Longtime Michigan-based horseman Paul Jensen died early Monday morning, Feb. 17, in Margate, Fla. He was 82.
Mr. Jensen was born on Sept. 9, 1931, in Pontiac, Mich. His career in harness racing began in the 1950s where he owned, trained and raced horses at all the racetracks in his home state, many in partnership with Don McIlmurray and Adolph "Bud” Silverstein.
One of Mr. Jensen's early successes came with the pacing mare Betty Skipper, who won many top-class events in the 1970s. Some of the other well-known horses campaigned by Mr. Jensen were the pacer Po Go and the trotter Porter Day.
He was also co-owner of the mare Turn To Reason, who produced several standout performers who he trained, including six $100,000 earners. The list includes the $399,000-winner Time To Shop, the $308,000-winner Best Reason, Bargain Hunter, Be Reasonable, Reason To Shop and Icara.
Although Mr. Jensen retired from training three years ago, he remained active as an owner. He currently owns one horse, the 4-year-old pacing mare Winbak Heavenly, who was a multiple winner on the New York Sires Stakes circuit last year and earned $141,718. Florida-based Mike Deters trains Winbak Heavenly for Mr. Jensen.
"We were going to go back to Michigan but he wanted to stay here in Florida to watch Winbak Heavenly qualify,” remembered Mr. Jensen's wife, Barb. "I told him we could go and then watch her on the computer. He looked straight at me and said, ‘They don't televise the qualifiers. So now I'm going to stay here and wait for her to qualify.'”
A memorial race is scheduled for Saturday night, Feb. 22, at Pompano Park. Mr. Jensen will be cremated and memorial services will be held in the early spring in Michigan.
Besides his wife, Mr. Jensen is survived by his step-daughter Melissa (Steve) May and a grandson, Justin.
Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of one's choice.