U.S. Hall Of Fame's 2023 Immortals Announced

Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
Published: January 22, 2024 04:40 pm EST

The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame has announced that the trustees of the Museum have unanimously endorsed the election of Col. Elisha A. Buck, James Clark and Direct Scooter as harness racing Immortals.

On Sunday, July 7, these individuals will be inducted into the Hall of Immortals during ceremonies held under the tent on the Museum lawn.

Colonel Elisha A. Buck (1840-1893) owned trotters, managed a major racetrack, covered the sport in print and was an original founder of the Grand Circuit. Buck was vice president of the Buffalo Trotting Park, a venture spearheaded by Hall of Fame Immortal C. J. Hamlin. The track put on meets unrivalled among other racing venues of the time, and was the site of world-record performances by horses like Goldsmith Maid, Dexter and Rarus. In 1871, Buck and track operators from Cleveland, Springfield (MA) and Utica together created an association called the Quadrilateral Trotting Combination, a name later changed to Grand Circuit. In October 1875, Buck purchased a 50 per cent interest in The Spirit of the Times, a weekly sports newspaper that began in New York City in 1831, and became its new editor and publisher. The paper provided statistical information others did not and helped to standardize harness racing by suggesting betting practices and offering efficient track management techniques. Buck gained full control of the publication in 1879 and ran the paper until his death in 1893.

Portrait of Elisha A. Buck

James Clark (1863-1944) began his career as a horseman at the age of 14 in a blacksmith shop in Friendship, New York. Before he turned 19, Clark was in charge of fitting pacers and trotters at the Genesee Valley Stock Farm in Scio, New York. From there, he went to two western New York breeding farms, Village Farm and Jewett Farm, known for foaling Joe Patchen, the sire of Dan Patch. Later, Clark became a freelance farrier travelling for years through the Grand Circuit shoeing some of the most prominent trotters and pacers during the period 1897 to 1912 and earning him the reputation of being one of the most skillful farriers of harness horses of his day. Clark had shod both Cresceus and Dan Patch when they broke world records. While working the Grand Circuit, Clark wrote occasional articles for the turf press, and his observations on racing and horses attracted widespread attention. In 1916, Clark authored the highly regarded, Shoeing and Balancing the Light Harness Horse. Clark also edited and prepared the copy for the book, Two Minute Trotters, published in 1922. He also wrote for numerous turf papers including The Horseman and Fair World. Clark joined the American Association of Trotting Horse Breeders in 1918 as assistant secretary and was made editor of the association’s official publication, The Breeders’ Journal.

James Clark

Direct Scooter (1976-2005) developed into one of the top Free-For-All pacers of all time. Unraced at two, Direct Scooter won 36 of 60 races over his two-year career. Lightly staked at three, he won 21 of 32 starts and earned $298,162 USD, setting his lifetime mark of 1:54 at Hollywood Park. At four, Direct Scooter was voted 1980 U.S. Aged Pacing Horse of the Year after winning 15 of 28 starts and earning $502,289 USD -- a record single-season earnings by an older horse. Four-year-old victories included the Graduate Series final, Canadian Pacing Derby, U.S. Pacing Championship and Cornell Memorial. Direct Scooter retired to stud duty at Walnridge Farm in the fall of 1980, where he sired 1,673 with earnings of more than $102 million USD. His fastest and richest performer is the $2.94 million USD winning Matts Scooter, who took a record of T1:48.2. He is also the sire of world champion In The Pocket p,3,T1:49.3 ($1,537,473 USD). As a broodmare sire, Direct Scooter sired the dams of winners of over $153 million USD, with 1,428 in 2:00 and 443 $100,000 USD winners including Hall of Famer Rocknroll Hanover p,3,1:48.3 ($2,754,038 USD) and world champions Pacific Rocket p,4,1:50s ($2,333,401 USD) and Royalflush Hanover p,4,1:49.3 ($2,153,893 USD).

Direct Scooter

The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is located at 240 Main Street in Goshen, New York and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages four to 12. Current Museum and U.S. Trotting Association members are free.

For further information on the Immortals nomination process, the 2024 induction ceremony, the Museum, its membership program, special events and educational programs, call 845-294-6330 or visit harnessmuseum.com.

(Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame)

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