The Hambletonian and Meadowlands Pace winner died at his home in Montréal.
Standardbred racing in North America has lost one of its most successful horse owners.
Harness Racing Update learned late Saturday of the passing of Irving Liverman, 94, at his home in Montréal. Hre had been mostly housebound since suffering a stroke six years ago.
Liverman, inducted to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2002, owned a string of champions that started with Silent Majority in 1970 and included the likes of Handle With Care, Windshield Wiper, Britelite Lobell, Time Well Spent, Laughs and Muscles Yankee.
His son Herb continued the family tradition with standardbred stars that included Kadabra, Wild Honey, Pinkman and triple millionaire Bee A Magician.
Together, their horses combined for hundreds of stakes victories at tracks throughout North America, including some of the sport’s biggest prizes: the Hambletonian (Muscles Yankee, Pinkman), Hambletonian Oaks (Wild Honey), Meadowlands Pace (Laughs) and several Breeders Crowns.
Liverman, who built a successful electrical appliance business in Montreal after initially selling light bulbs out of the back of his car after World War II, got his start in the sport in 1969 with a $4,000 filly purchased and co-owned by Montréal trainer Roger White. It was a rocky introduction to racing. The filly, Keystone Wish, unseated White in her first race. Their second horse together, $9,000 purchase Silent Majority, did better.
He was one of the top pacers on the continent at 2 and 3, sired champion Abercrombie in his first year at stud and would eventually be syndicated for $2.25 million (U.S.) — a godsend for Roger White’s wife Aline, left a widow with a young family to care for after a private plane carrying White to a horse sale in Harrisburg went down in 1971. Liverman was supposed to be on the flight as well, but stayed home because it fell on a Jewish holiday.
For all his luck and success in business, life and horses, Liverman remained humble and approachable, still excited to be part of the sport and amazed any time one of his horses got the job done.
But in a profile story in The Canadian Sportsman magazine in 2002, he said his favorite part of racing was the people. ‘You meet such great people in the standardbred business. It’s been tremendous for me. I’ve met so many people who have become life-long friends.”
They’ll be mourning Irving Liverman Wednesday at a funeral service in Montréal.