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Charles Cooley was one of the founding fathers of harness racing in Tasmania so it is just reward that he has finally made it into the Tasmanian harness Racing Hall of fame. Cooley was born in Hobart in 1870 and he was a pioneer of trotting in Tasmania and became a Foundation member of the Hobart Trotting Club. He also enjoyed success as an owner, trainer and driver-rider. His best horses included Black Bess with 8 wins, Acacia notched up seven victories with Bruno winning the Champion Mile in 1904. Cooley was the first Tasmanian trainer to win professional races in Melbourne and Sydney in the early 1900's. He imported Dolly Berlin from New Zealand, the Dam of champion racehorse and sire Berlinwood. His career as a race rider was cut short in a race fall in 1913 but he quickly bounced back turning his hand to administration, carrying out roles as judge, handicapper and starter for his beloved Hobart Trotting Club. Charles Cooley passed away in 1922 so it is almost century on that one of the founding fathers of trotting in Tasmania has finally been honoured as an inductee to the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Peter Staples

W H (Hec) Baker was regarded as one of the best Tasmanian reinsmen to sit in a sulky and in Hobart last night the former great was inducted into the Tasmanian Harness Racing Hall of Fame at a gala awards ceremony at Luxbet Park. Baker's career covered four decades from 1945 to 1976 during which time he drove 516 winners and was the state's leading driver on two occasions in 1957/8 and 1965/66. He handled the ribbons on a number of outstanding pacers none greater than champion Chamfers Star. The pair combined to capture the 1964 Easter Cup and the 1965 Tasmanian Pacing Championship. Baker won the Tasmanian Derby three times. He won aboard Raider Chimes 1956, Jimmy Maru (1960) and in 1970 he won with Atok. Pipriki was successful in the Danbury Park Cup while Raizaire proved too good in the 1957 Show Cup. Baker also enjoyed triple success in the The Metropolitan Cup with Tasara in 1958, in 1961 with Shannon Bay and again with Karaman in 1974. There were also Dual successes in the Brighton Cup with Hideaway and Prince Chamfer and the Westbury Cup partnering Fantastic and Lulu O'Neill. Baker is regarded as one of the doyens's of Tasmanian Harness Racing and is a deserving inductee to the Hall Of Fame. Peter Staples  

Chester Bullock was rewarded for his long-term involvement in Tasmanian harness racing when he was last night inducted into the Tasmanian Harness racing Hall of Fame. Bullock is a long term active participant in almost every aspect of Tasmanian harness racing including ownership, breeding, training and administration. Born at St Marys, Chester's father Keith was the St Marys Trotting Club Treasurer and his mother, Doris, loved to have a small wager on horse racing. Chester spent much of his youth at St Marys at the harness stables of Linton Bullock and Eric Bean, before moving to Launceston when he was 16 years of age. Chester put his toe in the water with his first purchase, a yearling, Thunder Fame which won two races in 1984 when trained by Eric Bean. Chester had been bitten by the bug and acquired more mares, yearlings and racehorses and in 1986 decided to purchase a property at Riverside to accommodate his rapidly expanding harness operation. An 1,100 metre track was constructed on the flats adjoining the Tamar River, where the legendary Jack Stamford previously trained. Many prominent trainers took up residence at the Bullock training establishment. David Angus was the initial trainer and Mark Stanley, Rohan Hadley, James Rattray and Todd Rattray all had stints training from the Bullock property. Chester acquired his training license in 1990 and has prepared 68 winners from the complex. They include Cardinal Nelson (10 wins) and Cardinal Tucker (7 wins). In 1998, Chester and his daughter Julia established an AI Breeding Station at the Riverside property. Since then, Fred and Pauline Barker, Trevor Leis and Lloyd Whish-Wilson have been some of the many prominent Tasmanian breeders who have used the facility. Chester has played a significant role in racing administration. It commenced at the Launceston Pacing Club (LPC) at Elphin in 1984. Three years later he resigned from the committee while he filled the position of Project Manager for the new Mowbray Racing Complex including the 1,000 metre harness track. He returned to the LPC committee in 2000 until the present day and took over as President in 2016. Chester joined the Northern Tasmanian Light Harness Association in 1995 where he has served 23 years as President. In 2006, he joined a group of participants to establish the Tasmanian division of BOTRA, the Breeders, Owners, Trainers and Reinspersons Association and he was immediately elected President, serving seven years in the role. Since 2009, has represented the LPC and/or NTLHA at the quarterly Tasracing Harness Industry Forum meetings and he is also a member of the Tasracing Harness Yearling Sale Working Group. Through his company Bullock Consulting, now 60 Degrees, Chester has been one of the major harness sponsors in Tasmania over the last 23 years, extending sponsorship and support to all clubs around the state as well being the major sponsor and supporter of the Youngbloods Series for our young star drivers of the future. Peter Staples

He is now the voice of harness racing in New Zealand but Australian homebred racecaller Mark McNamara was the special host at the Harness Breeders New South Wales annual Awards Night last Saturday. Held at Tabcorp Park Menangle, breeder-owner Pat Driscoll received the highest accolade when presented with his HBNSW Life Membership. In the AGM preceding the Awards Night the following long time contributors to the breeding industry were elected as life members: Janet Moore, Peter Neil, Tom Reay and Paul Hurley.  Their achievements will be recognised at the 2017/18 Awards Night. The full list of HBNSW award winners for the 2016/17 season were: DON CLOUGH OAM AWARD - Graham Bullock BROODMARE OF THE YEAR - Miss Brazilian - bred by Sloys Company SIRE OF THE YEAR - Million Dollar Cam USA HORSE WELFARE AWARD - Marie Neil & Joanne Andersen 2YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Ignatius - bred by Rattray Family Trust 2YO FILLY of the Year - Nostra Villa - bred by Patrician Park, Brett Coffee and J Boag 2YO TROTTING COLT/GELDING of the Year - La Grange - bred by Yabby Dam Farms 2YO TROTTING FILLY of the Year - Queen of Clevedon - bred by Danny Rothwell and Christie Rothwell 3YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Vincent - bred by Sloys Company 3YO FILLY of the Year - Tell Me Tales bred by Helen Head  3YO TROTTING FILLY of the Year - Dance Craze - bred by Yabby Dam Farms 4YO+ COLT/GELDING of the Year - Aztec Bromac - bred by Rob McCardle 4YO+ MARE of the Year - Eye See Diamonds - bred by Mary and Jackie Gibson 4YO+ TROTTING COLT/GELDING of the Year - Quillabamba - bred by Kevin Hipkins 4YO+ TROTTING MARE of the Year - Red Hot Tooth - Bred by Graham Bullock NSW BLUE AWARDS: 2YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Lucky Unlucky - bred by Weona Standardbreds 2YO FILLY of the Year - Shes Sporty - bred by Brooklyn Lodge 3YO COLT/GELDING of the Year - Jilliby Bandit - bred by John Starr 3YO FILLY of the Year - Elle Yeah - bred by Matthew Nagle AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Harness Racing Australia has today announced its 2017 Horse of the Year Awards, headlined by Smolda as the 2017 Harness Horse of the Year. The Horse of the Year Award caps off an amazing career for the recently retired Smolda, with his 2017 season highlighted by his wins in the Inter Dominion and the South Australian and Ballarat Pacing Cups. Trained in New Zealand by Mark Purdon and predominantly driven by Mark, Smolda retired as the 6th richest Australasian bred pacer of all time for owners G & P Kennard, N Pilcher and M Kirkwood. Smolda also won the Pacer of the Year title and the Aged Horse/Gelding Pacer of the Year. Two year old trotting gelding Wobelee became the first two year old trotter to win Australian Trotter of the Year. His record-breaking year included four group ones, 10 wins from 12 starts and $180,330 in seasonal earnings. It was a phenomenal year for Wobelee and his owner Colin Murphy, drawing comparisons with champion trotter, Noopy Kiosky, who was also driven by Chris Alford. Of course, Chris’ wife Alison trains Wobelee. The performance criteria for the HRA Awards is for performances by Australian trained horses, as well as for the Australian performances of New Zealand trained horses. The HRA Australian Horse of the Year Awards are voted upon by over 60 judges including media and administrators spread across the country.  The full list of Australian Horse of the Year winners and their performances across all categories is attached:             Lawn Derby Awards – Pacers             Vancleve Awards – Trotters For details of previous winners see: Harness Horse of the Year Lawn Derby Awards Vancleve Awards For more information, contact Andrew Kelly on 03 9227 3000.

MANALAPAN, NJ — August 8, 2017 — The 2017 BCAP and SBOANJ scholarships winners were invited to the Meadowlands with their families on Saturday (July 29), to receive their harness racing awards. The scholarships are awarded based on academic excellence, community service, financial need and affiliation with the New Jersey Standardbred industry.  This years recipients were Travis Ceppaluni of Jackson, NJ and Tyler Miller of Millstone Twp., NJ.  Each student received a $4,000 check and a plaque from the SBOANJ and BCAP associations. Congratulations to the winners and their families, we wish them success in their future academic careers. Courtney Stafford      

Long-time Little Brown Jug simulcast harness racing host, Sam McKee has been named the 2017 Joseph Neville Memorial Award honoree by the Delaware County Fair. The native of Michigan, McKee started calling imaginary races as a young boy. His developed a pen-pal relationship with the Hall of Fame and Little Brown Jug announcer, Roger Huston. Huston's mentorship helped shape McKee's career. The day after graduating high school, McKee was hired by Saginaw Valley Downs to serve as their track announcer. He later worked for Sports Creek Raceway, Raceway Park, Detroit Race Course and Northville Downs. In 1990, McKee moved his family east to work at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He served as the Big M's co-announcer, simulcast director and TV coordinator. His distinctive voice would later be heard during the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington's Red Mile. McKee was inducted into the Communicators Corner of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2012. He also owned a spot in the Michigan Harness Racing Hall. McKee died March 8, 2017 at the age of 54. He is survived by his wife, Chris, and three daughters - Meagan, Lindsey and Melissa. Jay Wolf

Saratoga Springs, NY – Jeff Gural is a tower in Standardbred Racing. As the owner of three racetracks: The Meadowlands in New Jersey (which features Harness racing and a short Thoroughbred meet), in addition to Standardbred tracks, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs, both located in New York State, he has become a driving force in keeping trainers suspected of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs and those trying to buy or sell horses to slaughter out of his three racetracks. Gural will receive the Ellen and Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award for his commitment to the humane fate and aftercare of horses bred for racing, their safety during their racing careers and toward maintaining integrity and honesty in racing. The world-renowned equine surgeon, Dr. Patricia Hogan, who was honored by Equine Advocates at this event in 2008, had this to say about her friend, Jeff Gural:  "Horse racing faces many modern challenges today, not the least of which is a shaken public confidence in the integrity of the competition itself, but also in the racing community's ability to handle the whole host of welfare issues surrounding the care (and aftercare) of our magnificent horses. Jeff Gural has certainly been a trailblazer in implementing innovative ideas that have chipped away at these problems and started some very important conversations in racing that no one wanted to have, but were sorely needed. Oftentimes, he is doing these things alone - at great personal and financial cost. He richly deserves this recognition and more from our industry."  Also being honored are actress and author, Cornelia Guest and the Honorable Ed Whitfield of Kentucky who served in the House of Representatives from 1995 – 2016. The gala will be held on Thursday, August 3rd at the historic Canfield Casino in Saratoga Springs.  Guest, who can currently be seen in the return of “Twin Peaks” on Showtime, is being honored for her equine rescue work, for her strong public stance and activism against horse slaughter and for founding the Artemis Farm Rescue in New York State for abused and slaughter-bound equines. Ed Whitfield will receive a Special Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work and dedication to the protection of horses. He has been a staunch opponent of horse slaughter, horse soring and all forms of equine cruelty both personally and throughout his years in Congress where he fought hard to prevent equine abuse.  The evening includes a cocktail hour, silent & live auctions, gourmet dinner by Mazzone Hospitality, award presentations and a performance by the popular country band, Skeeter Creek. The live auction will include many exciting and unique items including authentic halters worn by champions California Chrome and Arrogate. Some tickets are still available at $250 per person. For more information, please call (518) 392-0175.  Equine Advocates – P.O. Box 354 – Chatham, NY 12037 Website: – Email:  

Twenty-one years after delivering harness racing trainer John Ryan success aboard Barunah Bay in the Cobram Cup, champion reinsman Chris Alford drove his 6000th winner on another of Ryan’s horses, this time Diamond Grace at Tabcorp Park Melton. Alford needed three winners at the start of today to become the first driver in the southern hemisphere to reach the 6000-win mark, and it took him until the last race to cap a winning treble with his family on-course to celebrate. “Alison and the kids wanted to be there so after the first win I rang her and said you getter get Sam from school. I thought I had a few chances late in the day. For a moment there it looked as though it was going to have to wait until tomorrow, but it was a huge thrill to achieve it on a horse trained by John Ryan,” Alford said. The champion reinsman, who turns 49 later this week, said achieving the milestone was “extremely satisfying”, adding, “I’m privileged to get to drive so many good horses. I can’t make bad horses win”. Very much at the top of his game, Alford is leading the national drivers’ premiership by a huge margin this year and his drives have netted over $2.5 million in stake earnings. Included among those wins is this season’s Group 1 Miracle Mile aboard one of Alford’s modern day – and all-time – favourites, Lennytheshark. CHECK OUT TROTS MEDIA'S #PUPPET6000 CELEBRATION VIDEO Alford’s association with Lenny, the 2015 Inter Dominion champion, is legendary but so is his connection with Golden Reign, Tailamade Lombo and a host of other topliners. Alford has been swamped with messages of congratulations from fans and his fellow participants on social media, but is taking the time to soak up the win with his family before delving into the latest word on the tweet. “We’re just heading for a pub meal and I can see there’s been a bit of talk on social media. It’ll be good to catch up on it later,” Alford said. Alford achieved the 5000-win milestone in November 2013. Already some pundits are looking towards 7000. And that journey starts tomorrow night at Kilmore where Alford has six drives. On Saturday night Alford will take time out to meet fans and sign souvenir #Puppet6000 t-shirts at Tabcorp Park Melton on Benstud Queen of the Pacific night. Funds from the sale of the t-shirts, $10 and available at the race night office, will be donated to Alford’s chosen charity, the Children’s Tumour Foundation.  Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Pompano Beach, FL…May 5, 2017…When Rick Plano won the third race at Hoosier Park on Thursday night (May 4), it marked a harness racing milestone for the Plano family as Rick and son, Luke, now have a combined 10,000 career wins. The 65 year-old Plano has 6,836 of those wins (along with 3,728 career training wins) while Luke, who recently turned 37, has amassed 3,165 wins in his career dating back to 2000. Ironically, Plano reached the milestone 10,000th win by driving the three year-old Well Said filly, Flirtswell, to her maiden win over a sloppy oval in 1:56.2. Flirtswell is a homebred filly bred and owned by Lawrence Keethe and John Darrah. Immediately after the race, Plano said, “Well, now that we have achieved 10,000, it’s time to start on the next 10,000.” Two races later, he did exactly that. Driving Secretsoftheknight, owned by wife Maryann along with Michael Guest, the classy eight year-old son of Mach Three scored in 1:53.4 over the rainy oval. Plano reflected on the milestone win by saying, “I have been blessed to be able to compete successfully for over 40 years. This sport has been great to our family and, as a breeder, owner, trainer and driver, we have been blessed. “I am very proud of Luke and his accomplishments and, with his help and a little more longevity, maybe we’ll add a few thousand more. “This is a great sport and our breed of horse, in my eyes, is the greatest in the world.”

Guests of honor included Kent Oakes of Standardbred Canada, Egmont MP Robert Morrissey, and Land and Environment minister Robert Mitchell, PCHC president Kingsley Walsh, and 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee, Doug Brown. Brown traveled from Ontario to share his successes and harness racing stories to the enthusiastic crowd at the year-end awards. His career saw him win more than 8,400 races while seated as a sought after catch driver in central Canada, including winner of $89 million for driving horses. “It’s a great honor to be here,” said Brown, the top O’Brien Award winning driver of all time and perennial leading reinsman on the Ontario Jockey Club Circuit. “The Island has just been such a great supporter of harness racing for many years, and it’s a pleasure to be a guest speaker tonight.” The thrill of harness racing has been an Island tradition that dates to the 1880’s. “We have a wonderful horse racing following, especially here in Prince County,” said Vance Cameron, MC for the event. “Our numbers for attendance would be greater than what you can find in downtown Toronto with the Jockey Club… I mean, the people support us here incredibly.” Attendees were from all parts of the Island and every aspect of the standardbred industry. Dr. Colleen Dickie, president of the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association, came from Charlottetown to offer her support and present the Fan Favorite award. “Harness Racing is a very important industry to the Island,” she said. “If we want to see the industry survive, then we should be willing to put our time and effort into doing that by volunteering. This is why you see so many people tonight because they want the industry to do well, and they are willing to volunteer their time and effort.” Event sponsors included Noonan Petroleum, ALC Red Shores, and Meridian Farms. 2016 Award Winners Top Driver (50+ Starts): Marc Campbell Top Trainer (50+ Starts): Terry Gallant Top Percentage Driver (25-49 Starts): Keith Campbell Top Dash Winning Driver (25-49 Starts): Adam Merner Top Percentage Trainer (25-49 Starts) Ralph Sweet Top Dash Winning Trainer (25-49): Ralph Sweet and Sirfroi Melanson Groom of the Year: Madonna Morrison 2 Year Old Pacing Filly: Good Morning Ky 2 Year Old Pacing Colt: Mick Dundee 2 Year Old Trotting Filly: Revenue of Windemere 2 Year Old Trotting Colt: Howmacs Survivor 3 Year Old Pacing Filly: Every Time and Southfield Sassy 3 Year Old Pacing Colt: Heart and Soul 3 Year Old Trotting Filly: Rustico Duchess 3 Year Old Pacing Colt: Mr Bower Fan Favorite: Minor Wisdom Claimer of the Year: Casimir Luciano Aged Trotter of the Year: I Aint No Lady Aged Pacing Mare of the Year: Minor Wisdom Aged Pacing Horse of the Year: Motorino Horse of the Year: Casimir Luciano Breeder of the Year: Wendell Williams Frank Daniels Memorial: Sandra Cole Standardbred Canada Owner of the Year: Shelly Gass Philip and Henry Doucette Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award: Lloyd Hannah Garth Schurman Memorial: Jason Hughes Horsewoman of the Year: Deanna Clow Horseman of the Year: Ralph Sweet By Desiree Anstey Reprinted with permission of The Journal Pioneer

HARRISBURG PA - The Keystone Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association has announced its award winners for their outstanding accomplishments in Pennsylvania harness racing during 2016.   And of the seven award categories put to the voters, three of them resulted in two winners - which was quite predictable!   Let's see how that could be:   --The Mary Lib Miller Award, named after the wife of Hall of Famer Delvin Miller and herself an integral part of Delvin's many success stories, is the highest award the Chapter gives annually, for overall outstanding contributions to Pennsylvania racing. This year, two members of the Bedford (PA) Sports Hall of Fame, Sam Beegle and Roger Hammer, were the nominees, and there were three choices for the voters: Beegle individually, Hammer individually, or Beegle and Hammer jointly.   And the writers chose to honor both, longtime friendly rivals since their days both wrestling in southwest Pennsylvania area high schools. Their sports' accomplishments continue to this day - Hammer, an 8-time national U.D.R. champion, was the leading trainer and driver at the PA Fairs this past season, while Beegle, who also is in charge of his own shedrow and takes an occasional turn in the sulky, makes an impact, statewide as the president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, and nationally as Chairman of USTA's District 7 (Pennsylvania).   --The PA Horse of the Year, restricted to horses who made more than 50% of their starts at a Keystone state oval and thus usually earned by a top-flight overnight horse, resulted in a tie between two Invitational pacers who both earned in the neighborhood of $120,000 just during their fine campaigns at The Meadows: the stallion Unlocked and the mare Medusa. This result also was not a shocker - for both Unlocked and Medusa had also tied for top honors when the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association gave their 2016 prizes!   --For PA Breeder of the Year, the Keystone voters cast an equal number of ballots for Bill Mulligan, breeder of Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder, and the legendary Hanover Shoe Farms, who bred $1M+-winning mare Hannelore Hanover - thus figuring the two "even closer" than the 2016 Trotter of the Year contest, where Marion Marauder edged Hannelore Hanover by a single vote!   Other award winners voted by the state communicators include:   --Double honors for North America's leading trainer Ron Burke, who won Pennsylvania Trainer of the Year for the eighth straight year, and also garnered Owner of the Year honors through his Burke Racing Stable LLC (a partnership with his mother Sylvia), who were picked for honors alongside their solid partners, the Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Mike Bruscemi and Mark Weaver.   --PA Driver of the Year laurels to Aaron Merriman, who has parlayed consistently high finishes in the driving ranks at The Meadows with consistent 1-2 rankings in the horseman's colony of Northfield Park to become the two-time defending North American dashwinning king among all drivers.   --PA Sire Stakes Horse of the Year Broadway Donna, a three-year-old trotting filly who was national champion at both two and three and the only sophomore to repeat from freshman form as the 2016 Sire Stakes champion. She earned $429,106 at 2 and 3 in PA Sire Stakes competition alone.   --And a special award from Chapter President Kevin Decker to Pastor Joe DiDonato, one of the most popular figures on the Meadows backstretch for many years, a man who brings calm, aid and comfort on several levels to the people to whom he ministers.   Each of the honorees will soon be feted at their home racetrack - unless it is decided to honor Beegle and Hammer together at the Bedford Fair in late July.   NOTE: in accompanying picture by Seth Dowling, pictured are Mary Lib Miller Award winners Sam Beegle (green/gray, to left) and Roger Hammer (blue/yellow/red, to right), going to the half in a contest at Meadville PA last year.  

The PEI Standardbred Horse Owners Association have announced the schedule for their harness racing 'Awards Weekend', April 8th and 9th , featuring Hall of Famer and O'Brien Awards winner Mr. Bob McIntosh. The best of Prince Edward Island racing, both human and equine, will be honored at the PEISHOA Awards Banquet, Saturday April 8th, which this year will be held at Murphys Community Centre in Charlottetown. A reception will be held starting at 6:30 p.m. with meal and awards following at 7 p.m. " We are very honored that Mr. McIntosh has agreed to be our guest speaker, which is generating a great response from our racing community", said PEISHOA Chair Dr. Colleen Dickie. " There are only a limited number of tickets remaining, and our deadline for sales is this coming Monday." Tickets are available from PEISHOA Directors or at the Charlottetown Vet Clinic. On Sunday April 9th the PEISHOA will be hosting a Breeders Information Seminar at Red Shores with Mr. McIntosh. He will discuss his philosophy of raising yearlings, and developing young horses. There will also be a question and answer session. Sundays seminar starts at 1:30 p.m. in the Red Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park Grandstand. Reservations have also been made for a limited number of attendees for the Sunday Brunch Buffet at the Top of the Park for 12 Noon . Pre-Registration is required for the Brunch, and is encouraged for the Seminar to facilitate arrangements. Please contact PEI Standardbred Horse Owners Association via Facebook, or Dr. Colleen Dickie at 902-940-5247 or The PEI SHOA would like to thank the PEI Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for their support of this seminar through the Growing Forward 2 Federal/Provincial funding agreement. Red Shores Racetrack and Casino

London, May 23, 2017 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced that long time harness racing horseman/owner/breeder Mac Lilley will be this year's inductee into its prestigious Wall of Fame. Lilley, who owns and operates his farm just west of London, dove into the business in the early 1970s with the purchase of his first stallion, Zip Tar, and has not looked back. Since then, his farm has stood some 47 stallion including Super Wave, Springfield, Bo Knows Jate, Whosurboy, Rambaran and Warrawee Needy, just to name a few. Lilley was one of the first to offer a version of fractional ownership in the 70s and also leased and operated the Hawkinsville Training Centre in Georgia for 12 years in the late 1980s. Mac and his wife Ann have five sons and a daughter, 17 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren, most of whom are involved in the family farm in one way or another. He will be inducted into The Raceway's Wall of Fame during a ceremony at the track on Friday, May 12. That night will also feature the annual Wall of Fame Pace. Greg Blanchard

ADRIAN - For someone who didn't grow up around horses, Larry Horn sure made a name for himself in the harness racing community. For his success in a 50-some-year career as a trainer, Horn was inducted into the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony Jan. 21 in Howell. Horn, 74, trained some of the best-known horses in harness racing in the 1970s, '80s and '90s: Tall Oaks Jade, Charamar NiteLite and Sunrise Raider. Yet, because he's been retired from training for a couple of years, he wasn't expecting the phone call he received on Christmas Eve telling him he would be inducted. "I was stunned. I didn't think I heard her right," he said. "It never crossed my mind that I'd ever done anything to deserve this." Horn said he didn't do it alone. The Boring family introduced him to harness racing. His partners in acquiring horses, Doug Hartung Sr. and Jerry Haynes, helped him though the ups and downs of a career in racing. "I'm glad because of the people who supported me all these years," he said. "They have a piece of the honor. It's not something you can do alone." Even other trainers and drivers were motivators. Horn said he's a competitive person, so when he would lose, he would go home and think of what he needed to do to have his horse come out ahead next time. "They pushed me to do my best," he said. Horn's career came during the peak in harness racing's popularity in Michigan. There used to be tracks across the state, but now there is only one, Northville Downs in Northville. The Lenawee County Fair hosted the annual Michigan Breeders Futurity. Horn said state politicians lost interest in racing, and when the casinos moved in, the state supported the casinos' interests over those of the racing community. Horn's start in racing came from his friendship with Chris Boring, whose family was legendary in the harness-racing community. In his early 20s, Horn started visiting the Borings' stable at the Lenawee County Fairgrounds to help with jogging their horses. "The next thing I knew, I quit my job and did it full time," he said. He was working in the shop at the Adrian Glass Co. then. He earlier worked as a teller at Commercial Savings Bank. Chris was "one of the top drivers in the country," Horn said. His father, Leon, was a trainer, and his brother, Otis, ran the barn. "His dad and brother taught me everything I know," Horn said. Working as a trainer gave him a way to get into a competitive field. He said he would have liked to have been a teacher or coach, and being a trainer gave him a way to coach horses to race. "I love athletics," he said. Horn said he also liked that training was not the same thing every day. "Horse training is not repetitious," he said. Horn connected with Hartung and Haynes to acquire horses. He and Haynes started out by leasing a horse that did pretty well, but then they struck upon Tall Oaks Jade, who became a world champion. Tall Oaks Jade's proceeds helped them buy Charamar NiteLite, who was inducted into the MHHA's Hall of Fame in 2001. Horn raced him on tracks from New York to Chicago. Training is a 365-day-a-year job. Not that he couldn't plan days off, but "the horses require your attention every day," Horn said. He acknowledged some of his success was from luck in finding a quality horse, but he said he came to identify certain characteristics he liked in a horse. Pedigree was important, of course. "Certain families produce speed," he said. He liked to acquire younger horses so he could teach them to race. He would look at how they stand and how they moved to see if they were athletic or clumsy. He liked horses that were eager to get out of their stall and ones with more space between their eyes - those horses seemed smarter. He also tended to buy horses that were a little smaller. He said people were surprised to find out his most successful horse, Charamar NiteLite, was not very big. "He's big on the track, but he's not a big horse," Horn said. Learning a horse's personality is part of training a horse. That includes what it likes to eat, how much work it likes to do and what bits and shoes it prefers. "You want the horse to feel as comfortable as you can," he said. That extends to the care the horse receives from the groom in the stable. "A good groom takes care of the horse like it's his first born," Horn said. On the track, Horn would teach the horse how to race, such as when to turn on the speed. "I would teach them to be passing, not to be passed" at the end of each one-mile race, he said. Horn has some experience as a driver - he made 46 starts - that he could apply in training. He said he would get too nervous as a driver, which he said hampered his ability to make decisions in clutch situations during a race. So instead he applied his skills to the time between races, during which he would take feedback from the drivers to try to improve the horse's racing. While he doesn't own horses anymore, he still does help area trainers. He never considered training horses to be "work." "It was my life," he said. "I loved it." By David Panian Reprinted with permission of The Daily Telegram

TORONTO, January 31 - Fresh off winning his fourth O'Brien Award as Canada's harness racing 'Driver of the Year', Sylvain Filion will be a celebrity guest at the upcoming Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner on Tuesday, February 7. The 15th annual Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner is coordinated by the Milton Chamber of Commerece and will be held at Rattlesnake Golf Club. The dinner and auction is hosted by Ken Reid of Rogers Sportsnet. Filion joins an impressive list of celebrity athletes that will be attending this year's event, including Hockey Hall of Fame members Paul Henderson and Paul Coffey, former Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, curling champion Rachel Homan, former NHL player Shayne Corson and Olympian Melissa Bishop. The Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction has become one of Milton's most talked about events, raising the profile of the Milton Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Scholarship Fund. The Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction brings together sports heroes and sports enthusiasts alike. Organized by a volunteer committee of Chamber members, the evening's program includes an autograph signing session, a cocktail reception, a gourmet meal, and a silent and live auction. Bidding on the live auction items, which in past years has featured golf packages, spa packages, autographed jerseys and sports memorabilia, is one of the highlights of the evening. The festivities conclude with the celebrity athletes gathering on stage for a question and answer session led by Reid. Proceeds from the event go towards the Chamber Scholarship Fund, which helps fund post-secondary education for local high school students. The Woodbine Entertainment Group is a proud sponsor of the Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner. Tickets are $175 and can be purchased by emailing or by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

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