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Looking Back to "Willie's" Early Days (05/09/13)
Posted Thursday, May 9, 2013
By Mike Paradise
Rambling Willie’s Early Days
This is a very unique photo taken of the legendary pacer Rambling Willie when he was a 3-year-old in 1973 competing at old Washington Park which conducted harness races in the 1970s on the south side of Chicago.
That’s Jim Curran in a single-shaft bike with “Willie” before the sulky was banned from competition because of “safety issues.”
While trainer Bob Farrington drove Rambling Willie to most of his 128 lifetime wins, a harness racing record back in the mid-1980s, Curran guided the to his last two victories as a 3-year-old at Washington Park.
The track’s racetrack burned down in early February of 1977, putting it out of business. The property was sold and redeveloped in 1992 for commercial and residential use.
Curran also drove Rambling Willie later in the horse’s brilliant career, as did drivers as did Joe Marsh Jr. and Jim Dolbee.
At the age of 13 in 1983 “Willie” surpassed the great Niatross as the leading money earning harness horse in North America with lifetime earnings of $2,038,219, a record at that time.
Rambling Willie record of 128 wins, 69 seconds and 43 thirds came in 305 starts, racing from the east coast (Yonkers Raceway) to the west coast (Hollywood Park) and most major racetracks in between.
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