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New York horseman William Bailey dies

September 30, 2018
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William Bailey died Thursday, Sept. 27, at home surrounded by loved ones after an arduous battle with cancer. He was 54.
 
Mr. Bailey was destined to enter the harness racing industry. He was born in DeLand, Fla., on April 6, 1964, to Jack Bailey and Ann Canton (daughter of Elzoara and Leon Canton).
 
He began riding and driving ponies at a young age and eventually assisted his father's racing stable, grooming and training the race horses under his father's direction.
 
Being young and of an independent nature, he moved west to Ohio. He began working (grooming/training) for Gil Short. He had a successful career in Ohio racing/driving in the Ohio Sire Stakes and Grand Circuit. He became the youngest harness racing driver to win the (Little Brown) Jug Preview in 1988 with Archie Almahurst. He then returned to New York to begin his own racing stable based at Vernon Downs. In 1991, he won the Dick Mumpton Memorial Award for upcoming drivers. He raced primarily in New York and Pennsylvania while remaining based out of Vernon for the remainder of his racing career.
 
Mr. Bailey was known for his sense of humor and general good will. He could make anyone laugh or smile when needed. He enjoyed sports and was a fan of Syracuse basketball, the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, and NASCAR.
 
He was preceded in death by his mother, Ann Canton; father, Jack; sister, Deborah Dougherty; and brother Jack L. He is survived by his longtime companion/wife, Ann Yurenka; step-mother, Madeline; children, Leon, Nichole, Kayla Lum, and Ashley Eldred; siblings, James, Jeff (Amy), Jaclyn and Debra (William) Cook; five grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
 
There will be a memorial service on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 4-6 p.m. at the Maleki Funeral Home in Vernon N.Y.; however, per his request, the funeral/burial is private for family only.
 
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (http://www.adoptahorse.org/) and/or Hospice. (USTA)
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