MHHA Hall of Fame 

Help us build out our MHHA Hall of fame by sending pictures of people or horses that we can post along side them on the website. You can email photos to [email protected], please remember to tell us who is in each photo. 

2020  Jim Jackson
2020  Joe Putnam
2019  Todd Buter
2019  Mike Watson
2018  Henry Wilson
2018  Larry Jones
2018  Marotta Family
2017  Paul Kennedy
2017 Vince Copeland
2016  Larry Horn 
2016  Darrell Wright
2015 Brad Kramer  
2015 Kelly Goodwin 
2015 Patty Gira
2014 Dave Bolenbaugh 
2014 Gale Moen 
2013 Charles Taylor 
2013 Don Price
2012  Gene Oldford


Gene was born to parents Stephen and Clara (Hallett) Oldford on July 28, 1932 in Detroit. He graduated from Croswell-Lexington High School in 1950 and attended St. Clair County Jr. College and the University of Michigan. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean war, stationed in Panama. 

Gene, along with his brother Bill, acquired Huron Tool and Manufacturing, now Huron Inc., in Lexington, from their father Stephen in 1958. The company was sold to US Industries in 1968. He founded Oldford and Associates, an automotive manufacturer’s representative sales firm, in 1973 where he continued to work until his unexpected death. Gene was also co-founder of Black River Manufacturing, Port Huron, along with partners Jarold Hawks and Isaac Lang Jr. 

Always active in his community, Gene served in various leadership roles on the Worth Township Board, Boy Scouts of America, Jaycees, Croswell-Lexington Little League, Masonic Lodge and Trinity Episcopal Church. He loved horses and was very active in harness horse racing. He was a member of the United States Trotting Association and the Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association where he was honored into its Hall of Fame. He served as president of Harness Horsemen International in 2008 receiving the HHI Person of the Year Award. 

Over the years, Gene gave generously to his community establishing the Stephen and Clara Oldford Scholarship fund to assist students attending St. Clair County Community College. 

He passed away peacefully on Monday, February 25, 2019. 

2012  Mike Sweeney  
2011 Frank Utter  
2011 Jerry Smith 
2011 Ken Marshall 
2011  Larry L. Smith (April 14th, 1949 – February 4th, 2022)

Larry was born on April 14, 1949, the eldest son of Malcolm and Dorothy Smith (Chopp). He was a hard worker from a young age, working on the family farm and in the grape vineyards. Following graduation from Plainwell High School, he served his country in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971. After returning home Larry married Glenda and they were blessed with two daughters, Sheila and Tracey.

Larry trained to be a certified farrier and blacksmith and was skilled at his craft. He was a trusted blacksmith working all over the state of Michigan. Larry raced ponies before graduating to Standardbred harness horse racing. He had many memorable horses and drives over the years. He set, and still holds, multiple track records around the state. He was part of a rare triple dead heat with Skyway JayLo in 2018. He travelled to many states to race and gained many friends; among those were Ed and Penny Brown who were close friends and stable mates for many years. Larry was inducted into the Michigan Harness Horseman Hall of Fame in 2011.

In 2005, he married Sue and gained two more daughters, Heather and Beth. Larry and Sue enjoyed 16 loving years together. They also enjoyed racing and riding horses, drives to watch the sunset and being with their grandkids. Larry was a very proud Papa. Since their papa had a big tractor and took them for rides his grandchildren referred to him lovingly as Papa Tractor. He doted on them and talked about them with his friends, played VERY loud music and making sure his grandkids knew he would catch a “Grenade” for them.

He enjoyed watching them play sports, took them hunting and fishing and even shared a birthday with one of them. Papa Tractor taught them the true meaning of hard work, what “man hands” looked like, and to be kind to others. He would always tell them “Can’t never did anything”. If you couldn’t find him working with horses or attending an event for his grandkids, you could find him on the golf course.

He was also an avid hunter who enjoyed sharing his love of the outdoors with his grandchildren. Larry enjoyed a big bowl of popcorn or ice cream for an evening treat. After fair races, he would share his love of chocolate covered cherry flurries and fries with vinegar and “just a little” salt with whoever came along.

When remembering Larry many will think of the V of his race colors, white, and gold and green (especially those behind him in the races.) 

2010  John Putnam
2010  RC “Sam” Johnson 
2010 Tom Harmer  
2009  Jack Calvert 
2009  Keith Crawford
2009  Ron Wrenn
2009  Sam McKee
2008  Eddie Morgan Jr 
2008  Jeff James 
2008   Peter Wrenn 
2008 Phil Peavyhouse 
2007 Charlie Kline 
2007  George McCarney  
2007 Grove Stimer 
2007 Norman Forsyth
2006 Allen Tomlinson 
2006 Bill Jowett 
2006 Terry Tomlin 
2006  Karen Greengard 
2005  Al Terwilliger 
2005  Harold Fisher
2005  Merritt Dokey 
2004  Carl Allen 
2004  Lee Sattelburg 
2004  Robert Williams Sr.
2003  Alvin Looman 
2003  Ernie Sworthwood 
2002  Don McIlmurray 
2002  Joe Konen 
2001  Bill Brown 
2001  George Davis
2001  John Gibson DVM
2000  Gordon & Diane Norris
2000  Ted Taylor
1999  Bea Farber
1999  Chuck Sylvester 
1998  Carl Putnam Jr
1998  Frank O’Mara
1997  Dale Larson
1997  Rex Putnam
1996  Richard Elconin
1996  Wally McIlmurray Sr.
1995  Irving “Baldy” Utter 
1995  Marj Bennett
1994  Henry Reynolds 
1994  Nick Rothe 
1993  Burrell Downing 
1993 Doc Bennett
1992  CJ Osborn 
1992  Douglas J Ackerman 
1991  Art Putnam 
1991  Chris Boring
1990  Fred McNabb 
1990  George Rattenbury

1989  Jack McCraken

Jack L. McCracken

Mr. McCracken was born on June 29, 1915 in Newberry to the late Anson and Ethel (Alger) McCracken and was raised in Marquette. Upon graduating from high school, Jack served three years with the U.S. Coast Guard until serving during World War II with the U.S. Navy.

After the war, Jack attended the Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Chicago graduating from there in 1947. He returned to Marquette and in 1948 purchased the Swanson Funeral Home from Albert E. Swanson. He owned and managed the funeral home until his retirement on December 31, 1976. During his tenure in funeral service, Jack was active in the Michigan Funeral Directors Association serving as its president from 1969-1970. He also sat on the state board of examiners in mortuary science for 9 years through appointments by former governors Milliken and Blanchard.

Besides being very involved in the funeral profession, Jack owned and operated Valley Oak Farm in Marquette, which has been in the McCracken family for two generations where he raised and raced Trotters and Pacers. Known across the Midwest as an accomplished horse racer, Jack was a lifetime member of the Michigan Harness Horsemens Association serving on its board of directors for 15 years and as their president from 1979-1984. He was also inducted into the Michigan Harness Racing Hall of Fame.

A civic leader as well, Jack was instrumental in establishing the Marquette Iron Rangers Hockey Club, was a charter member of the Marquette Exchange Club, a charter member of the Marquette Ambassadors, was formerly active in the Marquette Area Chamber of Commerce, served on the Marquette County Commission for 2 terms and was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Marquette and a former member of the Marquette Golf and Country Club. Jack was also a life member of Marquette Lodge #101 Free and Accepted Masons, Marquette Chapter #43, R.A.M., Scottish Rite Valley of Marquette and the Ahmed Temple Shrine.

Survivors include his loving wife of 65 years, the former Helen P. Grigg who he married on June 28, 1939 in Marquette; a cherished daughter, Marcia McCracken; one sister, Lois St. Onge all of Marquette; also many nieces and nephews. Preceding him in death besides his parents was a 9 year-old son, Larry in 1949; 3 sisters, Helen, Donna and Theo and a brother, James.

1989  Paul Linehan 
1989  Robert Huff
1988  Andy Adams
1988  Archie Niles Sr
1988  Jim Adams
1987  Francis Dodge Van Lennep
1987  John Carlo 
1987  Orin K Grettenberger   
1986  Charles Coon Sr  
1986  Fedele Fauri  
1986  Leon Boring 
1986  Leon Slavin                                                       
1986  Tom Winn 


2020  LT’s Best – 2003 , T, 6, 1:53.3F $467,995
LT’s Best had a fantastic 12-year racing career filled with several highlights including, money earnings in The American National Trot at Balmoral, The Patriot Trot at Colonial, The Dygert Memorial Trot at Hawthorne, and a three week win streak in the Open-Trot at Hazel Park in 2007. LT recorded 28 wins in 117 starts (177 28-43-24) posting a career earnings of $467,995. He took his lifetime mark in the Green Speed open trot in 1:53.3 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. 

LT’s Best

2020  Biletnikoff

2019  She’s A Priority – 1998 , T, 4, 1:58.2F $272,466
She’s a Priority’s racing had a strong career as a 2, 3, and 4-year old, earning 272,466 with a mark of 1:58.1. As a 2-year-old she was the winner of the Michigan Futurity, Wolverine Futurity, and Ekination of the Sire Stakes. She came back strong in her 3-year-old season winning the Sire Stakes, Fedele Futurity, and Breeder’s Futurity. As a 4-year old she took home victories in the Michigan-Bred Pari-Mutual and the Conn Futurity. She is a homebred by Catch a Thrill by Super Gill out of Priority Rose, and has been a strong brood mare career. She has 12 foals with earnings over 2 million. Her best foal, Press Digitator by Canadian sire Cadabra, was the winner of the Ontario Sire Stakes at both 2 and 3-years-old. Her second best foal, Allusioneestra, was the winner of the O’Brian Award as a 3-year-old. 

“She’s A Priority” maintains her lead on “JX” at Swartz Creek Raceway.

2019  Fancy Arbor – 1976 , T, 3, 1:59.4M $167,931
Fancy Arbor was purchased as a yearling in 1977 by CJ Osborn and set multiple fair track records, a few which still stand today including at Big Rapids. She’s the winner of the Matron Stakes in the Grand Circuit. She has a career total of 42 wins in 78 starts (78 42-13-7) in just 3 years of racing. 

2018  Special Report
2018  Small Favors
2017 Vacationing
2017  Coventry
2016  Sis’s Image
2016  Turn To Reason
2015 Lockeeper
2015 Midnight Jewel
2014 Strikadeeze
2014 Thin Blue Line
2013 Don’t Toy With Me
2013 Tendin To Business
2012 JC
2012 Keystone Nordic
2011 Aeropostale
2011 Always In Style
2011 Mr Minority
2010 Informant
2010 Platinum Card
2010 Rair Earth
2009  Benn’s Riverdance
2009  Leader’s Best
2008  Clearly Clout
2008  Escrow Dancer
2008  Final Cheers
2008  Jane’s Pride

2007 Admiral’s Express -gr p 1:48.2s WDB $2,176,860 1996

2007  Allright Sweetie
2007  Jerry’s Cadet
2007  Leader Pick
2006 Do Me Justice
2006 Hickory Nicole
2006  PV Yam
2006 Wall Street Banker
2005  Caramel Sundae
2005  Rompaway Butch
2005  Stir Fry
2004  Admirals Galley
2004  Knight Lassie
2004 Mr Charm
2003  Jake’s Impulse
2003  Justice Brooke
2003  Veebe Rova
2002  Darvin
2002  Keystone Raider
2002  Reeds Waylay
2001  Charamar Nite Lite
2001  EnergyBurner
2001  Spinster Ball
2000 Banker Barker
2000 Noblette
1999  Armbro Cadet
1999  Supergrit
1998  Daytime Torch
1998  Jenna’s Beach Boy
1997  Cheri Apex
1997 Chicory Wind
1996  Lu’s Priority
1996  Superman
1995  Happy Sharon
1995  Vicki’s Jet
1994  Huff N Puff
1994  Night Court Dan
1993  Red Rhone
1993  Shiway Lad
1992  Cedar Ridge
1992  China Dragon
1991  Knox Hanover
1991  Shiaway St Pat
1990  Philip Brian 
1990 Scotch Valley
1989  Adios Cleo
1989  Manfred Hanover
1988  Easy Irv
1988 Nilmot Ernie
1987  Hillsota
1987  Rusty Range
1987  True Duane
1986  Duchess Faye
1986  Fanny Mite
1986  Peter the Great
1986  Royal Blackstone
1986  Tarport Devlin – Foaled in 1966, this trotter earned $25,252 in his career. More impressively, the horse sired 629 foals who have career earnings of $17,660,878. The horse sired several impressive horses including Lu’s Priority (1996 inductee), Nilmot Ernie (1988 inductee), and Davrin (2002 inductee).