Erwin F. Dygert

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Erwin F. Dygert
Born c.1895
Died August 5, 1962
Occupation Businessman, racetrack owner, horse importer
Spouse(s) Jane Greer, Beulah Farmer
Dygert example.jpg

Erwin F. Dygert (c.1895 - August 5, 1962) [1] was an importer of horses into the United States. He brought the last Belgian horses out of Europe before World War II prevented any more exports.[2]

He was also involved in harness racing, first at Aurora Downs in Aurora, Illinois, then at Hawthorne Race Course. The Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot, run at Hawthorne, is named after him.[3][4] In 1954, Dygert founded and was the sole proprietor of Suburban Downs, Inc., a harness racing association that began operations at Maywood Park under a lease agreement.[5]

Erwin Dygert married and had three children: Mary (Dills), Erwin R. "Bill", Marjorie (Wallace), and Gloria (Morrison). His first wife, Jane Greer of Ellicottville, NY died and he later married Beulah Dygert (Farmer) of Danville, Illinois. Beulah continued to work at the Hawthorne Race Course until her late eighties.[6]

His family owns Dygert Farm on Elk St. in Springville, New York, home to the Erie County Fair, and where Pop Warner trained Jim Thorpe for the 1912 Olympics.


  1. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune - August 7, 1962 obituary
  2. ^ "Belgian Horse History". Archived from the original on 22 February 2007. The last imported Belgian was purchased by E.F. Dygert, an Iowa importer, and landed in New York on January 15, 1940. This was just four months after World War II had started and four months before the German invasion of Belgium. 
  3. ^ "Trot Info". [dead link]
  4. ^ "Dygert Horse History". Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. The race is named for Erwin Dygert, the general manager of the Fox Valley Trotting Club which built Aurora Downs in 1947. The race later was transferred to Hawthorne at Suburban Downs. 
  5. ^ Chicago Daily Tribune – November 21, 1962
  6. ^ "Erwin as "patriarch of Illinois harness racing"".