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Contests & Winners!


MacLellan Named 2017 Harness Racing Ambassador

Each year the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club reaches out to the industry in search of that special someone, that one person who goes above and beyond, represents the industry behind the scenes, and works tirelessly to promote and ensure the success of our sport. There is no question that our industry has many of those ‘special’ people who do this!

The Fan Club is pleased to announce that Damian MacLellan of Inverness, Nova Scotia has been selected as the 2017 Ambassador of the Year.

The 15-year-old is thrilled to have been chosen, and his mom, Priscilla, along with his older brother, Donald, couldn’t be more proud of him.

“I was really surprised to hear that I was nominated and selected as the 2017 Ambassador,” said Damian. “I am honoured to accept the award.”

Like many others from the Maritimes, Damian lives and breathes harness racing. With a family connection to the racing industry, he couldn’t resist his craving for the horses and has been wrapped up in the sport for as long as he can remember.

He started in the industry washing saddle pads on race days at Inverness Raceway. Since then he has thrown himself into the game full tilt and has owned, groomed, jogged and helped train several horses. In addition to being deeply involved in the care of the horses, Damian has also helped with fundraisers and special events at Inverness, along with overseeing stall assignments.

“I help out in the annual ‘Clean Our Racetrack Day,’ where all horsemen clean up and get the track ready for the upcoming season. On race days, I help horsemen that ship in with their stake horses find their stalls. I help with any fundraiser happening and help keep the track and grounds clean and maintained.”

Damian also has a knack for announcing and has been given the opportunity to announce the qualifiers at Inverness on many occasions. On August 21, 2016, he was asked to fill in and announce the day’s races.

In the fall of 2017, Damian joined Atlantic Post Calls, to write a monthly article that reflects the activities and harness racing events that are taking place at Inverness Raceway and the surrounding area.

“I love writing for the Atlantic Post Calls. I am always looking at results from other racetracks. I love following local horsemen when they race at different locations,” Damian explained.

Despite this unique position at such a young age, Damian is honoured to write for the column and enjoys promoting the sport to the local community and throughout the Maritimes.

The highlight of Damian’s 2017 season was winning a race of the fifth and final leg of the World Driving Championship at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park with his horse Kennairn Fame and driver Dexter Dunn. The minute he heard a leg of the WDC was set for Red Shores he entered his horse.

Kennairn Fame, pictured victorious with Dexter Dunn (Photo courtesy Kyle Burton)

“My brother Donald was there to share the memory. The crowd that came out for the win picture was amazing and it couldn’t have been more special. I don’t think me or my brother will ever forget that win.”

Damian thanks his older brother Donald, and many others for teaching him about the industry and believing in him to succeed.

“I would like to thank my brother Donald MacLellan, Joey Poirier, Madison Poirier, Erland Campbell, Johnny Gillis, Shelby Miller, Andrew MacLean, Ambrose Gillis, Kenny Passerini, and anyone else who has helped or taught me throughout my career so far. Also, my dad John ‘Piper’ MacLellan and Donnie MacDonald were a big part. Without these people, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

In considering his future path, Damian hopes to pursue a career in the industry, and looks forward to getting his driver and trainer’s license – he is eagerly awaiting his 16th birthday so he can do so.

Damian’s commitment to the industry should be an inspiration to others. His work ethic and efforts to represent and promote the harness racing industry is why he has been selected as the Fan Club’s 2017 Ambassador of the Year.

For winning, Damian was offered the choice of a $100 gift certificate to the Canadian harness racetrack of his choice or a $100 donation to a registered charity. Damian has chosen to donate to a registered charity and has selected the Canadian Cancer Society. He will also receive an ILCHR Fan Club prize package and a special presentation will be made in July at Inverness Raceway.

Thank you to the other Fan Club members that submitted stories about the special people in their lives that make harness racing in Canada the incredible industry and community that it is.

An excerpt from Donald MacLellan’s submission appears below.

Damian always tries to encourage his friends to drop by the barn and to get involved with coming to the track on race day. He has mentioned the idea of wanting to be able someday set up a fractional ownership group in the local area for new people to enter the game and own a horse, including more young people. All in all, I have had the honour of watching Damian grow up loving this sport more than anyone I know. Damian has gained so much life skills and maturity by being involved in this great sport. In return Damian tries to give back to the sport by helping fellow horsemen with their stables, promoting the local raceway, and promoting the sport to his friends and every person he interacts with.


Meet Our March Calendar Photographer: Orianna Scheck

Orianna Scheck of Calgary, Alberta, captured this great image of Star Of Winter being walked by trainer Kyle Howard at Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alta. After being purchased privately for $400 Star Of Winter has reached stardom in the I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club’s Heart of Harness Racing Calendar for March.

Orianna has had her camera on hand for all of the filly’s first experiences, including this image where she is walking out of the stall for the first time with her bridle and harness on.

“This picture is certainly not one of the flashiest pictures of harness racing but you often don’t see the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of all the work that is put in to them to even get to the races,” explained Scheck, “The picture turned out great with her colours blending into the background which also shows the history of Northlands Park. Just the look on her face made me so proud!”

Scheck currently does contract work for various horse associations and most recently started building a social media blog specializing in horses.

“Although I’m not a professional photographer, I love photography and I’ve had the opportunity to take some great shots in the equine industry,” explained Scheck, who was overjoyed that her photo was chosen to be featured in this year’s calendar.

“Star Of Winter was a 2017 ASHA yearling filly ‘sale entry’ that did not receive a bid due to several reasons. We purchased ‘Winter’ for $400 after the sale. It then took six of us over an hour and a half just to load her into the trailer. We immediately found out that she had a ton of fight in her and she was one tough girl.

"Our original idea was to get her healthy and find her a good home, but that plan changed quickly. After some good nutrients and a lot of TLC she turned into a ‘big beautiful bossy’ two-year-old. She is very smart and I couldn’t be happier with her now. She loves her job on the track and she does nothing wrong out there."

Orianna was thinking of changing the filly's name so she could have a fresh start...until she spoke with her mother.

"When I was born, mom wanted to name me 'Orianna Star’. My grandmother talked her out of it and thank goodness she did. My mother’s maiden name is Zima which in Polish means ‘Winter’. My grandfather, a professional boxer went by the name ‘Winter’ when he boxed. So ‘Star Of Winter’ might have some meaning in my family and maybe it was meant to be."

Harness racing is Scheck’s passion and though she is a smalltime owner she has been fortunate to have owned some special horses, but maybe none as special as ‘Winter’. This marks the first time that one of Orianna’s photos has been featured in the Calendar.

“Sometimes the ‘heart’ of this industry isn’t always about having the big horse and winning the big prize, although that is what we strive for. Sometimes the heart can be about doing the right thing for the horse...and we think we did the right thing by stepping up and saving this filly,” explained Scheck. “This $400 horse that has such a beautiful heart on her face has captured my heart and dreams. I hope her story will one day also capture the heart of harness racing!"






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