SC Rewind: Remembering The Overnight Sheet

SC Rewind: the overnight sheet

In this week's edition of Rewind,  Robert Smith delves back in time to recall a perhaps now forgotten paper document that for many years played an important role in each and every day of harness racing.  Its "official" name sounded more like a bedding item, but in reality it was a single sheet of white paper.  Read on to remember more about the theme of today's column.  

I recently came into possession of a pristine copy of what was known as an "overnight sheet," defined by the glossary of common horse racing terms as "A sheet published by the racing secretary's office listing the entries for an upcoming racing card." And that was exactly what it was, and it served as a very useful tool at virtually every racetrack until modern technology eventually replaced it.  

Nowadays nearly everyone relies on either a cell phone or some type of computer to receive all sorts of information.  For individuals engaged in harness racing anywhere in Canada today,  they are likely to rely on the Standardbred Canada website for a lot of data.  A look at the "ENTRIES" button  shows just about exactly what the old overnight sheet looked like. 

In the earliest days I believe it was always produced using a typewriter (yes they did exist for a very long time) and the original was eventually used to make multiple copies.  Long before the advent of the many copying machines (often called Xerox machines) that we have today, it wasn't real easy to produce copies but there were devices.  Probably at one time the once popular Gestetner copying machine was used to make the many copies that were needed to serve the backstretch personnel.  

Each time, which was usually daily,  that a new overnight sheet came out it was quite sought after.  A person from virtually every stable on the grounds headed for the race office at about the time the sheet was likely to be released.  They brought back one or more copies and it immediately triggered several reactions.  Perhaps an owner had to be notified (by phone, of course) if their horse was in or not.  Maybe if a horse missed getting in they might have to be trained?? Any number of scenarios were attached to the info on that precious sheet of paper.

Once back at the stable the newest sheets were often put on a clipboard and made accessible to everyone in order to align their upcoming work schedule.  As I recall the outdated ones were not immediately thrown away.  If someone needed a blank sheet to write something down, the reverse side served that purpose quite nicely.  I even recall them being cut down in size and being used to cover the clay or whatever was used to pack horse's hooves!  

The overnight sheet shown below that I copied is from almost 45 years ago and was based on racing at Mohawk Raceway for the evening of September 4, 1979.  I have done a little bit of analysis and am amazed at how many familiar names show up on this random sheet of paper.  Despite the passage of 45 years,  a lot of people listed are still involved if only as observers. 

Overnight sheet

Quote For The Week: "Why are balloons so expensive?  Apparently its due to inflation." 

Who Is It?  

Note: This week's pictures are mainly based on individuals listed on the overnight sheet that is this week's subject. 

Who Is It photo question

#1 - Can you identify this trio of drivers?  

Who Is It photo question

#2 - Can you identify this person?  He not only raced at Mohawk as you can see. 

Who Is It photo question

#3 - Can you identify this person? 

Who Is It photo question

#4 - Can you identify this person? 

Who Is It photo question

#5 - Can you identify this person?


This week's pictures once again posed no problems to our panel of experts. They are a tough bunch to try to fool!
Who Is It?
# 1 - The trio of Mike Guitard, Jerry Duford, Ronnie Waples
# 2 - Ron Pestell
# 3 - Fred Gillis
# 4 - Mel Corbett
# 5 - Doug Brown
Thanks to everyone for your answers!

mike guitard, jerry duford , ron waples #2 ron pestel 3#fred gillis #4 mel corbett #5 doug brown

#1 is my dad Mike Guitard winning the carling O’Keefe in 1976 for leading UDRS for the Mohawk meet. Jerry Duford I believe and Ronnie Waples

1.Mike Guitard, Jerry Duford, Ron Waples
2. Ron Pestel
3. Fred Gillis
4.Mel Corbett
5 Doug Brown

1. Mike Guitard, Jerry Duford, Ron Waples
2. Ron Pestell
3. Fred Gillis
4. Mel Corbett
5. Doug Brown

Mike Guitard, Duf, Ronnie Waples 2. Ron Pestell 3. The Fly 4. One of my favorites Mel Corbett 5. Doug Brown. That overnight sheet brings back alot of memories.

1) Mike Guitard, Jerry Duford Ronnie Waples and ...
2)Ron Pestell
4) Mel Corbett
5) Dougie Brown

#1 Michael Guitard, my uncle Jerry Duford, and Ronnie waples
#2 Jack Powell
#3 Freddy Gillis
#4 Mel Corbett
#5 Dougie Brown

Who is it 1 Mike Guitard Jerry Duford Ron Waples 2 Ron Pestell 3 Norm McKnight Jr ? 4 Mel Corbett 5 Doug Brown

A couple of times I was loitering around the race office, when the secretary would call over the P.A. for person to help withe the PP draw around 4 PM. ( the O.N. sheet would be the result. Had my name at the bottom of the page as the person responsible , if you did NOT like the post your horse got!!
Similar to "Doug Bishop" on this item

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