August 4, 2006

Record-Setting 91-year-old Racer

He's 91 but Leo Burns is still an amazing athlete.

91-Year-Old Driver Is Still Setting Record Pace With Unbeaten Filly

To Dean Hoffman, Burns is “a remarkable story by any stretch, even more so because he’s so nonchalant about it.”

“It’s not that he’s going out there to be a novelty,” said Hoffman, the senior editor of Hoof Beats, the national trotting group’s official publication. “He’s going out there driving and winning. What he’s doing just staggers the imagination.”

While many may see harness racing as fancy — the pastime of yesteryear moguls like Cornelius Vanderbilt and Leland Stanford — it is physically demanding, at times punishing, to its drivers.

Strapped precariously into sulkies, drivers do not have air bags or seat belts as fallbacks if something goes wrong during races in which speeds reach 30 miles an hour, or more.

“It’s a young man’s game,” said Leroy Moore, 70, a longtime acquaintance of Burns who insisted that when on-track accidents happen, “young men bounce better than older people.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at August 4, 2006 9:25 AM | TrackBack | Permalink