Hall of Fame


w. d. thomson

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He never trained a harness horse or drove a two-minute mile. He didn't sit in the front row at yearling sales or oversee a million-dollar stud farm. However, a major reason for the success of the Little Brown Jug pacing classic is in great part due to the efforts of W. D. "Tom" Thomson, who served as president of The Little Brown Jug Society.

Following in the footsteps of his father Hank, Thomson pointed the Jug toward the 21st Century, modernizing the event without losing its quaint, country-fair charm and rich tradition. Associated with the fair since he was a sixteen-year-old "errand boy," Thomson became director of racing in 1973, overseeing everything that has made the Jug one of the most recognized sporting events in the world. In the 1980s he was instrumental in modernizing the fair's wagering system. Recognizing the potential for increased revenues that a system upgrade would provide, he convinced the Jug's fair board to invest $200,000 in AmTote's cash-sell system. It not only turned the Jug's wagering activity into a state-of-the-art product, it significantly increased the track's handle. Thomson brought regional and national television coverage to the Jug and organized an extensive simulcasting operation. While continuing to make significant upgrades to the Delaware racing plant and equipment, the Delaware County native resolutely made sure the race lost none of its history and tradition. A director of the Delaware County Agricultural Society, he is now its senior member.

When not overseeing the Jug or enjoying his retirement from the family-owned Delaware Gazette newspaper, Thomson served as an ambassador for the sport. He was honored in 1994 as Grand Marshal for the Prince Edward Island Gold Cup and Saucer Parade and the following year was voted into the Little Brown Jug's Wall of Fame. In 1997 he received the lifetime achievement award from the Ohio Chapter of the United States Harness Writers' Association. Thomson served as a trustee of The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York since 1997 and had 21 terms as president of the Grand Circuit.

Thomson lived in Delaware, Ohio his entire life. He was married to the late Helen Ufferman for 42 years. They are the parents of four children, two daughters Chriss and Cheryl, and two sons H. C. "Chip" and Thomas "T." In 2002, Thomson married Sherry McClellan. 

W. D. "Tom" Thomson died on January 20, 2012.