Packed House For Legends Day
Published: September 6, 2015 8:01 pm ET
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A full crowd and sunny skies provided the backdrop for Clinton Raceway’s eighth annual Legends Day event on September 6.
The bi-annual event began in 2001 as a celebration of Canadian harness racing’s most accomplished drivers. The beloved afternoon race card also serves as a major fundraiser for local groups, institutions and charities within the small, rural community.
This year’s benefactor is the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation. The track’s efforts included an online auction featuring 40 items, which grossed $9,650, an on-track Pineridge Chicken BBQ, and 50/50 draw.
For racing fans, the highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity to meet the extraordinary group of drivers competing in the Legends Day Trot: John Campbell, Doug Brown, Mike Lachance, Bill O'Donnell, Steve Condren, Dave Wall, Ray Remmen and Ron Waples.
Collectively, they have driven horses to purse earnings of nearly $1 billion and earned almost 60,000 wins. The 'Great Eight,' plus fellow Hall Of Famers Keith Waples and Bud Fritz greeted racing enthusiasts of all ages. Throngs of them lined up in glee, clutching various racing memorabilia to be inked during the hour-long autograph session.
The winner of the $15,000 Legends Day Trot was Dave Wall with Brandon Cs. The longest shot on the board at 9-1, Wall steered the six-year-old gelding to his 22nd career win. Leaving from post four, the duo took control of the field by the half-mile marker and cruised home to a two-length win in a new all-age trotting track record of 1:57.3. Brandon Cs is owned by trainer Janice Annett of Wyoming, Ont. and Marjorie Simmons of Chatham, Ont.
Wall, of Komoka, Ont., is a lifetime winner of 7,179 races and over $60 million in purses.
The track also paid tribute to driving legends Jim Doherty and Buddy Gilmour with a memorial race and blanket presentations following race seven, a $6,500 Preferred 3 Pace, which was won by Rock N Roll Legacy and 25-year-old reinsman Bob McClure in 1:56 for Clinton trainer and co-owner Randy Marriage.
Doherty passed away in March of this year at the age of 74. Throughout his career, he drove winners of 4,620 races and nearly $39 million in purses. He was an integral part of Legends Day since 2003.
Buddy Gilmour, a native of Lucan, Ont., won 5,381 races and $44 million in purse earnings throughout his colourful career. He actively participated in the inaugural Legends Day in 2001 and again in 2003, returning as a guest through 2009. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 78.
The track also featured a memorial dash in race eight for Lorenzo Lamarra, a longtime employee of United Tote and a fixture at Clinton Raceway who passed away suddenly this winter.
Total handle for the 11-race card was $60,818 — a substantial jump from the 2013 Legends Day handle of $48,311 (which was based on 12 races).
To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Clinton Raceway.
(With files from Clinton Raceway)