Yonkers—The Dan Rooney Pace has been established to honor the memory of the late, Hall of Fame Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers who passed away earlier this year, it was announced this week by his brother, Timothy J. Rooney, president and CEO Empire City Casino at Yonkers Raceway. The inaugural Dan Rooney, for a purse of $250,000, will be raced on Saturday afternoon, October 14, as part of the stellar $3.3 million harness racing card highlighted by the $1 million Yonkers International Trot.
In addition, Mr. Rooney announced the inaugural $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot to pay homage to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame trainer and driver, also to be contested on October 14.
During a seven-decade career as one of the NFL’s most influential executives, Dan Rooney was the Chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the storied franchise with six Super Bowl championships, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. Mr. Rooney was also chairman of the NFL Diversity Committee, which implemented the “Rooney Rule” to provide greater opportunities in coaching and NFL front office positions for minorities.
Among his many community activities, Dan Rooney was a board member for The United Way of America, The American Ireland Fund, The American Diabetes Association, Presbyterian University Hospital, The Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, and Duquesne University.
“My brother’s contributions in sports and to the community were significant, many and lasting,” said Tim Rooney. “It is appropriate that we pay tribute to him annually with the Dan Rooney Pace on our biggest day of the year on the Yonkers International Trot card.”
Harvey won the 1953 Hambletonian behind the filly Helicopter, and at the time was the youngest driver, at age 29, to capture the premier trotting stakes. Harvey also developed, trained and drove two-time Horse of the Year Albatross during the colt’s freshman campaign. Harvey trained and drove horses for Art and Tim Rooney’s Shamrock Farms for nearly 50 years, including the champion Lismore.
Harvey trained and drove the Tim Rooney homebred Lismore, namesake of Empire City’s premier pacing filly race. Lismore was a Hall of Fame broodmare whose progeny won $4.2 million. Harvey trained most of the fillies produced by Lismore, including her daughter Lisheen, who won the 1984 Mistletoe Shalee, in which stablemate and another Rooney homebred, Newbridge, was second. His last good horse was Rooney homebred Lislea Phia, winner of $542,450 and the 2007 Matron Stake.
“Harry was a man of great integrity and superior horsemanship,” said Mr. Rooney. “He trained many of our horses, including our champion broodmare Lismore, and her fast daughter Lisheen. We are proud to name a race in his memory.”