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Fan Guide

Famous Faces in Racing


George Foreman
George Foreman
What do boxer George Foreman, writerproducer Alan Kirschenbaum and baseball All-Star Dan Plesac have in common? They are all active participants in the sport of harness racing. In fact, celebrities from many different walks of life have been involved in the sport over the years.

One of the most prominent sports figures in harness racing is the former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, George Foreman. Foreman has been involved in the sport for many years, first as an owner, and in recent years, as a trophy presenter at the biggest trotting event of the year, the Hambletonian.

But Foreman does a lot more than just smile for the cameras. Since 1991, he’s owned more than 20 horses and he’s just one of the many famous faces that are an integral part of harness racing.

Dan Plesac
Dan Plesac
Dan Plesac, former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and three-time All Star, is now an accomplished Standardbred owner and trainer. And he’s not the only Major League pitcher getting in on the action. Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox also owns horses.

Famous athletes aren’t the only celebrities involved in harness racing. Hollywood has sent some of its brightest stars to the racetrack as well. In addition to being an outspoken fan and advocate of harness racing, Alan Kirschenbaum, the head writer for the television series “Coach” and “Yes, Dear,” and a producer of “My Name Is Earl,” has owned more than 180 horses and has even competed as a driver.

Michael Landon, perhaps best know for his starring role on the series “Little House on the Prairie,” was also a Standardbred owner, and fellow actors such as James Cagney and Billy Barty were Standardbred fans, too. Former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello married into the sport when she wed longtime California trainer Glen Holt.

The Thrill Of Competition
Sam Bowie
Sam Bowie
Other athletes who have participated in harness racing over the years include former New York Jets wide receiver Wayne Chrebet, NHL superstars Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Peter Forsberg, Tie Domi, Darren McCarty and Kris Draper, and NBA stars Wilt Chamberlain and Sam Bowie. The Rooney Family, owners of the 2006 World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, also owns Standardbreds, and currently owns Yonkers Raceway in New York. Even the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. owned some harness racehorses.

Baseball greats such as Mickey Mantle and several of his Yankee teammates, including Whitey Ford and Charles “King Kong” Keller, were harness racing participants. Keller even operated a prominent breeding farm after he retired from baseball named Yankeeland Farm. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner has owned nearly 50 horses since the 1980s.

George Steinbrenner
George Steinbrenner