Batavia horseman James V. Compton dies at age 80
James V. Compton, 80, passed away on Sept. 13, 2022.
Mr. Compton was born on February 17, 1942 in Batavia, New York to the late Cecil and Alice Compton of East Pembroke, New York. He received his education at Corfu High School and worked as a milkman in the days of home delivery, then as a machinist before going to General Motors in Rochester, where he would retire.
Mr. Compton also loved horses and that led him to become involved in harness racing at Batavia Downs. He first got his license in 1972 and became both a successful driver and trainer that competed at several tracks in upstate New York. Early in his career he raced mostly claimers but starting in the early 1990’s he experienced some real success.
First came Held For Ransom who was an Open pacer that Compton both trained and drove and eventually won 51 races along with $125,115 in purses. Then when Held For Ransom’s racing career was over, Compton and his wife Sandra bred him to one of their retired race mares, suspicion Burns, and the result was his most notable horse, Michael Scores.
Michael Scores (1:50.4, $668,079) started out as a New York Sire Stake star and went on to be an overnight Open legend and will forever be considered one of the greatest pacers to come out of western New York. Out of 275 lifetime starts, Michael Scores won 86 races, finished second 47 times and third 27 more. His biggest win came in 2006 when he captured the Kane Memorial pace at Batavia Downs and set a new all-time track record of 1:52.1.
A short list of other notable horses campaigned by Mr. Compton include 55-race winner Gasper Again (1:53.4, $165,975), 50-race winner Splurging Rita (1:58.2, $161,231) and Sly Hi (1:56.1, $70,953).
During his career, Mr. Compton compiled some impressive numbers. As a driver he had 522 wins, 459 seconds and 367 thirds out of only 2725 starts, giving him a stellar .330 UDR and $1,137,716 in earnings. As a trainer he had 2,892 starts with 578 wins, 483 seconds and 385 thirds that gave him a .337 UTR and $1,934,431 in earnings.
Mr. Compton is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Sandra L. Compton; his children, Kevin Compton of E Bethany, Roger Compton and his wife, Cheryl of Bloomfield NJ, Cheryl Squire and her husband, Timothy of Wakefield NC, Jeanne Palmer and her husband, Albert of Warsaw NY.
Mr. Compton also has 6 grandchildren; Taylor Squire, Rachael Boynton, Aaron Pahuta, Allyssa Compton-Disla, Michael Compton and Amanda Palmer; 2 great-grandchildren, Addison Gregg and Ethan Boynton; sister-in-law, Grace Compton; brother-in-law, Wayne Speed; Patty Beverly and her family, John Nelson and his family, Geri Puma and her family, along with many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Mr. Compton is predeceased by his siblings, Phillip Compton, Richard Compton and Carol Speed, as well as his grandson, Zachary Squire.
Family and friends may call on Sunday (Sept. 18) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Falcone Family Funeral & Cremation Service Inc., 8700 Lake St. Rd. (Rt. 19), LeRoy, New York. His Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday (Sept. 19) at 11:00 a.m. at Northgate Free Methodist Church, 8160 Bank St. Rd., Batavia, New York. Interment will follow in Hillside Cemetery, East Pembroke, New York.