Mal Burroughs voted into 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 Malvern (Mal) Burroughs has been elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame.

The direct election in the Veterans designation is provided for in the USHWA bylaws, allowing for one longtime distinguished contributor to the sport who has cut back on current direct activity being put straight in by the Committee, selecting from nominations made by chapters of USHWA.

Malvern (Mal) Burroughs (in colors, holding the trophy) has been elected to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. Provided photo.

Burroughs is often described as a “self-made man,” learning about life by living it with the assistance of the Seton Hall (NJ) Seminary, to which Burroughs always donated his fees as an amateur driver. Burroughs borrowed $8,000 to purchase a used dump truck, with the business growing to the point of his construction company being used in excavation of the World Trade Towers site and, more importantly to racing, the building in the swampland of northern New Jersey of a racetrack named The Meadowlands, now North America’s flagship harness operation.

Burroughs became an owner in the 1970s, and began to drive his horses in the Billings Amateur Series in the early 1980s. When he needed a fulltime trainer to oversee his growing stable, he turned to a Swedish expatriate named Jimmy Takter, himself now a Hall of Famer, and Burroughs’ harness racing successes really hit high gear, especially after purchasing Malabar Farms in New Jersey with his wife Barbara in 1982.

Burroughs and Takter teamed to produce the filly Gleam, an earner of over $580,000 and the winner, with Burroughs driving, of the Hambletonian Oaks, filly companion race to the famed Hambletonian.

But even brighter lightning was to strike for them only a few years later, with Malabar Man. This Supergill–Lady Love McBur homebred had a rough start as a 2-year-old in 1996, with Burroughs needing heart surgery and Malabar Man needing to overcome foot difficulties. But at two Malabar Man won 13 starts, including the Breeders Crown, and was voted divisional champion.

At three in 1997, Malabar Man had a storybook campaign, winning the Hambletonian for his amateur driver. USTA photo.

At three in 1997, he had a storybook campaign, winning the Hambletonian for his amateur driver (only the second amateur driver to win the classic), the Breeders Crown, the prestigious Orsi Mangelli Trot in Italy, and Horse of the Year honors.

Malabar Man will now be “reunited” with his breeder/owner/driver in the Hall.

Malabar Man’s Hambletonian triumph, combined with Gleam’s Oaks win, makes Burroughs one of only a dozen drivers, and the only amateur, to “do the Hambo double,” with many of the other drivers already enshrined in the Hall.

Burroughs always found the time to make major contributions to the sport’s leading organizations, including the Hall of Fame, the Hambletonian Society, and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation, in addition to his largesse to the Seton Hall Seminary, which played such a large part in his early life.

Burroughs will be feted for his 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 his Hall induction, July 6, 2025, at the annual Hall of Fame dinner in Goshen.

A separate release summarizes the careers of Tom Aldrich, Bob Boni, and Chris Ryder, who were named by the Screening Committee from USHWA nominations to go on this summer’s Hall of Fame balloting, where they will be joined by Communicators Hall of Fame nominees Judy Davis-Wilson and Debbie Little, selected by USHWA’s directors. 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.

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