Carl Allen was born on November 23, 1929 in Wheeler, Michigan. He started out in vacuum cleaner sales, but his hobbies of motorcycle racing and rodeo riding revealed a penchant for more exciting activities. After a sulky ride around the track at a county fair, Allen transferred his affections to harness racing. In 1968, his first full year of driving and training, Allen earned less than $5,000. He quickly rose from owning and training overnight horses to stakes racing, initially taking advantage of the lucrative Ohio Sire Stakes program in the 1970s.
Driving Mo Bandy 3,2:00.4 ($148,407), Allen won the 1981 Yonkers Trot, but he truly vaulted onto harness racing’s national scene with a victory in the 1983 Meadowlands $1.7 million Woodrow Wilson, behind the homebred pacer Carls Bird p,2,1:55.3 ($1,180,292). Allen had previously campaigned the colt’s sire, world champion Sundance Skipper p,3,1:56h ($24,966).
In 1992, driven by son Rod, the Allen stable campaigned three-year-old pacing colt Carlsbad Cam p,3,1:51 ($1,124,482), winner of that year’s Meadowlands Pace. Allen’s homebred Royal Troubador 2,1:57.1 ($899,501), winner of the 1989 Breeders Crown and 1990 Yonkers Trot, became a successful stallion, and produced 1995 Horse of the Year and 2005 Hall of Fame inductee CR Kay Suzie 4,1:52.3 ($1,611,131).
Major victories for Allen-trained CR Kay Suzie included the 1994 Merrie Annabelle and Goldsmith Maid, 1995 World Trotting Derby, Breeders Crown, Beacon Course and Yonkers Trot, and the 1996 Breeders Crown. A world champion, CR Kay Suzie won 18 of 24 starts with career earnings of $1,611,131. In 1995 she became just the eighth distaff Standardbred to be voted Horse of the Year since balloting began in 1947. She also garnered the titles of Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly in 1994, Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly and Trotter of the Year in 1995, and Trotting Mare of the Year in 1996.
Allen trained and drove 1998 Dan Patch Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year, Breeders Crown winner and world champion CR Commando 2,1:53.2z ($378,602). Trained by Allen and driven by Rod was CR Renegade 3,1:53.4 ($903,785), winner of the 1999 Breeders Crown, Beacon Course and Yonkers Trot. Both CR Kay Suzie and CR Renegade are out of Hall of Fame broodmare Country Kay Sue, a lifelong member of the Allen stable.
In 1993 Allen was inducted into the Van Lennep Florida Harness Racing Hall of Fame. The following year he was voted Glen Garnsey Trainer of the Year. Allen received the New Jersey USHWA Chapter’s Stanley Dancer Award in 1996, and in 1998 he and son Rod were named Owners of the Year by the Grand Circuit. In 1999 Allen received Sports Eye’s William Haughton Memorial Award.
Carl Allen died in a farming accident on May 24, 2004 at his Golden Cross Farm in Ocala, Florida at the age of 74. He was posthumously awarded the 2004 United States Harness Writers Association’s prestigious Proximity Award.