Us Harness Racing

Charles Tanner through Volunteer

Martin Tananbaum 2006 [1916-1970]

Martin Tananbaum was born on January 8, 1916 in New York City. At the time of his passing, he was considered the most progressive executive in the Standardbred industry and was credited with having been the motivating force behind Yonkers Raceway's climb to a preeminent position among the sport's pari-mutual tracks. During his 14-year tenure as president of the track, pacers from Australia and New Zealand became a staple on the American racing scene. This was the result of his pioneer scouting trips to those countries to secure horses for the series of Yonkers' International Paces. His efforts to put together the tightest racing possible, by attracting the best horses available, were successful. He became the leading exponent of free-for-all racing, and Yonkers quickly began to gain a reputation as the track with the big stars. Weekly free-for-alls with large purses lured top pacers and trotters to the track.
Martin Tananbaum and his brothers, Alfred A. and Stanley, assumed control of the Hilltop Oval (as it was known) in 1956 after the death of the track's founder, William H. Cane. Attendance at that time was 1.6 million for an average 85-night meeting, and wagering was about $100 million. The track's first $2 million handle was in 1954. After the Tananbaums took over the operation, $2 million handles became commonplace; and under Martin's guidance, crowds and betting began to skyrocket. In 1956, during a 105-night meet, 2.02 million fans attended the races and wagered $140.359 million. The following year, during a 104-day meet, 2.146 million fans passed through the turnstiles and bet $145.656 million. In 1969, the highest single-night handle ever at Yonkers ($3,220,686) helped achieve a record breaking $300 million handle for the season. It was the highest handle wagered at one track in a single season. With success assured an $18 million building project was launched in 1958. It included construction of an ultra-modern six-level clubhouse and a four-story Parkadrome for 3,000 vehicles.
In 1960, the Tananbaum brothers reactivated the historic Old Glory Sale.
Another brother, Leo, managed the historic sale. In 1972, two years after Martin Tananbaum's passing, the five Rooney brothers of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia purchased Yonkers Raceway for $52 million. It was the largest private racetrack purchase in U.S. history. Tim Rooney, the middle brother of the five, was installed as president.
Martin Tananbaum was an innovator, firmly believing in "colt" racing because he knew these youngsters were the stars of tomorrow. He led the drive to establish the New York Sire Stake program, which has since been emulated throughout the country. Yonkers' first venture into this series was an overnight hit with the birth of the Quad Futurity for two-, three- and four-year-olds.
These stakes were later expanded to become the Yonkers' Stakes, a night program for two and three-year-olds. Although Tananbaum fostered these programs, he took most pride in the New York Sire Stakes. It is considered his brainchild. In 1961, the program was launched as a cooperative venture of the state's seven night tracks, with two-year-old races at each oval. At that time total purses reached in the neighborhood of $300,000. Today the purses are $9.5 million, making the New York Sire Stakes the richest sire stakes program in the United States.
Tananbaum lived to see his White Devon Farm in Geneseo, NY become a leader among New York State Standardbred breeding establishments. Many of his horses had "Minbar" in their name in honor of his daughters, Minnie and Barbara. One of the first stallions he stood at the farm was Egyptian Candor, winner of the 1965 Hambletonian. The farm became the home of six other top stallions (Thorpe Hanover, Adora's Dream, Greentree Adios, Great Lullwater, Tactile and Trowbridge) and more than 125 broodmares. Greentree Adios sired Hy Minbar whose offspring Hy Class Minbar was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1989.
Martin Tananbaum was also active in charitable work, raising millions of dollars, much of it to help the City of Hope and children with special needs. He was chairman of a million-dollar fund drive for the New York Cardiac Home. A fellow of the Universal Brotherhood Movement of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Martin Tananbaum was prominent in many of its fund-raising activities. For ten years he was chairman of the board ofadvisors of the NY Mirror Welfare Fund, a director of the Young Men's Philanthropic League, and in 1959 chairman of a very successful fund raising dinner for the Boy Scouts of America, Washington Irving Council.
Tananbaum was a life member of Share Inc., a trustee of United Givers Fund of Yonkers, vice-president of the Garment Center Congregation, and a member of the Friars and of Elmwood Country Club. He was a trustee of The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, a director of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State and a member of the United States Trotting Association.
Martin Tananbaum was one of ten children of Polish immigrants. His father built a small textile business and raised his family in the Bronx. Martin graduated from the DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx at 16 and later attended Fordham University night school for two years and Brooklyn Law School for one year in the evenings. He left school after his father died and worked in his father's business with his brother until 1944, when he enlisted in the Air Corps as a cadet. In 1946, he returned to the family business. In addition to being president of Yonkers Raceway, Martin Tananbaum was executive vice-president of Century Industries, Inc. and secretary of Tanbro Fabrics Corporation of New York City.
Martin Tananbaum passed away on March 24, 1970. He was only fifty-four years old.

CHARLES TANNER 1978 [1865-1955]

"Doc" Tanner was born in New York City in 1865. After trying all trades, even going to sea, he found a place with the Walnut Grove Farm in Washingtonville, NY. From there he worked for several other stables around the country. He then decided to develop a stable of matinee horses for gentle-men drivers, rather than racing for a purse. Tanner established himself and soon had wealthy patrons in Cleveland at the Glenville Track, including amateurs such as H. K. Devereux and C. K. G. Billings. He remained with Billings, devoting his time to racing Uhlan and Lou Dillon. He retired in 1934 and died in January, 1955 in Santa Barbara, CA.

TAR HEEL p,T1:57 1994 [1948-1982]

A foal of 1948 by the Hanover Shoe Farm sire Billy Direct out of the Volomite mare Leta Long, his first owner was W. N. Reynolds. Tar Heel was known as the "King of Queens" because, for some mysterious reason, the genes he passed along to his daughters were very, very special. As a race horse he was a season's champion at two, a world champion at three and the leading money-winning performer both years. He was retired to stud after taking a lifetime record of 1:57 in a time trial at four. As a sire he is credited with 160 two-minute performers through 1981 and the dams of 400 in 2:00. At the time of his death on June 8, 1982 at age thirty-four, Tar Heel's progeny had earned nearly $36 million. At the dispersal of the Reynolds' horses In November, 1951, Lawrence B. Sheppard bought Solicitor for $100,000 and Tar Heel for $125,000, providing some of the most dramatic moments in the sales company's history as they were the first Standardbreds to bring $100,000 at public auction.

TARPORT CHEER p, 3, 2:08.3f 2000 [1966-1997]

Tarport Cheer was an Immortal Tar Heel - Immortal Meadow Cheer - Immortal Adios foal bred by Immortal Hugh A. Grant, Sr., of Bradford, PA. She was the only Tar Heel daughter of her Adios dam, Meadow Cheer. Although she was only a mediocre racehorse, evidenced by her lifetime record of 2:08.3f, Tarport Cheer proved to be an extraordinary matron, delivering 20 foals from 1970 to 1990; eleven raced in 2:00 or faster. This impressive statistic brought Tarport Cheer into a tie for third place on the 1983 all-time list of 2:00-producing broodmares. In 1986 she moved up to second on the list, a position she held through 1996. Tarport Cheer's richest offspring, Cherry Hello, an immortal Albatross filly earning a lifetime total of $869,619, paced in 1:52.3 and was voted 1989 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year. To the cover of Immortal Most Happy Fella, Tarport Cheer produced 1978 Immortal Tarport Hap, who, at age four, had a mark of 1:56.3f. Tarport Hap earned $688,664 over her lifetime and was 1977's Aged Pacing Mare of the Year. The results of other matings to Most Happy Fella include Laugh A Day, who was purchased as a yearling for $625,000 and Tyler B p, 3, 1:55.1 ($687,388) whose offspring include 1994 Little Brown Jug winner, Magical Mike p, 3, 1:50.2m ($1.7 million); Dragon's Lair p, 5, 1:51.3m ($1.1 million); and Dignatarian p, 5, 1:52 ($999,637). Tyler B's top speedster was gelding Biba Fra, p, 4, 1:50m ($342,908). Tarport Cheer is the great-grand dam of the Magical Mike gelding Gallo Blue Chip, winner of the 2000 $1 million North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace and 2000 Horse of the Year, and earnings in excess of $2.3 million. Tarport Cheer was the dam of six $100,000 winners. Eight of her sons have sired the winners of $76 million and more than 150 in 1:55. Tarport Cheer's daughters have also proven formidable broodmares. As of year end 2000 they have produced 27 in 2:00, 12 in 1:55, and 13 $100,000 winners. Tarport Cheer died on October 1, 1997 at Castleton Farm, Lexington KY, where she had resided since her purchase from breeder Hugh A. Grant in 1974.

TARPORT HAP p, 1:56 3/5 1978 [1972-1977]

Bred and owned by Hugh Grant, she was from the first crop of Most Happy Fella out of the mare Tarport Cheer. Sold in 1975 to Alan Leavitt and William Rosenberg for $325,000, Tarport Hap was a world champion, the second highest money-winning pacing mare ever. She and Silk Stockings often competed and she was able to achieve fifty-five victories in ninety-three starts and paced twenty winning 2:00 miles. She died at age five during a race at the Meadowlands in New Jersey and was buried in the infield.

MILTON D. TAYLOR 1985 [1908-1984]

Regarded as the prototype for the Standardbred sport's presiding Judge, "Judge" Taylor dedicated sixty-one years of service to harness racing. The involvement for this native of Rhode Island began in the early 1920's when, at age fifteen, he drove the trotter Nelda Dillon to a 2:08 3/4 victory at Readville, MA. He worked for the USTA during that organization's formative years, as well as for a great number of harness tracks. His tenure as a track official began as chief inspector for the USTA in 1945. It was as presiding Judge, first in Maryland, next at Liberty Bell and finally Yonkers Raceway, that Milt Taylor became known for his fearless decisions for the good of the sport. He died in 1984.

FREDERICK TERRY 1979 [1865-1944]

Born in Wilton, IA in 1865, he began his career in turf Journalism in 1904 with The Horseman and The Spirit of the Times. In 1907 he moved to the Indianapolis-based Western Horseman, which later changed its name to The Horseman and Fair World a publication he co-managed with his brother for almost forty years. It was the only turf Journal to survive the depression. Much credit for this is given to Fred Terry's astuteness as a businessman. He promoted The Horseman Stake for two-year-old trotters in Indiana and The Fox Stake for two-year-old pacers. He passed away in 1944 at age 79.

THE LAUREL HALL t, 2:06 1959 [1918- ]

A 1918 foal, The Laurel Hall, out of Peter the Great-Baby Bertha, was owned by Stoughton Fletcher of Laurel Hall Farm in Indiana As a two-year-old he took a record of 2:08 and he won many races in his three-year-old season. At four, then owned by Good Time Stables of Goshen, NY and trained by Walter Cox, he trotted in 2:06. Because of recurring lameness, he was retired to stud by William H. Cane in 1923.

THE OLD MAID t 1974 [1945-1965]

The Old Maid was foaled in 1945, sired by Guy Abbey out of Spinster and bred by Walnut Hall Farm. She was a well-known broodmare, her outstanding offspring being Spinster Hanover, Bachelor Hanover and Dancer Hanover. She had ten on the 2:05 list and a son, Thorpe Hanover, producing additions to the 2:00 list. The Old Maid was owned by Hanover Shoe Farm at the time of her death in 1965.

HENRY THOMAS 1960 [1887-1957]

Henry Thomas was born in Joliet, IL in 1887. His father, Al, was one of the leading drivers of his day. Henry's early career as a trainer and driver was spent in the midwest until he went to Laurel Hall Farm in Indianapolis in 1918. Later he returned to Illinois, where he raced many stars and was soon winning on the Grand Circuit. In 1937 he went to Hanover Shoe Farms, for whom he won two Hambletonian's with Shirley Hanover and McLin Hanover. He won a third Hambletonian in 1944 with Yankee Maid. Thomas was well known for his fearless drives and good horsemanship. He retired from racing in May, 1956 and turned to officiating until his death in 1957.

HENRY C. "HANK" THOMSON 1994 [1908-1994]

As head of Ohio's Delaware County Fair, Hank Thomson was the co-founder, with 1975 Immortal Joseph Neville, of harness racing's pacing classic, The Little Brown Jug, a race which has grown from its inaugural $35,359 purse in 1946 to over $500,000. Born and raised in Delaware, OH, Thomson had no experience in the sport prior to his relationship with the Fair. He was the editor and publisher of the Delaware Gazette, the oldest continuing family-owned newspaper in the nation. During his many years' association with harness racing, he served in several leadership and executive capacities, including The Little Brown Jug Society and the Grand Circuit. He was president of the Ohio Fair Managers' Association and was one of the founders of the Pacing Triple Crown. Among his many awards was his 1988 induction into The Living Hall of Fame. Hank Thomson died in Delaware on January 24, 1994.

TILLY BROOKE t, 1:59 1957 [1918- ]

Foaled in 1918 by Justice Brooke-The Miss Stokes, Tilly Brooke was bred by George T. Moore, Dromore Farms, St. Clair, MI. At the beginning of her 1924 season, after training with T. W. Murphy and owned by John G. Eibs of Rochester, NY, she trotted in 1:59 in a special match race at Toledo, OH. This time was the race record for trotters for 13 years, until it was broken by Greyhound in 1937. She then went on to Lexington to win The Transylvania in 2:01, completing a chain of eleven consecutive Grand Circuit victories for the year.

EDWARD A. TIPTON 1959 [1856-1930]

Born in Mt. Sterling, KY in 1856, "Ed" Tipton became a "walking encyclopedia" as a young man on the subject of breeding trotting horses. His vast knowledge and library made him an authority on the subject. When the Kentucky Trotting Horse Breeders' Association was being reorganized in 1887, he became its Secretary. He revived the Kentucky Trots at Lexington and made that meeting what it is today by creating The Kentucky Futurity and Transylvania events. In 1895 he resigned as Secretary to take a position with Marcus Daly, managing Bitter Root Stud until Daly's death in 1901. It was at this time, that Tipton bought into William Fasig's Sales Company which became Fasig-Tipton. In 1911 Tipton sold the sales company to E. J. Trantor to become president of the Kentucky Trotting Horse Breeders' Association, where he remained until his retirement in 1926. Throughout his career, Tipton also worked as an advisor to many people such as Leland Stanford, C.K.G. Billings and William Bradley. He died in October, 1930 in Lexington.

TITAN HANOVER t, 1:58 1968 [1942-1966]

Foaled at Hanover Shoe Farm in 1942, he was by Calumet Chuck-Tisma Hanover. Titan Hanover was purchased as a yearling for $3,000 by Arden Homestead Stable and became the first two-year-old colt to trot in 2:00. He established a three-year-old record of 1:58 In 1945 and won the famed Hambletonian that same year. Unbeaten in a race as a two and three-year-old, he was retired to stud in 1947 and sired 216 trotters and 87 pacers. He died at Hanover Shoe Farm in 1966.

BENJAMIN TRACY 1990 [1830-1915]

Founder and owner of Marshland Stud and a writer on trotting blood, Ben Tracy was born in Oswego, Tioga County, NY on April 26, 1830. In collaboration with John Wallace he helped frame a 'Trotting Standard", which established rules that led to the creation of the Standardbred horse. Wallace provided the gist of the rules, while Tracy, a distinguished Jurist, contributed the language of admission. A Union General during the Civil War, he later became Secretary of the Navy under President Harrison. He died on August 6, 1915.

PHILIP W. "PHIL" TULLY 1998 [1933-1998]

Philip Tully was involved with the Standardbred industry for more than half a century. He had experience as a groom, trainer, racetrack program director, announcer, race secretary, breeder, owner and officer/director in many equine-related organizations. He was elected a director of the United States Trotting Association in 1973, serving on various committees including the Executive Committee. He also served as a director of Goshen Historic Track. Philip Tully was the founder and owner of P. W. Tully's Woodstock Stud in Monticello, New York. During the 1980'5, Woodstock Stud was one of the largest individual sellers of horses at auction in the United States. Tully also founded and was the president and general manager of the Garden State Standardbred Sales Company, an auction company conducting sales at the Meadowlands. He bought and sold over 100,000 horses during his lifetime.
He owned McKinzie Almahurst, winner of the 1981 $1,760,000 Woodrow Wilson. Other topliners either owned or co-owned by Tully included Rising Light, Imperfection, Charlie Ten Hitch, Kerry's Crown, Cayster, BG's Bunny, Lime Time, Direct Scooter, Cold Comfort and Kawartha Eagle.
Phil Tully was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in 1993. He was also the recipient of numerous other honors and awards for his commitment to harness racing and for his community service. Philip Tully passed away on December 8, 1998 at the age of sixty-five.

UHLAN t,T1:58 1955 [1904-1935]

Uhlan, sired by Bingen out of Blondella, was born in 1904 at the farm of A.H. Parker, Bedford, MA. In 1907 he was sold for $2,500 to Charles Sanders of Salem, MA as a matinee horse. From there he went to Sanders' trainer Robert Procter and proved sensational.
After a mile in 2:02 in 1909 at Columbus, OH, he was purchased by C.K.G. Billings for $30,000. From then on Uhlan raced to wagon, sulky, and under saddle on exhibition and against time only. He toured Europe, returning in August of 1912 to set his mark of 1:58 at Lexington, KY. He died in Santa Barbara, CA in 1935.

CHARLES "VALLEY" VALENTINE 1979 [1868-1947]

From boyhood in Chillicothe, OH to shortly before his passing, Chancy Valentine was involved with horses of some kind. For many years he was one of the top drivers on the Grand Circuit, reining out-standing horses such as High Noon, 2:02, Independence Boy, 2:01, Judge Ormonde, 2:01 and Uttie Frank D., 2:02. In 1945, at age seventy-seven, he was called upon to replace the hospitalized Vic Fleming behind Direct Brewer and drove the pacer to a brace of wins at Lexington. He died two years later in Grove City, OH.

Valley Victory
Started by knock out in the American trotting breeding. In his first litter consisted half Hambletonian field of his avkommmor. Victory Dream was the victory the Lord and in his start breeding produced Self possess. Stallion Lineage renews itself rapidly. Other storlopps winner of the hill was BullVille Victory with the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot (in Italian breeding) English stationed Smash was the winner of Matron Stakes and Armbro Monarch was the winner of the Hambletonian Oaks... Read more about Valley Victory here

H.J. "JUNE" VAN GUNDY 1985 [1910-1963]

Born in 1910 in Normal, IL, his association with the sport began in 1943, when he became assistant to the president of the Du Quoin State Fair. During this time, he also was named secretary to the Hambletonian Society, a position he held until his death. His many activities included the positions of business manager of Horseman & Fair World magazine, manager of Tattersalls Corp., as well as serving as presiding judge, state steward and racing secretary at a number of tracks. Four months before his death, he became associated with the Visumatic Timer Corporation's horse division. June Van Gundy died in California in 1963.

FRANCES D. VAN LENNEP 1971 [1914-1971]

A famed horsewomen, Frances Van Lennep founded the Dodge Stable. It was in the early 1940's that she became interested in harness racing and in 1945 purchased Castleton Farm in Kentucky. She operated the farm with the help of her husband, Frederick Van Lennep, whom she married in 1949. She rode Greyhound to saddle for a 2:01 world mark which stood until 1994, when Lauren Brooke Nickells, riding Preferential, went in 1:58:2 at The Red Mile, Lexington, KY. Mrs. Van Lennep's Castleton Farm produced such outstanding performers as Hoot Mon, Ensign Hanover and Horse of the Year winners Victory Song (1947), Emily's Pride (1948) and Speedy Scot (1963).

FREDERICK L. VAN LENNEP 1987 [1911-1987]

A native of Philadelphia, his association with harness racing began in 1949, when he married Frances Dodge, owner of Castleton Farm in Kentucky. Together the Van Lennep's developed Castleton into a premier Standardbred nursery. He also became increasingly involved in the industry, holding leadership positions in the USTA, Harness Tracks of America, The Hambletonian Society, The Grand Circuit and The American Horse Council, among others. In 1952 the Van Lennep's acquired Wolverine Raceway in Michigan and in 1964 they built Pompano Raceway in Florida, which Van Lennep served as chairman of the board until his death in 1987.

Karel (Bud) VanderVeer1991

VICTORY SONG t,1:57 3/5 1966 [1943-1962]

When he died in 1962 at Castleton Farm, Victory Song was still the world champion four-year-old race stallion, although his record was taken in 1947. Victory Song was the fastest trotter by Volomite and fastest foal of his dam Evensong. He was born at Walnut Hall Farm but raced to his record for Castleton Farm, earning $73,859, a generous amount for the low purses of the 1940's. Victory Song won The Kentucky Futurity in 2:00 in 1946 and was the first Harness Horse of the Year in 1947. An immediate success as a sire, Victory Song produced long parades of stake winners, fast colt and filly performers and aged champions, of which world champion Senator Frost, 1:57.3 was the fastest.

VOLO SONG t,1:57 1957 [1940-1944]

By Volomite-Evensong, Volo Song was foaled in 1940 at Walnut Hall Farm, and was later purchased from the Walnut Hall Sale for $5,000 by William Strang, who put him in training with Ben White. He proved to be a two-year-old champion by trotting in 2:03 and winning all stake engagements. As a three-year-old he won The Matron, The American National, The Hambletonian and The Review Futurity Stakes. The next season he was sold to E. J. Baker and, with Harry Fitzpatrick driving, went in 1:57 at North Randall. A week later, on July 18, 1944, he suffered a broken leg at Elk Horn, WI and had to be destroyed.

VOLOMITE t, 2:03 1956 [1926-1954]

Born at Walnut Hall Farm in Kentucky in 1926, Volomite was by Peter Volo-Cita Frisco. As a yearling he was sold at auction for $5,800 to Thomas D. Taggert of Laurel Hall Farm. His racing career with Walter Cox was short. After taking a record of 2:03 at the age of three, he was sold again to Dr. Ogden Edwards and returned to Walnut Hall. Volomite's greatest fame was as a sire of extreme speed at either gait. He sired 28 2:00 horses, 198 in 2:05, and 586 Standard performers. His last three years were in retirement. He died on January 6, 1954 and is buried at Walnut Hall Farm, Lexington, KY.

VOLUNTEER 1998 [1854-1889]

Foaled May 1,1854 in Orange County, NY, Volunteer was the son of the mare, Lady Patriot and the most productive and illustrious sire of trotting stock in the 19th century, Rysdyk's Hambletonian. Alden Goldsmith of Washingtonville (town of Blooming Grove), New York purchased Volunteer in 1861. Prior to his purchase, the horse was known as Hambletonian, Jr. With patriotic sentiment high because of the Civil War, his name was changed to Volunteer.
Volunteer was a bay with just a few white hairs around his left coronet. He stood 15.3 hands and was considered to be his sire's most handsome heir. His reputation as a progenitor of first-rate trotters began about 1871; however, it was the wide distribution of prints created in 1869 by lithographic forms of H. C. Eno and Mayer and Merkel of New York that increased the patronage of the stallion.
Volunteer lived to the extraordinary age of thirty-four. It was said "he stood pre-eminent among trotting sires as the one horse who never quit." Among the great horses he sired were St. Julien, Driver, and Huntress. The campaigns of his descendants made the gameness, consistency and stamina of the Volunteer line renowned for all time. He died on December 12, 1888 at Walnut Grove Farm, Washingtonville, NY