08/19/2008 11:00PM

Five inducted into Nebraska hall of fame


Five new members were inducted into the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame last Sunday as the Nebraska Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association held its annual dinner and dance in the Ag Park Exhibition Hall at Columbus.

Columbus native Jack Van Berg was the master of ceremonies for this year's event and was joined by Fonner Park and Lincoln track announcer Steve Anderson. The Hall of Fame ceremonies were suspended following the closing of Ak-Sar-Ben in 1995 and were resurrected in 2006. Fonner Park held the first ceremony, and the event now rotates between the tracks in the state.

Owner-breeder Art Abbott, trainer David Anderson, jockey Randy Meier, commission chairman Dennis Lee, and the horse Roman Zipper were this year's inductees.

Abbott was honored posthumously for his achievements in racing and breeding through his Churn Thoroughbred Farm near Wisner, Neb., which is now operated by his daughter, racing commissioner Helen Abbott Feller. Abbott began his involvement in Thoroughbred racing in the early 1950s and died in 1986.

Anderson has been a perennial leading trainer at Nebraska tracks since beginning his career in 1984. He has won numerous training titles at Fonner Park, State Fair Park, and Columbus and has dominated the standings at those three tracks in recent years.

Meier began his successful riding career in 1972 at Fonner Park in Grand Island, and has gone on to win more than 4,000 races while plying his trade on the Chicago circuit. His son Brandon joined him in the Chicago riding colony this summer and was in Columbus to accept rides Sunday afternoon.

The younger Meier scored a win on his first local mount, bringing Asa Diamonds ($8.60) from off the pace to take the third race with his father watching.

Dennis Lee has been chairman of the State Racing Commission since 1990. Lee is the son of longtime Omaha World Herald sports writer Don Lee.

Roman Zipper joined his stablemate Amadevil in the state's Hall of Fame. Both horses are from the farm of Paul and Jackie Kemling of Aurora, Neb. A foal of 1972, Roman Zipper raced for nine years and earned nearly $400,000.