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Kelly Spencer's Blog


Merry Ho-Ho, Standardbred Style

Published: December 24, 2010 11:03 am ET

Last Comment: December 28, 2010 10:19 am ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Grand River Raceway is very pleased to present this special treat for the holiday season. After all, what better way to drum up the Christmas spirit than cajoling and harassing harness people to the point of exhaustion until they finally submit to singing on-camera?

To all the drivers, trainers, owners, caretakers, announcers and industry administrators and executives that we tortured to bring you this fine piece of cinema, we extend our sincere gratitude. While mining for comedic gold, we may have exploited a few of you (Simon Allard, Jody Jamieson, Anthony Haughan, James MacDonald, etc.) Sorry about that. But, rest assured we did so only because we knew you were man enough to take it.

Before we get to our featured video, it’s my marketing duty to remind you that we’re all responsible for contributing to the promotion of harness racing. The holiday season is a time of philanthropy and community spirit — a prime opportunity to promote the industry to those in your own backyard who are most likely to become your most avid cheerleaders.

A handful of examples:

Christmas Parades:

If you operate a stable in a small community, you should be traveling alongside Santa in the annual Christmas Parade. Henry Stables in the rural Ontario town of Arthur, has churned out hundreds of solid OSS performers for several years running, and houses an impressive total of nine trophies for top trainer and driver standings in the program. Their operation is a major business in the tiny town. As such, they participated for the first time this year in the annual Arthur Santa Claus parade. Good on them!

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) also participated in the their local parade, raising awareness of the program and the versatility of the Standardbred by riding a few of the OSAS horses behind marching bands and throngs of screaming kids.


There’s nothing sleazy about realizing the promotional value of philanthropy. So, if you give something, don’t be bashful about it. Tell people. Publicize it. Maximize its value.

Kudos to Randy Waples for his $2,600 contribution to the Windsor Food Bank earlier this winter.

Same goes for Western Fair Raceway management and horsemen, who filled a Granton Horse Trailer with toys and $1,600 for the local Salvation Army Toy Drive.

Standardbred owner/trainer Bruce Gilkinson churned a few bills earned by his 2010 OSS Grass Roots Champion pacer Just Asign To Me to buy 700 cans of soup for his local food bank. (Although, if you know Bruce, you may concur the whole thing was just an excuse to exclaim: “Have a SOUPER day!”)

Sometimes, it’s not just food or money, but resources that can bolster a cause. Grand River Raceway’s parent company, the Grand River Agricultural Society, organizes and stages a big Christmas Party for families who are clients of the local food bank.

That’s just a tiny taste of what the merry harness racing community wrangled up this season. If you know of more, leave a comment and give us the scoop!

Again, thanks to everyone who participated in our 12 Days Of Christmas video. I apologize for twisting your arm, but I can’t promise I won’t do it again.



Best wishes from yours truly, and the staff at Grand River Raceway, for a very safe and festive holiday season!

December 28, 2010 - 10:19 amNow I can't stop singing it

Adam Mauntah SAID...

Now I can't stop singing it ("...and a standardbred ho-o-or-sie")! Good job, guys - this looks like it was as much fun to make as it was to watch! Well done, also, to Randy, Bruce and Western Fair for their generosity, and to Henry Stables. It's great to see the industry reaching out to communities like this!

December 26, 2010 - 7:32 pmI love it

I love it

December 25, 2010 - 11:48 amDave Michie Aurora,

dave Michie SAID...

Dave Michie
Aurora, Ontario

Many thanks to all of the good sports and the production crew for bringing lots of extra smiles on Christmas morning.

December 24, 2010 - 9:41 pmGREAT job everyone. Could

GREAT job everyone. Could have used more of KD's own Fred (the crooner) Brethour !!!!!

December 24, 2010 - 7:09 pmMy old buddy Paul MacKenzie

My old buddy Paul MacKenzie the star of the video...hands down!!!

What a talent!

December 24, 2010 - 4:49 pmKeep up the great work! Well

Jen Duncan SAID...

Keep up the great work! Well done!

December 24, 2010 - 4:13 pmI love how at about 10:20,

Peter Smith SAID...

I love how at about 10:20, when Greg Gangle is singing, a horse in the background pops his head out of a pee stall to see what all the racket is about! lol :D Good work, Guys...

December 24, 2010 - 3:57 pmGreat job Kelly and Darryl,

Rick Karper SAID...

Great job Kelly and Darryl, as usual. Thanx.

December 24, 2010 - 2:54 pmWhy is everyone suprised if

Why is everyone suprised if you know the people in this business they are unbelieveable, we need to see more of them during the year

December 24, 2010 - 1:00 pmThat was fantastic!!! Looks

That was fantastic!!!
Looks like everyone enjoyed themselves while you were making this.

Marie Stoyles-Moura

December 24, 2010 - 12:34 pmOne word reaction -

One word reaction - brilliant!!! By the way, as singers, Middleton and Guy are great announcers!!!

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