Erwin Grossman, a long time harness racing publicist in the New York metropolitan area, died Friday, June 20, at an assisted living facility in Boca Raton, Fla. after a long illness. He was 85.
Mr. Grossman was a fixture for many years at Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways covering Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing, handicapping horses for the New York Herald Tribune. He also traveled to numerous racetracks on the east coast to cover stakes races and special events.
He reported on the grand openings at Liberty Bell Park, Monticello Raceway and Pompano Park. He attended Scioto Downs in its first year of operation, making the trip to report on the great horse Adios Butler.
Annually, when the racing season was over, Mr. Grossman filed training articles from Aiken, S.C., and Winter Haven, Fla. He was one of the first journalists that would travel extensively reporting on horse racing.
Along with Hall of Famer Clyde Hirt, then with Roosevelt Raceway publicity, Mr. Grossman also secured advertising for the annual United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA) annual awards journal.
He served as president of the New York USHWA Chapter from 1965 to 1966. He and Hall of Famer Lou Miller started a joint venture writing and publishing Trotting Times, a harness racing newspaper with entries, selections, workouts and features. He also had a stint with the NY Standardbred Owners Association writing and publishing their first house magazine, Voice.
One day Mr. Grossman picked every winner at the old Jamaica race course. A $2 parlay that day would have netted a bettor $84,000. That feat earned Grossman an appearance on the "Tonight Show” when it was hosted by Steve Allen.
His best longshot was when Hall of Famer Clint Hodgins drove Lite Direct to victory at Roosevelt Raceway and paid $112.80, the fifth largest win payoff in the track's history at that time.
After moving to Florida and becoming active in the Florida Chapter of USHWA, Erwin served as chapter vice president in 2005-2006.
He was inducted into the Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame Communicator's Corner in 2011.
He was also voted the Allen J. Finkelson Award by the Florida Chapter in 2009. This award recognizes that individual who has contributed in the sport of harness racing to the promotion of the Standardbred Industry.
The family has stated that at Erwin Grossman's request there would be no burial ceremony planned. (Florida USHWA)