The Harness Racing Hall of Fame and Museum

 

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Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg inducted into Hall of Fame

 

Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg took different roads to success as harness racing breeders and owners, but those paths merged Sunday when they were inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame during ceremonies on the grounds of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.

Siegel, a retired pharmacist who operated a chain of drug stores before turning his full attention to harness racing, owns Pennsylvania’s Fashion Farms. Siegel and his late wife Arlene owned 1995 Hambletonian Stakes winner Tagliabue. Other successes have included eight divisional champion horses and five victories in the Breeders Crown.

Wallenius-Kleberg, the first woman inducted into the Hall of Fame, is widely regarded as the First Lady of International Trotting. She owns Menhammar Stuteri, the renowned breeding farm that has led Sweden in purses each of the past 11 years. The farm was purchased by her father, shipping magnate Olof Wallenius, in 1947 and has produced an impressive list of notable trotters.

She was introduced by USTA President Russell Williams, who spoke first in Swedish and then in English.

"Being here tonight is the result of a fantastic combination of American and Swedish friends and partnerships through the years," Wallenius-Kleberg said. "I do hope I can fulfill what is expected of me as a Hall of Famer. And as the first woman with this title, I hope I can be inspiration to all girls and young women out there."

Also honored Sunday were the late horseman Hakan Wallner, who was inducted into the Hall of Immortals; writer Dave Briggs and announcer Carl Becker, who were inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame; horses Cantab Hall, Western Ideal, Gala Dream, and Sweet Future; and amateur driving champion Hannah Miller.

Siegel was steered into harness racing by his wife Arlene, a retired nurse whom Jules has called “the real inspiration” for a retirement spent with horses. The couple worked together at Fashion Farms, with Arlene among those who guided Jules through the early years of the farm’s operation, even getting him to assist with mares when foals were born.

“This honor is by far one of the most unbelievable experiences of my 90 years," Siegel said. “First, mostly John Campbell was my go-to guy in the beginning. I was amazed at his consistent ability to make good horses into great winners. Jim Campbell, my trainer, taught me how the horse business works. How in the world can I ever reward him for all he’s done for me?

“The one person who is responsible for my standing here is my wife Arlene who made all this possible. She told me ‘dear, I will not let you retire to nothing.’”

The Siegels received the Owner of the Year Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association in 2002 and 2009 and Siegel was Standardbred Canada’s Owner of the Decade for the 2000s. Other honors included being named the Pennsylvania chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Breeder of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

Tagliabue was the first of the Siegels’ Dan Patch Award-winning horses, followed by two-time recipient Galleria, Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, Possess The Will, and two-time honoree Broadway Donna.

Broadway Schooner, a daughter of Broadway Hall bred by the Siegels, won the 2009 Hambletonian Oaks and is the dam of Broadway Donna.

Wallenius-Kleberg was one of the first people to recognize the importance of international bonds among trotting breeders and regulators. She created a North American-European comingling of racing and breeding talent with her partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth, headed by stallions Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee.

Zoot Suit was Sweden’s top sire for six consecutive years, 1991-96, and was preceded at the top of the list by Smokin Yankee in 1990. Menhammar Stuteri also was home to two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Mack Lobell.

One of Menhammar’s earliest stars was Big Noon, who was Scandinavia’s version of American’s early 20th century star Dan Patch. Among the horses bred by the farm are 2014 Prix d’Amerique winner Maharajah, 2013 Elitloppet winner From Above, and 2005 Hambletonian Oaks winner Jalopy.

Beginning this year, Menhammar Stuteri stands recently retired Nuncio, who was a star in North America and Europe. Nuncio’s wins included the Kentucky Futurity, Yonkers Trot, and Elitloppet.

After Wallenius-Kleberg’s purchase of Zoot Suit from Woolworth, the two trotting devotees developed a bond that opened doors in North America for her burgeoning interests in trotting. Wallenius-Kleberg began keeping and breeding mares in the U.S. and having fillies trained and raced in North America before they entered the Menhammar broodmare band.

By the 1980s, Wallenius-Kleberg was a familiar figure at the Hambletonian, the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile, and the Hall of Fame weekend in Goshen. She also traveled to Florida regularly to see her young horses in training.

Concurrently she was developing contacts and friendships throughout Europe so that she could broaden the Menhammar influence on the continent. She was a regular at the Prix d’Amerique in Paris and cultivated contacts among French horsemen and breeders.

Recognizing the importance of sustaining the trotting sport, Margareta has assisted and encouraged many young people in racing. She always insisted on the highest standards in the horses she acquired and used her business skills to operate successfully.

Already a member of Sweden’s Trotting Hall of Fame, Wallenius-Kleberg has held numerous positions in organizations related to the sport in her native country and abroad and worked to promote harness racing on both sides of the Atlantic. She is a Hambletonian Society director and received the Harness Racing Museum’s Pinnacle Award in 2011.

Wallner, too, was a globe-trotting pioneer who raised the bar of Swedish racing and breeding to an international level. Wallner, who won the Elitloppet and Prix d’Amerique in Europe, was convinced he could succeed in the U.S. as a trainer of trotters and in a short amount of time he was competing at the highest level and affecting every facet of harness racing from the yearling sales to the Grand Circuit.

With Jan Johnson and Berndt Lindstedt he founded Continental Farm, which counted among its many accomplishments winning the first-ever Breeders Crown race with Workaholic in 1984. The stable was a force in the series, winning four trophies and $2.85 million in the first eight years of the Breeders Crown. Its $3.94 million in purses overall in the event remain No. 6 among all trainers in history.

Continental Farm also won the Hambletonian in 1988 with Armbro Goal and multiple editions of the Hambletonian Oaks.

Wallner led the way for other Scandinavian and European horsemen to move to the U.S. and compete at the sport’s highest level. The list includes Soren and Jan Nordin, Jimmy Takter, Per Eriksson, Per Henrikson, Stefan Melander, Mario Zuanetti and Pekka Korpi. Collectively that group has nine Hambletonian winners.

Wallner died Jan. 20, 2001, in Treviso, Italy. He was inducted to the Swedish Trotting Hall of Fame in 2015.

2018 Hall of Fame Inductees

Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg

Jules Siegel 

2018 Communicators Hall of Fame Inductees

Carl Becker

Dave Briggs

USHWA announces HALL OF FAME nominees

 
The Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), the Standardbred sport’s leading media organization, annually meets on the first Sunday in July, in consultation with a group of Hall of Fame members, and considers nominees submitted by USHWA’s chapters to determine those to advance to the possibility of earning the sport’s highest honor, membership in the Hall of Fame.

Quality always results from the deliberation about the best of the best by the Screening Committee; what was unprecedented this past Sunday was the quantity of outstanding individuals that the Committee selected to advance beyond their consideration stage.

One person was selected for direct admission to the Hall, through USHWA’s bylaws and its Veteran category, which once every three years allows the Committee to choose one nominee (aged 70+) who will directly become a Hall of Famer. That honoree was the veteran trainer of Standardbred stars, Jerry Silverman.

Five other individuals were put forward by the Committee to appear on a midsummer ballot, conducted among USHWAns and Hall of Famers. If the nominee secures 75% of the yes-no votes in the balloting, they will join Silverman as inductees into the hallowed Hall on July 7, 2019. This quality quintet includes Blair Burgess, Ted Gewertz, Joe Holloway, Linda Toscano, and Ted Wing.

Jerry Silverman, named by the Committee to the Hall of Fame in the Veteran category, was one of the leading Grand Circuit trainers for five decades, from the 1960s through the 2000s. He made a big impact in 1996, when he was 31 (a “mere pup” among the trainers of his days), with Triple Crown winner Romeo Hanover, and the subsequent years saw a stream of champions such as Fame, Hit Parade, Masquerade, Saccharum, Die Laughing, and Glowing Report (the last-named a stakes winner 40 years after Romeo Hanover) among the large stable that he ran with intelligence and endurance. Silverman retired four years ago, but continues assisting his son Richie, himself a fine horseman.

The five candidates to be placed on the summer ballot for Hall election have all contributed to top-level racing in a variety of different ways:

Blair Burgess will look to complete a “Hall of Fame double,” having been voted into the Hall in his native Canada last year. Burgess has been a frequent figure in the winners circle of the sport’s top races: the Hambletonian (Amigo Hall and Triple Crown winner Glidemaster), Breeders Crown (Real Desire), Meadowlands Pace (Frugal Gourmet and Real Desire) and Little Brown Jug (Tell All). Real Desire and Glidemaster were both voted Horse of the Year by the Harness Writers. Twice the trainer of the Year in Canada, Burgess is the son of Canadian Hall of Fame breeder/owner/executive Bob Burgess.

Ted Gewertz first caught the harness racing “bug” when Kennedy was President, and his love for the sport has not waned over the years. He has been co-owner of three Hambletonian winners – Giant Victory, Windsong’s Legacy (Triple Crown winner and Trotter of the Year), and Deweycheatumnhowe – in addition to such horses as Huntsville and Housethatruthbuilt, the latter having her best year in 2004, when USHWA named Gewertz the Owner of the Year. Conscious of keeping the highest standards in the sport, Gewertz is a director of the Hambletonian Society and a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum.

Joe Holloway started in the sport as a caretaker in his native Delaware when he was an altar boy, as the new local priest took up harness racing as a way to connect with his flock. Holloway connected with the uppermost level of the sport with his masterful handling of Jenna’s Beach Boy, three-time Breeders Crown winner, twice Pacer of the Year, and a horse whose record for a race mile of 1:47.3 stood for a decade. Holloway, voted the sport’s top trainer in 1995, has since buffed up his resume by developing She’s A Great Lady, Shebestingin, and Somwherovrarainbow, as well as the handling of 1:46 pacer Always B Miki at two and three.

Linda Toscano has long had a harness background association, dating back to her driving ponies in races when her age was in single digits. She served an apprenticeship with legendary NYC horseman Buddy Regan, then went out on her own in 1985. Linda has attracted widespread attention throughout much of the current decade, including being named 2012 Trainer of the Year by USHWA – in that year alone she had the Hambletonian winner Market Share, but he was a (high-class) second fiddle that year to Horse of the Year winner Chapter Seven. The ill-fated Walner, champion 3YO Heston Blue Chip, and half-mile track world champion Jet Laag have also benefited from her care and tutelage.

Ted Wing was an Olympic-caliber skier before suffering an injury, and the loss of the downhill sport was harness racing’s gain, as the native of Maine captured titles in New England in his early years of the sport, then emerged as one of the leading horsemen in the founding days of The Meadowlands, balancing his racing at that track with regular duty at Roosevelt/Yonkers. Inducted into the New England Harness Racing Hall of Fame the same year as Bill O’Donnell and Jim Doherty, who would later go on to the national Hall, Wing has been an important part in the success of such stars as Skip By Night, Gallo Blue Chip, Butler BG, and Calvert.

There will also be midsummer balloting (75%+ of yes/no ballots required) of USHWAns on writer/commentator Dave Little and photographer Mark Hall, who were nominated for the Communicators Hall of Fame at the annual Directors meeting of USHWA this past February.

Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame

One cannot pass through the picturesque town of Goshen, N.Y., without feeling the presence of the Standardbred. A former watering hole for weary carriage horses now marks the town square, local businesses commonly feature logos with a horse and high-wheeled sulky, and a scenic and serene half-mile racetrack is situated just off Main Street. Adjacent to that same thoroughfare sits a century-old stable, yet another reminder of Goshen's historic past as the birthplace and epicenter of the Standardbred sport.

In 1951, when Goshen was still the home of the Hambletonian stake, a group of seven visionary horsemen transformed that stable, formerly William H. Cane's Good Time Stable, into what would become the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. Stalls were transformed into exhibition areas, hay chutes served as display cases, and harness racing history found its home adjacent to Historic Track. Several additions to the original stable and a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 1998 have made the museum and Hall of Fame a destination for tourists and harness fans from around the world.

The museum's displays trace the entire history of the Standardbred sport from the breed's beginning with the revolutionary sire Messenger, through the rise of such legends as Pop Geers, Dan Patch, Delvin Miller and Billy Haughton, to the momentous career of Moni Maker and today's racing stars. The vibrant and interactive exhibit includes movie theaters, computer databases, a mechanical talking horse, the opportunity to announce a race and bid at a horse auction, and the world's only 3D harness racing simulator which allows visitors to experience the thrill of driving in a harness race.

The museum also houses the Peter D. Haughton Memorial Library, its books, magazines and videos available for research, and an education department which introduces hundreds of schoolchildren, scouts, and 4-Hers to harness racing each year.

In addition to preserving the sport's history, the museum's Hall of Fame honors the people and horses who have contributed significantly to the sport. Hall of Fame inductees are elected by members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and were first installed in 1961. A life-like statuette of each inductee is displayed in the Hall of Fame.

Since 1995 outstanding horses have been inducted into a special Horse Hall of Fame voted on by the museum's members-and anyone can be a member. Museum members may also nominate men, women, and horses who have died as Immortals of the Hall of Fame. A committee reviews the nominees each year and the final inductees are elected by the museum's board of trustees.

The Communicators Hall of Fame honors communicators who have used their talent to report and document the sport/industry of harness racing. Inductees, elected by U.S. Harness Writers Association members, are honored by caricatures hanging in the Communicators wing of the museum.

Museum president Lawrence S. DeVan and director Janet Terhune work to ensure the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame continues to "protect the past, support the present and promote the future of the great sport of harness racing."

 

The membership of USHWA has elected the following leaders in harness racing to the sport's highest honor. The year listed is the year in which the honor was voted with the actual induction taking place the following year.

1961 - E. Roland Harriman*, Stephen G. Phillips*
1966 - George Morton Levy*
1967 - Octave Blake*, Lawrence B. Sheppard*, Bion Shively*
1968 - Frank Ervin*, William R. Haughton*, Walter J. Michael*, Delvin G. Miller*
1969 - Stanley F. Dancer*, Thurman Wayne Smart*
1970 - Joseph C. O'Brien*, Harry E. Pownall*, Sanders Russell*
1971 - Ralph N. Baldwin*, John F. Simpson*
1972- Clint Hodgins*
1973- NONE
1974 - Howard Beissinger, Adelbert Cameron*, James J. Dunnigan*, Frederick L. Van Lennep*
1975 - Herve Filion, Elbridge T. Gerry*
1976 - NONE
1977 - Earle B. Avery*
1978 - NONE
1979 - John Chapman*, Robert G. Farrington*, Max C. Hempt*
1980 - Clarence F. Gaines*, A.E. (Ted) Gibbons*, Delmer M. Insko
1981 - Norman O. Woolworth*
1982 - Glen G. Garnsey*
1983 - NONE
1984 - George F. Sholty*
1985 - Carmine Abbatiello, Levi B. Harner*, James M. Lynch*
1986 - William Connors*, James Cruise*, Keith Waples, T.J. (Ted) Zornow*
1987 - Stanley F. Bergstein*, Ernest B. Morris*, Kenneth D. Owen*
1988 - Dunbar Bostwick*, Henry C. Thomson*
1989 - Clinton G. Galbraith, Willliam D. "Buddy" Gilmour*
1990 - John D. Campbell, William A. O'Donnell

1991 - Hugh A. (Andy) Grant Jr.*, Don R. Millar*, Gene Riegle*
1992 - John A. Cashman*, Corwin M. Nixon*, Philip W. Tully*
1993 - Joseph A. DeFrank, John Patterson Sr.*, Edward M. Ryan*, Ron Waples
1994 - Doug Ackerman*, Anthony T. Abbatiello, Elbridge T. Gerry Jr., and Ted Leonard*
1995 - Dr. J. Glen Brown, Jack Kopas, Michel Lachance,
1996 - Dominic H. Frinzi*, George Segal
1997 - William S. Brown*, Ray Remmen and Chuck Sylvester
1998 - NONE
1999 - Guy Antonacci*, Frank Antonacci*
2000 - Vernon Dancer*, Dave Magee
2001 - Jim Dennis*, Harry Harvey*, Catello Manzi
2002 - Jim Doherty*, Berndt Lindstedt, Bob McIntosh
2003 - John Simpson Jr.
2004 - Ron Pierce
2005 - Ron Gurfein, Tom Thomson*
2006 - Jimmy Arthur*, Wally Hennessey, Phil Langley
2007 - Chuck Coon*, Lou Guida*
2008 - Tom Crouch, Alan Leavitt, Tim Rooney
2009 - Hal Jones*, Dave Palone
2010 - Judge Walter Russell*, Jim Simpson
2011 - Jimmy Takter
2012 - Richard Stillings, Bob Quigley
2013 - David Miller, William Weaver*
2014 - Joe M. Thompson
2015 - Charles E. Keller III, Bruce Nickells
2016 - Brian Sears
2017 - Maragareta Wallenius-Kleberg, Jules Siegel

Communicators Hall of Fame

Inductees to the Communicators Hall of Fame have proven themselves worthy of the highest award given in the field of journalism that covers the sport of harness racing. The USHWA membership votes on their induction. The year listed is the year in which the honor was voted and the actual induction took place the following year.

1983 - Edward C. Binneweg*, Ed Keller*, Michael Lee*, Jack Schultz*, Roy Shudt*, Chuck Stokes*
1984 - Lawrence T. Evans*
1985 - Leonard Cohen*, Louis Effrat*
1986 - Stanley F. Bergstein*, James C. Harrison*
1987 - Clyde Hirt*, Thomas F. Shehan*, Robert L. Zellner*
1988 - Mike Cipriani*, John J. Hugerich Jr.*, Anthony W. Sisti*
1989 - Al DeSantis*, Lou Miller*
1990 - William F. Brown Jr.*, Philip A. Pines*
1991 - Robert A. Hackett*, Col. Dave Herman*, Karel (Bud) VanderVeer*
1992 - Allen J. Finkelson*, Joseph H. Goldstein*, George A. Smallsreed*
1993 - Donald P. Evans*, Leslie P. Ford*
1994 - Lew Barasch*, Izzy Katzman*
1995 - Sam Anzalone
1996 - Bowman A. Brown Jr.*
1997 - Marvin Bachrad
1998 - NONE
1999 - Bo Gill*, Ed Reddy*
2000 - John Bradley*, Roger Huston

2001 - Curt Greene*, Ed Palladino
2002 - Bruce Stearns*
2003 - NONE
2004 - Nick Saponara, Tom White
2005 - Jack Ginnetti*, Bill Heller, Ed Keys, Virginia O'Brien*
2006 - Ray Brienza*, Marie Hill*, Dean Hoffman, John Manzi
2007 - Murray Janoff*, Alan Prince*
2008 - John Berry, Leon Zimmerman
2009 - Murray Brown, Jim Moran
2010 - Joe Hartmann*, Gary Seibel
2011 - Jean Emerson, Moira Fanning
2012 - Bob Heyden, Sam McKee*
2013 - Carol Cramer, John Pawlak
2014 - Kathy Parker, Bob Marks
2015 - David Carr, Jerry Connors
2016 - Gordon Waterstone, Steven Wolf
2017 - Carl Becker, Dave Briggs
* Deceased