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SC Rewind: A Great Day At Elmira


Published: January 23, 2010 8:17 am ET

Last Comment: January 23, 2010 12:54 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Robert Smith describes a great gathering of harness racing's "celebrity drivers" from almost 25 years ago.

The practice of inviting drivers from various locations across the continent to compete on a special race day began many years ago. It has always been a great marketing plan and one that works to the benefit of everyone. In addition to drawing a crowd, it invariably provides some better than average racing and keenness of competition. Perhaps the greatest value of all accrues to the drivers as they have the opportunity to reminisce with old friends and share some special time together; it is sometimes a bit of a homecoming.

Nearly twenty five years ago, one of the better race days of this type took place at the old Elmira Raceway. The date was July 1, 1985. The following is a partial account of who was there and how it happened. A crowd of 2,011 fans were on hand for a great holiday afternoon and they pushed a little over $155,000 through the mutuel windows. Director of Publicity Kent Williams is credited with doing the bulk of the organizing and hosting of this memorable event.

A total of 16 drivers were on hand, divided into eight teams based on their home track.

Team Greenwood - Steve Condren & Doug Brown
Team London - Fred Sadler & Ray McLean
Team Roosevelt - Buddy Gilmour & Mike LaChance
Team Meadowlands - John Campbell & Ron Waples
Team Kawartha - Carman Hie & Paul MacDonell
Team Elmira - Tom Strauss & Ross Battin
Team Windsor - Danny Johnson & Terry Kerr
Team Orangeville - Charles Lawson & Lloyd Spinks

Note: Two of the drivers originally scheduled were unable to participate. Fred Sadler replaced Dave Wall and Carman Hie replaced Reg Gassien.

The actual driving competition involved 10 races. Leading the way with three wins in four drives was Steve Condren. Condren and Brown's Team Greenwood were the clear winners with Fred Sadler and Ray McLean in second spot and the local Elmira team of Tom Strauss and Ross Battin taking the third place prize. Seven drivers in addition to Condren won at least one race - Buddy Gilmour, Lloyd Spinks, Tom Strauss (with two wins), Carman Hie, Fred Sadler , Charles Lawson and Ray McLean.

The fastest mile of the day was recorded by Kawartha Outrun for the Ralpat Stable of Caledon East with the driving star of the day, Steve Condren at the controls taking home the winners share of the $1,500 purse.

The old Elmira track is today but a memory, but it served as a great spot for many years especially on this day back in 1985.

January 23, 2010 - 12:54 pmTHANKS !!

Pat Rodney SAID...


.......for the memories !!

What a pleasant surprise to my day...after 25 years, I had not remembered that the fastest mile of the day was by our horse, "Kayo" .

Pat Rodney

January 23, 2010 - 10:57 amIts funny when you look at

norm files SAID...

Its funny when you look at the 8 tracks represented 50% no longer remain!!
It was a great day though!

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