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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Sports > Sports Columns >> Raceway Wrap

Lohmeyer winning the race against time

Dec 19, 2014

By John Manzi - columnist

Ed Lohmeyer, with his cousin John Manzi, is enjoying his sixth decade of harness racing success.
When Eddie Lohmeyer was a youngster, he always knew he wanted a career in harness racing. At age 12, he worked with his uncle, Al Manzi (Catello's father) who at that time trained horses at the fabled Good Time Park in Goshen. Every chance he had, Lohmeyer would go to a training or racing facility to work with the horses.
And it was understandable since he was a member of a large harness racing family which not only included his dad and brother, but three uncles and five cousins, including yours truly.
Upon graduating Monticello High School in 1961, Lohmeyer never even gave college a thought opting instead to train and drive harness horses.
Right from the reel, Eddie showed that he had talent and as a youngster, he developed into an outstanding driver and showed he could handle a race horse with the best of the seasoned veterans.

Though barely out of his teens, Lohmeyer was off to a burgeoning career as a harness driver but all was interrupted when in the mid-1960's Uncle Sam said: “Here I Am.” And given the choice after being drafted, Lohmeyer opted to join the proud Marines and served in Vietnam.
Upon returning to the States after his tour of duty, Lohmeyer picked up where he left off. He won driving titles at Green Mountain Park, Freehold Raceway, Atlantic City Raceway, Liberty Bell Park and Monticello Raceway and his stable grew larger and more powerful.
But Lohmeyer was smarter than most in that he also possessed a great business acumen. And his talent for training, driving and buying and selling race horses, has paid major dividends.
His first great horse was his dad's homebred colt, Eddy Jeff, named for him and his brother Jeffrey. Eddy Jeff was the leading money winning two-year-old pacer in the nation in 1971 when the colt earned in excess of $110,000.
Hooking up with such patrons as Stonegate Farms, Bob Tucker, John Stoddard, Peter Heffering, John Van Kirk and even former Secretary of the Treasury, Bill Simon, Lohmeyer, a kid from the country, developed into a class act, a persona that has followed him throughout his career.
By 1980 Lohmeyer had driven over 2,000 winners mostly in an era where the opportunity to race horses was limited to just eight or nine months a year.
Over the years, he has developed some of the biggest names in racing. Horses like Pacific Rocket; Pacific Fella, Landslide, Nuclear Siren, Mickie Rodney Skipper Dexter, Dunroven, Pacific Dynasty, Joanna's Time and others too numerous to mention have vaulted Lohmeyer to the top of the game. He is one of the most respected horsemen competing today.
Now, in his sixth decade in the standardbred industry, in recent years, Eddie turns the lines over to some of the sports top catch-drivers, which also included his cousin, Cat Manzi, that is before he retired from driving.
Lohmeyer will admit that one of his all-time favorite horses was Eddy Jeff, obviously because the colt was a family pet and the first star of his illustrious career. But when asked flat out, he will tell you that from the countless horses he has developed or has been involved with in the nearly 55 years he's been in the game, Pacific Fella is his all-time favorite even choosing him over his $2.33 million earner, Pacific Rocket.
“Pacific Fella was gritty and a great race horse. In fact he still holds the Hoosier Park (Indianapolis, Ind.) track record of 1:48:2 set almost nine years ago,” he boasts. “And even with the fast miles they go today that mark has yet to be topped.”
Lohmeyer's career could fill a book or even be good fodder for a movie, and to single out a few of his wonderful experiences is no easy task. But of all the champions he has come across in his lifetime, none is finer than his lovely and accomplished wife, Dr. Patty Hogan, the extraordinary veterinarian of Smarty Jones and Afleet Alex fame.
In an industry where owners often change trainers, to this day, after nearly 45 years, Lohmeyer still trains horses for Bob Tucker's Stonegate Farm. In fact, last year Tucker's two-year old pacing filly sensation, Ideal Nuggets, trained by Lohmeyer, took a record of 1:50.2 earned nearly $190,000, and figures to be among the best sophomore pacing fillies during the 2015 campaign.
“I guess I've been blessed in all aspects of my life,” he admits. “I've had some great horses over the years and no way am I ready to hang up my colors. Who knows, that Hambletonian or Little Brown Jug winner may come from my barn one of these days.”

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