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Humboldt, Iowa, fair to host Duke Edge Memorial
Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - from the Iowa Harness Horse Association

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Humboldt, IA– Duke Edge was a fixture in the Humboldt harness racing scene for decades.

To honor their father and his passion for horse racing, the Edge family will present the Duke Edge Memorial at Humboldt during the holiday race meet: Sunday (July 2) and Tuesday (July 4). Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. each day. The memorial blanket will go to the driver with the most wins over the two-day meet.

“He was a lifelong harness racing fan,” remembers his daughter, Alecia Sleiter, sitting with her mother, Phyllis, and her sister, Jane. “He just loved it.”

Mr. Edge participated in the sport on many levels. He was a timer, then a judge for several years in the 1960s.

“I remember he was traveling,” said Phyllis. “He was gone a lot of weekends.”

“He judged in both Minnesota and Iowa,” added Sleiter. “I remember him judging down at the [Iowa] State Fair when there used to be racing down there.”

Though all his years of involvement, Mr. Edge only owned one horse.

“Years back, before we were born, he owned a horse named Tommy Dean,” said Sleiter. “He sold Tommy Dean and he (the horse) went out east and did very well.”

A July 1960 issue of the Muscatine Journal and News Tribune reported that Tommy Dean won both heats of the trot with Leland Perrin driving during a rainy day of racing for the Wapello Homecoming Celebration. Tommy Dean appears again from 1962-1965 in The Democrat and Chronicle - Rochester, N.Y.’s newspaper - in results showing wins at Batavia Downs.

His daughters remember Mr. Edge saying, “I sure wish I would have kept that horse!”

Mr. Edge shared his passion for harness racing with others. He owned a company with his brother called Edge Brothers Excavation.

“One of his employees was a family man with 13 children,” said Sleiter, recalling a story about her father she has heard many times. “Dad bought a racehorse for him and said 'You train it, you race it, and you can keep whatever earnings you have.'”

That employee saved the winnings and was able to buy a home for his family.

Mr. Edge also kept his own family involved in racing.

“I have a son who lives here in town and he and my three little grandsons would go sit with Papa Duke,” said Sleiter, speaking of the races at the county fairgrounds. “We were there last fourth of July and even this past fall. Whenever they had races at Humboldt, we would take him. He was barely able to walk up the stairs. He was 91 years old. He still wanted to go; he just didn't want to miss it. He was a loyal, loyal fan.”

Over the past few years, Mr. Edge had health issues and was in and out of the hospital. It was there he met Cara Hauser, a nurse who with her husband, Adam, trains a stable of Standardbreds out of the fairgrounds at Humboldt.

“He had been hospitalized a couple times before he passed and he and Cara just connected,” said Sleiter. “They just had a special bond. They talked harness racing all the time. She brought him a book all about the history of harness racing. She'd walk in the door and he'd call her sweetheart. It was just so special.”

Mr. Edge died this January at the age of 91. Keeping Duke's tradition alive, many members of his family plan to attend this weekend’s memorial events.

“We'll be there in force!” said Sleiter.

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