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Doug Snyder wins 6,000th

April 17, 2007

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Driver Doug Snyder captured his 6,000th career victory on Monday night at The Meadows. His milestone win came in the eighth race when he guided Southwind Utica to victory--and survived an inquiry for possible interference.

A native of Fremont, Ohio, who was raised in Painesville, Snyder began his harness racing career by accompanying his father, trainer Richard Snyder, on a circuit that included Illinois, Western New York and Pocono Downs. He won with his first drive, behind Manor Grace at Balmoral Park in 1971. Oddly, he had no fair racing experience prior to that start.

“My Dad said he couldn\'t afford the equipment, so he wouldn\'t let me race at fairs,” Snyder recalls.

Richard\'s father Clare was a trainer, as was Clare\'s father William, making Snyder a fourth-generation horseman. There was never any doubt about his career choice.

“This was all I ever wanted to do,” he said. “It\'s kind of hard not to when you\'re the fourth generation.”

That also is true of his brother Dane, a successful Meadows-based trainer. While their sister Dee did not enter the business directly, she\'s married to Illinois horseman Perry Smith. Snyder lives with his wife Jan and their two children in Meadow Lands.

He settled in at The Meadows in 1973 and has had many historic drives. He steered 2-year-old pacer Angela Ty and freshman trotter Meadowmiss Hanover to world records--both in 1985--and piloted freshman filly pacer Armbro Dancer to a world record a decade later. Snyder-driven horses currently hold five Meadows track records, including the remarkable 1:56.4 mile trotted by the 2-year-old filly Eye Perfect that was achieved on a cool, blustery night not conducive to fast times.

Snyder also drove the top fast-class trotters Yankee Douglas and Columbus Hanover as well as Out Of Court, the 2-year-old filly pacer of the year in Ohio in 1993.

Those considerable accomplishments notwithstanding, it was career win 5,000 that he regards as most memorable.

“I was pretty proud of that,” he says. “That was what I really envisioned as a goal.”

At age 56, Snyder is training more horses than he used to and acknowledges that he\'s slowed down some. But he has no plans to give up driving anytime soon.

“We still dream about winning the Adios, the Little Brown Jug, the Hambletonian,” he says. “That\'s what keeps us young at heart.” (The Meadows)
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