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Darryl Kaplan's Blog


Happy 250 From The Plains Of Abraham!

Published: July 2, 2017 1:33 am ET

Last Comment: July 2, 2017 1:08 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Fireworks lit up the sky of Quebec City as thousands gathered on the Plains of Abraham on Saturday to celebrate Canada's birthday.

To the horse racing community, the illuminated evening also paid tribute to 250 years of the sport in Canada.

History is a funny thing. When you didn't live it, didn't smell it, and didn't breathe it, it's tough to care a great deal about it.

I am here on July 1st, at the site of Canada's first organized horse race. But being here on this day, or celebrating 250 years of horse racing anywhere, has very little to do with Modesty, the mare who raced for a purse of $40 in 1767.

Thinking about 250 has everything to do with our connection as a horse racing community. It has everything to do with generations of horses, and generations of horsepeople, who have approached the sport much the same for hundreds of years.

Prior to my trip here this evening, I spent the afternoon at St. Hugues, a fair track located an hour from Montreal, with modest purses, small betting pools, and a BIG heart.

The once a year fair fields a full card of 11 races. The paddocks are full and the energy is very high.

What I witnessed on the Plains of Abraham was a site that should be commemorated. What I witnessed in St. Hugues was a way of life worth fighting for.

The history of horse racing can't be appreciated on a plaque or read about in a book.

The history of this sport is in the smiles of the families that race on our tracks, and the horses who give their heart and soul to every dash the same way today as they did 250 years ago.

Breed horses. Raise them. Care for them, and recognize that they need you as much as you need them. Train them to compete, to test themselves, and to bring joy to those who race them, watch them, and wager on them. Celebrate the wins and learn from the losses. Appreciate family, community and a common bond.

Happy 250 to a sport, a tradition, and a way of life worth preserving. May we gather again in 2267, and look back at 2017 as just the beginning.

To read TROT editor Darryl Kaplan's previous blog entries on his "On The Road: Horse Racing 250" journey, click on the following links:

Part 4: Canadian Harness Racing: The First Race

Part 3: Good Morning From Blue Bonnets

Part 2: June 30, 2017: Farewell: Signs From Hervé

Part 1: June 30, 2017: What are the chances?

July 2, 2017 - 1:08 pmI really enjoyed your blog

Fran Jurga SAID...

I really enjoyed your blog posts this week, especially this one! Thanks so much for bringing history to light, and helping to put it in perspective.

July 2, 2017 - 10:25 amCHEERS to you Darryl. Thank

Dan Fisher SAID...

CHEERS to you Darryl. Thank you for the great blogs this weekend, and for taking us along with you on your journey. It sure put a lot of things into perspective for me. Happy 250!

July 2, 2017 - 10:03 amGreat job Darryl Bringing

Dustin Jones SAID...

Great job Darryl
Bringing back lots of memories raced many times at St Hughes and many other fair and farm tracks in Quebec when I first started my training and driving career in 1982 and also hosted the fair races at my farm in Melbourne for ten years.
Great community and family get together's and always a great time had by all who attend.

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