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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1970s

Published: November 3, 2018 12:21 pm ET

Last Comment: November 7, 2018 12:55 pm ET | 6 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In the current edition of 'Rewind,' Robert Smith offers up his monthly feature Years Ago as he reflects on a number of names, faces and happenings from the decade of the 1970s. Those years which seem to many of us as 'just yesterday' are quickly approaching 50 years ago.

1971 - Harvey Cormier One Of The Best

Driver Harvey Cormier appears in this 1971 photo as he won that year's Walter Dale Memorial Race at Fredericton, N.B. He was a very talented horseman who resembled a number of other noted drivers from the region who were very dedicated to keeping their outfits in tip-top shape at all times. His orange and black racing colours were among the most popular anywhere in the region.

A list of outstanding horsepeople born, raised and trained in the Maritime Provinces would be a long one. On that list even if it only included a few would be Harvey Cormier, a native of Buctouche, N.B. He left school at the age of 14 to take his early lessons from master horseman Harley Harrison for five years before enlisting for service in WW II.

After his service overseas he opened his own public stable. His career steadily rose as he attracted many of the best horses and owners in the region. In the 1950's he was beginning to make his mark. He married the former Geraldine Campbell who became a bride at just 18 years of age. Besides raising a family of eight children she also worked along side her husband in caring for the horses. She also became a highly respected and licensed race secretary in later years. A number of their children also followed in their parent's footsteps serving in various roles within the sport.

Note - My special thanks to Jerry McCabe for providing the great photo and background material used herein.

1972 - Blaze Pick Still Winning At Age Eight

Blaze Pick appears in the Wolverine winner's circle following a victory on April 29, 1972 scoring in 2:02.3. Those identified in the picture are Garnet Crawford, his long time groom (in coveralls) at the horse's head, driver Greg Wright and owner J.R. Miller next to Greg. The others are unidentified. (Abahazy Photo)

At the age of eight Blaze Pick was in the final year of his racing career but he was still able to beat a pretty good class of horses. This fine U.S.-bred horse was owned throughout his career by acclaimed colt expert J. Russell Miller and his wife Jean of Dutton, Ont. After starring as a two- and three-year-old, raced then by Keith Waples, Blaze went on to a brilliant career as an aged performer. Sired by Gene Abbe he was considered one of the top horses wherever he raced for his entire seven-year career. In this his final year of racing he won four races, all at different tracks, and almost $15,000 to raise his lifetime earnings to just under $300,000. His record of 1:59 was taken at the age of five; horses just didn't go nearly as fast back then but Blaze went faster than most.

He was a flashy looking horse, chestnut in colour with a nice mane. Unfortunately he passed away very suddenly at a young age just as what appeared to be a great career as a sire was just beginning.

1973 - Bedford Jet Takes Series Final At Windsor

In the late fall of 1973 Joe DeFrank, Windsor Raceway's superb race secretary, put together a very exciting set of races called "The Philip Brian Memorial Series" to recall and honour Windsor's first 2:00 performer. The series included several weekly editions, each one producing some exciting racing and concluded with the final worth $18,000.

Track publicist Al Nagler presents a trophy to Bedford Jet's owner Ed Weber and his wife following a victory by their horse in the Philip Brian Pace. On the right is trainer and driver Keith Quinlan. This horse was equipped with the new single shaft sulky as were the majority of winners competing in the busy stakes schedule during the Windsor fall session. Ironically during the meeting an announcement was made barring the controversial sulky from competition.

The winner in somewhat of an upset was Bedford Jet owned by Ed Weber of West Bloomfield, Mich. and capably driven by Keith Quinlan a young horseman originally from Coldwater, Ont. who started his career as a 15-year-old working for Keith Waples. Quinlan and Bedford Jet took command at the quarter pole and were never headed as they coasted to a winning time of 2:01.3. The winning margin was 2-3/4 lengths over second place finisher Keystone Ponder.

1974 - Terry Parker Tops In First Year O.S.S. Competition

Terry Parker, the top three-year-old pacer in the first year of the O.S.S. is shown with veteran driver Harold Wellwood Sr. This horse demonstrated the much higher level of earnings possible in the newly created sires stakes program.

The first year of the O.S.S. proved to be quite profitable for a couple of wily veterans who had been racing horses for longer than anyone could remember. Clint Hodgins, 67, formerly of Clandeboye, Ont. and then of Orlando, Florida, recognized this program as a 'good thing' and decided to race both a two- and a three-year-old throughout the entire season. He called upon his long time friend (and his cousin's husband) Harold Wellwood Sr., then 68, to do the driving when he was not able to be back in Ontario.

At season's end three-year-old pacer Terry Parker led all categories with winnings of $63,866. His closest competitor among three year olds was Paula's Peanut, who earned less than half that amount but still with a very respectable $31,652 banked for his very young owner Paula Wellwood. This meant that a huge portion of the three-year-old division of the O.S.S. contained a "Wellwood" element.

In the two-year-old pacing division Pats Bye Bye also led that sector with earnings of $53,767 for owner Hodgins. Once again the driving duties were shared by the duo of Wellwood and Hodgins and with the same rate of success. In nine O.S.S. starts Pats Bye Bye had seven wins and a second.

1977 - Barrie Raceway Hosts McEachern Memorial Trot

Nov. 30, 1977 - It was a cold and blustery night at Barrie Raceway but a warm mood prevailed in the winner's circle following the featured seventh race. The occasion was the second annual Garnet McEachern Memorial Trot. Several members of two well known local families gathered following a popular victory by the good trotter Simcoe Duke. From left is Lennox Rowe, Driver Scott Rowe, Mrs. McEachern, Hon. Earl Rowe, Raceway Mgr. Earl Rowe Jr., Nancy McEachern, Norm McEachern and Miller Amos (Barrie Examiner photo)

Simcoe Duke was a homebred product from Rowelands Farm, the long-time home of The Hon. Earl Rowe who was also his owner. The trotters were slowed a bit by the snow-covered track with the mile timed in 2:11. It seemed that the track condition caused a slow start for the eventual winner but he eventually got his footing and won by three lengths over second place finisher Iris Nib, driven by Jim McClure.

Mrs. McEachern who was a longtime fixture at Barrie Raceway and the track's race secretary for 20 years just recently passed away at the age of 90.

Who Is It?

Can you correctly identify the three gentlemen above in a photo taken following a 1974 O.S.S. event? Stay tuned in for the correct answer during the upcoming week.

November 7, 2018 - 12:55 pmHonestly had a little trouble

Gord Brown SAID...

Honestly had a little trouble with Ken. Then I remembered his colours were black and white. Then he changed to white and black! Thanks Robert. Love Sat mornings.

November 7, 2018 - 8:54 amThis week's photo was from

This week's photo was from Windsor Raceway taken in late 1974, the first year of the OSS program. Pictured on the left is Dr. J Glen Brown presenting an award to the winning connections of L W Johnston, a top 2-year-old that year. Centre is driver Ken Hardy and on the right is trainer Ross Johnston accepting on behalf of owner Marion Johnston his mother. The Johnston family from Rutherford were noted for the numerous fine young horses that they bred, raised and raced for many years. All of their foals were named Johnston.
Also in the 1972 picture of Blaze Pick the fellow directly behind the horse right next to Greg Wright is Albert Bryan. Many thanks for your input.

November 5, 2018 - 1:32 pmMy guess is Dr. Glen Brown,

John Hill SAID...

My guess is Dr. Glen Brown, Ken Hardy and I don't know the fellow in the glasses. In the Blaze Pick picture to Greg Wright's right is Albert, can't recall his last name, who used to work for J.R. Miller.

November 4, 2018 - 9:30 amI am really not sure. From

I am really not sure. From left to right:

Dr Glen Brown, Ron Feagan and John Hayes Sr?

November 4, 2018 - 8:50 amAnother great job Robert.

Another great job Robert. Brings back lots of good memories.

November 3, 2018 - 11:47 pmGlen Brown, Ken Hardy and not

Gord Brown SAID...

Glen Brown, Ken Hardy and not sure of the third but I do know that face.

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