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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1990s

Published: January 5, 2019 12:20 pm ET

Last Comment: January 9, 2019 8:39 am ET | 7 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The monthly edition of Years Ago is the feature of 'Rewind' this week, as Robert Smith takes a look at the decade of the 1990s. He has chosen several names, events, records and stories that were in the news back then.

1990 - Beach Towel Named Horse Of The Year

In 1990 Beach Towel, a three-year-old son of French Chef, was named U.S. Harness Horse Of The Year. Purchased as a yearling for $22,000 he went on to earn over $2 million during that season while racing for Seth Rosenfeld's Uptown Stable of New York City and Canadian-born driver Ray Remmen. He won a number of major stake races including the Little Brown Jug and the 1990 version of The Meadowlands Pace as described below. By season's end he won 18 out of 23 starts. While this horse was always driven by Ray Remmen, he was trained by his two brothers Gord and Larry Remmen, all part of an amazing stable.

Leaving as the 6-5 favourite despite having an outside post position in the 10 horse field, Beach Towel raced in fourth position for much of the race. Entering the stretch Remmen took over the lead but was soon headed by Jake And Elwood piloted by fellow Canadian John Campbell but only temporarily. He dug in again and retook the lead and went on to win. He covered the fast Meadowlands track in 1:52.2 which was the slowest clocking for The Meadowlands Pace since 1984 when On The Road Again won in 1:53.3. This marked his ninth win in ten outings. Purse for the event was a nifty $1,153,500.

After the race Remmen was quoted as saying "I knew he'd never give it up. He fought real, real hard." Oh and by the way what was the inspiration for this horse's name? His dam who was sired by Armbro Nesbitt was named Sunburn!

1991 - Flamboro Awards Announced For 1991

On Nov. 22 the annual horsemen's banquet was held at Flamboro Downs to honour the season's top achievers for 1991. The following is a partial list of the winners by category:

  • Horseman of the year - Don Graham of Troy, Ont.

  • Two-year-old filly pacer - Playbreeze, owned by Chas. Juravinski and partners. Winner of $104,000 with a mark of 1:57.4

  • Two-year-old colt pacer - Bruce My Boy owned by Trent Valley Stables. John Kopas trainer and driver

  • Three-year-old filly pacer - Armbro Justify. Greg Drew owner, trainer and co-owner with his brother David. This amazing filly took a mark of 1:55.1

  • Three-year-old colt pacer - Shannon Commander. Mike and Susan Downey drove and trained for owners Ashley & Joan Sloat

  • Claiming Mare - Fun And Games for Paul MacKenzie owned by McNeill and Rogers of Hamilton

  • Claiming Horse - J Js Easy. Curt Bond drove for Istvan Fogarasi

  • Rookie Driver - Duane Marfisi, a graduate from the Bill Robinson barn, was a popular choice

  • Dash winners - Don Graham (1st), Curt Bond (2nd), Callie Rankin (3rd)

  • Trainer of the year - Richard Gallant, who was formerly a mechanical engineer in Moncton, N.B.. A relative newcomer to the training ranks, he was 51 years of age at the time.

1994 - Luc Ouellette On The Rise

In 1994, a young driver by the name of Luc Ouellette was making his presence felt in the world of harness racing in a big way. At the age of just 29 he had already spent parts of two decades in the business, learning from some of the best horsemen in the sport namely his uncle Mike LaChance.

He left his native Quebec at age 15 and took a job grooming for his Uncle in the U.S. He first got his "A" driving licence in the spring of 1986 and settled in at Monticello Raceway where he soon became a fixture. From here he made his way to some of the other major tracks such as Roosevelt and when it closed he moved on to Yonkers. By 1989 he was making over 1,200 starts a year and began to win a lot of races. In 1991 he was ranked 13th nationally in wins with 353 trips to the winner's circle.

Twenty-four years ago he was a true player on the National stage. That year in Delaware, Ohio, he won his biggest race to date when he drove Electric Slide to victory in The Jugette. This outstanding filly was trained by Bob McIntosh for owner Lou Guida.


Shown above in the winners circle with the connections of Electric Slide following the 1994 Jugette. Luc Ouellette is joined by trainer Bob McIntosh and groom Linda Lewis holding the flowers. Ms. Lewis passed away a number of year ago. [Monica Thors photo]

1995 - Little Brown Jug Celebrates 50 Years

In 1995 The Little Brown Jug observed its 50th year of existence. First contested in 1946 the Jug has served as the sport's premiere event for three-year-old pacers based on its longevity as well as its history and appeal to racing fans. While other great racing venues have faded into history the Delaware, Ohio site has stood the test of time. When the Jug was first held in 1946 it attracted a crowd of over 27,000 which immediately became the largest crowd to ever see a harness race in Ohio up to that time. The many years that followed have witnessed increasingly larger gatherings year by year.

That year the Canadian Sportsman issued a special edition to commemorate the famous race's long and interesting history with much of its contents devoted to the role that Canadians have played down through the years.

It won't be too long before the LBJ celebrates 75 years.

See below for part of this week's picture Quiz.

1997 - Malabar Man Heads To Mohawk


Malabar Man and owner Mal Burroughs are shown out for a stroll during the 1997 season.

The decade of the 90's saw Breeders Crown events frequently held at either Mohawk or Woodbine as Canadian fans had the opportunity to watch the sport's best in action close to home. In 1997 one of the most heralded colts in all of harness racing was the three-year-old trotting phenomenon Malabar Man and his owner Malvern Burroughs, who also did the driving. They were solid choices in the $594,000 event for sophomore colts and geldings which drew a total of nine entrants that also included supplemental entry Lord Stormont, Armbro Plato, Take Chances and Baltic Bet.

Leading up to the big night, the son of Supergill had enjoyed quite a sophomore campaign. In 13 season's starts the colt had scored 10 victories at a wide variety of tracks, among them a victory in the Hambo. That coupled with three seconds was good for $1,188,417, making him the richest competitor based on 1997 earnings coming into the October 24th night of competition at Mohawk. While those credentials were very impressive, another entrant -- Lord Stormont -- was selected as the morning line choice based on his current six-race win streak.

Malvern Burroughs was an interesting story. At this time he was considered an "amateur" driver but certainly capable of driving in big events such as this race and the Hambletonian. He was a 56-year-old real estate developer by day and a pretty good teamster when needed behind one of his own horses. At the time of his Hambo drive Burroughs said "You don't have to be a top driver to win with a colt like this; he makes me look good." He became the second amateur driver to ever win the prestigious Hambo joining Harrison Hoyt who won it in 1948 driving his own Demon Hanover. (As covered in an earlier Rewind in April 2015)

P.S. - Malabar Man did win this event in 1:55.2 just two ticks off of the existing Mohawk three-year-old track record of 1:55.0 then held by Woodman (Doug McIntosh) set in 1994.

Who Is It?

Can you correctly identify the three Canadian owned Jug winners along with their drivers shown above?

Bonus Photo

Can you correctly identify this famous U.S. driver who was long associated with the Little Brown Jug. He was a major participant for the first 30 years.

January 9, 2019 - 8:39 amThis week's trio of pictures

This week's trio of pictures of past Jug winners drew quite a few correct answers. From the left was Strike Out '72 (Keith Waples), Fan Hanover '81 (Glen Garnsey) and Ralph Hanover '83 (Ron Waples).
The bonus picture was Wayne "Curly" Smart, winner of the 1946 inaugural with Ensign Hanover (in which he went four heats). He later became track manager, keeping the Delaware half miler in A-1 condition for all those record miles. Thanks as always!

January 5, 2019 - 1:59 pmleft is Strike Out with Keith

Carman Hie SAID...

left is Strike Out with Keith Waples
centre is Fan Hanover with Glen Garnsey
I think the right is Nihilator with Bill O'Donnell but I did not think Nihilator was Canadian owned
The bonus photo, I think, is Curly Smart

January 5, 2019 - 1:41 pmI just want to add that his

Garth Gordon SAID...

I just want to add that his name is Wayne Smart is nick name was Curly. I raced in the in 1994 jug and it was there fifthest aneversity and if my math is correct means that Curly won the first jug in 1944.

January 5, 2019 - 1:19 pmleft : Strike Out and Keith

left : Strike Out and Keith Waples

Middle: Fan Hanover and Glen Garnsey

Right : Colt Fortysix and Chris Boring

Bonus : John Simpson Sr

January 5, 2019 - 1:06 pmThe three jug winners are

Garth Gordon SAID...

The three jug winners are Kieth Waples with Strike Out Glen Garnsey with Fan Hanover Ron Waples with Ralph Hanover. The bonus photo is Curly Smart the first driver to win the jug wth Ensign Hanover.

January 5, 2019 - 12:40 pmKeith Waples, Glen Garnsey,

Gord Brown SAID...

Keith Waples, Glen Garnsey, Ron Waples. Bonus maybe Wayne Smart?

January 5, 2019 - 12:38 pmStrike Out and Keith Waples,

David Darocy SAID...

Strike Out and Keith Waples, Fan Hanover and Glen Garnsey, Ralph Hanover and Ron Waples for the Jug Winners and there respected drivers and the bonus photo I will say Wayne “curly “ Smart.


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