Hall of Fame


max c. hempt

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The prefix "Keystone" in the names of many Standardbred world champions and stakes winners denotes they were bred by Max Hempt at Hempt Farms in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

George L. Hempt, Max Hempt's father, had a racing stable in the late 1930s and 1940s. His first top horse was Follow Me, who later became the dam of Stenographer, the 1954 Horse of the Year. In 1942, when Max Hempt was still a young man, his father died. Max took three of his father's broodmares and began his Standardbred breeding operation. Since that time and for over half a century, Hempt Farms has sent yearlings to the sales.

In addition to being a major breeder, Max Hempt became heavily involved in many aspects of the Standardbred industry. An avid and successful amateur driver, he served as president of The Hambletonian Society for eighteen years. He was a USTA director from Pennsylvania for twenty-one years. He also held directorships in many other harness racing organizations. A vice president and trustee of the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, Max Hempt was elected to the Living Hall of Fame in 1979.

Hempt owned two Hambletonian winners, Harlan Dean and Speed Bowl. Horse of the Year Stenographer went on to become a foundation mare for Hempt Farms. She was the dam of Keystone Spartan and the mare Keystone Selene, whose daughters and granddaughters continue to produce top trotters. For many years Hempt Farms was the home of outstanding sires Hickory Pride and Bye Bye Byrd. These great stallions propelled Hempt Farms into the Leading Breeders list year after year. Later sires at Hempt Farms included Keystone Ore, Speed Bowl, Harlan Dean and Defiant Yankee. Other significant horses bred by Hempt are the $1 million winners Keystone Pioneer, Keystone Patriot, Keystone Harem and 1976 Horse of the Year Keystone Ore. In the mid-50s Max Hempt was also in the famous partnership with Hanover Shoe Farms and Delvin Miller that syndicated the great stallion Adios.

Max C. Hempt passed away on Sunday, May 23, 1999.

Published in the Harness Racing Museum's 1999 book, The 1999 Immortals

Museum statuette sculpted by Bev Lopez (1922-2014)