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One Last Flight On Chinnys Wings

Published: December 19, 2019 10:20 pm ET

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One of Ontario's most popular trotters of the past decade, Chinnys Wings made his final pari-mutuel appearance on Thursday (Dec. 19) at Flamboro Downs before mandatory retirement at the age of 14.

Chinnys Wings was reunited with Doug Bowins, the developer of the Armbro Ricochet gelding and the horseman most frequently seen in the racebike with the trotter over the past 11 years. The duo raced for the final time in Flamboro's eighth race, finishing eighth before the horse returned for a retirement photo and presentation.

In March 2017, Chinnys Wings was claimed from Bowins and co-owner Don Brinkman but Bowins kept tabs on the trotting gelding through to his most recent noteworthy start in the season finale at Hippodrome 3R. Bowins felt compelled to reach out to the horse's current owner, Nancy Lord.

"When I read on Standardbred Canada about the ceremony on the last day at Three Rivers...I don't know them and I didn't know how to approach them so I wrote them a letter, because I always liked the horse. And then when I got home from Ohio, like a week and a half later, there was a message from them on my phone and they wanted to send him to race him here for the last month.

"I think they knew the backstory a little bit, and I basically told them what I thought of the horse and they responded to it."

Emotions got the best of Bowins in discussing Chinnys Wings, and for a good reason. Bowins took care of the horse for Janice Walsh when her husband Mike was battling leukemia, a fight he'd eventually lose. Unbeknowst to Walsh, Bowins trained down Chinnys Wings (who was originally named Moms Last Hope) and readied him for his racing career. Once he approached his racing debut, Walsh renamed the horse Chinnys Wings as a tribute to her late husband.

Hitting the track as a four-year-old in 2009, Chinnys Wings flourished for Bowins winning 18 of 31 starts -- including a five-race and an eight-race win streak -- while banking more than $120,000 and ending the season as the fastest older trotting gelding in Canada on a half-mile track by virtue of his lifetime best 1:56.2 mark.

Chinnys Wings and Bowins continued to compete at the Preferred levels on Ontario's B Track circuit for the next four seasons, honoured as Grand River Raceway's 2010 Trotter of the Year with a 1:56.2 track record mile.

Now 14, Chinnys Wings sports 45 wins from 240 lifetime starts with more than $382,000 in earnings. Lord of Trois-Rivieres, Que., was on-hand at Flamboro for his final pari-mutuel start and will take the horse back to Quebec. Bowins noted that the horse might see action on Quebec's Circuit Regional in 2020 as 15-year-old horses cam compete in those regional races.

"In the letter I wrote that I was particularly glad that he found them and that he was getting the home he deserved," noted Bowins. "Their 14-year-old daughter loves him, which is easy to understand because he's kind of like having a big, black dog around...And it gives me peace of mind, too."

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