Jesse DeLong to be inducted into Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame

Madison, WI — The Wisconsin Harness Horse Association is proud to announce its second Hall of Fame inductee for the Class of 2022. Jesse “Jay” DeLong, of Clinton, Wis., will be inducted at the Jan. 28 event in Madison, Wis.

Jesse “Jay” DeLong has been active in Wisconsin harness racing for more than 40 years. He got his start at the county fairs, and has raced at the fairs his entire life. He is part of the powerhouse Hall of Fame DeLong family, but his individual accomplishments have earned him an individual spot in the Wisconsin Harness Racing Hall of Fame.

Jesse “Jay” DeLong has been active in Wisconsin harness racing for more than 40 years. WHHA photo.

As a driver, Jay currently holds the record for being the youngest Driver of the Year in Wisconsin history. He earned this honor in 1985 while appearing again as a top 10 driver in 2015. Perhaps many more driving accolades would have been in Jay’s resume, but he turned over driving duties to each of his four sons over the years. Being no stranger to records of accomplishment, Jay has guided horses to four track records in Wisconsin, some of which still stand today. He has racked up more than 300 driving wins and half a million dollars in earnings.

As a trainer, Jay has almost 700 career victories with more than $2.7 million in earnings. He trained the 2011 Pacer of the Year (Spicymac) and has 13 other top 10 honors to his credit.

Many horses have been trained on the Clinton, Wis., oval and made starts right here in Wisconsin. Two notable horses were some of the fastest ever to race here: Delco Willobee, who took a mark of 1:50.3, and his pride and joy Seventimesavirgin, who not only took a mark of 1:49.4 but also raced in the Breeders Crown.

All of these statistics helped earn Jay numerous awards from the WHHA. He received the 2010 Horseperson of the Year Award and twice his horses have won the James Laird Memorial Award for Excellence (Party Hangover in 2012 and Seventimesavirgin in 2017). In 2019, Seventimesavirgin earned her spot in the Wisconsin Harness Horse Hall of Fame.

Jay spent six years on the WHHA Board bringing his knowledge and guidance to the Board. He has taken on making sure events go off as planned, including the Midwest Horse Fair. His support for the WHHA Starting Gate was crucial during the time we needed it most. In true selfless fashion, Jay decided in 2016 that he would take a step back from the Board so his son could run and help carry on the legacy.

Jay continues to break, train and breed horses in Clinton at their family track. Despite shipping horses to Iowa, Minnesota and Indiana to race under other trainers, he always tries to get a horse or two to race and support at least a couple fairs where his roots are firmly planted.

For those wishing to attend the banquet and congratulate DeLong, contact WHHA President Gabe Wand at 608.574.5468 or for more information.

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