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 Hambletonian, 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 exhibitry includes three movie theaters, computer databases, a mechanical talking horse, the opportunity to announce a race, and the world’s only 3-D 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 Living Hall of Fame.
Since 1995 outstanding horses have been inducted into a special Living 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. Also, when a Hall of Famer dies, the statuette of that person is transferred to the Hall of the Immortals.
The Communicator's Hall of Fame was created in 1984 to honor USHWA members who have used their talent to report and document the sport of harness racing. Inductees are elected by their peers, fellow USHWA members,and honored by a caricature that hangs in the Writers’ Corner of the museum.
Museum president Elbridge T. Gerry Jr., whose father was one of the original founders, and director Gail Cunard work to ensure the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, now in its 51st year, continues to “protect the past, support the present and promote the future of the great sport of harness racing.”—By M. Kelly Young
The membership of USHWA have elected these leaders in harness racing to the sport's highest honor.
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 Thurman Wayne Smart*, Stanley F. Dancer*
1970 Joseph C. O’Brien*, Harry E. Pownall*, Sanders Russell*
1971 Ralph N. Baldwin*, John F. Simpson*
1972 Clint Hodgins*
1974 Howard Beissinger, Adelbert Cameron*, James J. Dunnigan*, Frederick L. Van Lennep*
1975 Elbridge T. Gerry*, Herve Filion
1977 Earle B. Avery*
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*
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 Willliam D. "Buddy" Gilmour, Clinton G. Galbraith
1990 John D. Campbell, William A. O’Donnell
1991 Hugh A.(Andy) Grant Jr., Gene Riegle, Don R. Millar*
1992 John A. Cashman, Corwin M. Nixon*, Philip W. Tully*
1993 Ronald Waples, Joseph A. DeFrank, John Patterson Sr.*, Edward M. Ryan
1994 Doug Ackerman, Anthony T. Abbatiello, Elbridge T. Gerry Jr., and Ted Leonard*
1995 Dr. J. Glen Brown, Michel Lachance, and Jack Kopas
1996 George Segal, Dominic H. Frinzi*
1997 William S. Brown, Ray Remmen and Chuck Sylvester
1999 Guy Antonacci*, Frank Antonacci*
2000 Dave Magee, Vernon Dancer*
2001 Jim Dennis*, Catello Manzi and Harry Harvey
2002 Bob McIntosh, Berndt Lindstedt, Jim Doherty
2003 John Simpson Jr.
2004 Ron Pierce
2005 Ron Gurfein, Tom Thompson
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
Hall of Famers in this category are members of USHWA who have proven themselves worthy of the sport's highest honor. The USHWA membership votes on their induction.
1983 Michael Lee*, Edward C. Binneweg*, Jack Schultz*, Chuck Stokes*, Roy Shudt*, Ed Keller*, Dave Herman*
1984 Lawrence T. Evans*
1985 Leonard Cohen*, Louis Effrat*
1986 James C. Harrison*, Stanley F. Bergstein
1987 Clyde Hirt*, Robert L. Zellner*, Thomas F. Shehan*
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 Leslie P. Ford, Donald P. Evans*
1994 Lew Barasch*, Izzy Katzman*
1995 Sam Anzalone
1996 Bowman A. Brown Jr.*
1997 Marvin Bachrad
1999 Ed Reddy, Bo Gill*
2000 Roger Huston, John Bradley *
2001 Ed Palladino, Curt Greene*
2002 Bruce Stearns*
2004 Tom White, Nick Saponara
2005 Ed Keys, Bill Heller, Jack Ginnetti and Virginia O'Brien
2006 Ray Brienza, Marie Hill, Dean Hoffman, John Manzi