Us Harness Racing

Meadow Skipper through Clinton Myers

MEADOW SKIPPER p, 1:55.1 1983 [1960-1982]

The son of Dale Frost and Countess Vivian was foaled In Meadow Lands, PA in 1960. Under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Earle Avery, he blossomed as a racehorse in his sophomore year, winning the 1963 Cane Pace and finishing second in The Little Brown Jug. But it was as a sire that Meadow Skipper shone. Standing at Stoner Creek Stud in Kentucky, he has produced 456 two-minute performers and the dams of an additional 1,278 through 1993.
Some of the greatest Standardbreds in history were sired by him, including Albatross and Most Happy Fella. He is the grand sire of Niatross, 1:49.1 and Fan Hanover, 1:50.4. Other famous offspring include Windshield Wiper, Governor Skipper, Trenton and Genghis Khan. Meadow Skipper died at Stoner Creek Farm in 1982.

 

MERRIE ANNABELLE t, 2:00 1959 [1956-1958]

A strawberry roan filly by Rodney out of Annabella, she was foaled in 1956 at Castleton Farm. She was owned by Byron D. Kuth of Chesterfield, OH and trained by Johnny Patterson, who drove her on September 26, 1958 in Lexington, KY to four world records in one race; the most significant record being that she became the first two-year-old filly to race at 2:00. She showed phenomenal speed at the beginning of her career and during the season of 1958 won thirteen of twenty-three heats. Her winnings were $39,608. On October 3, 1958, while training at Lexington, she reared on the track and fell over, paralyzed. All efforts to save her were made, but she eventually died November 30, 1958 at the Veterinary Clinic, Ohio State University in Columbus.

 

MESSENGER 1964 [1780-1808]

A

n English Thoroughbred stallion sired by Mambrino and foaled in 1780. He was brought to America in 1788 by one Thomas Benger, an Irish sportsman who located near Philadelphia, PA. Messenger soon became famous as a producer of trotters and pacers, standing for service at dozens of places from Philadelphia to Goshen to Long Island. Almost all two-minute Standardbreds trace back to Messenger, including Hambletonian. He also became the ancestor of the majority of great American Thoroughbreds, including American Eclipse, Whirlaway, Equipoise, Man O' War and Gallant Fox. Messenger died in 1808 near Oyster Bay, L.I., NY.

 

WALTER J. MICHAEL 1978 [1900-1977]

Walter Michael once estimated that during his many years as a breeder and owner, he had raised more than 1,600 horses. Born in Cleveland in 1900, he had followed in his father's footsteps and succeeded him as president of Ohio Locomotive Crane Co. He became interested in harness racing in 1937. He started Pickwick Farms in Bucyrus, OH in 1950 and stood a number of outstanding stallions there; Gene Abbe and Baron Hanover being the most notable. In 1957 Michael built Northfield Park and later merged two other tracks in northeastern Ohio. He was president of the USTA from 1958-1969. He died in 1977.

 

 

Don R. Millar 1991 [1913-2002]

 

DELVIN G. MILLER 1996 [1913-1996]

Born on July 5,1913, Delvin Miller was the only professional in any sport whose career spanned eight decades. He won more than $11 million and 2,442 races, including the Hambletonian, the Little Brown Jug and the Kentucky Futurity. He drove and trained such stars as Dale Frost, Countess Vivian, Tarport Hap, Tyler B., Adios Betty, Harlan Dean, Meadow Rice, Helicopter and Stenographer. He received the Proximity Achievement Award and twice was named the leading money winning driver. He founded The Meadows racetrack in Meadow Lands, PA, and was inducted into the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame in 1968. In 1973, Delvin trained Delmonica Hanover to win The International Trot and the Prix d'Amerique in France. In 1982, Miller trained and drove Arndon to a world record 1:54 time-trial and received The Messenger Award from the Harness Tracks of America. In 1985 he formed the Delvin Miller Amateur Drivers Association to promote the sport among amateur drivers. In 1988, at The Meadowlands, NJ, seventy-five year old Delvin, in a high-wheel sulky (r,) broke a ninety-seven year trotting record by driving Keystone Investor to a mile in 2:04. He created the annual Harness Tracks of America Red Smith award to honor outstanding horse caretakers and was awarded the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's "Service to Youth" award in 1980. His final drive, on May 3,1996, was a winning performance in a qualifying race, driving his 3 year-old trotting filly, Keystone Scarlett. Delvin Miller, a former president of the Grand Circuit and an officer and trustee of The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, died on August 19, 1996 at the age of eighty-three.

 

 

Lou Miller* 1989

 

ROY MILLER 1979 [1874-1952]

Born in Chester, NY, he was the son of Guy Miller, who worked for William Rysdyk as a young man and later bought Rysdyk's farm. Roy devoted his entire life to the sport as trainer, driver, track official, owner, steward, track manager and exporter of horses. Most of his career was spent in Lexington, KY, where he operated a public stable. He won The Kentucky Futurity in 1903 with Grace Bond, and again in 1910 with Justice Brooke. He died in 1952 in Lexington.

 

WILLIAM E. MILLER 1976 [1879-1954]

A fifty year veteran of the sport, Miller drove his first race in 1907 at the old Brightwood Track near Washington, D.C. In the following years he raced on the Grand Circuit, at county fair meets and at pari-mutuel tracks in Maryland and Delaware. In 1949, at age seventy, he was named the country's leading driver in the annual ratings of the Universal Driver's Rating System, the first amateur to hold that title. He was president of Rosecroft Raceway and carried on a breeding operation at his Rosecroft Stock Farm in Maryland, which housed such champions as Henry Volo, Pioneer Hanover, Mary Ellen and Hillsota. It was under William E. Miller's leadership that Rosecroft Raceway grew to a position of prominence. He was driving Josedale Mate at the Harrington, DE track in 1954, when he suffered a heart attack and died.

 

MINOR HEIR p,1:58 1955 [1902-1928]

Bred by J.B. Ewing of Roseville, IL and foaled in 1902, Minor Heir was by Heir-at-Law out of Kitty Clover. He was not broken until a two-year-old, and was first used by Ewing as a delivery horse. He then was sent to D. Patten for training and paced in 2:14. In 1907 Minor Heir was sent to Charles Dean, who later sold him to P. C. Isaacs of Johnstown, PA. His fastest mile that season was 2:08. The next year he paced in 2:01 at Terre Haute and later in 1908 he paced in 1:59. In 1909, he was sold to M. W. Savage for $45,000 and put in training with Harry Hersey. Minor Heir's best time was recorded September 16, 1910 at Indianapolis at 1:58. He was retired from racing after 1912 and died March 24, 1928 at the farm of W. C. Crawford, Williston, Th.

 

MISS BERTHA DILLON t,2:02 1966 [1914-1935]

Foaled in 1914, Miss Bertha Dillon was by Dillon Axworthy-Miss Bertha C. and owned by A. B. Coxe, under whose colors she raced. At age four she established the world record for age and sex, trotting in 2:02.
Upon Coxes death, Hanover Shoe Farm purchased her as a broodmare. In this role she was famous for such offspring as Hanover's Bertha, Charlotte Hanover, Miss Bertha Hanover and others. She died in 1935 at Walnut Hall Farm, KY, although still owned by Hanover Shoe Farm.

 

MISTY HANOVER t,2:083/5 1976 [1941-1972]

A foal of 1941, she produced the 1957 Hambletonian winner Hickory Smoke and Hickory Pride, both top-notch trotting sires. Besides producing four sets of twins, Misty Hanover also foaled two other stake winning trotters in Hickory Fire and Hickory Blaze. Owned and raced by Bowman Brown, Sr., she died at Hempt Farm in 1972.

 

JOHN J. MOONEY 1976 [ -1950]

A native of Saint Marys, OH, John Mooney was a harness racing enthusiast since childhood. Active in the formation of The Hambletonian Society, he was one of its officers for many years.
After having bought the Peninsular Farms near the Fremont (OH) Fairgrounds, Mooney bred such champions as Paul MacPherson, The Abbot, Friscoway and Dell Frisco. Because he was also in the insurance business, Mooney was a silent partner in the ownership of horses. He thought it would be bad for business if it was learned that he owned racehorses. He died in 1950.

 

JOHN "TROTWOOD" MOORE 1978 [1858-1929]

Born in Marion, AL in 1858, he moved to Columbia, TN as a young man and became deeply involved with the state, its history and its horses. A gifted writer, he worked for many years on the Horse Review, where he adopted his pen name 'Trotwood". His then revolutionary features on pacers were credited with bringing respectability to that gait. He especially championed the Tennessee line of pacers during the 1880's, notably Little Brown Jug and Brown Hal, whose triumphs he immortalized in verse and sketch. Moore died in Tennessee in 1929.

 

WALTER MOORE 1978 [1869-1948]

A native of Charleston, IL, Walter Moore was twenty-three when he landed his first Job, in 1893, as a turf writer with the Western Horseman. Shortly after the turn of the century he Joined the prestigious Horse Review, where he proved his value not only
as a knowledgeable writer of harness racing, but also as a business man, with annual solicitations of advertising in the Journal. When the Horse Review ceased publication in 1932, he Joined the newly founded Harness Horse Magazine. He was its editor until his death in 1948, at age seventy-eight.

 

ERNEST B. MORRIS 1991 [1908-1991]

An attorney who practiced law in Albany, NY from 1931 to 1963, Ernie Morris was a nationally prominent figure during harness racing's growth years. He was member of the board of directors and counsel of the U.S. Trotting Association, a president of Harness Tracks of America, and was president of Saratoga Raceway and later chairman of its board from 1963 to 1987. He was also an amateur driver and owner of several harness horses, notably Eric B., one of the top trotters in the country during his three-year-old season. In 1987, Morris was elected to The Living Hall of Fame. Born in Rensselaer, NY, he was a graduate of Union College and Albany Law School. He became a noted trial attorney, was appointed Albany County District Attorney by Governor Thomas Dewey and later served as New York State Deputy Attorney General. He died in Manchester, NH on December 22, 1991 at age eighty-three.

 

 

GEORGE FORD MORRIS 1978 [1873-1960]

An outstanding equine artist, he painted portraits of horses for more than seventy years. Born in St. Joseph, MO in 1873, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Julian Academy in Paris. Some of his earliest illustrations of horses for magazines were done when he was seventeen. His work appeared in such publications as the Horseman, Breeder's Gazette, Western Horseman, American Field and American Horseman. In 1952 he published a book entitled PORTRAITURE OF HORSES. He died in 1960 in Arcadia, CA.

 

P. WALTER MOSER 1979 [c1892-1942]

A native of Kansas, he was a top turf photographer and Journalist. He represented several horse Journals both as a reporter and business agent, beginning with the Horseman at Indianapolis. Moser served in a similar capacity for the Horse Review, Hoof Beats and the Harness Horse. He also became well known for his book about the life of Greyhound. He was one of the few men well versed in breeding and performance of both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. He died suddenly in 1942 in Sabetha, KS, around the age of 50.

 

MOST HAPPY FELLA p,T1:55 1984 [1967-1983]

A 1967 foal from the first crop of Meadow Skipper out of Laughing Girl, he was bred by Norman Woolworth and David Johnston of Stoner Creek Stud in Kentucky. The Triple Crown winner of 1970, he proved to be a star in the stud barn as well. Standing at Blue Chip Farms, Wailkill, NY. Most Happy Fella became the top sire for all breeds in terms of money won by his progeny. At his passing in 1983, the figure stood in excess of $55 million, which is still being added to. Among his offspring are the great filly Silk Stockings and Cam Fella, the Horse of the Year winner in 1982 and 1983. Most Happy Fella was buried at Blue Chip Farms after an accident ended his career.

 

MR. McELWYN t,1:59 1956 [1921-1944]

A foal of 1921, Mr. McElwyn was owned by W. H. L. McCourtie of Texas. He was sired by Guy Axworthy out of Widow Maggie. Under trainer Ben White he was a winner in five of his seven starts as a two-year-old. At three he again won five out of seven races and trotted in 1:59, the first three-year-old to better 2:00. At Phoenix, AZ the next year, Vic Fleming drove him to his best record, 1:59. He was retired to Lexington until McCourtie's death, when he was purchased by Henry Knight. Later he was acquired by Hanover Shoe Farm. A remarkable sire with more 2:10 two-year-olds than any of his day, he died at Hanover on July 22, 1944.

 

THOMAS W. MURPHY 1967 [1877-1967]

Unexcelled as a trainer-driver of the Standardbred, Murphy's career extended from the turn of the century until he retired in 1927. He was known as the "Wizard of the Reins", setting 34 major world records with trotters and 20 more with pacers. His fastest drive was behind Peter Manning in 1922 at Lexington, 1:56 3/4. Horses that held world marks handled by Murphy include Miss Harris M, Margaret Dillon, Highland Scott, Arion Guy, Tilly Brooke, Czar Worthy, Merriman and Peter Volo. From 1909 to 1927 he was the leading money winning driver in 16 of 19 seasons. In 1931 he came out of retirement to train Thoroughbreds and won the 1931 Kentucky Derby with Twenty Grand. In 1951 he returned to Standardbreds as an owner and again was successful with horses such as Bullet Hanover, 1:55 3/5 and Jim Harrison, 2:00 1/5. Murphy died in 1967 at age 90.

 

WILLIAM B. MURRAY 1991 [1904-1990]

The first Standardbred William Murray ever owned was Calumet Edna, the grandam of the 1983 Immortal Meadow Skipper. The female of the Standardbred species figured prominently in his claim to fame. Among the horses the master of Bonnie Brae Farm in Ohio campaigned were the great race filly and later broodmare, Belle Acton as well as Jane Azoff and Just Pam. Murray was active in the sport's organizations. He was a USTA director from 1948 to 1981, serving for a time as vice-chairman of the board, director of The Little Brown Jug Society and president of the Standardbred Breeders' Association. He was also one of the original inductees into the Hall of Fame of Animal Science at Ohio State University. He died in 1990 in Ohio.

 

CLINTON N. MYERS 1976 [1876-1954]

Born in the centennial year of the United States in Backman's Valley, MD, Clinton Myers began his professional career as a clerk in a dry goods store in Hanover, PA. Several years later he went into the insurance business and in 1899 met H. D. Sheppard and the two founded The Hanover Shoe, Inc. In 1927, Myers, H. D. Sheppard and his son Lawrence B. Sheppard founded Hanover Shoe Farms, the world's largest Standardbred nursery. Myers died in 1954.