Log In
Sign Up. Fund Your Account. Place Your Bet. Get Started

Charlie Williams Named Top Harness Caretaker

by Frank Carulli

January 30, 2018

Charlie Williams, the stallion manager at Southwind Farms in New Jersey for nearly three decades, received a once-in-lifetime honor when he was named 2017 Caretaker of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers' Association.

Williams, 68, has come a long way since he replied to a part-time job advertisement at Southwind in the 1980s. He worked his way up to his current position, handling several of harness racing's top stallions -- Valley Victory, Artsplace and Muscle Hill, to name a few -- along the way.

"This is something I’ll never forget," Williams said. "From picking cotton as a young kid to go on and take care of world champions, it’s been a dream come true."

Williams will receive $500 cash and a trip to the Dan Patch Awards banquet February 25 in Orlando. He also received several glowing recommendations for the award.

"Please consider allowing this exceptional caretaker a moment to shine in an industry that sometimes forgets those of us who aren’t in winner’s circles but nevertheless are in a barn day in and day out, without vacation, wind, rain, and snow," one nomination letter said. "You will not find a more true definition of an exceptional caretaker in our industry than Charlie Williams."

Williams was a thoroughbred exercise rider in Florida early in his career before a knee injury forced him to give up riding and change career paths. Now there's no signs of him slowing down.

"I’m 68 years old and I can’t wait to get up in the morning and come to work," he said.

IN THE XPRESSLANE: Party Rockin (Jeremy Smith) won the $15,000 final of Miami Valley's Claim to Fame series in 1:54.4 Monday, but the rest of the day belonged to driver Kayne Kauffman, who won six consecutive races and seven overall on the card. ... Dave Briggs swept the feature writing and news/commentary categories in the 2017 John Hervey Awards competition, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced recently. Chris Gooden and Jacob Cohen were named winners in the George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography, and the USTA was named winner of the Hervey Award for excellence in harness racing broadcasting. ... Fox Valley Reggie ($5) won the $25,000 Carl Becker Pace for Illinois breds at Hawthorne. ... Driver-trainer Don McKirgan is the newest member of the Ohio Harness Racing Hall of Fame. McKirgan, 77, was the leading driver at Northfield Park in 1977 and 1981 and trained 2005 Ohio Horse of the Year Like Old Times. ... Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) trotted to victory in 1:51.1 at the Meadowlands for his 20th lifetime victory that pushed his career earnings to nearly $400,000. ... Foiled Again will make his second attempt at 100 career victories in the 8th race Thursday, February 1, at Yonkers. ... The U.S. Trotting Association announced that all Fines and Suspensions Ruling Reports are now available for free at https://pathway.ustrotting.com.