Day At The Track

Top horseman Steve Wiseman passes

12:00 PM 14 Mar 2021 NZDT
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Steve Wiseman, harness racing
Steve Wiseman
Dee Leftwich Photo

Longtime California horseman Steve Wiseman passed away Saturday afternoon at age 53 after a year-long battle with cancer.

Wiseman was a third-generation harness horseman, as his grandfather drove the starting gate in British Columbia and his father Raleigh was a respected horseman in both Canada and the United States.

Steve came to California as a teenager and not long after that went to work with Tim and Denise Maier, followed by a stint with the Jim Perez stable. He eventually went to Chicago where he was second trainer to Joe Anderson, who eventually encouraged him to strike out of his own.

It was at this point that Wiseman returned to California to start his stable. Soon after he met his wife of 21 years, Kathie Plested, and they have a daughter Tyler, now 20, who is currently the outrider here at Cal Expo.

Steve and Kathie had made Sacramento their home while operating one of the largest stables at Cal Expo in the fall and winter and Running Aces in Minnesota in the spring and summer with a number of driving and training titles to show for those efforts.

Steve was on the board of directors of the CHHA, a member of the California Hall of Fame committee and the drivers track committee.

Steve's favorite performers included Magna Kay, Cashimir Dow Jones, Rhianna Seelster and Silverlode, the latter breaking the North American record for a trotter at mile and a half with a 2:57 2/5 victory here at Cal Expo in the Joe Lighthill Memorial.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Wiseman is survived by his older brother Ken and sister-in-law Heather Wiseman. His parentsleigh and Myrna preceded him in death.

"Steve Wiseman was the consummate horseman," said Steve and Vickie Desomer. "Professional and friendly whether training or driving or working around the barn. When we raced coupled entries, it was always our hope and good fortune when Stevie consented to drive for us. He will be sorely missed as he remained one of the horsemen that gave our industry a good name. Rest in peace Stevie."

From Tim and Denise Maier: "We have always considered Steve part of our family. It was a pleasure to see the amazing man he became. The paddock at Running Aces will not be the same without him. I hope God appreciates his humor."

"Horse owners will tell you about the money they are making or losing, but after 50 years, this small owner will admit, it's about the joy of harness racing," said Barbara Arnstine. "In creating that joy, Steve Wiseman was rightly named the Magician. I've had my worst mare and one of my best in his barn over the years, and thanks to his magic, they were both wonderful experiences."

Cal Expo will have a memorial ceremony prior to Saturday night's first race.

by Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

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