IM this article to a friend!

April 28, 2006

Macomber Handles Horsepower At Hoosier

From: Harnesslink - New Zealand - Apr 28, 2006

Ricky Macomber Junior has won the Dan Patch Invitational twice, and although he will drive Mypanmar in Saturday’s edition of the race, he does have his eye on some other special horsepower – the General Lee. Of course, you won’t find General Lee in the race program; it’s the 1969 Dodge Charger made famous in the television show "The Dukes of Hazzard."

Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) and a replica of the General Lee will be appearing at Hoosier Park as part of the promotions for Dan Patch Night. It didn’t take Macomber, the leading driver at the track this year, long to acknowledge he wouldn’t mind taking the car for a spin. Sliding into the vehicle through a window, like the Duke boys used to do, however, was another story.

"That would be hard," the 6-foot-1 Macomber said, laughing. "I’d have to practice."

All kidding aside, the 35-Year-Old Macomber has done well with the horsepower he’s been given on a regular basis at the track. Last season, he won a career-high $1.2 million in purses and had 156 wins, just two shy of his best mark, which he established in 2004. His horses have earned more than $1 million each of the last three years.

"Everything has been going pretty good," Macomber said. "I’ve been fortunate to have the leading trainers put me down on the their horses."

Macomber has ranked among the Top 10 drivers at Hoosier Park since 1998 and entered this year seventh in wins all time at the track with 410.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Macomber moved to Pompano Beach, Florida when he was a young child. His father, Richard Macomber Sr., is a longtime owner and trainer, as was his grandfather, Ed Hauck. His grandfather also was a successful restaurateur in Florida, thanks to bringing south a delicacy from his birthplace – Buffalo wings.

Macomber always wanted to be involved in racing, although his father had other ideas. Macomber, who is deaf, graduated from Gallaudet University in 1994 with a degree in business management and worked for two years doing accounting and finance for Mullinax Ford, which was owned by horse owner Ed Mullinax.

"Racing was something I wanted to do, but my father kept pushing me in a different direction," Macomber said. "I worked at Mullinax Ford for a while, but decided my heart was still in the horse business and ran over to Pompano Park. I enjoy the challenges of racing. It’s always been close to my heart."

He won his first race at Pompano on March 28, 1997 with Cane Pole, a horse trained by his father. Later that season, he headed to Hoosier Park, which opened three years earlier.

"We thought that would be a good place for me to start because it was a newer track," Macomber said. "I had a chance to establish myself there."

In 2000, he won the Dan Patch Invitational with 29-1 long shot Royalflush Hanover. In 2002, he won his second Dan Patch with 26-1 long shot E Dee’s Cam.

"There was no pressure on me in those races," Macomber said. "The win with Royalflush Hanover (in 1:494) was the fastest of my life. That was very special. They were both very special."

Macomber’s athletic accomplishments haven’t been limited to the track, either. He was a standout basketball and soccer player in high school and played basketball at Gallaudet. A guard, he averaged 10 points per game and was a starter his final two seasons. He could dunk until his leaping ability was hindered as the result of a broken femur. He still plays basketball on a weekly basis and attends as many NBA games as possible.

As for being deaf, Macomber wears a hearing aid in his left ear that enable him to pick up sounds around him on the racetrack.

"I don’t see myself as any different than anybody else," he said. "I can’t hear, but I can do anything that anybody else can."

Courtesy Of Harness Racing Communications, A Division of the United States Trotting Association

©2006 All rights reserved.