Man seeks records, memorabilia of forgotten champion
An Indiana man whose grandfather trained a now-forgotten harness-racing champion of the 1930s and 1940s is appealing to anyone in Butler County who may have pictures or other memorabilia.
Mike Worsham of Bourbon, Ind., is looking for information on a racehorse named Little Pat who, according to Worsham, set a world record as a 2-year-old harness racer in 1935.
Little Pat established world records as a 2-, 3- and 4-year-old and in the aged-pacer category. He won 73 of 104 races and $43,563 in lifetime earnings.
“My grandfather (A.J. Worsham) bred, raised and trained that horse. In harness racing, the horse set a world record as a 2-year-old,” Worsham said. “He set the fastest time as a 2-year-old gelding at 2:063/4.”
Little Pat was sold to a Butler resident named Homer Biery in 1936. Biery raced the horse for seven more years until Little Pat was retired in 1943, the year Biery died.
The horse was a premiere race horse that won many awards in the late 1930s and early ’40s, he said.
According to a June 1962 article in Hoof Beats magazine, during his nine-year racing career, Little Pat held nine world championships and finished third or better in 87% of his races.
“During the late 1930s and early ‘190s, ” stated the Hoof Beats article, “when the sport was very much in need of heroes for its very survival, the swift gelding became one of the best-known sulky speeders in the nation.”
Little Pat lived until 1965. At the time of his death, the horse was owned by Guy B. Hunter and kept on a farm in Emlenton, where Hunter built a half-mile track where the former racer could be put through his paces
Paul Wilder, the librarian of the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y., said Little Pat was nominated to the hall as an “immortal” in 1974. The immortal designation meant he was elected to the hall after his death.
Wilder said, “He was elected by a committee of harness racing intelligencia. His performance as a racehorse and the fact that he established several world records was the reason.”
Worsham said Little Pat was buried on what is now the Hunt-Lo Farm in Emlenton, and at one time his grave was marked with a headstone.
“We were at the farm. However, the guy that owns the farm was unreceptive, so I was not able to get out on the ground,” Worsham said. “He doesn’t want anybody around.”
Worsham, the fourth-generation of his famly to be involved in harness racing, has two of the trophies awarded to Little Pat. However he is looking for any other Little Pat-related item.
“There has to be memorabilia from the above years somewhere, and we were hoping some of Biery family or anyone else in the community was still in the area with some information that we could donate to the National Hall of Fame Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, N.Y., ” Worsham said.
He added anyone with information can call him at 574-551-5352.