Hightstown, NJ — Milton Smith, 77, who trained 1993 Hambletonian champion American Winner, died Nov. 20, 2019 at the Ohio Living Care Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Mr. Smith was born in Cadiz, Ohio and resided in Grove City. He grew up around racehorses and helped his father, also named Milton, and uncle Clyde Williams with their Standardbreds. His own career with horses was put on hold until the 1980s, after serving 21 years in the Navy, where he was an Aviation Structural Mechanic and earned several commendations and medals for his service in Vietnam.
When he returned to racing, Mr. Smith focused on the Ohio fairs. Then, in 1990, he got a job transporting horses for prominent racehorse breeder and owner Bob Key. Three years later, Key was in need of a trainer and turned to Mr. Smith. Among the horses put in Mr. Smith’s care were 3-year-old trotters American Winner and Hi Noon Star.
American Winner and Hi Noon Star both won their Hambletonian elimination heats, making Key the first owner to win both elims. When American Winner captured the final, Mr. Smith joined Billy Haughton as the only trainers to win both elimination heats as well as the final.
Mr. Smith is survived by his daughters, Dana Henry, Rene Bianga-Smith and Sara Maskil; his longtime companion, Lena Stevens; and many friends.
According to his wishes there will be no services at this time.
Mr. Smith was profiled in the August 2018 issue of Hoof Beats magazine. To read the story, written by Steve Montemarano, click here.