james m. lynch
Born in Abington, Massachusetts, Jim Lynch was a former director of racing at Philadelphia's Liberty Bell Park, where he handled both the William Penn and Liberty Bell meetings. He served at several other raceways including Rosecroft, where he was general manager for ten years and Brandywine, where he was race secretary for thirteen years. He also served as an official at Old Orchard Beach in Maine, Foxboro in Massachusetts, Ponce de Leon in Florida, Hilliards in Ohio and Ocean Downs, Maryland.
James Lynch first worked with horses when he was fourteen; trainer John J. Daley gave him a summer vacation job in his stable. Lynch drove in his first race when he was sixteen. His Officiating career began with a matinee program at South Weymouth, Massachusetts in 1940. He was just eighteen years old and served as a starter, working with a paper megaphone and a cowbell.
In WWII, Lynch served in Anfa, Morocco with the U.S. Army. There, using French horses, he helped organize a series of harness races at the Anfa track. Following service, he went into teaching and officiated on a part-time basis at New England tracks and fairs. He purchased Standardbreds after the war but, when night pari-mutuel racing debuted in his home state in 1947, he sold his two-horse stable and went to work as a racing official. He was named a State Steward in 1948.
James M. Lynch trained many of today's best-known harness racing officials. Regarded by his colleagues as the "Dean of Harness Racing," the one-time Massachusetts school teacher received the Special Achievement Award from the USTA in 1973, was made an honorary member of the USHWA in 1974, elected to the New England Harness Writers Hall of Fame in 1975 and presented with the Grand Circuit Medallion in 1976. Lynch was the 1976-1977 president of the American Harness Racing Secretaries Association; and he served as a director of the USTA for four years, representing District 9.
Jim Lynch, who was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1985, died in Abington, Massachusetts on April 20, 2000. He was seventy-eight years old.
Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 2000 book, The 2000 Immortals