Leading owners Mickey and Sylvia Burke have been selected as the 36th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honorees by the Delaware County Fair. The Burke’s are the principals of Burke Racing Stable who have owned a pair of Little Brown Jugs champs – Filibuster Hanover (2017) and Limelight Beach (2014) – and four Jugette queens – Warrawee Ubeaut (2019), Sassa Hanover (2015), Darena Hanover (2012) and Western Graduate (2007). Mickey started driving harness horses as a hobbyist in 1956, campaigning around the fair circuits of Ohio and Pennsylvania, all while operating a successful car dealership in Western Pennsylvania for several decades. After selling the dealership in 1981, Mickey and his wife Sylvia started ‘full-time’ in the harness racing business. Between 1991 and 2008, Mickey was credited with 3,167 training wins and $35.5 million in earnings. Mickey and Sylvia have five children, three of which are active daily in the sport. In 2009, Mickey turned his training operation over to his son, Ron, and Mickey, Jr. and Michelle oversee the operations of their Washington, PA. Coming into this year, Burke Racing Stable have entered 23 horses in the Little Brown Jug, winning $1.2 million in purses. Their success isn’t limited to the three-year-old colt classic. They have also won 10 heats of the Jugette, an Old Oaken Bucket, three Standardbred’s and seventeen Ohio Breeders Championship events.
Triple Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter has been selected as the 35th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame Honoree. Takter won the 2006 Little Brown Jug with Mr Feelgood and the 2008 Jugette with Good News Lady. On the trotting side, he won six Buckette titles, three Standardbred's and two Old Oaken Buckets. He trained four USHWA "Horses of the Year" - Always B Miki (2016); Moni Maker (1999 & 1998) and Malabar Man (1997) – and was named the United States Harness Writers' Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year Award six times. He is a member of the United States Harness Racing Hall of Fame (2012), the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame (2019) and the Hall of Fame at the Nordic Trot Museum (2019) in his native Sweden. Takter retired from training at the end of 2018. He is credited with 9,972 starts, 2,157 wins and earnings of $130,132,900. It should be noted that the United States Trotting Association started keeping trainer records in 1991.
Four-time Little Brown Jug champion driver, Ron Pierce has been selected as the 34th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame Honoree by the Delaware County Fair. Pierce, 62, scored back-to-back Jug wins in 1998 and 1999 with Shady Character and the Triple Crown winning Blissfull Hall. He returned to the Jug winner’s circle in 2004 with Timesareachanging and in 2009 with Well Said. The native of California owns an impressive Universal Drivers Rating of .417 in 49 Little Brown Jug starts. He ranks second in Jug earnings with $1.7 million. Of his 42 career wins at the Delaware County Fair, 34 of them came in stakes competition, including 13 in the Little Brown Jug and nine in the Standardbreds. Pierce retired from racing with 9,570 career wins and $215 million in earnings. He was enshrined into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY in 2005.
Five-time Little Brown Jug champion driver, David Miller was selected as the 33rd Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame Honoree. Miller is the all-time leading driver at the Delaware County Fair. Among his 229 career wins are a pair of Jugette titles, four Old Oaken Buckets, two Buckettes and twenty Standardbred events. The native of Columbus, Ohio won his first Little Brown Jug title in 2003 with No Pan Intended, capping a 10-win day at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Miller other Jug titles include Shadow Play (2008), Big Bad John (2011), Betting Line (2016) and Courtly Choice (2018) . Miller is only the third driver in history of the sport to pass $200 million in career earnings (currently at $242 million) and ranks fifth in career wins with 12,915. He was inducted into Harness Racing's Hall of Fame in 2014 and was enshrined into the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2010.
Former Delaware County Fair general manager William C. "Bill" Lowe has been selected as the 32nd Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame Honoree. Lowe served as the part-time fair manager from 1982 until 1991. During that time, he helped guide the Delaware County Fair into one of the premier fairs in the State of Ohio. He became the full-time general manager in 1993 and led the organization through the 2001 Delaware County Fair. Lowe joined the Ohio Bicentennial Commission in 2001 as the project coordinator for the series of statewide events and programs to celebrate the 200th anniversary of statehood. In March 2013, Lowe returned to run the Delaware County Fair and was instrumental in the passage of a voter approved 3 percent hotel tax to improve the fairgrounds' nearly 80-year- old buildings and infrastructure. He retired in May 2016 after a total of 23 years at the Delaware County Fair. Lowe was elected as a member of the Little Brown Jug Society in 1985 and has served as the board’s Secretary.
Ohio State Representative Jim Buchy, a former horse owner and a longtime friend of harness racing at the track and in state government, has been selected as the 31st Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame Honoree. Buchy served in the Ohio House from 1983 until he was term-limited in 2000. He was re-appointed to the Ohio House in 2011 to represent the 84th District, which encompasses Mercer County, as well as portions of Auglaize, Darke and Shelby counties. Following his first stint in the House, Buchy served as Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Buchy, a native of Greenville, Ohio, has supported the sport on several occasions including full card simulcasting legislation in the 1980s and was a tireless supporter of the efforts to bring the Video Lottery Terminals (VTLs) to Ohio's racetracks. A portion of the VLT and casino proceeds are used to increase purses, improve facilities and promote racing at the Ohio county fairs and commercial tracks. "Harness racing doesn't have a better friend than Jim Buchy," noted Robert Schmitz, chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission. "He has helped establish the Gene Riegle Memorial Pace, rejuvenated the Parshall Futurity and continues to look for ways to get young Ohioans into the sport." Former general manager of the Ohio Harness Horsemen's Association, Jerry Knappenberger, agreed. "There is no bigger supporter of harness racing and the Little Brown Jug. He understands the economic impact of harness racing and the importance of county fairs."
Dr. Don "Doc" Mossbarger, founder of Midland Acres of Bloomingburg, Ohio, was been selected as the 30th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame Honoree. Midland Acres was originally established in the 1960s to supplement Dr. Mossbarger's veterinary practice. Midland Acres has stood some of Ohio's best stallions; Speed In Action, Final Score, Nobleland Sam. Today, Midland Acres stands 12 stallions, including the 2011 LBJ champion Big Bad John. Dr. Mossbarger was a tireless supporter of the efforts to bring the Video Lottery Terminals (VTLs) to Ohio's racetracks. Mossbarger was a member of the Little Brown Jug Society and a past president and former board member of the Ohio Harness Horseman's Association. In 1994 Dr. Mossbarger was elected into the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Dr. Mossbarger passed away on New Year’s Day in 2015.
James W. "Jim" Simpson, former president and chief executive officer of Hanover Shoe Farm, was selected as the 29th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree. Like many of the greats in the sport, Jim Simpson followed his father John's footsteps as a successful driver and trainer. The younger Simpson handled such stars as Sugarcane Hanover (1:54.3; $1,706,465) and Noxie Hanover, whose speed record of 1:55 as a two-year-old filly trotter stood for nearly 20 years. He also trained many of the fillies who became noted producers in Hanover's star studded broodmare band. In 1992, Simpson traded his maroon and white driver's colors for the orange and blue attire of Hanover Shoe Farms where he became vice president. The famed Hanover, Pennsylvania nursery has bred a record fifteen Little Brown Jug champions, eleven Hambletonian winners and has been the world's leading Standardbred breeder every year for as long as records have been kept. Simpson was promoted to the position of president and CEO at Hanover in 1997. Jim Simpson was a director of the Hambletonian and Little Brown Jug Societies and achieved the pinnacle of recognition in the sport when he joined his father and brother John Simpson, Jr. in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY, in July of 2011.
Jeff Gural, chairman of Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs and the managing member of LLC which has leased The Meadowlands, has been elected the 28th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree. "This is a big honor for me. To be honest, my favorite two days of the year are when I come to Delaware for the Jugette and Little Brown Jug. Honestly, it is very depressing when the Jug is over because I will have to live another 363 days before the next one. I always say to myself, I hope I make it another year. I look forward to a lot fun... and I like the junk food too." Gural grew up on Long Island near Roosevelt Raceway. "In those days harness racing was very popular and when I was in high school, I started going to Roosevelt and Yonkers with my friends." Gural also owns and manages two Standardbred farms, one in Stanfordville, NY and the other in Litchfield, PA. Mr. Gural has been an owner and breeder of horses for over 35 years. In 1990, Gural co-owned Jugette champion Lady Genius. The 2012 Wall of Fame honoree also sponsors the Ms Versatility Aged Mare Trot Final each year during the Delaware Grand Circuit. Gural was elected to the Little Brown Jug Society board of directors in 2010. Gural has also received the 2006 Proximity Award from the U.S. Trotting Association, the 2004 Lee Anne Pooler Unsung Hero Award from the U.S. Harness Writers Association, the 2006 Stanley Bergstein Messenger Award from Harness Tracks of America, and the 2006 Frederick L. Van Lennep Award from the Hambletonian Society. Jeff is also the chairman of Newmark Knight Frank, a full service commercial and industrial real estate management firm. Jeffrey and wife Paula, who live in Manhattan, have three children and six grandchildren. "You know what makes Delaware and the Little Brown Jug so great is the large crowd, the county fair atmosphere which is a throw-back to the old days, and heat racing. Heat racing is the most exciting racing there is."
Paul E. Spears, chairman of the board of Hanover Shoe Farms and executive vice-president of the Standardbred Horse Sales Company, was the 27th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree. Spears grew up in Reynoldsville, PA, a small town in northwestern Pennsylvania. "I worked on Dad's farm and I learned to ride a horse when I was 6 years old." Spears was a member of the Little Brown Jug Society, a director of the Hambletonian Society, a trustee of the Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY, the Pennsylvania Standardbred Breeders Association and former president of the Pennsylvania Live Horse Racing Council for Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds. The former amateur driver was also the first president of the Billings Amateur Driving Association. "What a tremendous thrill it has been to watch horses we bred and sold win the Little Brown Jug." Fifteen Hanover Shoe Farm-bred pacers have captured the Little Brown Jug, including Ensign Hanover, who won the inaugural in 1946. Spears passed away in August 2012.
Phil Terry, former general manager and director of marketing for the Delaware County Fair, was elected as the 26th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree. In 1968, as a student at Ohio Wesleyan University, Phil helped direct traffic at the Delaware Fairgrounds. “I am extremely honored to be associated with the past Wall of Fame honorees,” said Terry. “When I look at the accomplishments of those past winners, I am humbled to think that I should be considered with them. I am a lucky guy to be involved with the Little Brown Jug. It has opened many doors.” Among Phil's major accomplishments were the financing and construction of the Lavern Hill Jugette Barn, the Hospitality Pavilion and the Tack Shack. Terry also created and oversaw simulcasting, the Future Jug Pool and the Little Brown Jug Fantasy Stable Contest.
Joe Thomson, breeder of Little Brown Jug winners Bettor's Delight and No Pan Intended and master of Winbak Farm, has been elected as the 25th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree. "I love coming to Delaware and being with longtime friends, Tommy Thomson and Phil Terry," said Thomson. "Tom is one of the few Thomson’s in this country who spells his name correctly. Tom and Phil approached us in 2006 to take over the sponsorship of the Magical Mike Pace. That first year Ponder set a World record of 1:49...what a start." In 1991, Joe and wife JoAnn founded Winbak Farm in the Maryland horse country near Chesapeake City, a short distance from Baltimore and Philadelphia. "We bought Winfield Farm, where the Thoroughbred Northern Dancer was born. The contract prohibited us from using the name Winfield, so we shortened it to Win and then used the names of our three kids, Bradley, Ashley and Kimberly to complete the name Winbak," explained Thomson.
Dr. J. Glen Brown, owner of the 1981 Little Brown Jug winner Fan Hanover, is the 24th Little Brown Jug honoree as selected by a panel of national and international harness racing enthusiasts. The Brampton, Ontario native becomes the sixth Canadian to be honored by the Little Brown Jug. Dr. Brown is also a member of the Hall of Fame at Goshen, NY and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Dr. Brown will be officially inducted and presented a commemorative gold ring at the Mayor's Breakfast to be held in the Hospitality Pavilion at the fairgrounds on the morning of September 17th, the date of the Jugette Pace. The breakfast will get underway at 7 a.m. I am quite honored, said Dr. Brown. who served as president, general manager and chairman of the board of Armstrong Brothers Farms in Ontario. I am very surprised. I did not expect such an honor. Dr. Brown received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1957 and soon became farm manager and veterinarian for the fledgling ABC Farms started by Elgin and Ted Armstrong. Under Dr. Brown's guidance, Armstrong Brothers became one of North America's leading Standardbred Farms.
The 23rd Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree was Jules Siegel of New Hope, PA. "This is exciting, but there are many other people more qualified than me." It is appropriate that Siegel will receive his gold ring on Jugette Day because he has owned two winners of the Jugette, Just Wait Kate in 2005 and Eternity's Delight in 2006. "The Jug is a throwback to what racing was and should be today," said Siegel. "The Delaware County Fair is the most exciting event in (harness) racing. My wife and I bring guests to Delaware each year who are not even involved in harness racing and they enjoy the racing as much as we do. Everything about Delaware is a credit to the sport. Siegel operated under the name of Fashion Farm.
Ron Waples, a two-time Little Brown Jug winner, has been elected as the 22nd Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame honoree. The Toronto, Ontario native was elected as the sixth Canadian to be honored. “This is quite an honor to be elected to the Wall of Fame. My goal was always to win the Little Brown Jug. It was unbelievable when I drove in my first jug in 1982,” said Waples, who is also a member of Canada's Hall of Fame and the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY.
Mrs. LaVerne A. Hill, former vice-president of Scioto Downs and widow of the late Charles Hill, founder and former chairman of the board at Scioto Downs, became the 21st Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame inductee. "I can not think of a more fitting person to receive this year's award. LaVerne has done so much for harness racing at Delaware," said Mayor's Breakfast Chairman H.C. "Chip" Thomson. Mrs. Hill has won the Harness Tracks of America's prestigious Messenger Award and the U.S. Harness Writers' President's Award. She was also a director of the Little Brown Jug Society and Harness Tracks of America. Mrs. Hill also donated the funds to build the new Jugette Barn at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. Mrs. Hill passed away on October 16, 2013.
Howard Beissinger, a native Ohioan and one of the top trainers of trotters, was selected at the 20th Wall of Fame inductee. The Hamilton, Ohio native is a 1974 member of Harness Racing's Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY and became a member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1977. Beissinger's list of horses is a "who's who" of the trotting sport including 1969 Triple Crown winner Lindy's Pride; the 1971 Hambletonian winner Speedy Crown; and 1978 Hambletonian winner Speedy Somolli. He also recorded 11 stakes victories at Delaware including 1982 Little Brown Jug elimination heat winner Temujin. Beissinger died on February 8, 2018 at the age of 94.
William O'Donnell, driver of back to back Little Brown Jug champions - Nihilator (1985) and Barberry Spur (1986), has been selected as the 19th Little Brown Jug Wall of Fame inductee. The Springhill, Nova Scotia native is a 1986 member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and was enshrined into Harness Racing's Hall of Fame in Goshen, NY in 1990. During his career, O'Donnell has amassed 5,742 career victories and his horses have earned just under $100 million in purses. O'Donnell was the Harness Tracks of America "Driver of the Year" in 1982 and 1984. O'Donnell was the regular pilot for three Horses of the Year, Fancy Crown (1984), Nihilator (1985) and Staying Together (1993). The "Magic Man" also captured 13 Breeders Crown titles and the 1985 Hambletonian Final with Prakas.
Thomas Walsh, Jr., a standardbred owner for more than 40-years, the Woodbury, New York native co-owned two Little Brown Jug champions Magical Mike (1994) and Armbro Operative (1996). Walsh and his Shadow Lane Farm also campaigned such stars as Conway Hall, Bold Dreamer, Victory My Way, McClusky and Miles McCool. Walsh has been a generous patron of several industry efforts and was presented with the United States Harness Writers' Association William Haughton Good Guy Award in 1998. Walsh's generosity helped establish the Magical Mike Invitational Pace at the Delaware County Fair and is largely responsible for the building of the Little Brown Jug Barn that houses the Jug starters. Walsh was the owner of Colonial Wire and Cable, a manufacturer of electrical wiring products, and served on the Board of Directors of the Standardbred Retirement Fund, the Harness Racing Museum and TIMES: In Harness, an industry trade publication.
Michel Lachance, Hall of Fame driver and a five time winner of the Little Brown Jug. Lachance won 10,253 races and his drives have collected over $187.7 million in purse earnings over his career. Lachance has won nearly every major stakes race in North America, including four Hambletonian finals and 28 Breeders' Crown events. The St. Augustin, Quebec native realized a lifelong dream by winning back-to-back Little Brown Jugs in 1988 and 1989 with B J Scoot and Goalie Jeff. He also captured Jug glory with Magical Mike (1994), Western Dreamer (1997) and Bettor’s Delight (2001). In 1995, Lachance received the sport's ultimate honor, when he was elected into the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York.
Roger Huston, longtime track announcer of the Little Brown Jug and Delaware County Fair, has brought countless race fans to their feet with his booming voice, flashy attire and exciting stretch calls. The Xenia, Ohio native announced more than 167,000 races on three continents and in September 2017 called his 50th Little Brown Jug. He has also been enshrined in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame and received the Golden Pen award from the Harness Publicists Association. Huston retired from full-time announcing in 2019 and is the Brand Ambassador for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association.
H. Charles Armstrong, the Honorary Chairman of the famed breeding farm, Armstrong Brothers. The "Armbro" prefix has visited Delaware's winners circle many times, including Jug champs Armbro Operative ('98) and Armbro Omaha ('74) and Jugette "queens" Armbro Romance ('98) and Armbro Feather ('87). Armstrong Bros. farm was founded in the 1940s by Charlie's father, Elgin, and uncle Ted, who were construction magnates in Canada. After Elgin's death, Charlie, along with his wife Lenore, kept the Armstrong horse business strong. Mr. Armstrong died at the age of 96 in September 2017.
There is nothing that George Segal likes to do better than breed and race Standardbreds. For nearly fifty years he has immersed himself in the sport he learned to love as a young man growing up in the New York City borough of Queens. He owned three Jug champs - Life Sign, Mr Feelgood and Tell All and four Jugette champions - Three Diamonds, Leah Almahurst, So Fresh and Good News Lady.
Charlie Bowen, a third generation Standardbred enthusiast, was the 1997 Little Brown Jug Society's Wall of Fame honoree. Bowen, who was director of special events for the Delaware County Fair through 1997, had been associated with the Little Brown Jug since 1947. ("Hank Thomson put me in charge of the winner's circle ceremonies.") But, Charlie has made his mark as Director of Special Events which translates into raising funds to promote and develop Grand Circuit harness racing at the Delaware County Fair. During his tenure, Charlie had been largely responsible for raising the necessary funding of the new paddock, log cabin, hospitality pavilion and the latest project, the Little Brown Jug Horse Barn. Mr. Bowen died in 2011 at the age of 84.
When a young driver from London, Ontario, showed up at the Delaware County Fairgrounds Track in 1981 to see if he too could sip from the heralded Little Brown Jug, there was no reason to think he'd be any different. But John Campbell showed that first impressions aren't always accurate. With more than $299 million in career earnings and 10.667 victories - including three Brown Jugs - Campbell was a portrait of confidence and success. When Campbell's regular ride, David's Pass, had his season cut short by injury, Campbell picked up the reigns of Nick's Fantasy. In the Brown Jug - their first race together - all Campbell did was bring the 3-year-old gelding home in a race-record time of 1:51.2. That win followed Jug triumphs in 1993 with Life Sign, and 1982 with Merger. Although Campbell has driven many champions in his career, his accomplishments behind a trio of trotters are his most noteworthy. The colts Mack Lobell and Pine Chip, and the filly Peace Corps are among the best of all times. Campbell retired from driving in 2017 and currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Hambletonian Society.
He never trained a harness horse or drove a two-minute mile. He doesn't sit in the front row at yearling sales or oversee a million-dollar stud farm. Yet as the Little Brown Jug celebrated "the fastest 50 years in racing," it looked forward to another 50, thanks in great part to W.D. "Tom" Thomson. Following in the footsteps of his late father Hank - the 1985 honoree - Thomson pointed the Jug toward the 21st Century, modernizing the pacing classic without it losing its quaint county fair charm and rich tradition. From his position as Director of Racing, a title he held since 1973, Thomson oversaw all that makes the Jug one of the most recognized sporting events in the world. He was instrumental in bringing regional and national television coverage to the Jug, organizing an extensive simulcasting operation, and making continual upgrades to the Delaware racing plant and equipment. At the same time, the Delaware County native has resolutely made sure the race lost none of its history and tradition. When not overseeing the Jug or the family-owned Delaware Gazette newspaper, Thomson served as an ambassador for the sport as president of the Grand Circuit. Thomson died at the age of 73 on January 28, 2012.
For more than 50 years the influence and commitment to the harness racing sport and industry earned Corwin Nixon deep respect in Ohio and throughout all North America. Former president of the United States Trotting Association, he had been a leader not only in harness racing but also in politics and public and community service. Over the years, Nixon used his experience as manager of Lebanon Raceway, his many sessions in the Ohio House of Representatives where he served as minority leader, and as an officer of the USTA to effect progressive changes in harness racing. He owned and drove a number of standardbreds, the most outstanding being Smolder, Lass Hanover, Yankee Belle, and Gail Ann. A director of the Harness Tracks of America, he was inducted into the Ohio Harness Hall of Fame in 1986; the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. in 1993; and the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame in 1990. Nixon died in 2003.
Former Ohio Governor, James A. Rhodes will always be remembered for - among his many accomplishments in public life and service -the great support he has given to harness racing and the standardbred sport. Rhodes, who served an unprecedented four terms as the state's chief executive, still follows the sport with as much interest as during his days in the Ohio Statehouse. Much of the credit for the Ohio Sires Stakes program, established in 1976, can be directly attributed to Rhodes' efforts. He signed legislation which led to the creation of the program which has won national recognition. Rhodes remains in the forefront in promoting harness racing in Ohio and throughout the nation. An avid follower of the Little Brown Jug, he participated in the stake's winner's trophy presentation for more than three decades. Gov. Rhodes passed away in 2001 at the age of 91.
Gene Riegle carried more than ample credentials to the Jug Wall of Fame. He was a member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Riegle was recipient of the sport's highest honor when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Trotter at Goshen, N.Y. Riegle's career took off in 1952 with the top pacer Red Sails, and it really blossomed in 1958 when he piloted Mr. Saunders to a 2-3 finish in the Hambletonian. In 1993 Life Sign, trained by Riegle, won the Jug. Since that time, Riegle developed top horses in assembly-line fashion, cranking out some of the sport's best known and most popular performers on an annual basis. He died on October 17, 2011 at his Greenville, Ohio home.
Stanley F. Bergstein first became associated with Delaware Grand Circuit racing and the Little Brown Jug when, in the 1960s an emergency brought him to the track as the announcer, a post he held for several years until becoming executive vice-president of the Harness Tracks of America. Bergstein is the only person ever named to both harness racing's Hall of Fame - its highest honor - and its Writers Hall of Fame. Other awards include 1971 Harness Horseman of the Year, U.S. Harness Writers Proximity Award, and the National Clem McCarthy Good Guy Award. He was the first recipient of the Harness Publicists' Golden Pen Award and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation's Service award. Stan Bergstein died on November 2, 2011 at his home in Tucson, Arizona.
John G. Hayes, Sr., became the first Canadian to be selected to the Jug's Wall of Fame. Long one of Canada's premier horsemen, he was most prominent in 1972 when Canadians became active in the standardbred sport. Hayes' claim to fame is his training success. In 1971 he developed Strike Out, a $15,000 purchase. The son of Bret Hanover came on to earn 2-year-old honors as the best colt pacer in North America. In 1972, Strike Out claimed 3-year-old honors of the year after winning the Little Brown Jug in a record 1:56.3 and The Adios. John Hayes, Sr. died in Grimsby, Ontario on December 8, 1998 at age 79.
Stanley F. Dancer, from the legendary harness racing family in New Jersey, drove three Jug champions, Henry T Adios (1961), Lehigh Hanover (1962), and Most Happy Fella (1970). Dancer drove in 23 Jug heats with nine victories and finished out of the money only once. His 1:57.1 and 1:57.3 victories behind Most Happy Fella were at that time an all-age world record, three heats divided. Among the long list of super stars campaigned by Dancer, were Cardigan Bay, the sport's first millionaire; Henry T Adios, Triple Crown winner; Most Happy Fella and trotting's Triple Crown champion Super Bowl. He passed away on September 8, 2005 at the age of 78 at his home in Pompano Beach, Florida.
John F. Simpson, Sr., former manager of the famed Hanover Shoe Farm in Hanover, Pa., was one of the most successful trainer-drivers in the sport of harness racing. Simpson drove three Jug winners and trained and drove two winners of the Hambletonian. During the 1950s and 60s, Simpson supervised one of the largest stables on the Grand Circuit and was annually one of the leading drivers in the country. Victorious in the Jug with Noble Adios in 1956 and Torpid on a stormy day in 1957, Simpson was the first driver ever to win back-to-back Jugs. John Simpson passed away, in Orlando, Florida, on August 28, 1995.
Delvin G. "Del" Miller was another of the all-time greats of harness racing and was often referred to as the Ambassador of the Sport. Miller's illustrious career started in Burgettstown, Pa., in 1929 when he drove his first race as a 16-year-old high schooler. A most talented trainer and driver, Miller was in the bike behind great horses like Dale Frost and Countess Vivian and later Delmonica Hanover, Tarport Hap, and Speed In Action. In 1963 Miller founded The Meadows, still the home of the Adios Pace for 3-year-olds. Miller was president of the Grand Circuit, a post he held for more than two decades. Miller died on August 19, 1996 at age 83.
William R. "Billy" Haughton was fatally injured in a driving accident just months before he was to be honored. Haughton has been rated as one of the greatest trainers and drivers in the sport, has a particular spot in Jug annals, as the only driver to take down five Jug champions. And he trained the great Nihilator. A Hall of Famer, Haughton achieved records in harness racing that would require volumes to catalog. Winner of seven Messenger Stakes and four Hambletonians, Haughton's green and white silks accounted for 4,910 race victories and $40.2 million over a 40-year career. His earnings totaled more than $1 million in each of 19 years, a record.
Henry C. "Hank" Thomson, Delaware newspaper publisher, was one of the co-founders with the late Joseph Neville of the Little Brown Jug Society which sponsors harness racing's most prestigious 3-year-old colt pace. A member of the Harness Horse Hall of Fame, Thomson was one of the most respected leaders of the sport and industry. A quiet nuts-and-bolts man, Thomson used an even hand to guide the Society in its formative years. He deserved full credit for the outstanding success of Grand Circuit racing each September at Delaware. Thomson died in Delaware on January 24, 1994.