Aldrich, Boni, Ryder on ballot for Hall of Fame

Goshen NY — The Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association, after meeting with a select group of Harness Racing Museum trustees, announces that Tom Aldrich, Bob Boni, and Chris Ryder will appear on this summer’s Hall of Fame ballot.

The Hall of Fame candidates, selected from nominations by USHWA’s chapters, will be voted on by members of the Hall of Fame and by eligible USHWAns. The ballots, which will be distributed within the next few weeks, will also find USHWAns voting for the Communicators Hall of Fame candidates Judy Davis-Wilson and Debbie Little, put forward by the writers’ directors from chapter nominations. A candidate must receive 75 percent of the yes-no ballots cast to earn election into the Hall. Results will be announced in mid-summer.

Tom Aldrich is perhaps most renowned for his 30-plus years in upper management at Cleveland’s Northfield Park, where his innovation and attention to customer service combined with that of the track’s energetic late owner Carl Milstein and other key executives made Northfield Park one of the shining examples of racetrack operation in North America, such as inaugurating the FFA pacing event the Battle of Lake Erie.

A graduate of Ohio State and the University of Cincinnati’s College of Law, Aldrich had many positive formative steps along the way, working for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and as Executive Assistant at Harness Tracks of America to double Hall of Famer Stan Bergstein. It was while serving as general manager of Rosecroft Raceway near D.C. that he met his late wife Lynn, daughter of a Pennsylvania racing family, herself a noted driver, and a worker in several Maryland official capacities.

Bob Boni rode a wave of steadily more-responsible jobs up the harness “ladder” — Pine Hollow Stud; the Wall Street Stable in partnership with Lou Guida, whose most spectacular star was champion Nihilator; Dreamaire Stud; and his own International Bloodstock, now his Northwood Bloodstock Company. The list of champions associated with him is too long to be categorized here, but must include the 1:46 pacer Always B Miki.

The innovator of using videos to market yearlings, Boni serves on the boards of the Harness Racing Museum, the Standardbred Owners and Breeders Association of New Jersey, and is the Chairman of USHWA’s Breeding Awards Committee. He was the point man in ensuring that New Jersey racing received a sizable appropriation from that state’s legislators, helping to revitalize racing in the Garden State.

New Zealand native Chris Ryder worked from a young age with horses, some Thoroughbred until his body outgrew his desire to become a jockey, in his native land, then came to North America with his wife Nicola, a CPA, when she got a job in Manhattan. He quickly established himself as a master of conditioning horses of all varieties, especially top performers, and even more so with female trotters and pacers.

McArdle, Bettor’s Wish, Tattoo Artist and Breeders Crown winner Gem Quality are among the male stakes and FFA stars he has trained. But the list of female Standardbreds benefiting from his services is longer, and just as distinguished: Cathedra Dot Com, Mystical Sunshine, Put On A Show, Party Girl Hill, Niki Hill, I Luv The Nitelife, and today’s star pacing mare Twin B Joe Fresh, now successful at four after stellar campaigns at two and three.

The electees will be feted for their Hall of Fame selection on two occasions: the first comes on Feb. 23, 2025, at the Dan Patch Awards banquet hosted by USHWA, to be held at the Rosen Centre in Orlando. The second will be the official date of the Hall induction ceremonies, July 6, 2025, at the annual Hall of Fame dinner in Goshen.

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