Longtime horseman Theodore "Ted” Taylor, a member of the Harness Horsemen's Hall of Fame in both Michigan and Florida, died Dec. 2, 2013. He was 86.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on a farm in London, Ohio, Mr. Taylor joined the Navy after graduating from high school, serving from 1944-48. He earned Atlantic and Pacific campaign ribbons, and was a gunner's mate 3rd class when discharged.
Mr. Taylor learned his Standardbred skills from his grandfather and father. His base of operations was primarily in Michigan, where he raced at Hazel Park and Wolverine Harness Raceway. He also wintered at Pompano Park as well as campaigning some in New York at Roosevelt and Yonkers.
Mr. Taylor got a big boost in his career in 1963 when he joined forces with Ohio-based owner C.M. Saunders. It was during this time Mr. Taylor won with well-known horses such as General Knox, Iona Bay, Lovergirlnik and Sonny Fortune. Among his victories were several Michigan and Wolverine Futurities.
Mr. Taylor also drove Strike Out to a win in the second heat of the 1971 Fox Stake at the Indiana State Fair. Strike Out was driven by trainer John Hayes to a victory in the first heat, but when Hayes became ill afterward, Mr. Taylor stepped into the sulky and the 2-year-old colt pacer won the second heat in 1:58.
Another of Mr. Taylor's great horses was Lola's Express, who dominated the trotting ranks in the Midwest in the early 1970s. Among his other stars were Local Time, Fast Clip, Dexter Hanover and Bret's Triumph.
In 1976, Mr. Taylor won the driving title at Pompano Park with a then track-record 109 victories.
Mr. Taylor retired from driving in 1998 with 2,617 career victories and $7.37 million in purse earnings. After his retirement he worked for a few years as director of the VIP Room at Hazel Park.
Mr. Taylor is survived by hiswife of 54 years, Judith Ann Waters Taylor; sisters, Phyllis T. Jacob, Eunice T. (Hugh) Mac Rae and Nancy T. (Bill) Robinson; and nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James R.; and sisters, Mary T. Brown and Sue Ellen Harrison.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.