Liberty Bell Reunion Night a success
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Eddie Davis, the all-time winningest driver/trainer at Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway with nine titles at both tracks, plus a national dash winning title one year, was trackside, meeting horsemen and women, former employees and race fans.
"This was so great tonight," Davis said. "I saw people from Liberty Bell that I haven't seen in 30 years. What a great idea. When they called and invited me to come to the track for this, I could not say no. Now I am really looking forward to coming back for the Brandywine Reunion Night."
"We were pretty worried that people would not come out because of the severe thunderstorms and rain we had earlier in the afternoon," said Barry Brown, director of racing operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "But the rain ended by 5:30 p.m. and we had a great crowd come out and everyone really enjoyed themselves."
Other horsemen and owners from the Liberty Bell Park days that came out included Joe Green, Jimmy Larente Jr., Alvin Stafford, Kim Hankins, John Polvinale, Rick Wyatt and Dave Krelow. Former employees in attendance were Communicators Hall of Famers Marv Bachrad, Jerry Connors and Steve Wolf along with Judy Davis Wilson, Peter Lawrence, John Pantalone, Al Kraszewski and former Philadelphia Inquirer horse racing writer Jack Chevalier. Representing the PHHA were Peter Marinari and Ed Kobesky.
The memorabilia contest featured hundreds of items including race programs, photographs, giveaway items, even an original letter from the owner of Liberty Bell Park to Herve Filion congratulating him on winning that year's driving title. The top prize of $150 went to Alvin Stafford's family, who brought in the original first race finish and win circle photo of Majesty's Knight from opening night in 1963.
"Tonight, was so overwhelming to me," said horseman Jimmy Larente Jr. "I had not been back to a racetrack since 1989 and had forgotten so many people. When I saw someone I thought I knew, and they looked at me the same way, we introduced ourselves and then hugged and talked about the old days. It kept bringing tears of joy to my eyes. I will not miss the next two reunions for sure."
Details for the Garden State Park Reunion Night will be announced shortly. For the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night, the first 400 race fans to purchase a Harrah's race program, will get a special Summer Series T-Shirt. (Harrah's Philadelphia)