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SC Rewind: A Christmas Message

Published: December 21, 2019 9:35 am ET

Last Comment: December 26, 2019 11:03 am ET | 9 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In this week's 'Rewind', as we inch closer to December 25th, Robert Smith sends out his latest Christmas greeting to the reading audience. This annual message has become somewhat of a tradition over the years as he recalls some tales related to this wonderful time of year.


Decorating the Christmas tree many years ago at our house

It's that time of year again, undoubtedly one of the most anticipated seasons of each year, certainly a favourite at our house, and that has never changed. This "just prior" to Christmas Rewind is one of my favourites of all the year, and also usually one of the harder ones to put together. My concern is always that it might be too much like other years, and at the same time that it won't be like other years. I want it to be heartfelt but not too flowery and gushy if that's still a word, but still capture the real heart and soul of the season.

Christmas is certainly a season for nostalgia. We seem to naturally remember old times and old friends at this time of the year and sometimes it's not all that easy to be nostalgic. I recently read that the words of an old Joni Mitchell song may say it best: "Somethings lost, but something's gained in living every day." It seems like a sort of unwritten rule that we kind of take stock of the past year and all that has happened as we approach our Christmas celebrations. It's also a time when our minds wander back in time to recall the nice times and above all the special people who fill our memory bank.

At our house we prepare for the season early and try to savour each day. All of the great Christmases didn't only happen a long time ago; we have had a joy-filled season already this year. A visit from folks from far away California that we have not seen in many years and a very special message from a family member are numbered among the special "treats" we have enjoyed. The revival of an old family cookie recipe also brought back some memories of Christmases past.


How better to describe the magic of Christmas than to look into the smiling faces of precious young children.

This year I am going to head in a slightly different direction and decided to recall a number of horses from the past that somehow used the word Christmas or a seasonal theme in their name. I have been able to randomly locate quite a few and I only wish that I could find out the inspiration for at least a couple of them. Thanks to friend of all followers of harness racing Don Daniels, whose archives seem to have everything, as he has supplied a few photos that are appropriate for my piece today.


Christmas Eve in rein to Carl Allen reaches the finish wire well ahead of the field to gain a victory at Wolverine Raceway in this 1978 photo (Abahazy collection)

 


In the late 1970's a popular trotting mare named Christmas Eve was enjoying a successful racing career. The daughter of Nevele Pride, owned by Zula Jean Wolfram of Grand Rapids, is shown in the Wolverine winner's circle following a win in the 1978 Matron Stake. The filly sported a three-year-old mark of 2:00.3 taken over a half-mile track. Carl Allen is the smiling driver while the owner holds the trophy. The rest of the entourage are not identified (Abahazy collection)

I have listed the names of horses that I have found and displayed them by decade. If anyone in the reading audience can come up with more please feel free to join in by sending them in along with any stories that might be attached to the inspiration for name.

1940's & 1950's
- Santa Axworthy
- Santa Guy - Double gaited

1960's
- Frosty Bell
- Frostbite
- Jingle Belle (this name appears in the 1980's too)
- Santa Express
- Santa Glory - Owned by Fabi Stock Farm, Sherbrooke, Que.
- Santa Pace - Owned in Arvida, Que.

1970's
- Christmas Angel
- Christmas Candle
- Christmas Colt
- Christmas Donut - Roan mare owned by David B. Weldon, London, Ont.
- Christmas Deal
- Christmas Dream
- Christmas Eve - Shown above in pictures
- Christmas Frost - Owned by a lady from Reading, Mich. (a Town known for Christmas decor)
- Christmas Hanover
- Christmas Hill
- Christmas Kash
- Christmas Knight
- Christmas Lad
- Christmastide
- Christmas Present - Owned by the famed Gray Bros. of Providence, R.I.
- Christmas Time - The dam of Christmas Present and Christmas Lad shown above
- Christmas Tree
- Jingle Jangle
- Good Santa

1980's
- Jingle Belle - a mare that sported a record of 1:58.2 for owner Bobby Dexter of Paducah, Kentucky
- Christmas Jewel - owned by folks from Christmas, Florida
- Christmas List - 1:54.2 and a + $200,000 winner
- Christmas Rose
- Chrismas (slightly different spelling)
- Chrismas Party (spelling same as above)


Yes there was once (maybe more often) a man named Christmas who owned and drove horses. His name was Cy Christmas and he is shown here handling the reins behind Purdue Hal. This son of Hal Dale was a very fast performer of the day sporting a record of 2:01 3/4 which was quite an accomplishment in the 1940's. (Harness Horse)

In closing I would like to wish everyone in the Rewind audience the merriest of Christmases and the best of the coming New Year. My thanks to those of you who enjoy reading my tales of bygone days and for the many who send in comments or contact me personally. You folks make this all worth while. As I have done in previous years, I would also like to thank Standardbred Canada for making Rewind a regular feature of their website. Remembering our past is so important. "Each Christmas Is A Moment In Time."

Quote For The Week: "Memories grow stronger when they are shared with each other." This saying was garnered from The Hallmark Movie Channel where we have watched many heartwarming Christmas movies in recent weeks.

Picture Quiz

In the above photo a group of carolers gather prior to Christmas to sing a few songs of the season. Can you identify the track location where this festive event took place? (Hoof Beats photo)

The correct location will be given during the coming week.

December 26, 2019 - 11:03 amThis week's photo which

This week's photo which featured a group of Christmas carolers led by the Salvation Army was taken in front of the grandstand at Windsor Raceway as identified by several readers. Thanks to the many who sent along Best Wishes of the season; each and every one is very much appreciated. 

December 21, 2019 - 7:50 pmMERRY CHRISTMAS Robert, and

MERRY CHRISTMAS Robert, and all the readers of Rewind!!!!! Al & Kendra Casselman

December 21, 2019 - 3:52 pmI think this picture is in

I think this picture is in front of the grandstand in Orangeville Raceway.

December 21, 2019 - 2:25 pmMerry Christmas and thanks

Bert Clish SAID...

Merry Christmas and thanks for all of the great stories and pictures you provide weekly. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated. All the best in 2020, Bert Clish

December 21, 2019 - 1:30 pmWindsor Raceway?

Windsor Raceway?

December 21, 2019 - 11:47 amOks Santa. Owned by Susan

Joe Wright SAID...

Oks Santa. Owned by Susan Brock and trained by Gary Gassien.

December 21, 2019 - 10:31 amThere was a mare from the

David Darocy SAID...

There was a mare from the early 70’s named Tinsel, this mare produced the following horses:
Christmas List
Trim the Tree
Decorated
Laag
Avalanche

December 21, 2019 - 10:13 amGreat reading as usual Mr.

David Darocy SAID...

Great reading as usual Mr. Smith and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The Picture Quiz is: carollers gathered on the apron in front of the winner’s circle at Windsor Raceway. Also I believe the gentleman on the far right dressed in the light colour clothes is Terry Mcdonnell who was the Race Secretary.

December 21, 2019 - 10:09 amWindsor Raceway.

Jim Brown SAID...

Windsor Raceway.


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