levi b. harner
Born on May 10, 1909, Levi Harner began his driving career on the Pennsylvania fair circuit at the age of eighteen. He won his first race three years later at the 1930 Washingtonville, Pennsylvania fair, driving Slick Tass to a 2:17 win. Harner topped the U.S. drivers list three times, winning the national title in 1946, '47 and again in '52. He also won numerous driving titles at Batavia Downs and Buffalo Raceway during the post-World War II years.
Respected as an excellent colt developer and a master driver with a keen sense of timing, Harner was patronized for many years by fellow Hall of Famer and owner Ted Zornow, president of the U.S. Trotting Association from 1970-1977. Together they campaigned such stars as 1969 Cane Pace winner, Kat Byrd p,3,1:58.4h and Tar Boy p,7,1:58. With their win over Bye Bye Byrd and Adios Butler in the 1960 Yonkers International Encore Pace, Levi Harner deemed Tar Boy his best horse of all time.
Harner was elected into the Harness Racing Living Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1986, at age seventy-seven, he recorded the last of his 2:00 victories, becoming one of the oldest drivers to do so. He retired from driving in 1988 after winning more than $4 million and 2,574 races. At that time this record placed him 66th on the all time list. Levi Harner died in his sleep on September 17, 1998 at the age of eighty-nine.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1998 book, The 1998 Immortals
Museum statuette sculpted by Bev Lopez (1922-2014)