Don Brainard, 79, diesApril 8, 2022,
Pompano Beach, FL — Longtime driver-trainer Don Brainard, 79, died April 7, 2022, after a longtime battle with kidney disease.
Mr. Brainard was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on May 29, 1942, and as a teenager joined his father Howard in the Standardbred business where they trained during the winter months at Spring Garden Ranch.
Beginning his driving career humbly in 1961 with just four drives, he got his first win in 1963 at a New York County Fair — one of 1,124 lifetime.
In 1972, he captured the Universal Driver Rating championship (UDR) with a lofty .504 with 52 wins in 141 starts, adding 21 seconds and 22 thirds to complete the scorecard. In the late 1970s, he compiled a pair of seasons where he won more than 100 races and compiled UDRs of .395 and .406, respectively.
When asked about his success in the sulky, Mr. Brainard gave the credit to his “backbone,” wife Barbara, who does much of the training for the stable. Reflecting on this success, he said, “Barbara is not only my backbone, she’s my heart and soul. I’m only as great as she made me.”
Barbara preceded Don in death in 2017.
Mr. Brainard is survived by his daughter, Michele Marie; son, Darry Lee (Robin Ferranti); sister, Betty Jean Calice; grandsons, Andrew (Anna) and Lane; nephew, Dr. Chad Calice; and niece, Tracy, and her children, Kaitlin and Gavin.
Further arrangements are incomplete at this time.