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Harness Highlights: 'Hall' of a 2019 Class Announced

by Frank Carulli

September 12, 2018

The largest class of Harness Racing Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the 2019 ceremony next July.

Trainers Blair Burgess, Joe Holloway and Linda Toscano, drive-trainer Ted Wing and owner Ted Gewertz received the necessary 75 percent of the “yes-no” votes by the U.S. Harness Writers Association and existing Hall of Fame members. In addition, Jerry Silverman achieved Hall of Fame status in the Veteran category (ages 70 and up), while journalist Dave Little and photographer Mark Hall were elected to the Communications Hall of Fame.

Burgess capped a Hall of Fame daily double after he was elected into the Canada Hall of Fame last year. He made a name for himself in the sport’s biggest races, winning the Hambletonian twice (Amigo Hall and Glidemaster), the Meadowlands Pace twice (Frugal Gourmet and Real Desire), the Little Brown Jug with Tell All and the Breeders Crown with Real Desire.

Holloway, the Trainer of the Year in 1995, is best known for his handling of three-time Breeders Crown champion Jenna’s Beach Boy, who paced a record 1:47.3 mile that stood for a decade.

Toscano became the first female trainer in history to win the Hambletonian when Market Share won in 2012, the same year she was named Trainer of the Year. She also handled Dan Patch Award-winning freshman trotter Walner and champion 3-year-old Heston Blue Chip.

In 1975, Wing became the youngest driver ever to reach 1,000 wins. He went on to win more than 5,000 races in a career that spanned five decades. He won at least one race in 48 consecutive years, spending most of his time as a regular at Roosevelt/Yonkers.

Gewertz has been co-owner of three Hambletonian winners -- Giant Victory, Windsong’s Legacy and Deweycheatumnhowe. He was named Owner of the Year in 2004 and he is a director of the Hambletonian Society.

Silverman gained direct admission to the Hall through the USHWA bylaws that allow the Hall of Fame Screening Committee to choose one nominee (aged 70-plus) every three years. He trained Triple Crown winner Romeo Hanover and ranked among the leading Grand Circuit trainers for five decades.

Little and Hall were chosen from five finalists for the Communications Hall of Fame. 

Little was Racing Editor of the New York Daily News for 24 years before joining the acclaimed Meadowlands publicity department. He once picked all nine winners on a card at Roosevelt. The USHWA director’s resume also includes calling races at several tracks.

Hall has worked in the U.S. Trotting Association photography department for 35 years, alongside Hall of Famers George Smallsreed and Ed Keys. He is the only six-time winner of the prestigious Smallsreed Award named after his former mentor.