Harness Racing Hall of Fame US_R

Us Harness Racing

Nat Ray through William Rysdyk

NAT RAY 1978 [1882-1953]

Born in Whitby, Canada, Ray first came to the US in 1896. He began his career as as a jockey and steeplechase rider, but in 1911 turned to the sulky. His signal accomplishment was driving Guy McKinney to victory in the first Hambletonian in 1926, when the trotter was undefeated and won $68,742, a then-record sum for a single season. Other notable horses developed by Ray were Peter The Brewer, Jimmy McKerron and Juno. He died in
Orlando, FL in 1953.

RACE TIME p, 3, 1:57 1997 [1961-1979)

Foaled in 1961 by Good Time out of the Worthy Boy mare Breath 0 Spring. Race Time was bred by Castleton Farm; a horse with a mild demeanor, his career was intermixed with stunning success and physical hardship. Under the guidance of Hall of Famer, Ralph Baldwin, Race Time won nine out of 12 races as a two-year-old. He won his last race in the Fox Stakes in 1:58, clinching the title of Two-Year-Old Colt of the Year. As a three-year-old, he won at Wolverine, Batavia, Goshen, set records at Vernon Downs, Sportsman's Park and claimed the Messenger Stake at Roosevelt Raceway. Race Time was voted Three-Year-Old of the Year. At four, in 1965, Race Time won the Realization at Roosevelt and was barred from the betting in the $100,000 Empire at Yonkers. He closed the year tied for Aged Pacer of the Year with Cardigan Bay. With 30 race wins and $407,000 in purses, Race Time retired and entered the Castleton Farm stud barn. He sired 217 2:00 performers. Race Time died on July 4, 2022 at Castleton Farm, Lexington, KY.

RACY HEART p, 2, 2:04.4f; 3, 2:01.1m; 5, 1:58.4m [1971-2001]

Racy Heart was a 1971 foal by Race Time out of Dear Heart by Duane Hanover. She was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Oldfield of Adrian, MI. At the time of her induction into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2001, she was owned by White Horse Farm of Paoli, PA. She is the dam of 13 foals whose career earnings total nearly $3 million. The progeny that qualified her for Broodmare Hall of Fame status are: Runnymede Lobell p, 4,T1:51.2m ($1,615,125.) and Reactor Lobell p, 9, 1:50.lm ($835,293.). Racy Heart died the same year she entered the Hall of Fame. She was thirty years of age.

RAMBLING WILLIE p, 7, 1:54.3 1997 [1970-1995)

By Rambling Fury from the mare Meadow Belle. Rambling Willie began his career as a green three-year-old in 1972, when he was purchased by trainer/driver Bob Farrington for $15,000. Farrington subsequently gave one half ownership of the horse to his wife, Vivian, as a birthday present and sold the other half to Paul Seibert of Cincinnati, Ohio. Mrs. Farrington pledged 10% of Willie's earning to the church where her father, Rev. Lloyd Harris, had served as pastor. In 1981 when a book was written
about him, he raced in 17 cities to promote sales. Willie earned over $2 million before his retirement in 1983, earning him the nickname "The Horse That God Loved." Willie ended his career as a 13-year-old in 1983 with 305 career starts; 128 victories, 69 seconds and 43 thirds. He won 79 times in 2:00 or faster, a long-standing record only recently broken. Rambling Willie retired to the Kentucky Horse Park, where he lived in the Stable of Champions, with such Thoroughbred greats as John Henry and Forego. He died at the Horse Park, at age twenty-five, on August 24, 1995.

RARUS t, 2:13¼ 1978 [1867-1892]

Foaled in 1867 at Greenpoint, NY, he was sired by Conklin's Abdallah 15 out of Nancy Awful. At three years of age, he was broken to harness and won his first race around 3:00. From 1874 to 1876 he reduced the record to 2:30¾ on the Grand Circuit. In 1878 he trotted in 2:13¼, was sold to Robert Bonner for $36,000 and was retired. He died in 1892 at Bonner's farm.

Ed Reddy 1999

Ray Remmen 1997 [1947-]

Born on May 28, 1947, this native of Saskatoon, Canada is also a member of the Canadian Hall of Fame. He is best remembered for Horse of the Year (1990) Beach Towel and for winning the first Hambletonian held at The Meadowlands (1976) with Shiaway St. Pat. Remmen's career in the sulky and as a trainer began in 1963 and includes more than 2,700 wins and $32 million in purses. Before Beach Towel, who set a single season record with just over $2 million in purses, Remmen's greatest success was Halcyon, the Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer of the Year in 1986. Among her wins were a Rosecroft track record and a Breeders Crown division. Over the years he has driven many other fine horses including Bonnie And Clyde, Broadway Blue, Keyser Lobell, and Duchess Faye. The horse he is most remembered for is 1990 Horse of the Year, Beach Towel who set his lifetime mark of 1:50 in the first heat of the Hayes Memorial at Du Quoin, up to that point making him the third fastest racehorse of all time. Although Remmen has cut back on his driving in recent years, in 1996 he found the winner's circle with two outstanding three-year-old pacing geldings, New Jersey Classic Final victor Falcons Scooter and Provincial Cup winner Beach Ray. A favorite at The Meadowlands, where he has driven every year since it opened in 1976, Ray Remmen has more than 1,000 wins to his credit as a trainer, thus operating that track's most successful stable.

HARRY O. RENO 1992 [1866-1931]

The brother-in-law of William M. Wright of Calumet Farm and owner of the race mare Justissima, 2:06¼, Harry Reno, a promoter of harness racing in the early 1920s, believed the sport and its Grand Circuit needed attractions of major stature. Through his friendship with John C. Bauer, publisher of The Horse Review in Chicago and staff writer Joseph I. Markey, who supported Reno's ideas, he created the first $25,000 American Pacing Derby at Kalamazoo, MI, on July 22, 1924. Two seasons later, in 1926, they introduced The Hambletonian Stake, a three-year-old trot which grew into the sport's premier event. Harry Reno died in Chicago in 1931 at age sixty-five.

WILLIAM N. REYNOLDS 1958 [1863-1951]

Born in 1863 in Patrick County, VA, W. N. Reynolds became interested in horses while in the tobacco business with his brother. In 1889 he became vice-president of the Reynolds Tobacco Company and founded a good racing stable. "Mr. Will's" hobby of harness racing brought to the sport many champions, stakes winners and good sportsmanship. He was very active in the promotion of harness racing. He was a member of The Hambletonian Society, The Grand Circuit, and was a founder and trustee of The Hall of Fame of the Trotter. He died at the age of eighty-eight in 1951.

RICHARD D. RICKETTS 1990 [1909-1988]

A Texan by way of Ohio, Richard Ricketts was an expert on natural gas and, as an executive of the giant Fish Industrial complex, had the reputation of having designed and built more miles of natural gas pipeline than anyone else. Ricketts was a partner of K. D. Owen during much of his career as a breeder and owner of harness horses. He had a long list of successful performers: Glidden Hanover, Diamond Sam, Choice Time and Spinning Song, to name a few. He also served as a director emeritus of the Lexington Trots Breeders' Association, a member of The Hambletonian Society and a trustee of The Trotting Horse Museum/Hall of Fame of the Trotter. He died on October 17, 2022 in Houston, TX.

Gene Riegle 1991 [1928- ]

Heading into the 1991 season, Gene Riegle had all but given up the driving duties in his busy stable, leaving that end of the sport to his sons Bruce and Alan. Gene was perfectly content concentrating on conditioning the prize trotters and pacers in his stable. But the opportunity to drive his top three-year-old colt Artsplace in a $30,100 Tompkins-Geers split at his home track of Scioto Downs was too good a chance for Riegle to pass up.
In what can best be described as a storybook ending, Artsplace destroyed his foes in that race, reaching the finish line in 1:52.2, which at the time was the fastest mile in the history of Scioto Downs. It was also the fastest of Riegle's career, in what may have been one of his last in stakes competition. After the race, many of Riegle's colleagues joined him in the winner's circle as a token of respect and admiration for one of the greatest horsemen in Ohio racing history.
Riegle, who defeated Sanders Russell in his first driving victory, at age 17 at the local Darke County Fair, really came into prominence in 1952 with the top pacer Red Sails. And in 1958 his career got another boost when he guided Mr. Saunders to a 2­3 finish behind Emily's Pride in the Hambletonian. Gene also had long time patrons in Mr. and Mrs. Rex Larkin, for whom he drove Rocket Byrd and Lou Byrd. Other early stars for Riegle included Fly Fly Byrd, Tolson Hanover, and Ozzie Hanover.
Two prominent performers for Riegle in the 1970's were Jay Time and Arnie Almahurst. Jay Time deadheated with Strike Out in the 1972 Adios and was one of the best of his crop, while 1973 saw Arnie Almahurst, a fast but hard-to-handle colt, win the Kentucky Futurity for Riegle and catch-driver Joe O'Brien.
Riegle's top trotter in the mid eighties, Op'Art, was known as a world record breaker. In 1986 he set a world record for an aged gelding trotter on a five-eighths mile track in 1:57.2 at Scioto Downs with Gene in the bike. In 1984 at three, Op'Art set a new standard on a half-mile track when he trotted in 1:58.3. In 1985 he trotted in 1:56.1 at The Meadowlands, which rewrote the oldest major record in the books as that mark represented a world record for four-year-old trotting geldings on a mile track. The previous record was 1:57¼ set by Greyhound in 1936. Op'Art was operated on several times to repair broken leg bones. Gene says, "and every time he broke a bone, he came back to break a world record."
Over the past few years Riegle has been at the top of his game with the likes of Artsplace, Western Hanover, and Life Sign. Artsplace, an Abercrombie-Miss Elvira colt, was consistent throughout his freshman year in 1990, but reached the level of greatness on a cold and windy night at Pompano Harness in late November. That was the night that he captured the $605,870 Breeders Crown in an astonishing time of 1:51.1, the fastest mile ever by a two-year-old, regardless of track size! That victory was his 11th in 15 season's outings and raised his 1990 bankroll to $1,180,271. It also was the key to his being named as Two­Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year. Big things were expected of Artsplace in 1991, but he ran into a pacing machine named Precious Bunny and could not repeat as a divisional champion. He still won 10 of his 18 starts as a sophomore, while banking $972,487. Artsplace equaled the world record on a five-eighths mile track when he won his Adios elimination in 1:50.4 at The Meadows. Other top wins for Artsplace in 1991 included the $352,360 James B. Dancer Memorial, the $345,200 American­National, the $158,300 Thomas P. Gaines Memorial, and a $150,948 Terrapin division.
Right on the heels of Artsplace was Western Hanover, who won eight times as a freshman in 1991 and earned $697,332. He set the national season's record of 1:54.4 on a half-mile track when he won the $205,350 Lou Babic Memorial Final, and shared the mark of 1:52.1 on a mile track when he captured the $584,300 Governor's Cup Final. Following in the footsteps of Artsplace, Western Hanover grabbed post season honors as Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year in the USTA/USHWA balloting. As a three-year-old, Western Hanover won 19 of 28 starts, while leading all North American Standardbreds in earnings with $1,844,315. Western won two/thirds of the Pacing Triple Crown, capturing the $366,750 Messenger Stakes and the $364,350 Cane Pace Final, while suffering a heartbreaking defeat to Fake Left in the third leg, the Little Brown Jug. Other big wins for Western Hanover in 1992 included the $350,000 Windy City Final, the $344,480 James B. Dancer Memorial, the $214,500 Provincial Cup, and the $200,000 Cleveland Classic. He captured his second straight divisional title when he was named 1992's top Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt in the USTA/USHWA balloting.
Life Sign was one of the top colts around in 1992 and 1993. The bay pacing colt by Abercrombie won five of 13 starts as a freshman in 1992, while earning $557,543. His biggest win was a 1:53.1 score in the $537,800 Governor's Cup at Garden State. Life Sign also won the $113,100 International Stallion Stake in a freshman mark of 1:52.3 at The Red Mile. As a three-year-old, Life Sign had 13 wins in 22 starts and banked $1,354,911. His biggest victory came in the race Riegle has coveted throughout his career—The Little Brown Jug. Life Sign won his $83,790 Jug elimination, then came back in the $297,920 final to win a tight three horse photo in a clocking of 1:52. Other big wins for Life Sign in 1993 came in the $301,760 Art Rooney Memorial Final, the $300,000 Breeders Crown, the $204,500 Cleveland Classic, a $100,000 MacFarlane Memorial division, and the $93,400 Budweiser Bluegrass. He was also second in the $1 million Meadowlands Pace Final and third in the $1 million North America Cup.
Other top stars for the chartreuse and red would be Three Diamonds, a multiworld champion pacing filly; Cami Almahurst, a top trotting distaff;, the good pacing colt Fundamentalist; Tucson Hanover, winner of nearly $500,000 in 1986; Leah Almahurst, a Breeders Crown champion in 1987 and a Jugette winner in 1988; the tough pacing filly Excited; and the super trotting mare Worldly Woman.
In 1985 the Ohio chapter of the USHWA honored Riegle by giving him the group's Meritorious Award, which is given to the Ohioan who has distinguished himself in harness racing over a two-decade span. His success in 1990 garnered him the Achievement Award by the Ohio chapter of the USHWA. He is also in the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame and in the Living Hall Of Fame at Goshen, New York.

RODNEY t, 1:57 2/5 1963 [1944-1963]

Horse of the Year in 1948, Rodney was foaled in 1944 by Hanover Shoe Farms. He was by Spencer Scott out of Earl's Princess Martha by Protector. During his racing career, he started sixty-nine times and won forty-seven. Rodney was an immediate success as a sire, having retired to stud with earnings of $111,176 in the colors of R. Horace Johnston, father of his last co-owner, David R. Johnston. At the time of his death in 1963, Rodney was the all-time leading sire of $100,000 trotting winners with thirteen. Five of them earned in excess of $200,000 and three - Duke Rodney, Elaine Rodney and Tie Silk all earned more than $300,000. He is buried at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.

AUBREY S. RODNEY 1978 [1880-1963]

A native of Boston, he came from a long line of horsemen. His driving career began in the early 1900's, working for New Hampshire owner E. H. Best at a starting salary of $8 a month and room and board. After many years on the "circuit", he set-fire at Saratoga Raceway in 1945 and won seventeen driving championships, his last one in 1961 at age 81! He had a knack for taking a cast-off horse and making a winner out of him. "Rod" Rodney was 83 when he died at his home in Saratoga Springs.

ROMOLA HANOVER p, T1:59 1984 [1957-1979]

Foaled at Hanover Shoe Farms, PA, the daughter of Tar Heel and Romola Hal, she was thought to have exceptional speed by Hanover's trainer John Simpson. Her racing career, however, was hampered by a curb and she subsequently became an extremely productive broodmare. Among a string of foals between 1962-1976 was Romeo Hanover, who had earnings of more than $650,000. Nine of her offspring were 2:00 horses and winners of over $2 million. Romola Hanover died in 1979 at Hanover Shoe Farm, Hanover, PA.

Romeo Hanover p, 1:56.1f 2006 [1963-1988]

Romeo Hanover, pacing's third Triple Crown winner, closed an outstanding racing career with a lifetime record of 44 races, 36 wins, 2 seconds, 4 thirds and $658,505 in earnings. Bred by Hanover Shoe Farms, he was a 1963 chestnut foal from the first crop of Dancer Hanover and out of the Tar Heelmare Romola Hanover. He was purchased as a yearling for $8,500 by five poker players and their wives, who raced under the Lucky Star Stables banner.
Prominent New York breeder Morton Finder purchased a 25% interest in the colt in the spring of his two-year-old season. Trained by Jerry Silverman, he was driven by William Myer, George Sholty, Stanley Dancer and Delvin Miller during his racing career.
At two, Romeo Hanover won 13 of 16 starts, highlighted by his 1:59 victory in the Fox Stake. He also won the Arden Downs Stake and the Lawrence B. Sheppard final. He was voted Two-Year-Old Pacer of 1965.
Romeo won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown on what had been called "off" tracks, winning the Cane Futurity with William Myer in the sulky in 1:59.4 at Yonkers and taking the Little Brown Jug with George Sholty driving him to straight-heat victories in 2:01.2 and 1:59.3 at the Delaware, OH track, which had been soaked with three days of rain. He completed the Triple Crown by winning the Messenger at Roosevelt Raceway - his 18th straight victory in1966—in 2:01 with George Sholty driving. Other wins at three included the Hanover Colt Stakes, The Horseman Futurity, The W. N. Reynolds Memorial and the Hanover-Hempt Farm Stake. Romeo Hanover took his record of 1:56.1f in the American National Pace at Sportsman's Park, setting a world's record for a—mile track and the fastest mile ever paced in Illinois at that time.
Voted Three-Year-Old Pacer of 1966, Romeo lost only one race in 19 starts during his sophomore year.
Romeo Hanover returned to racing as a four-year-old and stretched his winning streak to 21 by winning, with George Sholty driving, in the Realization, The Dan Patch Invitational Pace, and the 1½-mile International Pace, in which Cardigan Bay finished second. He completed his final season with Stanley Dancer and then Delvin Miller in the bike and with five winning efforts in nine starts for the year. He was voted Four-Year-Old Pacing Champion of 1967.
Romeo Hanover was retired to stud at Pine Hollow Stud Farm Inc., in New York, where he was bred to a limited book of mares. He sired winners of over $14 million that include good pacers such as Taurus Romeo 1:55.2 ($671,095) and Secret Service p, 4, T1:53.2 ($454,179). As a broodmare sire, he sired the dams of winners of over $18 million with 50 $100,000 winners. Romeo Hanover was exported to New Zealand where he died in December, 1988.

ELIZABETH "WEED" RORTY 1978 [1911-1977]

A walking encyclopedia of the Standardbred sport. it seems to have been ordained that Elizabeth Rorty be involved in harness racing. A native of Goshen, NY, "the cradle of the trotter", she Joined the USTA, then headquartered in Goshen, in 1946.
With Frances Wallace, Rorty wrote TALES OF THE IMMORTALS and was managing editor of Horseman and Fair World Magazine from 1959 until her retirement, shortly before she died in 1977. She witnessed 44 of the 51 Hambletonian races in her lifetime and was a marshal in three of them.

ROSALIND t, T1:56¾ 1973 [1933-1950]

A Scotland-Alma Lee filly, Rosalind was foaled in 1933, having been bred by the great colt trainer/driver Ben White and given by him to his son Gibson. She was a top performer as a two-year-old and at age three won all the major stakes, including The Hambletonian. When Rosalind was four, she beat Todd's record by trotting in 1:56¾ and, before retiring, was teamed with Greyhound to set a team-to-pole world record of 1:58¼. She produced only six offspring, among them Deanna, 2:02¾, before her death at Hanover Shoe Farm in 1950. Later she became the subject of a book entitled BORN TO TROT by Marguerite Henry.

LEONARD J. ROSE, SR. 1997 [1827-1898]

Leonard J. Rose was born in 1827 in Bavaria, Germany. He was a major contributor to West Coast racing and a leading breeder of Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds in California. He is credited with breeding Beautiful Bells, Reverie and Stamboul, the latter purchased and campaigned by E. H. Harriman's Arden Farms. Rosemead Stock Farm, his primary breeding establishment, became the city of Rosemead, California in the San Gabriel Valley near Los Angeles. Rose became associated with B. D. Wilson, a wealthy California landowner in 1850. From Wilson he purchased the famous property called Sunny Slope, which Rose used to establish his winery, the L. J. Rose Wine Company. He sold the vineyard for $1 million clear and purchased the famous stables and orchard at Rosemead, where he placed The Moor, Fleetwing; Maggie Mitchell and Minnehaha, "The Broodmare of the Turf. " It was here that he bred Stamboul (2:07½) Alcazar (2:20), and many other great trotting sires and matrons. The Moor produced the great Sultan, Beautiful Bells, the double crowned record-breaker Hinda Rose; he was also the maternal grandsire of the 1979 Immortal, Chimes. Most of Rose's stock came from Woodburn Farm, KY. The bloodlines Rose's horses produced brought him acclaim as a breeder, however, Rose became dejected after expending vast sums of money on a mine in Arizona. He took his life on May 17,2022 at his home in Los Angeles.

ROYA McKINNEY t, 2:07½ 1974 [1911-1939]

"Roya McKinney was a 1911 foal by McKinney-Princess Royal, the breeder being William Simpson. She made a name for herself as a broodmare and was the first dam to produce two 2:00 performers, Rose Scott and Highland Scott. Later a third foal, Scotland, went in 1:59 1/4. Roya McKinney died at Poplar Hill Farm in 1939."

SANDERS RUSSELL 1982 [1900-1982]

Born in 1900 in Stevenson, AL, Mr. Russell drove his first race at age fifteen and was still training Standardbreds when he died at 82. During his almost seven decade career, he developed a number of standouts, most notably Fresh Yankee, the 1970 Horse of the Year and first North American trotter to win $1 million. "The Preacher"'s biggest day came in 1962 when, with his ankle in a cast, he drove A. C.'s Viking to victory in The Hambletonian Stake at Du Quoin, IL.
Russell also raced Hal Tryax, the sire of million dollar winner Cardigan Bay. The USTA credits him with 1,243 wins and earnings of $279,497, but those records only begin in 1939 and many believe he had twice that many wins and earnings.

RUTH M. CHENAULT t, 2:03¼ 1984 [1924-1946]

Foaled in 1924 by Peter Chenault-Ruth Mainsheet, she was owned by C. B. Shaffer's Coldstream Farm of Lexington, KY and trained and driven by Ben White. She won all of her ten races in 1926, earning $37,377.50, which was tops for a two-year-old trotter at that time. While her later career was not as brilliant, she proved to be an outstanding broodmare, producing nine foals, of which seven raced in 2:10 or better. Her most prominent offspring was Muscletone, a top trotter of the mid-1930's in U.S. and Europe. She died at Coldstream Farm in 1946.

Edward M. Ryan 1993

WILLIAM M RYSDYK 1958 [1809-1870]

Rysdyk began as a young farmhand, who worked for Jonas Seeley, of Sugar Loaf, NY. In 1849, when forty years old, he purchased a colt and mare from his employer and named the colt Hambletonian. He had always dreamed of owning a good roadhorse. Matched in a trial with Abdallah Chief, in late October. 1852. Hambletonian won in 3:03. A day or two later he trialed in 2:48 (2:48½ on some watches. So Rysdyk always gave the time as 2:48½.) He only trialed his colt this one time, then placed him in stud in Chester and bred him to local mares.
The horse's reputation quickly grew as a sire of speed. Rysdyk made a modest fortune from the horse's services. He owned the famous stallion until his death in 1870. William Rysdyk is buried in the Community Cemetery on the Old Seely Ward Farm in Chester, New York.