Joe Servis Inducted Into Charles Town HOF

In 2004, Joe Servis was proud to be known as John Servis’ father, as he joined his son on Smarty Jones’ memorable Triple Crown journey, soaking up all the glory and praise that was bestowed upon the undefeated colt and his trainer.

But 2010 belongs to Joe, as he was honored recently with induction into the Charles Town Hall of Fame.
A rider for 11 years (winning over 500 races), as well as manager of the Jockeys’ Guild and a steward at Charles Town for nearly a quarter century, Servis has always been one of the most popular figures on the racetrack and on the backstretch.
“Joe has meant a lot to racing at Charles Town throughout his career in the industry,” said Erich Zimny, director of racing operations at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town races. “Other than serving distinguished tenures as both the manager of the Jockeys’ Guild and a steward at Charles Town, he has been a great ambassador and champion of the industry wherever he’s gone. His induction is an honor that’s richly deserved.”
Servis is also the father of Jason Servis, longtime New Jersey-based trainer, and his oldest daughter, Laurie, is married to trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who is in the Calder Hall of Fame. He also has another daughter, Jodie, who was named after him and his wife Dolores, who is called Dee.
When Servis was with the Jockeys’ Guild through the 1960s, his main base of operation was Churchill Downs.
“I had access to anywhere I wanted to go,” he said. “I’d been everywhere at Churchill Downs except one place. I’d never been in the winner’s circle.”
That was until 2004 when he joined his son in celebration of Smarty Jones’ Kentucky Derby victory.
“When I headed to the airport afterward I started to get all choked up,” he recalled. “It was so emotional.”
As is his Hall of Fame induction.
“Anytime you’re recognized for what you’ve accomplished in racing, it’s absolutely an honor,” said Servis, who celebrated his 59th wedding anniversary this month. “I was dumfounded. I had no idea I was even being considered. I’ve done a little bit of everything, and I enjoyed every minute of it, particularly my time with the Jockeys’ Guild, working with the young kids when they came into racing. That was a great experience.
“I went from Vanderbilt and the Phippses in New York to Raceway Park in Toledo, Ohio. That’s what you call night and day. I dealt with everyone. I was lucky to have had three careers. I rode for 11 years, starting at Charles Town and finishing at Charles Town. And I’m still there.”
The Charles Town Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2008 as a celebration of the track’s 75th anniversary.
“We wanted to create something that would honor the accomplishments of those that contributed to our rich history,” Zimny said. “Constructing the Hall of Fame was the idea we came up with and this is the third class that’s gone in. We elect people in four different categories—Jockey, Industry (the category in which Servis was inducted), Horse, and Distinguished Achievement (two from each category are inducted, except Distinguished Achievement where we elect one per year). The person (or horse) has to have some significant career tie to Charles Town and have demonstrated superior achievement to their contemporaries. A panel of eight voters determines the class, based on the list of nominees, which the panel as a whole comes up with.”  
Also inducted this year were Adam “Scotty” Prain (Jockey), Bobby Via (Industry), Jiva Coolit (Horse), Phil Grove (Jockey), Pooch (Horse), and Webb Snyder (Distinguished Achievement).
Charles Town Racing Hall of Fame Roster
Induction Year

Name

Category

2010

Adam “Scotty” Prain

Jockey

2009

Albergo

Horse

2008

Albert Boyle

Distinguished Achievement

2008

Annie's Dream

Horse

2009

Arch Rival

Horse

2008

Barbara Jo Rubin

Distinguished Achievement

2009

Betty Newman

Industry

2009

Bob Leavitt

Distinguished Achievement

2010

Bobby Via

Industry

2009

Carl Gambardella

Jockey

2008

Costy Caras

Industry

2008

Crying for More

Horse

2009

Eleanor Casey

Industry

2008

Jesse Davidson

Jockey

2010

Jiva Coolit

Horse

2010

Joe Servis

Industry

2009

Patsy Grant

Jockey

2010

Phil Grove

Jockey

2010

Pooch

Horse

2008

Robert R. Hilton

Industry

2008

Sam Palumbo

Jockey

2008

Sylvia Bishop

Industry

2008

Turn Capp

Horse

2008

Vincent "Jimbo" Bracciale, Jr.

Jockey

2010

Webb Snyder

Distinguished Achievement

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