James Robert Allen Sr., age 83, passed away on December 9, 2022, at home with his loved ones at his side.
He was born on January 4, 1939, in Athol, Massachusetts the son of the late Rutherford Allen and Ellen (Emmett) Allen.
Jim’s driving career began at Hinsdale, N.H., in the mid-1960s, shortly after he got out of the Army, ranked SP4 where he served from March 15, 1962 until March 17, 1965. He won Saratoga’s driving title in 1973, setting a USTA record in the process for most wins (190) in one year at a single track. During the ’70s, he twice won five races on a single program and recorded four victories in one night eight different times and has raced about every racetrack there is at one time or another. Jim has driven more than 2,000 horses to the winner’s circle during his career. His greatest was Chiola Hanover, who still holds Saratoga’s all-time track record for two fastest consecutive dashes by a trotter. In 1979, Jimmy guided the 3-year-old to a second-place finish in The Hambletonian, part of harness racing’s Triple Crown.
Jimmy lived his life unapologetically and with such authenticity. Many believed he was going to outlive them all. He may have been a month shy of turning 84 but Jimmy was anything but old. His passion for the harness track and the horses, his amazing family, for keeping up with his great grandson, to be unstoppable in all he did, and to be the best at what he did, is what kept him going for all these years. He never stopped. He once was asked in an interview ‘What keeps you going?’ And he responded with ‘Just being around horses I reckon; I’ve been doing it my whole life. Once it gets in your blood it’s tough to stop. Any horseman will tell you that.’ You can tell it was that drive and passion that spilled into every other aspect of his life. He truly was the best at everything he did.
Jimmy was a proud father, grandfather, and great grandfather. His great grandson will forever miss their yearly adventures to the county fair, the endless winnings of goldfish, those hour long trips to five below, and will always reminisce in the memories of breakfast at the track after a morning of horse business with his Big Grampie. Jimmy also was an incredible brother and uncle as well. The Monticello days will always be ones to remember by his nephews, not only of their time with him but with their late cousins Little Jimmy and Sid too.
James is survived by his granddaughter, Felicia Rennick (Brennan); great grandson, and his sister.
He is preceded in death by his parents, siblings and two sons, James Allen Jr and Sidney Allen.
An interment with military honors will be held at 2:30pm on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, at the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery, 200 Duell Rd, Schuylerville, NY12871.
The family will be hosting a potluck style celebration of life to honor James Allen Sr. at the Schuylerville Legion, 6 Clancy St, Schuylerville, NY 12871.
For online condolences, visit www.compassionatefuneralcare.com