Sports Outside the Beltway

From Relief pitcher to Horse trainer

That sums up former MLB Pitcher Dan Plesac.

Dan Plesac has turned his lifelong dream into reality. The one-time major league All-Star relief pitcher has made harness racing his new passion after retiring from 18 seasons of playing professional baseball.

“Harness racing has been a love of mine since I was old enough to walk,” Plesac said. “This is what I’ve really wanted to do my entire life.”

Retired in 2004, Plesac, a youthful 45, has turned his hobby into a full-time profession. His Three Up Three Down farm, located in Crown Point, has produced 12 winners who have earned $37,408 under Plesac’s watchful eye. Plesac’s Major League Baseball career started in 1986 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a three-time all-star and finished his career ranked fourth for the most pitching appearances in baseball history with 1,064 games.

“I always hoped to have a career that would lead me to be secure enough to train and have my own horses,” Plesac said. “Training horses is a very difficult job. I just want to start at the bottom and get a feel for what I need to do.”

Plesac’s 40-acre, Hoosier State facility includes a six-stall barn and a half-mile training track.

Plesac’s family — mainly his father Joseph Sr., and his brother, Joseph Jr. — have been involved with harness horses for four decades. The family’s first horse, Baby Hoey, was born in 1968 and earned nearly $100,000 during his career.

In April of 2004, Plesac scored his first training victory when his filly Holistic Hanover won. Plesac also had owned the filly’s sire, Ball And Chain.

“To win a race with a horse that I bought, who was sired by a horse that I owned, was just the greatest thrill imaginable,” Plesac said. “That was very special for me and I was more nervous before the race than I ever was when I was pitching.”

In 1972, I remember watching for the first time one of my father’s horses winning a race. In July of that year I watched Charlie Zam win at Brandywine Raceway in Deleware and Fast Clip at Sportsman’s Park in Chicago. After the race, the winner and its owners have their photos taken. I still have one of those photos somewhere around the house. It’s fun to watch your own horse win.

When I attended the races, I saw or met quite a few people from other sports.(Gordie Howe, Richie Allen, Ron Swaboda to name three) Mostly gamblers, but a few owned race horses too. Good luck to Dan with his new career.

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.