Antonacci, Eriksson to Hall of Fame; Roberts, Warkentin in Communicators Hall

Harrisburg, PA – The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), in conjunction with the Harness Racing Hall Of Fame, is pleased to announce the election of owner/breeder/executive Frank Antonacci and trainer Per Eriksson to the greatest honor in the industry, membership in the Hall Of Fame.

USHWA has also elected veteran racing writer Bob Roberts and broadcaster Ken Warkentin to the pinnacle of their professions, membership in the Communicators Hall Of Fame.

Antonacci, known as “Frank The Elder,” is a second-generation member from one of harness racing’s most famous and successful families. The family initially began operating Lindy Farms, a Standardbred farm located first in New York and then in Connecticut, and as part of the Crown Stables, which include in its alumni such champion trotters as Lindy’s Pride and Speedy Crown.

Frank Antonacci

Antonacci and his brother Gerald (Jerry) have operated Lindy Farms of Connecticut since its establishment as both a racing and breeding operation. The Antonaccis have raced or bred nine millionaires – Moni Maker, Crazed, Cantab Hall, Victory Dream, Lucky Chucky, Harmonious, Snow White, Mr. Feelgood, and Ready For Moni. They have won three Hambletonians, three Breeders Crowns, and the Prix d’Amerique among the innumerable races captured by their stars.

Stallions such as Lindy Lane, Walner, Harmonious, and Crazed, along with many prized broodmares, have kept Lindy’s credentials high off of the racetrack for years. Lindy was also instrumental in developing the frozen-semen market so that both North America and Europe could benefit from the best of each other’s horses.

An operating partner and owner of The Red Mile and an owner of Tattersalls Sale Company, Antonacci has also served as a trustee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall Of Fame since 2011, a director of the Hambletonian Society since 1993, and as a director of the U.S. Trotting Association from 2001 to 2019.

Eriksson came to North America as a caretaker in 1981 and returned to his native Sweden in 2000, but what he accomplished in those fewer than two decades still stands as a highly impressive body of work, and merited his inclusion in the Hall Of Fame since he “shipped east” over two decades ago.

At age 24 he won the Hambletonian with Trotter of the Year Prakas, a race he won on two other occasions with Giant Victory and Alf Palema, both of whom were also voted Trotter of the Year in their3-year-old campaigns. Other horses who won divisional honors under his care include Giant Chill, Giant Mermaid, and Dream Of Joy.

Per Eriksson

Besides the Hambletonians and a Hambletonian Oaks with Lookout Victory, Eriksson was the trainer of five Breeders Crown winners, four World Trotting Derby winners, two Kentucky Futurity winners, and many of the sport’s other major races of his day, especially those for 2- and 3-year-old trotters.

Eriksson’s determination and work ethic obviously established itself early to allow him a meteoric rise in his early career, and he was also known as a thoughtful innovator, one example being the filly Davidia Hanover, whom he helped regained her championship form by having a caretaker ride her instead of going through the conventional jogging and training.

Antonacci and Eriksson will be joined in entrance to the Hall Of Fame by Lucien Fontaine, who was enshrined in the Hall through the special Veterans designation, and who passed away on Sept. 10; if one is selected and then passes away before formal induction, the rules say that that person is a Hall Of Fame member.

Roberts and Warkentin come from quite different backgrounds (although they have one brief intersection at Northfield Park near Cleveland), but both have excelled in their respective specialties to merit their selection into the Communicators Hall.

Roberts is a “double-gaited” horse racing writer, having worked on both the Standardbred and Thoroughbred beats for many years. He began his career in 1970 in Cleveland, and worked for several newspapers in the Buckeye State, making most of his fame at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, for whom he worked some 30 years. He also served as publicity director at the Thistledown racetrack on the shores of Lake Erie. For a while he as a columnist for The Horseman And Fair World magazine.

Bob Roberts

Roberts has been honored several times in his career for his storytelling ability, most notably with a John Hervey Award in 2003. He also interviewed the star-crossed Standardbred horseman Walter Case Jr. for his newspaper in a widely-read feature. On the Thoroughbred side, he won a Golden Quill award for feature racing about the Waterford Park (now Mountaineer) racetrack in West Virginia, and his 1988 piece on the Preakness was judged the top story produced on that year’s Triple Crown classic. Roberts has also won numerous state-wide awards for his coverage of racing on both sides, and has shown depth of perspective and extended knowledge in writing about both sports.

Warkentin started race calling in the Toronto area as a teenager, and progressed on to racing at higher levels of tracks, such as Flamboro Downs and Northfield Park, before joining The Meadowlands in 1991 in one of the most high-profile spots in the industry, sharing announcing, television, and publicity duties with the late Communicators Hall of Famer Sam McKee. There he has stayed for over three decades.

Ken Warkentin

Warkentin has called somewhere in the vicinity of 235,000 races, but his best-known two dozen calls have come for the Hambletonian, North America’s premier harness race. He has worked for NBC and ABC, ESPN, CBS Sports Network, and Fox Sports during their coverages of the trotting classic. The prolific Warkentin also turns out numerous press releases, including his “Road To The Hambletonian” in the weeks leading up to that race, and conducts an annual Race Callers Fantasy Camp. He has been recognized for his work at the Elitloppet, Sweden’s premier harness race, and frequently returns to his native Canada for guest appearances. Somehow he also finds time to participate in and referee ice hockey.

Antonacci, Eriksson, Roberts, and Warkentin (who each got 93-plus percent of “yes” votes in their recent elections), and Fontaine will be honored in two upcoming ceremonies. They will receive their first formal recognition at the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Fla. on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023 (online reservations for this event can be made by clicking here). The second event will, of course, be their formal introductions to their Halls at Goshen on the first Sunday in July 2023. More information on these events will be available on USHWA’s website ( in the upcoming months.

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