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Harry Landy: A young man on the way up
Thursday, May 29, 2008 - by David Mattia, USTA Web Newsroom senior correspondent

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In Monroe Township, N.J. there is a 200-acre harness racing facility called Congress Hill Farm. In it’s previous incarnation, back in the 1970s and 80s, it was known as Capital Hill Farm and it served as Herve Filion’s base of operations. Today, the Landy family owns it, and 16-year-old Harry Landy is the current heir apparent to the farm’s great harness racing legacy.

Young Harry Landy’s goal is to become a harness racing driver and trainer, and for the moment it looks like that dream is going to come to fruition. Watching Harry go from barn to barn at Congress Hill, and hop in the bike behind horse after horse, makes it hard to think of him as just a kid -- he actually is a pretty busy harness driver.

Harry Landy (Family Photo)

courtesy: the Landy family

A rather accomplished 16-year-old, Harry Landy has his eyes on the harness racing prize
“I’ve lived on this farm my entire life,” the young Landy said. “ I’ve sat behind and ridden a lot of horses ever since I was young. One day my grandfather (Eugene Landy) and my father (Sam Landy) asked me to jog our horse, The Porter Gray, and I remember it was the most enjoyable thing I had ever done in my life. I think I was about six years old at the time, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

When Harry isn’t busy training the horses his father and grandfather keep with the various trainers at Congress Hill, he often ventures out to other nearby training facilities where he jogs and trains horses for such notable names as Jeff Smith, Kevin McDermott and Jeremy Howard, to name a few. Perhaps one of his greatest opportunities was hanging out at Steve Elliott’s barn last summer.

“It was a great opportunity to work around Steve Elliott,” Landy said. “I got to work around Artistic Fella and just being with Steve was a really cool thing. It’s great to see how a top stable operates, and learn why horses from top stables do so well.

“I like hanging around Freehold and The Meadowlands,” Landy said. “One night I got to warm up Stonebridge Kisses. That was an incredible opportunity for me, but at the same time it was kind of scary sitting behind such a valuable horse -- but I got the job done.”

When he’s not busy training one of his grandpa’s colts or warming up high-class horses at The Meadowlands, Harry is busy being a sophomore at Monroe Township High School. When his academic schedule allows, however, one can often find the young reinsman in the company of driving great Daniel Dube.

Dube has become a mentor of sorts for the aspiring driver, and he is generously helping Harry Landy along on the road to harness racing stardom.

“Dan Dube is like a second father to me,” Landy said. “He brings me to the races with him on the weekends and introduces me big people in the business. He’s really helped me out when it comes to getting horses to warm up at The Meadowlands, and I’m getting to be a better driver because he tells me when I’m doing something right and when I’m doing something wrong.

“He took me to The Red Mile and to Montreal last year. I learned to appreciate how difficult a driver’s schedule can be, but I also learned how rewarding all the effort you put into that schedule can be.”

Harry Landy (David Mattia)

photo by the author

Harry Landy is quickly becoming a veteran of the sulky sport, after having been an active part of the sport for his entire -- if very young -- life
Despite the fact that The Porter Gray -- one of his grandfather’s best horses -- gave Harry his jog cart initiation, Harry did get some formal harness education.

“When I was nine years-old I went to the Harness Racing Youth Camp,” Landy recalled. “I loved the trotting-bred ponies. I bought two of them and raced them in Newport, Pa. When I got into actual harness racing I drove in matinees at Goshen (N.Y.). I drove a horse named Fox Valley Thorn there when I was fourteen. I won a race that year, but my horse was the only horse in the race so I don’t know how much that counts.

“When I was 16 I think I had five or six wins at Goshen, and I won a matinee at Rosecroft, in 1:58.4. I’ve driven in some qualifiers this year at Freehold, and I finished second in The Billings (Series, for amateur drivers) at Pocono Downs last week.”

Landy’s sporting talents are not limited to harness racing alone: An avid surfer, he is also a top-ranked skier in his age group. Last year he finished 13th in the nation in the U.S.S.A. Nationals at Lake Tahoe, Cal., but an untimely injury kept him from doing as well this year.

“This year I was in a skiing competition in Lake Placid, N.Y.,” Landy said with a chuckle. “I whacked my head and all I got was a concussion and a helicopter ride to the hospital.”

Harry has two brothers and neither of them have any intention of following him into the world of trotters and pacers.

“My one brother is allergic to horses and my other brother couldn’t care less about them,” Landy laughed. “My family, overall is very supportive of me. My dad loves what I’m doing, and so does my mom, only she wishes that my grades in school could be better. As far as I’m concerned, my real classes start when I’m at the racetrack.

“My goal in life is to be a harness racing driver. I’m really hoping that will work out. I’d also like to have stable of horses to train, as well. I like watching colts and fillies develop, so I think I’d like to concentrate on that.

“No matter where the future takes me, I hope that the better part of my life is spent in harness racing -- it’s what I really want to do.”

There is little doubt that Harry Landy is dedicated to making a name for himself in the world of harness racing. He’s a very intelligent, insightful and thoughtful young man, and if those qualities alone were enough to make him a harness driver, he’d already be at the top of the game.

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