This information comes from a news release written by Tim Bojarski, for the Western New York Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers' Association.
The Upstate New York Chapter of the U.S. Harness Writers’ Association has announced that longtime trainer-driver Fred Haslip will receive its 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.
It will be presented to him in the Winner’s Circle during the Upstate Harness Writers' Association's “Night of Distinction,” which will be held at Batavia Downs Casino on Saturday, Dec. 4.
Haslip was one of the most sought after catch-drivers in Western New York during the 1970s and '80s, and was responsible for teaming some of the best horses to race on that circuit during that time.
The lifelong resident of Basom started driving at fairs in 1959 and scored his first pari-mutuel win in 1960.
During his 51-year career he posted 2,585 lifetime driving wins and banked $6 million dollars in purse money -- doing it the hard way, mostly in overnight events in an era where purses were not what they are today.
The list of horses that Haslip has teamed over the years is long and includes names such as: Diamond Sparkler, p, 9, Q1:56.3 ($328,737); Happy Sparkler, p, 9, 1:58.2h ($156,756); Handsome Boy, 5, 2:00.2h ($142,048); Keystone Astro, p, 7, 2:01.1h ($136,204); and Kay El, Jack the Baron, Coaltown Smoke, Flawless Sparkler, Little Commish, Princess Dee Dee, Tarvon, Red Almond, BBQ, Paige Man and Cheryl Grattan.
But Haslip is probably most noted for developing the former double-gaited record holder, Excalibur.
Excalibur, who was purchased as a 4-year-old for the paltry sum of $3,500, in 1972, would go on to bank just under $200,000 in his career. In 1977, Excalibur set the North American record for a double-gaited gelding when he trotted a mile in 2:03.3. That time equaled his pacing record, set in 1974, and those times combined were 4:07.1, which broke a record set in 1939.
Excalibur raced until he was 14, retiring in 1982. In 169 lifetime starts, on both gaits combined, he posted 50 wins -- 12 on the trot and 38 on the pace. The horse was such a versatile athlete that from 1975 to 1977 Haslip raced him on both gaits, switching him back and forth during the year.
The 68-year-old Haslip cut back on his drives substantially in the mid 1990s and for the last 10 years has started less than 50 times a year. He still trains a four-horse stable of his own on his farm, but elects to appoint catch-drivers to do the teaming.