HALL OF FAMER TED WING, 74, DIES
-- USTA Communications Dept.
COLUMBUS, OH -- September 14, 2022 -- Ted Wing, 74, died peacefully on Sept. 13, 2022 surrounded by his family after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mr. Wing was born on July 30, 1948 in Greenville, Maine and came from a harness racing family. Mr. Wing’s grandfather Harold raced in Maine before the turn of the last century and his father Morris also trained and raced on the Maine circuit. He started out in racing on skis and became an alpine champion as a young man, but his love of racing would lead him to his life’s work and that began in 1964 at Aroostook Raceway, Presque Isle, Maine.
Mr. Wing was a natural in the bike and quickly became the leading driver in New England from 1970-75. The following year he made the move to the New York-New Jersey circuit to compete against the best in the business and his timing couldn’t have been better as his move coincided with the opening of The Meadowlands Racetrack, where he drove in the first race there.
Some of his many career highlights include driving Jazzy Spark in the very first Meadowlands Pace in 1977, owning, training and driving Kerry Gold to a world record of 1:53.4 at The Meadowlands in 1978, training and driving Courageous Lady in 1979, winning the George Morton Levy final with Skip By Night in 1982 and also setting the world half-mile track record of 1:55.3 for older pacers at Yonkers that same year, defeating On The Road Again with The Butler GB in the 1984 Prix D’Ete, driving Desert Ruler in the 1984 Hambletonian, finishing second in the 1987 Woodrow Wilson Pace with Prince Royce as the owner, trainer and driver and winning the 1986 Battle Of Brandywine with Wilcos Data.
Mr. Wing sat behind a long list of great horses during his career including Calvert, Cambest, Crown’s Star, Forest Skipper, Gallo Blue Chip, Shady Daisy, Tarport Hap and Whata Baron and was a “go-to” guy for Stanley Dancer, Billy Haughton and Howard Beissinger for years when they needed a driver.
Mr. Wing was not only successful with stake horses, he was also known as a keen judge of overnight talent and made many successful claims during his life. His first year at The Meadowlands he took horses like Fathers Image and Jewells Dream and moved them right up the ladder. Probably his best claim was Art Attack, who he took for $50,000 on Hambletonian Day in 2001 and went on to win 39 races and $650,000 over the next five seasons.
And Mr. Wing’s sulky skills did not diminish with age as he continued to experience much success as he drew close to retirement. A week after turning 60, Mr. Wing drove Francam to a second-place finish behind With Anticipation, who won the race in the season’s fastest pace time of 1:47.2. Francam was timed in 1:48 and Mr. Wing became the only 60-year-old driver to ever go that fast.
Accolades for Mr. Wing were many through the years. At the age of 38 Mr. Wing was the youngest person ever elected into the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame alongside close friends and competitors Jimmy Doherty and Billy O’Donnell in 1986. He was also inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in that same year. But he gained his greatest honor when he was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. in 2019.
During his career, Mr. Wing won many races and as such, many driving titles. He was the youngest American-born driver to win 1,000 and then 2,000 career races. After his New England success he won his first driving title in the Metropolitan area at Meadowlands in 1978, and then went on to win many more at tracks that included Roosevelt and Yonkers, where he captured his 5,000th victory in 2007 with Pappy’s Folly.
According to the USTA, Mr. Wing won races for 48 consecutive years and all tallied finished with 5,139 victories and $33,155,751 in earnings.
Mr. Wing will be greatly missed by his beloved wife of 48 years, Jackie Allen Wing, and his two children; Stacey Palazzotto (Vinny) and Ryan Wing (Lauren) and 4 grandchildren. He will also be missed by his devoted rescue dog Curly Sue.
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