At the 2007 Lincoln County Fair, Willie Edmonson, Jr., was honored posthumously for his many contributions to the harness racing industry as an owner, trainer and driver. Although Willie is gone, harness racing still runs through the blood of the Edmonson family
A decade later after Willie’s recognition, his 51-year-old son, Phillip Edmonson, won first place with his horse, Chasing Money, at the 2017 Lincoln County Fair.
In addition, Chasing Money was recognized as having the fastest time as a three-year-old pacer. As a two-year-old, Chasing Money was honored as Kentucky’s 2-Year-Old Colt of the Year in 2016.
“My dad was a good man, and it’s an honor to continue in harness racing,” Phillip said. “I was raised around it. I drove my first horse when I was five-years-old. Through the years, I’ve been involved in every aspect of racing – I can’t imagine not doing it.”
Phillip is now a driver here for Frito-Lay and lives in Shelbyville with his wife, Pamela, and six children, Resuan, Ariel, Cashmine, Teanna, Tony and Ryan.
But, he stays active at the track today as an owner partnered with trainer Kelem Harper.
“My dad got Kelem started in the business. He taught him how to train and drive,” Phillip added. “There’s no telling how many people he helped start; he was known everywhere by everyone.”
In 1972 Willie was recognized as “Driver of the Year”. He was the first black professional driver to receive the honor, breaking track records throughout the industry.
“My dad started here in Lincoln County as a young boy walking horses,” continued Phillip. “He could get more out of a horse than anyone I know. He knew them so well. He always had a stable full of horses people wanted him to train.
“We’ve got four horses we work with today,” he said. “We race here and in Indian, Ohio and Kentucky. It’s always good to come back to Lincoln County and run at the Fair – it’s where it all started and is a special place. It’s really a big week for us; we hope to return for years to come.”