy. Downey is survived by his two sons, Roydon and Nathan, and daughter Stephanie. Harnesslink Media

Anthony T. Abbatiello, a harness racing leader for several decades who was a member of the sport's Hall of Fame, died October 19 at his home in Colts Neck, NJ, after complications from heart failure. He was 89.   Mr. Abbatiello was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1995 after a long career in harness racing as a trainer, driver, horseman's association president and a member of numerous other organizations. He joined his brother Carmine in the Hall of Fame, making them the first brother combination to do so.   He became a member of the New Jersey Racing Commission in 2005 by appointment of the governor.   He was co-founder of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and served as its president for more than 30 years. Due to his leadership, the organization became a strong, motivating force in the success of harness racing in New Jersey. He also served as chairman of the board of the United States Trotting Association, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, chairman of the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees, a trustee of the American Horse Council and the Trotting Horse Museum.   In addition to his induction into the Hall of Fame, Mr. Abbatiello received the Proximity Award of the United States Harness Writers Association and was honored as man of the year by Harness Horseman International.   He was a decorated U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War, rising to the rank of captain and receiving numerous commendations, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor, two Purple Hearts, Combat Infantry Badge, and Korean Campaign Ribbon with four Battle Stars.   Predeceased by his wife Kathleen, he is survived by three daughters, Jean Sardoni (Craig) of Colts Neck, Christine Whelan (John) of Colts Neck, and Lisa Locke (James) of Virginia; six grandchildren, Ava and Michael Sardoni, Shane and Jack Whelan and Abigail and Ian Locke; two brothers, Carmine and Matt, and one sister, Sadie Merillo, and several nieces and nephews.   Visitation will be from 4 to 8 PM on Tuesday (October 24) at the Higgins Funeral Home in Freehold. A military burial will be private on October 25 at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown, NJ.   From Leon Zimmerman

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