McNamara To Be Feted In NJ

Published: July 28, 2016 03:38 pm EDT

The late Leo C. McNamara III, a third generation horseman and longtime executive administrator of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, will be recognized for his contributions to racing in the Garden State with the Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association on Saturday, July 30 at the Meadowlands Racetrack.

McNamara’s wife, Cathy, will accept the award, which will be presented in the winner’s circle. McNamara passed away on June 12 just two weeks shy of his 61st birthday.

“Leo’s contributions to harness racing in New Jersey are immeasurable,” said Moira Fanning, the president of the NJ chapter of USHWA. “His loss will be felt in so many ways going forward.”

Born in Indiana, McNamara was the son of Leo McNamara Jr., whose father, Leo, founded Two Gaits Farm in Indiana, where Adios was foaled and the pacing stallion Hal Dale stood at stud.

As a youngster, McNamara spent time at Hanover Shoe Farms in Pennsylvania, where his father served as farm superintendent. McNamara later worked at several breeding facilities across the country before re-establishing Two Gaits Farm in New Jersey, where he bred and boarded horses.

In 2001, McNamara began working for the SBOANJ, becoming executive administrator in 2006. During his years with the SBOA-NJ, he worked with racetracks in the Garden State to keep tabs on the purse accounts, becoming an astute expert of analyzing handle from various sources with various percentages going to purses.

Because of his knowledge of the purse account and percentages of handle earned, McNamara played a significant role in Jeff Gural's acquisition of the Meadowlands from the state of New Jersey.

In addition to his wife, McNamara is survived by daughter, Celeste, assistant professor of history at University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom; two stepchildren, Dr. Daniel J. Dooley and Katie Pidge Decker; his mother, Irene; brother, Joe (Meg Booth); sisters, Anne Slosky, Coleen (Frank) Benedett, Bridget (Jeffrey) Fenessy, Kate (David) Smith, Mary Coleman, Kelly (Patrick) Kennedy, Celeste (Brian) O'Neill and Jane (Glenn) Taylor; 14 nieces and nephews; and more than 100 cousins.

(NJ chapter USHWA)