Day At The Track

Cashman III proud of Meadowlands decision

08:46 AM 22 Mar 2013 NZDT
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The late John Cashman Jr. John Cashman Jr with his father John Cashman Jr (r) presents John Cashman Jr.
The late John Cashman Jr.
John Cashman Jr with his father - John E. Cashman
John Cashman Jr (r) presents - Merrie Annabelle trophy to driver Tim Tetrick and owners
John Cashman Jr.
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John Cashman III has always been proud to have the same name as his late father and grandfather but when the Meadowlands recently announced that a the premier harness racing track would be naming one of its top trotting events after his Dad, he was both stunned and completed overwhelmed.

“You wouldn’t believe how proud our family is. You name it and Dad did it. Harness racing was his life. This is a great honor. He will be smiling down on us. We will be there on the big day,” Cashman III told Harnesslink.

The Nat Ray Free-For-All Trot, which will be raced on Hambletonian Day on August 3, will from this year on be known as the John Cashman, Jr. Memorial.

First raced in 1981, this big trot counts among its winners many of trotting's greatest champions. Moni Maker won the Nat Ray a remarkable three times, Lucky Jim set his 1:50.1 world record in this race and who can forget Victory Tilly's exciting international victory in the 2002 edition.

Cashman's influence is found in many facets of harness racing. In a distinguished career that included several high profile positions, one of the most important was his role in the launching of the Breeders Crown championships.

“He did just almost every administration job possible and he worked at many tracks and stud farms throughout North America.

“We lost Dad last year. His memory will always live on but this race will make his wonderful memories all the more special,” Lexington-based Cashman III said.

“He was very passionate about harness racing. It’s incredible to think his name will live on at one of the greatest racetracks in the world,” the 47-year-old added.

Cashman III said he would join his mother Nancy, brother Brian and sister Karen at the Meadowlands to watch this year’s Nat Ray Trot.

He said his father got his start in harness racing from the great Delvin Miller and soon became friends with fellow legends Billy Haughton and Stanley Dancer.

Cashman III, who has conditioned 41 winners, gave training away in 1992 to specialise in equine pharmaceuticals.

He said his father never trained or owned any great horses, but will always be remembered as a great administrator of the sport.

Cashman Jr was 74 when he died last year.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

An insight into a young John A. Cashman Jr written in 1969 by ‘TROTTER WEEKLY’.

How is it that a comparative tyro in the harness racing industry can command the respect of elders and veterans of some 30 to 40 years in the sport?

"Track officials, owners, breeders, trainers and others have acknowledged the expertise of this low-keyed dynamo.

Already, his experience has ranged over abroad area covering almost every facet of the standardbred sport. His counsel and observations are not lightly dismissed. In fact, he has a horde of supporters who go down the line with him on most every count. The subject of their attention is John A. Cashman Jr.

A rebel of sorts, if you listen to his family's critiques, young Johnny (he recently celebrated his 28th birthday) bolted formal schooling at 16 to jump feet first into the harness racing swim.

He served his apprenticeship under Delvin Miller and appeared headed for certain fame and fortune as a trainer-driver. But his father, John Cashman, Sr., a long time judge at New York tracks, influenced him to enter the administrative end of the sport.

The result was his emergence as racing secretary at one of America's leading tracks, Roosevelt Raceway, where he served with distinction before establishing his own Cashman/Magee Sales Company. Its Saratoga-based auctions already are solid successes.

Not stopping there, he joined partner Ray Magee and the Bregman brothers, Bob and Leonard, in the purchase of Speedy Streak for $ 200,000 and the prize stallion is now standing at Bregman's Buttonwood Tree Farm in Bloomingburg, N.Y.

The traits that stamp him as a distinctive figure in the sport are best described by the comments of those who know him best.

"What I see in John," notes driving great Billy Haughton, "is his absolute knowledge of all the aspects of harness racing. It's sometimes hard to comprehend that a fellow his age is so well informed on breeding, horsemen's problems, management details, and everything else that concerns our sport.

"Del Miller, who nurtured him, spotted John as a comer years ago.

"1 thought he'd be one of the smartest reinsmen harness racing ever knew. Since he switched trades, though, I suppose 1'll have to amend the statement and say that he'll be one of the smartest executives in the business."

George Sholty is another Cashman booster.

"He's honest. He'll hurt his own best business interests if it means telling what he truly believes."

John Chapman, a man of convictions, admires Cashman's objectivity.

"I have seen him dead-set on an opinion he held but after a real good donnybrook, he's backed down and admitted he was wrong. Broadmindedness speaks well for a guy, and Johnny has that."

Tall, blond, personable, Cashman "fits well" in the harness racing circle. His former employers at Roosevelt Raceway, regretting the loss of one of their favorites, respect his counsel even now.

His friends among the owners, officials and press are legion. In the parlance of racetrack fans, you'd have to say that "Cashman is a sure thing."

Who was John Cashman Jr?

Chapter Seven setting a world record 1:50.1 in last year’s Nat Ray Free-For-All Trot at the Meadowlands

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