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Author Topic: DRIVER BIOS FROM THE 1950s & 1960s  (Read 22366 times)
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« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2011, 08:43:02 PM »

Richard H. Thomas
Born in Omaha, Nebraska on August 15, 1921.
His grandfather Al, and father Henry, two of harness racings greats, preceded Dick Thomas into harness racing. Little wonder that Dick, at an early age, choose to make his career in the sport.
Dick's first real experience came when, in his early teens, he spent his summers as his dad's assistant with the Hanover Shoe Racing Stable.
He made his first professional drive in 1938 at the fabled "Kite" track at Old orchard Beach in Maine.
In 1966, he developed "Ember Hanover", season's champion two year old pacing filly on the 1/2 mile ovals, and came up with "Fulla Napoleon" in 1967 who was selected by the Harness Writers as 2 year old pacer of the year.
Stabled at Brookhaven Farm, in Somerville New Jersey, it was there that he winter trained his string for the long and arduous New York City Campaign.
Leading driver at Roosevelt in 1948, and 1954.
Major races won include:
Goshen Cup in 1967, Roosevelt Fut. in 1967, Goshen Cup in 1967, and the Sheppard in 1967, all with "Fulla Napoleon".
The Arden Downs, Bloomsbrg Fair, Debutante Stakes all in 1966 with "Ember Hanover"
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« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2011, 08:44:34 PM »

James H. Cruise.
Born on October 12, 1917 in Sheperdsville, Kentucky.
He came into the sport through his father, Hardy Cruise.
Jim's first drives were made on the Kentucky-Indiana fair circuits, while still in High School, and as his father's assistant trainer.
He is known as a superb horsemen in all faucets of the business.
As a driver, knows not only his own horse, but all others in the race with him, and had that uncanny knack of waiting until the right moment to make his move.
As a trainer, he was second to none in his ability to resurect "bad-legged" horses.
Some of his favorite horses included "Mr. Bulldog", "Jimmy Creed", "Stormy Dream", and "Earl Laird"
Career highlights include winning 27 consecutive heats with the pacer "Miss Ruby"
Leading driver at:
Santa Anita in 48, 63
Roosevelt Raceway in 58, 61, 64
Hollywood Park in 62, 63
Major races won include:
Californian in 1961 with "Mr. Bulldog"
National Pacing Derby in 1949 with "Jimmy Creed"
The Nassau in 1948 with "Goose Bay"
The Golden West Pace in 1946 with "Blue Again"
 

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« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2011, 08:57:01 PM »

John J. Chapman
Born in Toronto, Canada on November 25, 1928.
John was destined for a career in sports, although for some time it was a question of which one. He received a hockey scholarship to St. Michael's Prep. and captained the team, But the pressure from family, and his Dad proved to much, so in 1947 he headed to the raceways.
His first starts were at Dufferin Park, where his inital victory came with "Cyrus Martin".
In his 3rd year of racing, he reached 12th place as a winning driver for the season. He maintained his top 25 ranking for 9 straight years, then left the ranks of public stable operators for a private position, with Allwood Stable. In 1962 he returned to the public operation and immediately moved back onto the list of top drivers each season.
As with most busy drivers, John has been involved in several accidents. One of the most spectacular ever was at Buffalo Raceway where he was catapulted high enough to clear the head of Ed Arthur driving in front of him, and came down in Arthurs lap.
Just prior to the 1962 season, his entire stable was wiped out in a fire.
Leading driver at:
Batavia in 1957
Yonkers in 1963
Major races won include:
Castleton Farm, Greyhound Stake, and the Horseman Stake, all in 1958 with "Diller Hanover"
Arden Downs in 1966 with "Flamboyant"
Battle Of Saratoga in 1966 with "Crack Shot"
Bronx Fut. in 1967 with "Meadow Elva"
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« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2011, 08:58:03 PM »

George B. Phalen
Born July 16, 1922, in Plaistow, New Hampshire.
For 26 years his dad, James, operated a racing stable and farm in Newmarket, New Hampshire. It was here that George learned the driving skills that added to his very evident talent. His record as a driver and trainer attest eloquently to the depth of that training.
For many New England harness racing seasons, it was a rare summer day that failed to find a Phalen finishing first, often followed by a Phalen in second, third, or fourth position.
After seasoning on the New England fair circuits, George transferred his activities to the Metropolitan New York raceways, and with considerable success, as the record indicates.
He was often ranked nationally in one or more categories, and was in demand as a catch driver, and scored well over 1,000 USTA wins in the 50'S and 60'S.
Leading driver at Yonkers Raceway in 1967.
Major races won include:
The Bronx Fut. in 1965 with "Balenzano"
NYSS in 1967 with "I'm Patty"
Reading Fut. in 1962 with "Ritzy Hanover"
Reynolds Memorial in 1962, also with "Ritzy Hanover"
 

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« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2011, 08:44:00 PM »

Levi B. Harner.
Born in Keelersville, Pa. on May 10, 1909.
One of the great winning drivers in his era, Levi scored his 2,000th USTA win in 1967.
He drove his first race in 1927, but had to wait three years before getting his first win, a 2:17 trip with "Slick Tass", at Washingtonville, Pa.
He father raced at matinees and fairs, accounting for Levi's early interest in the sport.
By the age of 16 he was working as a groom, then assistant trainer to Harry Whitney, followed by time with Herb Roth before opening his own public stable.
Winner of many stakes, Levi has an almost unbroken record of national rankings in all categories.
He twice led the nation in races won for a season. He seldom missed top-25 ranking on the UDR list, and often was near the top as a money winner.
Levi considered "Tar Boy" as his greatest horse, and winning the International Encore with him in 1960 his greatest race.
Leading driver at:
Buffalo Raceway in 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 58, 60, 65
Batavia in 46, 47, 48, 51, 58
Monticello in 66
Major races won include:
Motor City Pace with "Tar Boy" in 1959.
Reading Fut. with "Largo Hanover" in 1960, and also with "Darcie Hanover" that same year.
International Encore with "Tar Boy" in 1960.
Seven time winner at the Bloomsburg Fair from 1958 to 1967.
Reynolds Memorial with "Deputy Hanover" in 1967.

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« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2011, 08:45:28 PM »

William R. Haughton.
Born on November 23, 1923 in Gloversville, New York.
Graduated from High School in 1942, and attended the New York State Institute for Agriculture from 1943-44.
"The Squire Of Glen Head, New York" got his start helping Billy Muckle at fairground tracks around Upstate New York. He came into his own in 1949 when he was 10th leading dash winner with 77, and accounted for $114,606 in purse money.
Haughton accumulated records like some people collect stamps.
A few include: leading dash winner in the nation for six consecutive seasons starting in 1953, nation's top money winner 11 times with a string of eight straight starting in 1952, 12 times leading driver at a raceway, and over 10 major world marks in his time.
Some of his favorite horses were "Belle Action", "Galophone", "Speedy Count", "Carlisle",
"Hillsota", "Duke Rodney", "Rum Customer", "Nardin's Byrd", "Romulus Hanover", and of course "Meadow Paige".
Leading driver at:
Saratoga in 1947.
Pompano Park in 65, 66.
Roosevelt Raceway in 57, 60, 65, 66, 67.
Yonkers Raceway in 55, 58, 59, 62
Over 100+ major races won, including:
Little Brown Jug with "Bachelor Hanover" in 1956.
National Pacing Derby with "Duane Hanover" in 1958.
American Trotting Championship with "Trader Horn" in 1957.
Battle Of Brandywine with "Vicar Hanover" in 1964, and "Romulus Hanover" in 1967.
Messenger with "Belle Action" in 1956, and "Romulus Hanover" in 1967.
Reynolds Memorial 11 times from 1959 to 1967.
Bloomsburg Fair 13 times from 1952 to 1967.


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« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2011, 08:45:32 PM »

Glen O. Kidwell
Born in Hand County, South Dakota, on September 10, 1921.
While in school, football, basketball, and boxing were his sports, although he never was far from harness racing either, as his Dad raced at many Illinois fairs.
From school, he went to work on the farm where the standardbreds became his first love for entertainment.
A five year tour in the service, as a pilot instructor, intervened, but by 1952 he moved into the sulky on a part time basis, winning his first race at Maywood on June 12th with "Roxburgh Iosola"
Career highlights include countless number of $100,000 plus seasons.
Glen's favorite horses were, "Midnight Hardy", "Crystal Byrd", and "Right Time"
Leading driver at Maywood in 57, 62, 63.
Glen won the Illinois State Fair in 1958 with "Roxburgh Leonard", 1961 with "Crystal Byrd", and in 1967 with "Winning Crystal". 
 
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« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2011, 08:46:36 PM »

Delbert Manges.
Born on December 29, 1920, in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Del was better known around the upper New York raceways then in his home area, for it was there he developed into star stature.
He first received national attention when he scored 79 wins in 1959, to rank 14th in the nation that year.
Exceeded $1,000,000 in purses by 1967, averaging over 600 starts a season, and in the 60's his UDRS was always at or near an excellant .300 level.
Leading driver at Buffalo Raceway in 1959
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« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2011, 06:53:00 AM »

Robert G. Farrington.
Born in Richwood, Ohio on July 15, 1929.
Graduated from Rushville, Ohio, High in 1948, where he lettered in baseball and basketball, Bob combined farming and brick masonry before going into the harness business.
He started in the sport as a hobby, training his own horse after work.
In 1955 he made his first starts, at Hilliard, Ohio, and his first win was a 1 1/8 mile trot, in 2:33 4/5, with "Grand Martha". Since then he has gone on to record almost 3,000 wins in the 50'S and 60'S, reaching that level in a far shorter span of time then did his three predecessors.
Bob was associated with his Dad, Louis, and two brothers, Brad and Richard.
The family operated a large horse farm at Richwood, Ohio, with it's own training track and turn out pastures.
Farrington's driving firsts include, first to win 200 races in a season, first to win 300 races in a season, first to win 300 races twice, and first to win 300 races three times.
An oustanding performance was driving six wins in six starts at Freehold during a 1963 program.
He has been involved in several disabling spills, losing parts of the season each time, yet, bounced right back to continue his phenomenal winning records.
Some of his best horses were "Bosco Rosco", "Vita Flash", "Grandpa Jim", "Dancing David", and "Easy Prom".
Leading driver at 11 major raceways from 1958 to 1967.
Bob won the Illinois State fair in 1967, The Maywood trotting derby in 1962, American trot classic in 1967, and the American Pace classic in 1967.
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« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2011, 06:54:00 AM »

James W. Jordan.
Born in Pittsfield, Illinois on March 2, 1905.
Although a native of Illinois, Jordan got his harness racing start in Maine, in 1923.
His initial drive was at Norway, and the first win, with "Frank De Forrest". came that same year, at Waterville.
It was the start of a career that was to bring him the respect and admiration of fellow horsemen, and the affection of harness racing fans.
His career was interrupted by a tour with Patton's third army during WW11, a factor that hardly slowed him down at all.
James rated "Meadow Rice" as the fastest horse he'd driven, Dale Frost the gamest, and Adio Abe, the best all around.
He had put together a career in harness racing that had touched, at one time or another, just about every milestone that there was.
He was an original member of the USTA 1,000 race winners club, he was one of only a few drivers to win more then $3,000,000 in purses in his time, and enjoyed national ranking in just about every driving category at one time or another during his illustrious career.
James held World records with "Sunny Boy" in 1941, and "Meadow Rice" in 1953.
Major races won include:
The Adios in 1952 with "Adio Abe"
Good time pace in 1952 with "Direct Rhythm"
Messenger stake in 1958 with "O'brien Hanover"
The Proximity 1n 1960 with "Meadow Farr" 
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« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2011, 08:45:09 PM »

Earle B. Avery.
Born in Knowlesville, New Brunswick on February 24, 1894.
Son of a well to do farmer-lumberman, Earle started driving in match races over the main streets of Knowlesville, his home town, long before there was a track in the area.
His first race winner was in 1919, behind the trotter, "Black Peter", timed in 2:19.
For the next 33 years he successfuly combined a professional driving career with large scale potato farming on his 600 acre farm in Woodstock, N. B.
Harness Racing was his first love, and at a time when most men consider retiring to the farm, Earle retired from the farm to full time Harness Racing.
In 1955 he left the ranks of the public stable operators and joined Norman Woolworth's Clearview farm as head trainer-driver. The combination was very successful with such outstanding performers as "Egyptian Princess", "Porterhouse", "Sh Boom", "Muncy Hanover", "Bright Knight", "Winnow", and of course "Meadow Skipper".
Earl received the initial U. S. Harness Writer's Clem McCarthy "Good Guy" award in 1963, and exemplifying the personality that received the award he later, at his own expense, took part in celebrations in the Maratime Provinces, and at Rochester N. H.
At 74, he was still sharp of eye, and firm of grip. His 1967 record of 54 wins proved it.
Leading driver at :
Bay State in 1949.
Baltimore in 1951.
Laurel in 1951.
Major races listed below are just a few of his wins at a late age in life.
American Classic in 1963 with "Porterhouse" and in 1964 with "Meadow Skipper"
American Trotting Championship in 1962 with "Porterhouse"
Cane Fut . in 1963 with "Meadow Skipper"
Empire Pace in 1959 with "Bright Knight"
Lady Suffolk in 1961 with "Speedy Princess"
Proximity in 1967 with "Pompanette"
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« Reply #41 on: April 05, 2011, 08:19:56 AM »

Howard W. Parker
Born in Windsor, Vermont on December 16, 1903.
Although He seldom strayed far from upper New York raceways, Howard made a national reputation for himself.
Farming, a restaurant, and an auto delership preceeded Howard's entry into full time Harness racing. Actually, he left the sport twice, once to return to the farm for two years, and in 1956 when a knee was shatted as a result of a racing accident.
Parker seemed to have an inclination for setting world records with geldings.
In 1959 he reined "Victory Lind" to the fastest time ever (at that time) by a three year old gelding on a half mile track. Seven years later, "W.W. Smith" set a new mark for a four year old gelding, also on a half mile track.
While he seldom operated a stable that was large enough for him to score a great number of wins in a season, his strong forte was his UDRS, with his seasonal mark bordering on the sensational at times.
1955 -.451
1963 -.440
1964 -.528
1966 -.417
Leading driver at:
Saratoga in 58, 63, 64.
Orange County in 65
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« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2011, 10:33:36 PM »

Kenneth W. Heeney.
Born in Albany, New York on October 17, 1934.
A star athlete at Valatie High in New York from which he graduated in 1953, followed by a year at Trinity College, and then three years in the armed service stationed in Korea.
Ken needed little time to become established as a driver in the harness racing sport.
He started as a groom for Nick Laria, and drove his first race at Hinsdale New Hampshire in 1958, and won his first pari-mutual race in 1960.
Posted three consecutive 100+ winnins seasons in 65, 66, and 67.
Career highlights include:
Driving "Argo Can" to three consecutive invitational trot wins at Saratoga, and training the $1,500.00 purchase "Audey Hanover" from claimers to invitational status.
Ken escaped serious injury in a spectacular 5 horse spill at Saratoga in which Pete Daily received numerous injuries.


 
 
 
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« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2011, 10:35:19 PM »

Austin Thomas.
Born on September 18, 1921, in Temperanceville, Va.
After serving in the Merchant Marine for eight years, Austin established his own trucking business.
In 1957, he decided to enter into harness racing as a hobby, and purchased his own horse, working with Charles Carter and Wilford Evans to get the experience needed.
He qualified at Rockingham, and made his first start a week or so later at Cumberland Maine in 1961.
Later that same season, won his first race with "Keen's Jay" at Vernon.
Career highlights include winning four on a single card at Ocean Downs, and a drive in the Reynolds stake which he described "Went to the half in 2:00 2/5 and then whizzed by me so fast that I thought I was tied. "Vicar Hanover" like to have blew me off the track when he went by"
Leading driver at Rosecroft in 1964.
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« Reply #44 on: April 06, 2011, 08:45:10 PM »

Clifford R. Boyd.
Born in North Thetford, Vermont on January 25, 1936.
Graduated from Woodsville, New Hampshire High School in 1955.
Started in harness racing through an Uncle, Parker Hill, with whom he campaigned during summer vacations.
Was second trainer for Hill, Earle Avery, and Franklin Safford prior to opening his own public stable.
Drove first race in 1952, at Lyndonville, Vermont with a two year old, "Mattie Alden", and won his first race at the same track in 1954 with "Axworthy Alden" in 2:13 and a piece, fastest time of the fair that year.
Cliff had a sub two minute mile with "Royal Domain" timed at 1:59 3/5 at Pocono in 1966.
Drove "Porterhouse" to six wins, and three seconds in the first nine starts as a three year old.
Very severely injured in a training accident at Hinsdale Raceway in 1959, and was hospitalized for 10 weeks when a filly, loose on the centerfield, jumped the rail as Boyd was finishing a training mile, landing on top of him.
Leading driver at:
Rockingham in 60.
Bay State in 61.
Suffolk Downs in 61.

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