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SC Rewind: Years Ago – The 1980s


Published: November 7, 2010 1:22 pm ET

Last Comment: November 10, 2010 9:58 pm ET | 5 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This week's Rewind is a review of events and personalities from the decade of the 1980s in the ongoing monthly feature "Years Ago".

1983 - Prix d'Ete Goes To Ralph Hanover

Ralph Hanover spent a nice Sunday afternoon at Montreal's Blue Bonnets Raceway winning the coveted Prix d'Ete for a purse of $411,500. It was an especially sweet day for trainer Stew Firlotte who is a Quebec native. With co-owner Ron Waples in the bike, Ralph won the first elimination in 1:56 and came back a winner in 1:54 in the final. In both trips Cuckoo Clock and driver Fred Grant finished second. In the other elimination Pat Crowe guided Ludell Hanover to a 1:55.3 victory over Silent Al with Joule finishing third for the Beejay Stables. Ralph Hanover now has career earnings of $1,593,519 which puts him ahead of Niatross in single season's earnings set a number of years ago.

1984 - Winning Drivers At Mohawk

The following is an alphabetical listing of drivers who entered the Mohawk winner's circle between September 21 and October 2, 1984. Many were multiple winners.

John Brooks, Doug Brown, Steve Condren, Brent Davies, Barry Drury, Glen Garnsey, Reg Gassien, Dave Green, Michel Guitard, Dr. John Hayes, Carman Hie, Ken Houston, Larry Hughes, Pat Hunt, Len Hutton, Bill Keeping, Tony Kerwood, Lyle MacArthur, Paul MacDonell, Mark Mackenzie, Roger Mayotte, Richard McNeill, Don McNutt, Norm McKnight Jr., Dave Magee, Robert Mills, Gord Rayner, Trevor Ritchie, Mitch Sahely, David Smith, Harold Stead, Tom Strauss, Wm. Troy, Elden Turcotte, Larry Walker, Dave Wall, Gord Waples, Ron Waples,Wm. Wellwood, Jim Whelan.

1985 - Windsor Trainer Scores Big At Greenwood

Windsor based trainer Bruce Fulmer is not a frequent visitor to the OJC tracks but when he does make the eastward trip his entries are usually ready to compete. Such was the case on June 21 when his trainee Drury Hill won the two-year-old Canadian Juvenile Stakes in handy fashion stopping the timer in 2:00.1, finishing 7 lengths ahead of his nearest rival. The freshman event carried a purse of $35,875.

When Fulmer decided to enter the colt he called on driver Tom Strauss stating "I know he'll always give you a sensible drive.” This colt belongs to relative newcomer Larry Pollard of Harrow, Ont. who operates a trucking company that specializes in applying calcium chloride as a dust control on gravel roads. Mr. Pollard unfortunately was not in attendance at Greenwood as the family was attending their youngest son Kevin's graduation. The son of Falcon Almahurst was purchased for what looks like a bargain price of $13,000 as a yearling. He obviously has a liking for this family of horses and also owns three year old Damsel Hill a full sister who was a recent winner in 1:59 and change. Future plans call for the addition of a couple of broodmares to the Pollard operation.

(Photo above, L-R - Driver Tom Strauss, Drury Hill, groom Ken Martiniuk, trainer Bruce Fulmer receive trophy from Norm Clements of Cam Fella fame)

1986 - A Day Of Highs And Lows At Flamboro

An exciting card of racing was held here on July 17 as driver Bill Budd visited the winner's circle on a record tying five occasions. His heroics matched the Flamboro record currently held by reinsman Paul Matthews. On the same card an accident in the first race sent two drivers to the hospital with fairly serious injuries. Paceaway Dutchman, driven by Bill Megens fell heading into the first turn as he gained the lead. Bradash Happy and pilot Ray McLean were unable to avoid the fallen horse and he was catapulted into the air landing on the hub rail along side another driver, Paul Kurtz, who escaped injury. McLean sustained three fractures to his leg and Megens suffered shoulder injuries. Both drivers will be missing their driving assignments for some time. Observers stated that a short field of six starters may have limited further damage.

1987 - Fall Fair Racing Still Popular In Ontario

This year a total of 33 Ontario Towns plan to include harness racing as part of their annual fair entertainment. A number will have multiple days. The communities still staging racing are as follows (in alphabetical order) :

Ancaster, Arnprior, Beamsville, Binbrook, Brockville, Brooklin, Burford, Caledonia, Dorchester, Manitowaning, Markham, Melbourne, Norwood, Ohsweken, Orillia, Orono, Paris, Parkhill, Perth, Port Perry, Ridgetown, Rodney, Shedden, Simcoe, Smithville, South Mountain, Spencerville, Strathroy, Sutton, Tillsonburg, Wallacetown, Welland.

While this number is much smaller than it once was, racing at the fair level still attracts quite a few spectators each year as well as serving as a training ground for young horses and drivers.

November 10, 2010 - 9:58 pmRobert Mills was always

mac sewers SAID...

Robert Mills was always called Scott Mills

November 10, 2010 - 7:52 pmOkay, now I know it is a

Okay, now I know it is a small world. I don't know Robert Mills either, but Murmac Scram was owned by Mac and Muriel Sewers (Murmac Farms.)who live at Minesing, near Barrie. Mac and family (who are related to me) used to live in the megatropolis of Londesborough (still alive and well on Highway 4 north of Clinton) and I all but grew up on their farm. While Mac has had horses for more than 40 years (still has two or three in his barn, although he no longer trains them) he never had what you would call a "stand out" horse. It seems rather quaint that 25 years after the fact, one of his horses names is pulled up and posted in a comment on the Standardbred Canada website.

November 8, 2010 - 11:04 amOn the evening of Oct.

On the evening of Oct. 1,1984 the winner of race # 4 at Mohawk was listed as MURMAC SCRAM in a time of 2:01.3, a six year old roan horse by Scram out of Cindy E Junkin . The owner was Murmac Stables of Minesing Ont. and the driver Robert Mills .I do not recall this gentleman either .

How old are you ?? I would guess at least 39 !!Thanks as always for your comments .

November 7, 2010 - 7:33 pmI was there at Blue Bonnets

Dale Leiska SAID...

I was there at Blue Bonnets that day. There was another reason for Ron Waples to be happy that day in Montreal. He won an invitation pace in what was announced by the announcer in a world record time of 1:52.3 with Coal Harbour. Later they said he did not set the world record because Its Fritz won the day before in 1:52.1.

November 7, 2010 - 3:28 pmMr Smith, How old am I ? I

Mr Smith, How old am I ? I know them all except Robert Mills ? Thanks for more good stuff. ,Al Casselman

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