The first woman to be elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg was the owner of Menhammar Stuteri AB, a breeding farm located in Ekerö, Sweden, which has been in her family for over 70 years. The farm, purchased in 1947 by her father, shipping magnate Olof Wallenius, has produced an impressive list of notable trotters and has been the leading breeder in her native Sweden for the last eleven years.
With her partner, the late Hall of Famer and Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame trustee Norman Woolworth, Wallenius-Kleberg created a North American-European commingling of racing and breeding talent, headed by such champion horses as two-time U.S. Horse of the Year Mack Lobell, Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee. Zoot Suit was Sweden’s top sire for six consecutive years (1991-96) and was preceded at the top of the list by Smokin Yankee in 1990.
After Wallenius-Kleberg’s purchase of Zoot Suit from Woolworth, the two trotting devotees developed a bond that opened doors in North America for her burgeoning interests in the sport. Wallenius-Kleberg began keeping and breeding mares in the United States and having fillies trained and raced in North America before they entered the Menhammar broodmare band.
A member of Sweden’s Trotting Hall of Fame, Wallenius-Kleberg held numerous positions in organizations related to the sport in her native country and abroad, working to promote harness racing on both sides of the Atlantic. She was a director of The Hambletonian Society and received the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame’s Pinnacle Award in 2011 for exemplary efforts put forth in the promotion of the sport and the Museum.
In addition to Menhammar, Wallenius-Kleberg maintained a stable of trotters at Hunterton Farm at Stoner Creek in Paris, Kentucky. She was the former chair of the European Breeders Union and the Stockholm Travsällskap racetrack, Solvalla, home of the Elitlopp, and was also the primary owner of Wallenius Lines, a shipping company founded in 1934 by her father Olof Wallenius in Stockholm. She was the former chair of the Swedish Breeders Association and was an honorary lifetime member of the Swedish Trotting Association.
Stallions that stood at Menhammar include 2003 Elitlopp winner From Above, 2005 Breeders Crown and 2006 World Trotting Derby winner Chocolatier, 2014 Prix d’Amerique winner Maharajah, 2014 Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot winner and 2016 Elitlopp winner Nuncio, and 2018 Prix d’Amerique winner Readly Express. Current broodmares include 2005 Hambletonian Oaks winner Jalopy.
Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg died in Sweden on April 14, 2023.