Bob Quigley, the "point man" for the development and operation of the Meadowlands for three decades the focal racetrack of world harness racing, and Dick Stillings, an Ohioan turned Pennsylvanian known for his ability to get the best out of an equine athlete, especially during a fruitful relationship with owner Roy Davis, have been selected for midsummer ballot consideration as candidates for the sport's most prestigious honor, membership in Harness Racing's Living Hall of Fame.
Stillings and Quigley were selected from a list of candidates submitted by the member chapters of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), with the Screening Committee, a group of USHWAns who bring broad expertise to the table, meeting with an Advisory Committee of Hall of Famers, then using the input of the meetings to winnow down the many candidates to the final choices--this year Quigley and Stillings.
Bob Quigley was the manager of the Meadowlands during the years when the New Jersey track earned its deserved-lofty reputation. Working with NJ Authority president Sonny Werblin, Quigley both took advice from the Delvin Millers of the sport and brought his own distinctive, innovative, and informed patterns of thought to establish The Big M at the forefront of world harness racing, especially in the areas of the actual racing (aided by Hall of Famer and race secretary Joe DeFrank), communications, and customer service.
Quigley also served in important positions at the Atlantic City and Garden State racetracks (and as at The Meadowlands, in both Standardbred and Thoroughbred capacities) and Retama Park in Texas, but his biggest legacy to the sport is his very important role at The Meadowlands as the track came to symbolize all that was good about harness racing in the last quarter of the 20th century.
Dick Stillings got his early grounding in the sport from Hall of Fame immortal Dick Buxton, then established himself as a top trainer-driver--just as the sport started to move towards trainers specializing in training and drivers specializing in driving. Stillings did both, and did them well--and continues to do both well, to this day ranking highly among the horsemen's colony at his "adopted" home of The Meadows.
At The Meadows, Stillings and owner Roy Davis formed a partnership that sent out a series of hard-battling Grand Circuit types, all of them with the nickname "Spur" after Davis's favorite football (soccer to Americans) team, Tottenham Hotspur of England. Among the million-dollar winners Stillings produced were Barberry Spur, a Little Brown Jug winner who also made Stillings the first locally-based driver to win The Adios; Jaguar Spur, Jug winner the year after Barberry; and Kentucky Spur, a Breeders Crown champion at two.
Quigley and Stillings will now join Communicators Hall of Fame candidates Bob "Hollywood" Heyden and Sam McKee--slightly ironically, both media stars at the track Quigley helped establish, The Meadowlands--that will be sent to eligible USHWAns and, for the Living Hall of Fame voting, elected Hall of Famers. Those receiving 75 percent of the voting will join their Hall, and be honored with ceremonies at both the 2013 Harness Congress in Fort Lauderdale in early March, and the formal induction at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame the first Sunday of July 2013.
In the 2012 Induction ceremonies held Sunday, internationally-praised trainer Jimmy Takter was introduced into the Living Hall of Fame, while journalists and positive harness racing forces Jean Emerson and Moira Fanning were inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame. (USHWA)