In 1955, Jack B. Bailey found his career calling. During that year Bailey made his driving debut at Vernon Downs Race Track, which proved to be the start of a lengthy and successful harness racing career.
Sitting in his sulky handling pacers and trotters, Bailey became the all-time leading jockey in Vernon Downs history. In 1977, Bailey set a Vernon track record with 205 wins in a season. Between 1955 and 1986, he recorded an astounding 3,264 wins. Bailey also won 16 overall driving championships.
While Bailey was a regular in the winner’s circle, he also endured his share of hardship. During his career, Bailey survived a number of crashes and spills. He broke his back in a 1986 accident and in 1990 he broke his vertebrae and injured his shoulder. Yet he returned to racing after both incidents in top form.
Bailey is the first harness racing inductee into the Greater Syracuse Hall of Fame.
1959: Won first driving championship at age 26
1964: Fastest ride behind "Mighty Tar Heel" with a time of 1:56.3
1955-1986: In 16,388 starts, Bailey scored 3,264 wins; 2,493 seconds and 2,053 thirds
1977: Registered 205 wins at Vernon setting a track record
1985: Won his second training title at Vernon
1993: Bailey won his comeback at Vernon in 1:55.3 – the best time of his career
Bailey was ranked among the top 40 dash winners of all-time. He was the Vernon Downs all-time driving champion with 12 percentage championships, four dash winning championships and 16 overall driving championships.