PETTY, Aubrey L. BIRTHPLACE: Mason,Tenn.
Mason, Tenn. BIRTHDATE: 10-17--16
Aubrey Petty moved from a small scale trainer (about 10 head) to one of the leading trainer-drivers racing on the Hawthorne, Sportsman's Park and Washington Park circuit. During the 1970 season, Petty's stable included the two full-brothers Song Cycle and Concert Master who became the scourge of the Chicago tracks. Song Cycle gave Petty seven 2:00 rides, including a 2:00 mile in the pacer's first start in eight months.
The grandfather of five grew up on a farm 45 miles northeast of Memphis, a one-time important harness racing center. He now winter trains at this Mason, Tenn. farm where his son, Ross, helps out with the 20-24 head.
He won six straight races over a two-night span at Washington Park in 1970.....including back-to-back wins with full-brothers Song Cycle and Concert Master. In 1973, Silas Time, Eli Lang and C.V. Thor were his stars, all 2:00 horses.
About 20 years ago, Aubrey was a policeman in his hometown.
Year Starts 1sts 2nds 3rds UDRS Money Won
1955 59 5 15 13 .299 1,620
1956 72 7 17 14 .293 3,751
1957 78 9 11 11 .241 9,336
1958 45 8 6 5 .289 5,403
1959 175 20 20 25 .225 19,869
1960 199 25 28 28 .251 24,156
1961 162 22 22 27 .267 21,869
1962 297 37 47 35 .252 38,314
1963 170 24 17 22 .240 29,359
1964 186 28 20 28 .260 61,832
1965 116 21 11 13 .271 64,069
1966 87 13 17 9 .292 23,679
1967 65 6 7 9 .198 21,271
1968 153 21 18 22 .251 56,132
1969 237 37 37 26 .279 131,826
1970 312 59 48 48 .326 299,332
1971 321 57 57 47 .325 310,865
1972 262 31 41 31 .245 142,038
1973 220 27 46 42 .303 220 573
TOT 457 1,485,294
2:00 Miles (13)
June 1976 Hoof Beats ( http://shop.ustrotting.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=190
Dexter Hanover and John Simpson Jr.http://web.archive.org/web/
JOHN F. SIMPSON, JR.
John F. Simpson, Jr., was born on June 13, 1943, in Lumberton, NC to John F. and Helen Simpson. Although John Jr., is the son of the late Hall of Fame horseman John F. Simpson Sr., former president of Hanover Shoe Farms and one of the most respected men the sport has known, it wasn’t a certainty that John Jr., would follow his father into harness racing. He was a standout baseball player and earned an “All-Around Athlete Award,” when he attended the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball camp. Standardbreds, however, won out, with John winning his first race at 17, driving Don Hanover at Vernon Downs in 2:08. It was 1960, while he was on vacation from school. However, a full-time driving and training career had to wait until his graduation from Orlando Junior College in 1963, which he attended following his high school graduation from Winter Park High School in Florida in 1961. John was still in college when he drove his first two-minute winner in 1963, exactly one month after his 20th birthday. It was a $3,000 invitational pace and John, together with Thor Hanover, bested the great Meadow Skipper in 1:592/5. It was the best ever time to date for The Meadows new “drip dry” track.
Simpson burst onto the national scene when he guided Timothy T to victory in the 1970 Hambletonian. At 27 years of age, he became the youngest driver to take trotting’s most prestigious race. The successful team also tallied wins in the 1969 Greyhound, and the following year (in addition to the Hambletonian Stake), the Colonial, the Review Futurity, the Founders’ Gold Cup, and Kentucky Futurity.
There were many trips to the winner’s circle and record books for John F. Simpson, Jr. The 1970s found him and his protégés winning more times than not: In 1971 Hilarious Way was a winner in The Little Pat and the next year, the Cane Pace and the Review Futurity Pace; that same year the Hoosier Futurity Trot winner was Fairmount Hanover. 1973 was Knightly Way’s year with wins in the Dexter Cup and the Founders Cup; it was 1974 and Waymaker led the way to the Kentucky Futurity, while Exclusive Way picked up the Lou Dillon. In 1977, Jurgy Hanover took the Old Oaken Bucket and Superlou claimed the Lady Suffolk. The next year Pagan Princess was the Lou Dillon winner, and Jurgy, continuing his successful career, took a 1:59.4 victory in the $18,000 feature trot at the Meadowlands. The final year of the decade brought Gator Bowl and Simpson laurels in the Review Futurity Trot and world champion Jurgy Hanover continued to frequent the winner’s circle.
John Simpson, Jr., guided the destiny of Classical Way 4,T1:55.2, one of the great race mares of all time and, he says, the greatest trotter he has ever sat behind. She was one of his four Kentucky Futurity winners (1979), and when she retired, with earnings of $715,499, she was heralded as the fastest trotting mare ever. In 1978, Simpson piloted her to a 2:00.2 win in the International Stallion Stakes Two-Year-Old Filly Trot at Lexington’s Red Mile. The following year, the trotting distaff claimed the Kentucky Futurity, when she went in 1:57.4. In 1980, she took the American Trotting Championship, the 1¼ mile Roosevelt International Trot, against Petite Evander and Ideal du Gazeau and the 1½ mile Challenge Cup. She went on to pick up the 11/8 mile American Trotting Classic at Hollywood Park, and in so doing lowered the world record to 2:11.3. Before Classical Way shipped to Europe, she took Simpson on a sizzling 1:55.2 time trial at Lexington’s Red Mile. She completed her fantastic career by closing out the year with a third place win in the Prix d’Amerique and a first in the Prix de France. She completed her final race lowering the Vincennes track record from 2:38.1 to 2:35.9 (1:59.2 mile rate). The win also gave Simpson the honor of being the only non-European driver to win the historic French event: a title he continues to hold.
The 80s weren’t only for Classical Way. In 1981, catch driving for Stanley Dancer, John took his fourth Kentucky Futurity, with an upset win, driving Filet of Sole; *** Raid won him the World Trotting Derby; Gretchen Hanover was the 1982 winner of The Hudson, and that same year Honey Bee Hanover was the Zweig winner,
Excel Hanover won the Castleton Farm Trot in 1983. However, perhaps the most spectacular performer for Simpson that year was Walton Hanover who took the Garden State, the Bluegrass, the Potomac, the International and the 2-year-old colt pace division of Blue Bonnets’ Prix de L’Avenir. The following year Simpson took Walter Hanover to the winner’s circle for the American National and the Gaines Memorial.
Then, in May, 1984, John Simpson, Jr. was seriously injured, while warming up trotter Desdemona Hanover at The Meadows. Thankfully, his zest for life, his love for his chosen vocation and his positive nature were all the right ingredients to ensure a strong recovery and more resolve than ever to remain at the top of his profession.
Although Everglade Hanover won the Arden Downs in 1985 he really blossomed in 1986. Probably Simpson’s best horse that year, he guided him to most of his earnings of $310,834. The pair were divisional winners in the Currier & Ives Stake at Freestate; and they equaled the world record for three-year-old colt trotters on a half mile track, when they won the final heat of the Old Oaken Bucket at Delaware, in 1:57.4.
During 1985 and 1986 Musical Hanover was another solid performer for Simpson. Together they won the Lexington Filly Stake in 1985 and the next year finished in a dead heat for first with Sacastick in a division of the Bronx Filly Pace at Yonkers; and they were beaten by just a head in the $107,900 Ladyship Stake at the Meadowlands. Freshman trotter Slocum Hanover was one of Simpson’s noteworthy performers in 1987. That year, he also handled freshman Super Chuzz in divisions of the Hanover & Hempt with both horses reaching the winner’s circle.
Other noteworthy trotters benefiting from Simpson’s sulky talents include Superlou, a world champion miss and Micron Hanover, who trotted in 1:57.2 as a two-year-old in 1982; the tough Sugarcane Hanover; the $200,000-plus earner Antwerp Hanover, Kendy Hanover and Notch Hanover both W.N. Reynolds Memorial Trot super achievers and the Super Bowl-Ebony Crown filly Ebonita Hanover. She won 10 of her 26 outings as a three-year-old in 1991, with earnings of $314,496. Her successes that year included the $205,000 American-National at Sportsman’s Park and both her $16,349 elimination and the $49,182 final of the Buckette at Delaware, Ohio as well as the Tomkins-Geers, the Hanover-Hempt and the Currier & Ives. She also finished second behind the great Peace Corps in both their eliminations and the 1990 Breeders Crown Mare Trot.
The freshman filly Ate The Towel was Simpson’s finest trotter in 1995. The Valley Victory lass had three wins in 18 season’s starts, earning $103,683. She won a pair of Maryland Standardbred events including a personal best clocking of 2:00 in the $47,840 event at Rosecroft. Ate The Towel also finished fourth in the Merrie Annabelle Final.
Other successful performers for Simpson include trotters Snippy Hanover, 1989 Kentucky Filly Futurity and Arden Downs winner; Antwerp Hanover, the 1989 Champlain Open Trot and the 1990 Hanover Colt Stake winner; Remus Hanover also winner of the 1989 Hanover Colt Stake. Also of note, trotter Fiddler Hanover winner of the 1991 Founders Cup and the Transylvania. Top pacers handled by Simpson also include Armbro Splurge, author of 38 career 2-minute miles and Sportsmaster, the 1991 Woodrow Wilson winner, (driven by Ron Waples in a personal best of 1:52.1). This son of Abercrombie also picked up the Potomac and Historic-Goshen Cup winner and claimed the International Stallion Stake, a division of the Champlain Stakes and a Bluegrass-Meadowlands elimination. In 1992 he was named the Harness Tracks of America 2-Year-Old Colt Trotter of the Year and finished second to Western Hanover in the year’s USTA/USHWA balloting for divisional honors.
Since 1961 John F. Simpson, Jr., to date has won 1333 races, and over $11 million in purses; his training summary totals $2.329 million and 111 wins.
He is married to Lois Dancer, daughter of Harold and Marion Dancer. They have three sons, Douglas, Tim and Kevin and two granddaughters.
Soda Hill and Art Hult
November 1971 Hoof Beats ( http://shop.ustrotting.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=148
October 2003 Hoof Beats ( http://shop.ustrotting.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=437
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