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Jack Darling's Blog


A Tribute To Mark Austin

Published: September 16, 2014 1:15 pm ET

Last Comment: September 17, 2014 3:55 pm ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Today I woke up; I am healthy, I am alive. My family is healthy. I am blessed. I apologize for all my complaining, I am truly grateful.

Never have these words rang truer than with the tragic news of our friend Mark Austin's sudden death this week at age 54. Mark was one of the most popular, well-liked and respected horsemen in Ontario racing. He was a horseman, a true horseman. He was skilled and knowledgeable in all aspects of racing from breeding mares to buying and training yearlings, to developing them into stakes horses and racing horses successfully at all levels. He also understood the business of horse racing and succeeded in this very tough game of ours.

I first met Mark in Windsor in the mid 1990s and both he and his wife Julie worked for me in 1996-97 and we became good friends. We had great success during this period with horses like Gothic Dream, Northern Luck, Decor and others.

Shortly after, Mark and Julie started a small stable, raced at Windsor for a while until Mark decided that if he was going to make it he had to race in the big leagues at Mohawk and Woodbine. He found a nice farm in Fergus, bought it and he and Julie headed up to start their new life with their small stable. The pressure was enormous for them in the beginning as they had to raise their family, maintain the farm and meet their mortgage payments racing horses.

Mark was determined to make it and with hard work by both himself and Julie and later his girls, he did make it to the top echelon of harness racing. Mark was a self-made man and I always had great respect for him for that. He and Julie started with very little and as a team they developed one of the most successful stables in Ontario. Mark has been a top trainer on the circuit for years and I believe the best was still yet to come.

Harness racing has lost one of its brightest lights. We have all lost a good friend and harness racing just won't be the same without Mark Austin in it. I just can't imagine what it will be like in the paddock without having Mark there to talk to. Our hearts go out to Julie, Paige and Paula. Mark was so proud of all of you.

September 17, 2014 - 3:55 pmThanks for doing this Jack,

Heather Reid SAID...

Thanks for doing this Jack, my thoughts and prayers to Mark's family.
Heather Reid

September 17, 2014 - 9:07 amThank you Jack for writing

Thank you Jack for writing this tribute; it was an extremely thoughtful gesture and also very well done. I did not have the privilege of knowing Mr. Austin but I knew only good things about him. Whenever we lose someone at such a young age it is devastating. Something as simple as reading your tribute helps to ease the pain, if only in a small way. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wonderful family.

September 16, 2014 - 4:17 pmGood job Jack. Mark was a

Good job Jack. Mark was a good one, gone way too soon. My condolences to the family.

Brian Webster

September 16, 2014 - 2:41 pmClassy Mr. Darling! With

Classy Mr. Darling!

With deepest sympathy to the Austin family.

Mike Strasbourg.

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