by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Pompano Beach, FL — One of harness racing’s first superstar trainer-drivers, especially on the Chicago circuit, Robert “Bob” Farrington, 85, died Oct. 13, 2014, from an apparent heart attack.
|USTA/Ed Keys photo|
|Bob Farrington and Rambling Willie, “The Horse That God Loved.”|
Mr. Farrington was a six-time national driving champion, taking the title in 1961 and 1962 and again from 1964 through 1967.
Born in Richwood, Ohio, on July 15, 1929, Mr. Farrington won 36 driving titles with 30 of them coming at Chicago area tracks, including six at both Sportsman’s Park and Washington Park.
Elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1979, Mr. Farrington was the first driver ever to win 200 races in a season (1961), first to win 300 races in a season (1964), first to win 300 races twice, and first to win 300 races three times.
During a 1963 program at Freehold Raceway in New Jersey, Mr. Farrington drove six times and won all six races. He retired from driving with 3,163 victories in 1992 and went on to be a high profile trainer.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Mr. Farrington drove and trained one of the sport’s most popular harness horses of all time, the fabled pacer Rambling Willie, written about as “The Horse That God Loved” in a novel by Mr. Farrington’s wife Vivian. Rambling Willie toured North America, racing and signing his book with his unique hoof mark.
“I knew Bob for about 50 years and in my opinion he was the greatest driver I ever saw — bar none,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “His career, featuring a lot of great horses, was highlighted by Rambling Willie and the financial support he and Viv donated to her church. Probably few horses caught the imagination of the public as did Willie and Bob. The “Red Man” will be missed.”
More details will be announced per service arrangements.