The little track that could did it again with over 240 people showing up at the South Windsor legion hall to enjoy the festivities of the season.
Lakeshore Horse Racing Association President Mark Williams hosted the evening and made the night one for family, friends and blessings. The night was electric, with live music playing, children running between tables, a penny auction and an ugly Christmas sweater contest.
As is the horseman's way, we enjoy ourselves but never forget those less fortunate. Admission for the turkey-with-all-the-stuffings dinner was $15 and a can of food. The cans were for the food bank, while money raised was for charity. Locals were able to rest easy with a full stomach, and the thought that we were all contributing to others.
LHRA Director Don Lescheid presented flowers to the volunteers who helped to make the 13-day meet a mechanically-run success.
On the racing side, Williams stated that the horsepeople came to play. There were no accidents, and no objections. The award for top trainer went to Gord MacDonnell (accepted by son Cory) with 11 wins, while the top driver was Rob Sparling Jr., with 22 trips to the winner's circle.
Politics were left out of the evening until it was time to wind down over a beverage of choice. The consensus was that although the meet was 'sustainable,' nobody really made any money. The idea of a subsidy for racing is not working. It's not working in the eyes of the industry, and it's not working in the eyes of the public. Horsepeople are not afraid of work. This is a 24-7, 365-days-a-year business, and the idea of charity does not sit well in keeping the industry alive. The partnership of the past must be revisited for the future. Winter is upon us and to think that the participants from southwestern Ontario can survive by travelling up the 401 on cold snowy and blustering evenings, must be reassessed. Six, seven and eight holes and racing every two weeks make for long journeys home when finishing out of the money. The classifications must also be re-assessed as many times horses are entered more to get raced, than to be competitive. It's not fair to horsemen, and it is certainly not fair to the betting public.
The night was about camaraderie, smiles, laughter, a good meal, and a bit of conversation. Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!