On Wednesday, Sept. 13, the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), in conjunction with the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, announced the election of trainer Jim Campbell and owner/breeder David McDuffee to the greatest honour in the industry, membership in the Living Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y.
USHWA has also elected veteran writer Tim Bojarski and broadcaster Dave Brower to the Communicators Hall of Fame.
Jim Campbell brought attention to his many stellar years of conditioning racehorses when, in 2022, he sent out the winners of the Hambletonian, Cool Papa Bell, and Hambletonian Oaks, Fashion Schooner, on the same day, only the third trainer to do so. He also joined the ranks of Billy Haughton, Joe O’Brien and Jimmy Takter as horsemen who have trained two Hambletonian and two Hambo Oaks winners. That impressive campaign helped Campbell earn the Trainer of the Year award from USHWA.
Campbell hails from an elite Ontario harness racing family that started with Canadian Hall of Famer Duncan Campbell and has progressed through father Jack and brother/Hall of Fame driver/Hambletonian Society President John. John and Jim combined to win the 1995 Hambletonian with Tagliabue. In 1987, Campbell became “established” with the pacer Run The Table, in a stable that has focused in recent campaigns on developing young stakes trotters while capturing six Breeders Crown championships.
Award winners trained by Campbell include Tagliabue, Galleria, Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner (his other Oaks champion), Broadway Donna, Real Cool Sam and Cool Papa Bell.
Campbell is fortunate in that his patrons tend to stay with him for a long and mutually profitable time. Campbell has trained for Jules Siegel and his late wife, Arlene, as Fashion Farms for nearly 30 years and with the Farber family, first Sandy and then his son Scott, since Run The Table’s stellar days.
David McDuffee, an insurance agent by trade, entered harness racing in the 1980s with partner Tom Walsh, and has expanded his Standardbred “footprint” as an owner by several degrees of magnitude in the intervening years, with nine Breeders Crown victories, two Hambletonian Oaks, two Little Brown Jugs and three Kentucky Filly Futurities numbering among his successes. He was USHWA’s Owner of the Year in 2021.
Over the years, McDuffee put together a small but elite broodmare band that did well on the racetrack and continued to do well in the breeding shed. Their names are familiar — Pizza Dolce, Bella Dolce, and 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician. He also campaigned the highly successful racehorse and later stallion Kadabra.
Continuing this trotting mare tradition for McDuffee was his most recent star Bella Bellini, a distaff McDuffee also bred. Unspectacular at two, she exploded during her sophomore form, winning the Hambletonian Oaks and earning U.S. divisional honours. Her sharpness continued in 2022, when she was named U.S. Trotter of the Year.
Campbell and McDuffee will be joined in entrance to the Hall of Fame by trainer/driver Eddie Lohmeyer, who enters the Hall through the special Veterans designation as picked by USHWA’s Hall of Fame Screening Committee.
Joe Faraldo, a winner of the 2019 Bergstein-Proximity Award, came up just shy of the 75 per cent of “yes-no” votes required from the balloting to be elected to the Hall in his first appearance on the ballot. This showing should put him in good stead for upcoming elections.
Tim Bojarski began his contact with harness racing communications in 1986 at Batavia Downs, near his western New York home of Akron, authoring a tip sheet and writing profiles of horsemen. He is in his 23rd year of writing for Hoof Beats, the award-winning magazine of the U.S. Trotting Association, for which he has been a columnist for 11 years. The busy Bojarski is employed by Plainridge Park near Boston, the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts and that state’s stakes program, the New York Sire Stakes and Batavia Downs.
Dave Brower, who passed away unexpectedly in October 2022 at the age of 53, was a mainstay of The Meadowlands for many years, achieving his biggest recognition as a broadcaster on the nightly racing show from the New Jersey oval, in addition to being that track’s morning-line maker and handicapper. The author of the book “Harnessing Winners” was also a highly visible contributor to the Hambletonian Day television coverage on many occasions and worked in broadcasting during the Grand Circuit meets at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio and at Lexington’s Red Mile.
Campbell, Lohmeyer, McDuffee, Bojarski and Brower will be honoured in two upcoming ceremonies. They will receive their first formal recognition at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, presented by Caesars Entertainment, on Feb. 25, 2024, at the Rosen Centre Resort in Orlando, Florida. The second event will, of course, be their formal introductions to their Halls in Goshen on July 7, 2024.
Further information on both events will be available in the coming months.
The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) is the leading group of communicators about the Standardbred horse. USHWA conducts the official annual balloting for the sport’s most prestigious U.S. honours: induction to the U.S. Hall of Fame and Communicators Hall of Fame, along with the selection of the U.S. Horse of the Year, Trotter and Pacer of the Year, and the leading divisional horses of each season.
Each year, USHWA hosts the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, honouring the best and brightest performers in North American harness racing. This banquet is the association’s principal source of funding, and with generous financial support from the harness racing and breeding industry, USHWA is able to host the banquet at a world-class facility in a world-class manner.
(United States Harness Writers Association)