Jules Siegel, owner of Fashion Farms in Pennsylvania, twice national owner of the year in the U.S. and Owner of the Decade (2000s) as named by Standardbred Canada, and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, an important breeder, owner, and board member of organizations on both sides of the Atlantic, were named ballot candidates for the sport’s most prestigious honour, the Harness Racing Hall of Fame, this past weekend by the Hall of Fame Screening Committee of the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA).
Siegel, who will turn 90 this year, graduated from Rutgers with a degree in pharmacy, and operated a chain of drug stores for 40 years. When he sold the drug stores in 1995, his wife and partner, Arlene, who passed away in 2010, insisted, “you cannot retire to nothing,” so the Siegels’ Fashion Farms soon became home to some of Standardbred racing’s best broodmares and racehorses.
Tagliabue won the Hambletonian the year Jules Siegel retired – the first of eight Dan Patch Award winners for him. He has five Breeders Crown victories to his credit as well, three of them homebreds with the farm’s ‘Broadway’ first name: Broadway Hall, Broadway Schooner, and Broadway Donna just last year.
Wallenius-Kleberg is the owner of Menhammar Stuteri AB, the most successful breeding farm in Sweden for the last nine years; her family has owned the farm for 70 years, having been purchased in 1947 by her father Olof Wallenius. Menhammar Stuteri is noted for having stood the transcontinental champion Mack Lobell at stud, and also for standing two stallions sent to Sweden by Wallenius-Kleberg’s business partner, the late Hall of Famer Norman Woolworth: Zoot Suit and Smokin Yankee.
A tireless worker for the sport, Wallenius-Kleberg is a director of the Hambletonian Society in the U.S., and in 2011 received the Pinnacle Award for promotion of the sport. In Sweden, she was the former chair of the Swedish Breeders Association and of the organization operating Solvalla Racetrack, home of the famous Elitlopp, and is an honourary lifetime member of these two organizations and of the Swedish Trotting Association. If elected, Ms. Wallenius-Kleberg would become the first woman enshrined in the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg were among nominees sent in by the chapters of USHWA for the consideration of the Screening Committee. After meeting with an Advisory Committee comprised of Hall of Famers, USHWA’s Screening Committee made its decisions on the day of the annual Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, the first Sunday in July.
Siegel and Wallenius-Kleberg will be joined on the midsummer ballot by Carl Becker, race-caller/auctioneer/pedigree authority, and Dave Briggs, nine-time winner of the Hervey Award for outstanding writing about the sport; they are the candidates for the Communicators Hall of Fame. If a nominee receives 75 per cent of the yes-no votes cast, she or he will be elected. The results will be announced shortly after Labour Day.
The new Hall of Famers will be first feted at the Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday, February 25, 2018 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, in conjunction with USHWA’s annual meetings. The new Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted during the Hall of Fame Sunday Dinner in 2018 on July 1.