Born in 1888 at Lloyd, New York, Townsend Ackerman began his career at twelve when he served as exercise boy for his father William, who raced both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. Some top-rated harness horses developed by Ackerman during his early days as trainer and farm manager included Etta Druien, Oscawana and Larkspur, with whom he won a heat of the 1930 Hambletonian (the first Hambletonian heat ever raced at Goshen). He had previously selected and conditioned Guy McKinney at two years of age, who was undefeated at three and won the first Hambletonian Stake at Syracuse in 1926. Ackerman's achievements in the sport are all the more remarkable considering the fact that he lost a leg in an accident as a youngster. He died in 1984 at age 96.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1994 book, The Immortals