Seventimesavirgin

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Inducted 2019

Seventimesavirgin was foaled in Grinnell, Iowa on March 18,2013. The filly would grow up under the care and guidance of the DeLong family and would fast prove to be a forever family favorite. This precocious filly made her racing debut at one of the traditional Elkhorn early meets on June 20,2015 winning in 2:10.1.

She then traveled to Iowa for her next three starts before venturing to Hoosier Park, where she would eventually finish her career. As a two year old winning two legs of the Sire Stakes, followed up by finishing 4th in the Super final. Seventimesavirgin came back as a three year old, winning 13 of 15 starts and took a record of 1:50.2. This outstanding sophomore campaign earned her honors among the best in Indiana. Seventimesavirgin is the last horse still to date to go undefeated in Sire Stakes action and she still holds the longest win streak record for Hoosier Park.

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Garrels, Jay

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Inducted 2019

Between eighth grade and his freshmen year at Harvard High School, Jay Garrels went to work for horsemen Randy Jacobs, baling hay and helping with other farm work.  The following year, Jay’s career in harness racing officially began; he started working with the horses at Jacob’s farm south of Harvard, IL.  Jay’s first drive at a Wisconsin county fair was on Sunday, September 7, 1986.  Jay drove Rick’s Duane for his lifelong friend, Chad Wells, also of Harvard.  Jay finished 6-6 in a field of 10 at the Richland County fairgrounds.  The following summer Jay became a regular on the Wisconsin fair circuit, picking up catch drives for the Weaver Stables, among others.  Jay drove Untidy Tide for the Weavers at several county fairs during the summer of 1987.  Throughout the next several years, Jay picked up many catch drives.  He was known as a driver who could handle pullers and other tough horses, such as Jim Manning’s Keith K and Buck Weaver’s Doctor Dunbar.

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Bronkhorst, Orval

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Inducted 2019

Orval Bronkhorst’s history in Wisconsin harness dates back more than sixty years.  As a teenager in the late ‘50’s he helped his father train horses at the old Dodge County Fairgrounds in Beaver Dam, WI.  Orv’s father, Elmer Bronkhorst, was a livestock dealer as well as a horseman.  Orval recalls how he would use his quarter horse to prompt his dad’s horses at the end of a work mile from the quarter pole to the wire. Soon Orval jumped from the saddle to the jog cart and eventually to a sulky.  He made his first official drive in 1961 at the Fon du Lac County Fairgrounds. 

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Woodbridge, George “Woody”

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Inducted 2018

When George “Woody” Woodbridge was 8 years old he tagged along with his father to his Dad’s good friend, who had Standardbreds. A young Woody, “volunteered” to clean stalls, over time Woody graduated to jogging a couple and even jogged horses in a sleigh in the Michigan UP winters. In 1959 Woody traveled to the UP State Fair and met Bob Searle who asked George to work for him when school got out. Woody’s parents agreed and he spent the next 3 summers working at the Plymouth, Wisconsin stable who raced at all the Wisconsin and UP fairs.  Woody worked for Searle a few summers at Raceway Park and Louisville, it was then that he decided that he did not want to pursue horse racing as a career, but he still kept his passion for the sport.

After high school graduation Woody enrolled at Northern Michigan where he majored in Business Education. Upon graduation he took a job at Pulaski High School where he stayed for 38 years, sixteen of those years in the classroom and the next twenty two as school counselor earning his Masters Degree. 

In 1969 a horse Woody owned was in an accident during a race at the Weyauwega fairgrounds and died. This experience almost ended Woody’s love of harness racing, but with the help of some good friends who encouraged him to keep going he got over his plans to quit the horses. He bought a couple of horses at the Elgin Speed Sale and trained at a 1/3 mile track down the road from where he was living for the next seven years. After he bought his own place, he made the 40 mile round trip to Elwood Magee’s farm in Shawano until his own track was built.

On a sunny summer day in the early 1970’s the scheduled track announcer at the Richland County Fair could not make it to the track. Woody was handed the microphone and fell in love with another aspect of this great sport. When George was a kid he spent a lot of time at the tracks and always admired the different styles of the announcers he heard, especially Jack Calvert and Jerry Cleary. He would bring home all the race programs and practice calling races in his basement with his stopwatch. His mother used to joke about her kid racing horses in the basement and George thought it would be neat to announce a race someday. That day came and over 1,000 races later he is still thrilling the crowds.

Throughout his announcing career, Woody has continued to train a few horses, and hands over the driving duties to someone else on race day. George says that one of the hardest parts of announcing is trying to keep neutral when one of his horses was racing. The judges tease him that his voice gets a little higher when he horses are doing well in the race.  Another hard part of announcing is keeping the crowd interested. George has a knack for getting the background stories on the horses and drivers and relaying them to the crowd.  George spends time before each race meet talking to the trainers and owners in the barn area, getting those tidbits of information that the crowds love. The more the crowd knows about the horses and drivers the more invested they are in the races.

Announcing at the fairs is a hobby, but George went pro at the once popular North Coast Raceway, a former pari-mutuel track in Escanaba, Michigan. The biggest race he ever called was a 9 horse field of 3 year old filly trotters going for a purse of $110,000.  Woody usually calls the races by driver’s colors, but that can be very challenging when all the drivers in a race are wearing the same colors!

Woody has announced at fairs in Minnesota, Michigan and 18 different county fair tracks in Wisconsin, many that now are just a memory. His favorite track that still tugs at his heartstrings is Norway, Michigan, close to where Woody grew up. As a fellow horseman said “We are blessed to have such a talent, Woody has this amazing ability to make the entire crowd feel as if they are sitting in the sulky.”

And down the stretch they come! Who do you like?

George “Woody Woodbridge, welcome to your rightful place in the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame.

Nominated by Kevin Magee

Marquis, Jeanne

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Inducted 2018

“The Sulky Queen of Waunakee” . That was the headline of a Wisconsin State Journal story written by Pete Walch and published on April 29, 1962. It was a story about a young lady who was at the  time way the youngest licensed female harness driver in the United States.  It was also a story of a young lady who had a passion for horses and harness racing.

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Dusty H Forbes

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Inducted 2017

 

 

Dusty H. Forbes was foaled in 1958 in Slinger, WI.  His eligibility papers identified The Slinger Creamery Company as breeder and owner.   Preceding the name of the sire and dam, the USTA inserted the phrase, “Said to be.”  Mr. Peter Pauly, the owner of Slinger  Creamery, stood a couple stallions, Grattan  Forbes was the” Said To Be” sire, one of his many broodmares, Dusty Hazel, was the “Said to be” dam.   Evidently Mr. Pauly could not prove beyond reasonable doubt who the sire and dam were, hence this little light bay would begin life with an identity problem.  He looked  like a Grattan Forbes,   wide front and powerful back end.  You could find Grattan Forbes’ offspring on most county fair race programs.  They were competitive and raced with grit.

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Magee, Dean

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Inducted 2016

Dean got his start here in Wisconsin working for the great Wisconsin Hall of Famers Hugh & Elwood Magee.  Dean worked hand in hand, especially with Hugh, learning the harness racing trade and developing his horsemanship skills.   These skills would not only be used as a trainer, but also as a driver.   While being a groom and trainer apprentice, he received his driver’s license and had his very first drive here in the Badger State in Manitowoc in 1981. Continue reading

Tattlers Jet

INDUCTED 2015

The Journey and Destination of Tattler’s Jet

The numbers are inconceivable, but in reality they are believable. Four hundred and sixty two lifetime starts, one hundred and twenty wins, a sub two minute win in 1:49 and 2. The endurance and stamina, coupled with blood lines, patience, preparation and opportunity were the recipe that made Jet’s career a reality. Continue reading

One Bad Hombre

Inducted 2014

One Bad Hombre was a staple to the Wisconsin racing circuit in the late 1990’s, capturing numerous awards. He was purchased in 1996 and first campaigned in Wisconsin by Linda Werkheiser. After receiving back-to-back, Trotter of the Year honors, Linda had sold him to John Faust, who continued to race him for the next two and a half years, and continued his Trotter of the Year ways. His three Trotter of the Year titles ties him for 2nd in the State’s rich history. Hombre completed his racing in Wisconsin with hitting the board 61 of 65 starts (94%), coming out victorious in 23 (35%) of those races. During this span, Hombre had set three different track records. Linda Werkheiser had owned and driven him to records in 1996 at Rice Lake (2:07.2) and in 1997 at Amherst (2:08). Under the ownership of John Faust, Hombre had set the track record in Faust’s hometown of Marshfield in 2:06.2 with Pat Wolf in the sulky.

In 1997, Hombre not only raced under harness, but under saddle as well. As Racing Under Saddle (RUS) begin to re-emerge onto the harness racing scene, Hombre was chosen by Linda to be a participant. He competed at Hoosier Park as well as racing against the pacers at Westfield and Amherst. He did this all while being raced under harness the same year en route to his first Trotter of the Year title.

One Bad Hombre was also showcased at the Midwest Horse Fair, not only in the demonstration, but in the prestigious Liberty Presentation. He currently is enjoying retirement, and is still owned by John Faust.

Nominated by Gabe Wand