Paul A. Fontaine, longtime director of USTA has resigned and his successor as a race track director from District 9 will be elected at the annual District 9 meeting in Augusta, ME on Saturday (January 17).
“I will certainly miss my colleagues and the many friends I’ve had over almost 40 years in the USTA arena. I am confident that my contributions to the board have added substance to USTA and I wish all my friends good fortune. May God bless."
Fontaine, a practicing attorney since 1963, has been active for 45 years as an owner, breeder, yearling buyer and racetrack representative. His horses have raced from Maine to California and include No No Yankee, winner of the Inaugural Woodrow Wilson in 1977.
He was co-founder of the former New England Sire Stakes program, and as president of the Standardbred Owners Association of New England, representing horsemen at three major New England racetracks, was a prime mover and signatory to the first-ever contract entered into between tracks and horsemen sharing a retention on a 50/50 partnership basis, helping to usher in a new era of cooperation between tracks and horsemen.
A longtime advocate for honesty and integrity in harness racing, throughout his career he has spearheaded the creation and adoption of integrity policies that are still in effect today at the USTA, HTA, HHYF and the U.S. Harness Writers Association.
Fontaine has served for the past four years as president of the Harness Tracks of America, where he has served as a director for many years. He has served on the Board of Directors of USTA for over 35 years and was presently its longest continuously serving member representing both horsemen and racetracks on the board. He served seven years as the chairman of the board. For the past 15 years, he has been a trustee of the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, and was its vice president for 12 years. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the American Horse Council for the past 10 years.
Fontaine was elected to the New England Harness Writers Association Hall of Fame in 1998 and was the 2009 recipient of the Joseph A. Vaccaro memorial award for lifetime achievement in the sport of harness racing. Drawing on his political background, having served in the Rhode Island State Senate from 1966-1976 and as a deputy majority leader, he has been active as a liaison to foster better relationships and communication between the racing industry and state racing commissions.
He has demonstrated a lifetime of commitment and service in every aspect of the industry and sport that he loves and has represented harness racing with dignity and purpose.
He lives in North Smithfield, Rhode Island with his wife Joanne. Fontaine has five children and 12 grandchildren.