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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1980s

Published: December 2, 2017 9:38 am ET

Last Comment: December 6, 2017 11:19 am ET | 6 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This week's Rewind is the regular monthly feature Years Ago and this edition is based on people, events and happenings from the decade of the 1980's.

1982 - Cam Fella Finishes Second


At the finish wire Cam Fella (1) finishes second "by a lip" as described in the press to Icarus Lobell (6) on the outside in the 1982 Simcoe Stakes at Mohawk Raceway.


The great campaigner Cam Fella seldom finished anywhere but first but on certain rare occasions he didn't win. When this happened it was NEWS. On the evening of September 14, 1982 one of these moments occurred at Mohawk Raceway as that year's Simcoe Stakes for three-year-olds were held. A total of 15 entrants required eliminations, with the top finishers in each contesting the final.

The winner of the opener was Icarus Lobell from the barn of the great Herve Filion. With Herve delayed by flight problems, a substitute driver was necessary and Dr. John Hayes filled in admirably as he took the first elim in 1:57 flat over Ray McLean's Armbro Arvo. In the second elimination, to the surprise of no one, Cam Fella prevailed over his rivals in 1:57.2. After taking command at the half he controlled the race completely with Striking Sun (John Hayes Jr.) and Rabbit Road (John Kopas) dead-heating for second.

When the horses lined up for the final which was worth $52,023, the late arriving Mr. Filion had appeared on the scene and climbed up behind Icarus Lobell. ​ Cam Fella was expected to continue his dominance but Icarus Lobell and Filion proved otherwise. A stretch duel saw the two racing in tandem with the underdog finally gaining an ever so slight advantage in a mile timed in 1:57 flat over a gummy racetrack. Third place went to Striking Sun.

Following the race Cam Fella's trainer and driver Pat Crowe said "The track was tiring but Cam just didn't feel himself tonight. I knew I was in trouble at the head of the stretch."

1984 - Royal Blue Sale Figures Encouraging

August 18, 1984 - A crowd estimated at 1,200 gathered at Mohawk for this year's Royal Blue Yearling Sale. The sale also included a few other categories. Sales Manager David Stuart was encouraged at all aspects of the sale that saw a total of 183 head sold by auctioneer Bob Dickenson. Topping the sale was Briscoal Dol, going to Lawrence Ball of Mississauga for a final bid of $35,000. Mr. Ball's enthusiasm for this youngster was undoubtedly based on his current ownership of the colt's brother in blood Victor Dol who is currently in the midst of a successful two-year-old campaign.

The second highest sale price of the sale was recorded when Sherman Moore of Lindsay had the final nod of $17,000 making him the new owner of Brisca Dol, a full sister to Victor Dol. Both of the two top priced youngsters were offered by Fritz and Hilde Doleschell of Campbellville. Mr. Moore, an acknowledged master with trotting fillies, obviously has high hopes for his newest stable member.

1985 - Horsemen Stage Hockey Tournament

Dundas Arena was the site of this year's inter-track hockey tournament organized by Elden Turcotte. With teams representing Windsor, Orangeville, Ontario Jockey Club, Flamboro Downs, London and Batavia Downs, some great fun and fellowship was enjoyed. All team members were either horsemen or raceway employees.

At the end of competition the hosting team from Flamboro Downs were crowned the champions based on their final victory over the Orangeville skaters, winning by a bit of a lopsided 9-2 score. In preliminary action Windsor regular Dan Johnson clicked for two goals with Peter Otten, Evan Downing, Doug Webster and Mike Budway adding single tallies to beat the boys from Batavia 6-3. All of the New Yorkers goals came from Steve McDonald's hat trick.

A couple of individual honours went to goalie Gregg McNair who was named M.V.P. for the Windsor squad and Ted Bowman who received the "Heart Trophy" as the team member with unparallelled drive and determination.

1988 - Rankin Travelling In Style


Donnie Rankin Jr. a member of one of the Maritimes' best known racing families is sporting "new wheels" these days thanks to a successful trip to Western Canada. The 29-year-old Rankin, a native of North Sydney, made his presence felt in the recent CTA - GMC driver championship held in Calgary. He emerged as the competition's winner and for his efforts Rankin was presented with the keys to a brand new GMC Sierra pickup truck with a trailer attached.

Donnie soon put it to good use as he headed off for Windsor Raceway in October. Before his departure he had firmly established himself as the potential driving champion at his home track Tartan Downs. His record breaking 181 wins as of October 18 appeared to assure him the crown despite missing the last part of the meeting. His closest pursuer Steve Mahar of St. John was sidelined for an indefinite period due to a racing accident in early September at Fredericton.

Question...Is Donnie still driving this truck?

1989 - Young Horseman Enters Top Five Trainers List


The age of the non-driving trainer had been here for some time by the late 1980's. Unlike the earlier era when a person trained and drove all of the horses in their stable the trend moved to those who specialized in training only while others did the driving as their sole occupation. Campbell did not come from a horse owning family but growing up in the downtown Toronto neighbourhood near Greenwood Raceway did have a strong influence on getting into the business. He often attended the races with his parents who were avid racing fans.

After working on a horse farm near Markham with his brother, Cal eventually entered harness racing, first as a groom and later as a non-driving trainer. He first worked with Paul Sheppard and when he decided to move up to the top level he accepted a job with Ron Waples. This job took him to Florida which proved to be a great learning opportunity. Several other jobs and close relationships with trainers such as Gary Kingshott led him to opening his own stable. From there blossomed a successful career working mainly within the claiming ranks.

Who Is This?

Can you correctly identify this young driver? The answer will be given during the coming week, including the name of the horse.


December 6, 2017 - 11:19 amThis week's Who Is It?

This week's Who Is It? stumped a few. The young fellow in the picture -- taken almost 42 years ago way back in 1976 -- is David Wall, a native of Kincardine, then a very young 29. The horse with him was the four-year-old mare Kippy Wall, an aptly named member of his stable.

Dave has consistently been a great member of the racing fraternity, a shining example and representative of our sport wherever he travels.

December 2, 2017 - 11:17 pmI worked for Cal back then.

I worked for Cal back then. Hard work, but great times when looking back!

December 2, 2017 - 5:39 pmCal Campbell - nice pic

Cal Campbell - nice pic future "weasie" - lol. Ah those were the days.

December 2, 2017 - 2:16 pmDave Wall with Staff Director

Ron Davis SAID...

Dave Wall with Staff Director

December 2, 2017 - 12:41 pmDave Wall

Al McIntosh SAID...

Dave Wall

December 2, 2017 - 12:29 pmRoger Mayotte?

Dan Fisher SAID...

Roger Mayotte?


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