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Roosevelt Raceway book review
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - by John Berry

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Pompano Beach, FL --- The history of one of the world’s most majestic sports, harness racing, is well over 200-years-old in the United States and, one of the most iconic facilities encompassing harness racing’s grand tradition, Roosevelt Raceway, is brought to life in "Roosevelt Raceway: Where it all Began" in a most succinct manner by authors Victoria M. Howard, Billy Haughton and Freddie Hudson.

Now closed for more than a quarter century, Roosevelt Raceway is where night time harness racing began and flourished for some four plus decades.

The authors have unlocked a vault of memories, not only reliving history under the lights as many of today’s “old-timers” witnessed, but unearthing occurrences that, heretofore, were kept “hushed up”--only known by a few raceway executives--now erased from this earth, either naturally or otherwise--and a few underworld cronies, also no longer in this world, again, either naturally or otherwise.

The initial chapters deal with George Morton Levy, the founding father of racing under the stars, and his connections with the underworld and politicians, some of whom were as crooked as many of the numbers on the Roosevelt Raceway infield tote-board.

The book also covers the introduction of the “savior” of the sport--the mobile starting gate--as well as the celebrities, fatal occurrences, riots and characters that made Roosevelt Raceway the subject matter in, literally, millions of conversations over the years.

Great horses, like the artichoke eating French-bred trotter Jamin and the grand Su Mac Lad, who, literally, wore out three sets of “free-for-all” trotters over his career, are brought back to life in this book...as well as greats like Bye Bye Byrd, Adios Butler, Cardigan Bay and Bret Hanover.

And, of course, the book completes its task with a tribute to many of the sport’s great drivers who competed at Roosevelt Raceway--Billy, Stanley, Buddy, “Loosh,” “The Red Man,” Herve, Benny “The Whip” and “Toothpick Del,” to name a few.

One of my favorite chapters is the one entitled “Stories Remembered,” a hilarious recollection of anecdotes both on and off the track.

This book is a “must” for racing fans. It will bring back great memories and lighten every day it is in your hands.


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