Hightstown, NJ — Hall of Fame inductions and Grand Circuit harness racing will highlight a holiday weekend of harness racing activities in Goshen, N.Y., beginning on Saturday (July 2).
Driver Yannick Gingras, trainers Ron Burke and George Teague Jr., and trainer-driver Chris Boring will lead the Hall of Fame class of 2022, which will be inducted Sunday evening (July 3) during a ceremony and dinner at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame.
Earlier in the day, Gingras and Burke will be among the drivers participating in the Mr. & Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry Sr. Memorial Hall of Fame Trot at Goshen Historic Track, located adjacent to the museum. They are expected to be joined in the race by Hall of Famers Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Dave Palone, Brian Sears, Jimmy Takter, and Tim Tetrick.
Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday will be immortals Aime Choquette, Sterling Elliott, Chip Noble, and Bill Mulligan, as well as horses Andover Hall, Credit Winner, Presidential Ball, Great Memories, and In A Safe Place.
Going into the Communicators Hall of Fame will be Jay Bergman and Joe Kyle. Also being honored is amateur driving champion Joe Pennacchio.
Quebec native Gingras said a Hall of Fame career was never a thought when he moved to the U.S. in 2001 at the age of 21. Two years later, he was the sport’s Rising Star Award winner and his trajectory continued upward from there. Four times he has led the sport in annual earnings, and he was named Driver of the Year in 2014 and 2017. For his career, he has more than $206 million in purses, sixth most in history.
“Starting out, it’s not something that ever crossed my mind, where I said I had to make it to the Hall of Fame,” Gingras said. “But you know it’s there; you see other guys get inducted. It’s something that I’m incredibly proud of. It means a lot, no doubt about it. It’s people recognizing the impact you’ve had on the sport.
“It’s not over yet. I still have a lot to accomplish, I think. I hope, anyway. I’m going to keep working to reach even higher standards.”
Burke is the top trainer in harness racing history in both wins, with more than 12,700, and purses, with nearly $280 million. He has led all trainers in North America in both categories each of the past 13 years and received the Trainer of the Year Award three times.
Teague Jr.’s training stable is best known for two Horse of the Year Award winners, Rainbow Blue and Wiggle It Jiggleit, as well as the co-fastest horse in history, with a 1:46 mile, pacer Lather Up. He also has been twice recognized as Owner of the Year.
Boring, a member of one of Michigan’s founding families of harness racing, won races in seven different decades, amassing nearly 4,000 victories and $20 million in purses as a driver. He hit the national spotlight with True Duane, a winner of $360,000-plus more than 50 years ago. He also was the handler of Colt Fortysix, winner of the 1984 Little Brown Jug, and another outstanding 3-year-old, Albert Albert.
The 112th racing season at Goshen Historic Track gets underway Saturday with a card of New York County Fair Stakes and a Billings Series event for amateur drivers. Sunday features the Hall of Fame Trot along with New York Excelsior Series action. On Monday, the Fourth of July, Landmark Stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds take center stage.
Gates at Historic Track open at 11 a.m. and racing begins at 1 p.m. Admission is $5 per person, with children ages 12 and under free.
by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA