Virginia Harness Chart Caller Diane Stephenson Retires

Diane Stevenson was a long time chart caller for harness races in Virginia at Colonial Downs, Oak Ridge and in Woodstock at Shenandoah Downs. Her “retirement” race cererony was Sunday December 16th at Rosecroft.  

December 15, 2018, by Pete Hanley, for Rosecroft Raceway

Fort Washington, MD – Longtime racing official Diane Stevenson will be trading in her binoculars for some knitting needles and yarn as she trots off into retirement at the close of Rosecroft’s fall meet on Sunday (Dec. 15).

Stevenson, a native of New Brunswick, Canada, is calling it quits after 50-plus years of distinguished service as a charter, clerk of the course and program director at nearly every racetrack on the east coast from Canada to Florida. Her journey started at the age of 17 at Exhibition Park Raceway in St. John, New Brunswick when “some cute guy I wanted to get to know better” first taught her how to chart races. And as they say, “the rest is history.”

It’s not unusual for racing officials to live a rather nomadic lifestyle, and “Mom” or “Lady Di” as she is affectionately called by most who know and love her, certainly has proven that.

Diane Stephenson charted harness races in Virginia at Colonial Downs, Oak Ridge and at Shenandoah Downs.

One of her stops along the way included Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada, before she headed to the states where she did stints at Scarborough Downs, Foxboro, Saratoga, The Meadowlands (18 years), Freehold, Chester, Rosecroft, Ocean Downs, Dover Downs, Colonial Downs, Woodstock, Pompano Park, as well as a visit to Northfield Park for a taste of the Midwest. “I’m sure we may have skipped a few. It’s been quite a journey and I loved every minute of it,” said Stevenson.

For Stevenson, racing has always been a family affair as it is for many involved in the great sport of harness racing.

Her son Michael is a talented trainer/driver who just wrapped up another successful meet at Plainridge Racecourse. Oldest daughter Gloria, who was Nihilator’s caretaker when he ruled the sport in the early ’80s, currently works for Maine’s perennial-leading driver/trainer tandem of Heath Campbell and Valerie Grondin. Youngest daughter Janet is married to Eddie Davis Jr., a winner of more than 5,000 races lifetime and a member of the well-known Delaware racing clan. No slouch as a trainer, Janet may be better known for her charitable acts and willingness to help other horseman in times of need. For several years at Christmas time, she organized a toy drive for underprivileged children around the Dover community. Two of Diane’s grandchildren, Steven Nason and Eric Davis are two up-and-coming trainer/drivers who have bright futures ahead of them as well.

Always good natured and willing to help horseman get their paperwork in order, Stevenson and all her baked “goodies” will surely be missed by those fortunate people who encountered her along her voyage. She is looking forward to relaxing and heading back to her “real” home in Canada to spend some quality time with her twin brother Johnny Davies.

Everyone at Rosecroft Raceway would like to thank her and wish a happy retirement to Lady Di.