and Vallandingham brothers induced into CHHA hall of fame
Monday, March 30th, 2015 - Robin Clements with the CHHA
It was a warm and sunny day as the California Harness Horsemen’s Association held it’s annual awards meeting in the clubhouse at Cal Expo on Sunday March 29th. Inducted into the CHHA hall of fame were Alan Horowitz and Gene and Bill Vallandingham.
Alan who wore many hats in the business started out as a partner with longtime friends Donald and Barbara Arnstine and Steve Desomer with a $25,000 claimer named Quaker Byrd. Quaker Byrd won his first race for the partners and Alan was then hooked. Moving on Alan would eventually become a board member and president of CHHA.
In 1994 Alan was instrumental in bringing in Steve Berry to purchase Capital Racing from the horsemen and turned racing around in California. As General Manager Alan ran a very successful meet until changing hats to become the Executive secretary for CHHA until his retirement in 2013.
Also inducted into the hall of farm were brothers Gene and Bill Vallandingham.
Gene also known as Mr. California of harness racing grew up in the business in Kentucky, eventually moving to Illinois where he took driving titles at Washington Park and Aurora Downs. In 1971, Gene then made the move to California where he established himself as a top driver/ trainer. Known for his long blond locks Gene was then nicknamed Golden rod or Go Rod. With his red white and blue colors and famous white boots Gene went on to become a fan favorite .
Bill Vallandingham was also a dedicated horseman to the California circuit in his own right. Wearing many hats as a groom, paddock judge, horse identifier, horse tattooer and eventual starting gate judge. Bill was and still is the horseman’s friend and big supporter of California racing. While you may have seen him on the golf course or playing softball of a horsemans team his license plate said it all, Billy V 4 u. If horsemen needed to school their horses Billy would on his own time make sure he had the gate out there so the young horses could get gate time or if a farm needed their foals tattooed, Bill was there when you needed him.
Divisional 3 yr old winners were also announced along with the 2014 horse of the year.
Placer 3, t 2:00.1m, $30,552 took top male trotter, owned by Desomer Stables
Ahh Panama 3, t 2:01.2m $28,569 was awarded the top filly trotter, owned by Henry Wieseneck, Martin Garey and Bob Johnson.
J’s Littlerockstar 3,p 1:55.2m $28,569 took top filly pacer honors owned by James Kennedy.
King of the Crop 3,p 1:54.3m $40,470 was awarded the top male pacer owned by Frank Naveraz.
El Azteca owned by Marco Rios was voted 2014 horse of the year.
James Kennedy picked up his first award for being the top driver/trainer in the sires stakes.
And lastly top stallion awards were given to the trotter and pacing stallions for their offspring’s performance in the sires stakes.
Panama Hanover owned by Debra Budahn took the trotting stallion award and Little Steven owned by Shari Burns took top pacing stallion honors.
The CHHA members also voted for 3 directors to the board with David Neumeister and Steve Wiseman retaining their seats on the board and David Siegel now joining the board replacing Renee Mancino.