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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1960s

Published: November 2, 2019 11:56 am ET

Last Comment: November 9, 2019 11:00 am ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In this week's 'Rewind' Robert Smith offers up the monthly edition of 'Years Ago', this time reviewing names and events from the decade of the 1960s. Harness racing enjoyed unprecedented growth and popularity throughout this decade. In Ontario alone, four major raceways were built and opened between 1962 and 1965. It was a prosperous time.

1961 - Sumac Lad Captures International Trot


Su Mac Lad, one of the great trotters of the 1960's in rein to Stanley Dancer. He was a two-time winner of the fabled International Trot first in 1961 and again in 1963. He also finished second in 1962 and 1964. (Hoof Beats photo)

One of the highlights of the racing season during this era was the International Trot held for many years at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, New York. It attracted the best aged performers in the world and competition was outstanding almost without fail. When the race started in 1959 the purse was set at $50,000 with Jamin of France taking the inaugural. The prize money remained the same for six consecutive years until 1965 when it was jumped to $100,000. That year the winner was Pluvier III of Sweden.

In 1961 Su Mac Lad scored a nose victory over French-owned Krackovie to become the first U.S. entrant to win this race. Canada's entry Tie Silk finished third in front of a crowd of 28,105 at Roosevelt Raceway.

1964 - Pompano Park Opens First Season Of Night Racing


An early photo at Pompano Park (Northeast Harness News)

Feb. 4, 1964 - Pompano Park in Southern Florida opened its doors to harness racing fans as the newest track in the U.S. debuted. Prior to this it had been a training centre only. A crowd of 6,600 filled the new grandstand to near capacity. Despite the day-long rains which slowed the track, the eight-race card went on as planned. A classy old 12-year-old campaigner named Sea Eagle, who sported a 2:00 record taken at age four and over $ 100,000 in career earnings, won the first ever race for owner and driver Lenford Waugh of nearby Fort Lauderdale.

A number of the sport's top trainers and drivers were stabled at the new facility for the inaugural meeting. Among them were first night race winners Johnny Chapman and Lucien Fontaine, both Canadian natives. Many other big name stables were present for the opening season, among them George Sholty, Bruce Nickells, Maurice Pusey, Billy Haughton, Bud Gilmour, Alix Winger, Clint Hodgins and scores more.

It was the beginning of a long and successful "run" at this South Florida spot.

1964 - Colt Racing Popular In Quebec

Helping to keep interest high during the waning weeks of the 1964 season has been the series of two- and three-year-old events, the Quebec Standardbred Breeders Association Futurities. The most recent section, a $2,416 test for two-year-old pacers, proved to be one of the most exciting of the series when Henry Horky's Meadow Wayne just lasted by a head in 2:11 4/5 over Ben's Gift, an earlier winner in the series. Crush Stone Mir was third to the winner, who's now won $6,060 from five wins in 16 tries.


Mr. and Mrs. Henry Horky greet their Quebec Standardbred Breeders Assn. Two-Year-Old pace winner Meadow Wayne following his head triumph over Ben's Gift in 2:11 4/5 for Benoit Cote. Also taking part in the ceremonies following the fifth win in 16 starts by the chestnut son of Meadow Al-Lassie De Wayne is sports editor Gus Lacombe (left) and Blue Bonnets' Director of Operations Lucien Bombardier. (Photo and text Harness Horse)

1968 - Mr Galophone Is "Mr. Versatility"

The six-year-old son of Galophone - Silver Ann named Mr. Galaphone had a pretty productive year in 1968. Was he a trotter or a pacer? The answer is YES. After starting the season on the pace in early January he later converted to the trotting gait. He made a good showing and in 11 starts recorded six wins, good enough to earn a respectable $4,900. As a trotter he recorded a new lifetime clocking of 2:04.2. This was not his first stint of being on the trot as he had banked over $6,000 in previous seasons.

On the pace Mr. Galaphone had a very productive season that saw him go to the post 17 times. From those starts he made nine return trips to the winner's circle as well as three seconds and a third. Racing right up to the end of the year his pacing earnings for the season amounted to $23,922, raising his lifetime bankroll while pacing to almost $38,000. When the two amounts are added and converted to today's dollar value of a shade over $207,000, it was indeed a successful year for the Robert and Pat Clark of Pickering, Ont.-owned double-gaited performer.


Mr. Galophone makes his 15th appearance of the 1968 season in the winner's circle and his fifth straight following a victory in the Valedictory Stake at Greenwood Raceway. Shown presenting a silver piece is Director of Racing Ed Bradley on the left while co-owner Patricia Clark is the recipient. Trainer and driver Keith Waples, who was soon to turn 45, looks on. (Harness Horse)

VALEDICTORY STAKES PACE — $7,150
Time—:30.3; 1:02.4; 1:33.4; 2:04.4
1. Mr. Galophone, b g, 6 by Galophone (4) K. Waples
2. Armbro Hardy, b m, 4 by Bye Bye Byrd H. McKinley
3. Armbro Hero, b g, 4 by Sampson Hanover B. Webster

Tom Jones 4, Randy Bee Adios 5, Tipster Lobell dnf.

Mut.—$2.80 2.10 2.30—2.20 2.50—3.70. Owner-Bob & Pat Clark.

1969 - New Participants Making Great Strides

The current growth and interest in Canadian harness has brought a number of new participants into the business during the past few years. The family of Mr. Frank Van Bussell who have been previously successful in the construction industry as well as with raising cattle have recently stepped up their interest in harness racing. With their headquarters located near Lucan, Ontario just north of London, their involvement has steadily increased over the past decade.

Prior to immigrating to Canada from Holland in 1950 the patriarch of the family had been involved in construction as well as having a keen interest in horses but more of the heavy horse variety. After purchasing their first horse, Sharon Song, from a nearby breeder Walter Riddell of Thorndale the family has taken a liking to the Standardbred. His three sons have now become keenly interested and their plans for the future in the sport are rapidly developing. Also involved are daughters Helen, Sharon, Elizabeth and Wilhelmina, the latter who has a veterinary background.

Their overall aim at the present time was to secure a top-flight stallion to not only service their own mares but also for outside owned broodmares as well. This step was taken recently with the acquisition of Scarlet Wave 1:59.4. This well-bred horse has over $115,000 in lifetime earnings. The results of some 75 breedings in the spring of 1969 will be his first crop.

A quote from the 1969 Canadian Sportsman Christmas issue read as follows:

"So only time will tell if this family will produce stake winners with their outstanding broodmare band and excellent bred pacing stallion but if they give this new venture a portion of their time that they give the construction business they will be rewarded in stipends and in satisfaction."

Quote For The Week:

For many years a gentleman named Art Linkletter (who was Canadian-born) hosted various radio and T.V. shows of long standing. On one of his shows he had a feature called something like 'Kids say the darnedest things.' He posed the question to a young lad of no more than six "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Without hesitation the youngster said "Alive!"

Who Is It?

Can you correctly identify the eight drivers in this photo taken at the "Peace Bridge Challenge" event held at Flamboro nearly 40 years ago? The two organizers were Gaston Vailiquette (centre left) and Chas. Juravinski (centre right). The event saw a match between Flamboro regulars and a foursome from Buffalo Raceway.

Who Else Is It?

Can you name this driver? This could be a "toughie" as the photo quality is not the best so I will give a clue or two. This driver is best known for training skills, not driving and is still very much involved. If you recognize another person or two in the picture you might get the answer.

Good luck and be sure to stay tuned for the correct answers during the upcoming week.

November 9, 2019 - 11:00 amWhen I first looked at the

When I first looked at the picture I said Lyle but after looking again and doing the math I'm sure it has to be Carl. Carl was stabled with us at Woodbridge in the late 60s/70s and Lyle and Leigh were pretty young, and Darryl came along a bit later.

November 8, 2019 - 3:34 pmNote to Gord Brown. I am

Note to Gord Brown. I am guided by the names on the original picture which were cropped for this application. At the time this picture was taken Carl MacArthur would have been about 47 years of age. Does that seem correct? I'll venture a guess that someone knows because we have a wise audience. Thanks for your weekly input.

November 7, 2019 - 5:51 pmActually, maybe it is Carl -

Gord Brown SAID...

Actually, maybe it is Carl - lol.

November 7, 2019 - 5:50 pmCould be wrong Robert but I'm

Gord Brown SAID...

Could be wrong Robert but I'm 99 percent sure it's Lyle.

November 7, 2019 - 12:28 pmIn the top picture the

In the top picture the Buffalo drivers from left to right were Gaston Guindon, David Columbo, Tom Swift and Phil Laspino. The Flamboro drivers (l-r) were Rheal Bourgeois, Carl MacArthur, Rick Webb and Curt Bond. This picture is from Feb. 2, 1981, close to 39 years ago. If a prize were being given for the person having the shiniest shoes it should go to Gaston Guindon.

Who else? - In the bottom picture it was driver Paula Wellwood following a victory behind trotter The Barn Stormer (Dream Of Glory - Vase) in a Billings competition race from Oct. 1993 at The Red Mile in Lexington . Several of the people in the picture were representatives from the Billings Amateur driver group that organized these events along with part owner Chas. Armstrong and it also looks a bit like Wm. Wellwood. Thanks for the input from Colleen Belore identifying the groom as Jennifer Unger.

November 4, 2019 - 2:10 pmAnswer to Anne Stepien. No

Answer to Anne Stepien. No that is not Kenny Ball next to Gaston Valiquette. Thanks

November 3, 2019 - 9:30 pmBottom picture. Armstrong

Joe Wright SAID...

Bottom picture. Armstrong Brothers and Bill Wellwood. Could it be Paula Wellwood in an amateur race?

November 3, 2019 - 12:26 pmWho else is it? Driver Paula

Who else is it? Driver Paula Wellwood, Groom Jennifer Unger and the Armstrongs.

November 2, 2019 - 7:11 pmIs the Buffalo driver closest

Anne Stepien SAID...

Is the Buffalo driver closest to Gaston Valiquette, Kenny Ball?

November 2, 2019 - 7:09 pmI believe 3 of the drivers

Anne Stepien SAID...

I believe 3 of the drivers from Buffalo are Gaston Guidon (brown and gold), Frankie Mays, and Tom Swift (white, blue and black). Not sure about the driver clodest to the horse.

November 2, 2019 - 12:25 pmOnly know one American Gerry

Gord Brown SAID...

Only know one American Gerry Sarama. Canadian drivers are Rheal Bourgeois, Lyle MacArthur, Rick Webb, Curt Bond. Bottom photo Tim Twaddle and the Armstrong brothers. These are getting tough Robert! Keep up the amazing stories.


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