Island publisher Larry Resnitzky rounds up a good snapshot of the long-running sport in “World Harness Racing”, a book being launched next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino in Charlottetown.
He says he published the book to coincide with the 2017 World Trotting Conference and the fifth leg of the World Driving Championships, which are both being held this month in P.E.I.
Resnitzky, of Retromedia Publishing, says the 176-page paperback book speaks to the global nature of harness racing.
“One of the things about this book is you learn about other places,’’ he says.
“It offers the harness racing fan the exposure to a sport that they love, that they know lots about — and they find out how other jurisdictions and other countries handle the thing.’’
At a glance
What: “World Harness Racing”
Book launch: Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino in Charlottetown
Special head table guests: Island native Wally Hennessey and John Campbell – two of the greatest harness drivers in history.Hennessey is a third generation of horsemen who is most famous for his driving career with the trotter Moni Maker, once the richest Standardbred horses in history. Campbell, a native of Ontario, is the youngest person ever to be inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
Resnitzky credits P.E.I. Minister of Communities, Land and Environment Robert Mitchell with putting his stamp firmly on the project.
The former minister responsible for harness racing wrote to harness racing governing bodies of 20 countries from five continents requesting a short review of harness racing history and a selection for three of each country’s driving legends along with biographies.
Seventeen countries – Canada, U.S., Ireland, UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand — all raced to participate.
Jerry McCabe, managing editor and co-author of World Harness Racing, says the selection of driving legends chosen by the sport-governing bodies of each of the cooperating countries for the book will spark reaction.
“Any time you have to narrow a list of all-time greats, there’s going to be discussion,’’ he says.
“There’s going to be some that will surprise in a pleasant way and some that will surprise by omission.’’
McCabe is joined by fellow harness racing columnists Melissa Keith, Trish Dooling and Shannon “Sugar’’ Doyle in capturing the harness racing history of 17 countries.
Resnitzky was struck by Russia’s fascinating history in harness racing, including holding claim to being the country where the first officially recognized trotting horse — the Orlov Trotter —was developed by Count Alexey Orlov-Chesmenskiy.
The book gives great exposure to Prince Edward Island as a province that has long embraced harness racing.
“We thought it was our duty, even though this is a world harness racing book, to give P.E.I. the extra profile – and we did,’’ says Resnitzky.