Lexington, KY — Douglas I. Hamilton, 71, of Momence, Ill., died Oct. 17, 2018, at the Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill.
He was born March 20, 1947, in Port Elgin, Ontario, the son of Irwin and Dorothy Prudy Hamilton.
Mr. Hamilton followed his grandfather, Lambert, and father, Irwin, onto the harness racing county fair circuit. At age 17 he moved to Windsor, Ont., to race at Windsor Raceway. After working for Gerry Bookmyer and Ron Feagan, he went on his own. He spent time competing at Northfield Park but eventually migrated to Chicago, where he made his mark at Sportsman’s Park, Maywood Park, Hawthorne Race Course and Balmoral Park.
Mr. Hamilton captured both the driver and trainer titles at the 1987 and 1988 spring meets at Balmoral Park. Also, for four straight years in the 1980s he captured the training title at Sportsman’s Park. Among the top performers he trained were Ironstone Al, Great Expectation, Osborne’s First, Baron Lancer, Sand Sailor, Incredible Bret, Prize Penny, Wendy Skipper and Osborne’s Lady. In 1986 he drove Nite Strike to a world record of 1:56.2 for older pacing mares on a half-mile track.
In 2017, Mr. Hamilton trained Itsgoodtobequeen, who won divisions of the Simpson and Pennsylvania Stallion Series, and also started in the Kentucky Filly Futurity.
Mr. Hamilton drove 3,675 winners during his career, with more than $20 million in purse winnings. He was a member of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association and Harness Horseman’s Hall of Fame in Illinois and Ohio.
He was considered by all to be an excellent horseman that not only developed horses for himself but was sought by other trainers when they needed help. He was one of the most liked and respected horsemen wherever he was based.
He is survived by his son, Mike; life partner, Valorie Sutton; brothers, Peter and Alvin (Sue); sisters, Sherry Tuohy and Peggy (Bill) Black; step-children, Sandra (Mike) Brown and Steven (Shelly) Cromwell Jr.; grandchildren, Emily, Casey Jo Cromwell, Devlon Sutton, Samantha Brown, and Jake Brown; and two great-grandchildren, Kyler Sutton and Cody Brown. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be held Sunday (Oct. 21) from 4-7 p.m. at Cotter Funeral Home, 224 E. Washington St., Momence, Ill. Cremation rites will be accorded following the funeral services.