Featured Owner: Herb Liverman

Few people in harness racing have been involved with one great horse, much less countless great horses.

Herb Liverman’s ownership history reads like who’s who of trotting and pacing. From Handle With Care to Muscles Yankee to Bee A Magician and his recent acquisition of Maven, Liverman has had overwhelming success. The horses are part of what keeps him coming back, but so is the community.

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When did you get started in harness racing?

1970 or so, Silent Majority as a yearling was the second horse we ever bought. From there it was Handle With Care, Muscles Yankee, Kadabra, and a lot of good fillies. Bee A Magician, Poof She’s Gone, Britelite Lobell. In the last little while it’s been just trotters. Although the last pacer we had won the Breeders Crown.

With so many great names to speak of, do any of those horses stick out in your memory?

The best was probably Kadabra or Muscles Yankee. But Bee A Magician, she won 17 out of 17 last year.

Tell me about the decision to disperse some of you broodmares.

You know, I’ve just been doing it so, so long, and I wasn’t getting as much enjoyment one way or another. Now I’m racing more and getting more yearlings than I used to, and when you have good ones that’s really fun. I own Pinkman and Wild Honey and Smexi so that’s a pretty good start. I’m just enjoying the racing right now. I went to Dover last night to watch the Matron and we came in first and third so that was a pretty good night.

As someone who has had a lot of success in the business, what would you say to someone who is just starting to get involved?

Do what you can afford. It doesn’t matter the level, but do what you can afford. Even if it’s just gambling on horses at the racetrack, that’s a lot of fun. Even there though, do what you can afford and the same thing with buying yearlings or breeding stock.

Was it a little bitter sweet for you to sell those broodmares or were you just ready to move on?

You know I’ve sold so, so many horses in my life at auctions that it doesn’t mean as much as people think. I still have four or five broodmares in the partnership and a lot of fillies that are still racing. So it was just time for these.

What catches your eye when you look for a yearling?

First of all, they’re almost all trotters. I only have one pacer that I bought. The Fieldings, they’re my very close friends and my partners with Jimmy Takter, and then I have horses with Nifty (Norman) and my partners Mell Hartman and Dave Mc Duffee, so it’s really the ownership. When you have your friends as your partners it’s really, really fun. That’s what I like to do.

With so many big name horses and big wins, is there any one moment over the last forty years that sticks out in your memory?

You know, I’ve won the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks, five Breeders Crowns, the Meadowlands Pace, and four World Trotting Derbies, a bunch of KY Futurities. In the beginning, when Silent Majority won The Messenger, it was the first time and when Handle With Care won the first 24 races of her life, as you go up chronologically, at the beginning it’s just unreal.

Aside from the success you’ve had in harness racing, what is it that keeps you hooked on this business?

Lots and lots of friends. Much more than in my other businesses that I’ve had. I’ve sold other businesses and I don’t have the same friends that I had in that business. But with the horses, when I come to Harrisburg or Lexington I know so many people, more than I do in my home town. It’s great! If you have some good luck it can be really fun.

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