Hall of Fame


belle acton

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Inducted as a: 
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The Widower
Diane Scot
Sire of Dam: 

Belle Acton was the daughter of The Widower and Diane Scot by Scotland. Bred by Bonnie Brae Farm and Cliff Thro, she was originally purchased by Bill Haughton as a yearling for a modest $1,600. Haughton sold her to George B. Landers of Kittery, Maine but continued to train and drive her. After nine months of campaigning, she made her last start as a two-year-old at Yonkers Raceway in the Autumn Pace. Catch-driven by Stanley Dancer, Belle Acton smashed all records for two-year-old pacers on a half-mile track, winning by a margin of 19 lengths in 2:02 2/5. She finished out the year winning 15 of 21 starts.

As a three-year-old, Belle Acton dominated the filly ranks and even bested the colts when raced in mixed company. Out of her 24 starts in 1956, Belle Acton saw 19 victories, including Roosevelt Raceway's inaugural Messenger Stake, where she set a world record with a combined time of 4:03; the Flora Temple at Vernon Downs, where she tied the world record for three-year-old pacing fillies at 1:59; and the Grandview Ohio Futurity #1 in Toledo, beating the highly regarded colt Steamin Demon in a third heat race-off. During this same year, Belle Acton broke her own 1:59 race record during a time trial at Lexington in T1:58.3.

At four, Belle Acton set a new mark for four-year-old racing mares at Sportsman's Park in Chicago with a 2:00.4 win. At Roosevelt Raceway, she defeated Dale Frost and the favored Adios Harry, ending the year with a record of 13-4-2 in 27 starts. In 1958, as a five-year-old, Belle Acton continued to win races and set records, including a world record in the Pacing Derby, beating Quick Chief's two-heat record of 4:00.3 with her heats of 1:59.3 and 2:00.1. Her lifetime tally by 1958 was 58 wins and $347,273 in earnings. At the time, it was more than any other Standardbred had ever earned. She was the first and only mare of either gait to beat 2:00 on a half-mile track. For her significant efforts, Belle Acton was voted the 1958 Pacing Horse of the Year. Because of her continued dominance of the Transamerican Pacing Series, its sponsor, Harness Tracks of America, was forced to review the race conditions.

In 1959, at the age of six, Belle Acton made only two starts. She finished third to her nemesis, Widower Creed, in 2:01 at Yonkers in a $25,000 free-for-all pace. Her lifetime earnings were $353,062. Because of recurring bouts of lameness that would not respond to treatment, Belle Acton was retired. As is often the case with great race mares, she was a shy breeder, and her role as a broodmare was limited. She only delivered four foals: three fillies and one colt. None impacted the sport of harness racing in the same way as their dam.


Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2001 Souvenir Journal