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TV Channel Backing Wall's Hall Nomination

Published: December 28, 2008 1:20 pm ET

Last Comment: December 28, 2008 3:21 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The drumbeat is growing louder in Southern Ontario for Dave Wall to be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame.

Taking a strong advocacy position to make the case for Wall is the sports department of the London, Ontario TV station known as A-Channel.

Sports director Norman James along with reporters Brent Lale and Marek Sutherland collaborated on the production of a feature on Dave Wall which aired on December 15, 2008 on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Modern Era Speed

Modern era speed arrived in a big way in 2008 at London’s Western Fair Raceway, but the spotlight was still shared with the track’s time tested tradition of fostering upcoming young talent on the Ontario scene.

As the year draws to a close almost half of the dozen categories of track records have been lowered over the past 365 days.

Most notably was the astonishing 1:50.3 effort by Tigerama in the 2008 Molson Pace eliminations on May 23 for trainer Casie Coleman and driver Mark MacDonald.

It was the fastest race in the London track’s modern era history of extended pari-mutuel meets dating to 1961. The millionaire homebred of Robert Hamather from Exeter, ON would fall victim to a major upset the next week in the Molson Pace final.

The 2008 edition was the richest single race in the London track’s history at $280,000 as heavily favoured Tigerama tired into the stretch after cutting the mile after being saddled with Post 7. Eagle Luck at over 25-1 was brought up for the win in 1:51.1 over Grand Bend Turbo in the biggest upset in the track’s signature race history dating to 1972. Eagle Luck is trained by Gregg McNair for owner Frank Dettore of North Ridgeville, OH and was driven by Trevor Henry.

The phenomenal two-year-old filly St Lads Popcorn set a new track standard in her division in an OSS Gold Final in the Fall Meet when she effortlessly covered the London oval in 1:55.3 on a chilly night for owner/trainer Jack Darling and driver Jason Brewer.

In an OSS two-year-old colt pace OSS Gold Series elimination, Shipps Xpectancy stopped the clock in a 1:54.4 track record performance for the Harold Shipp Stable, trainer John Kopas and driver Jack Moiseyev.

The other pacing record to fall in 2008 was by three-year-old filly Chancey Lady. On the May 30th Molson Pace undercard in an OSS three-year-old filly pace Gold Final, she stopped the clock in 1:52.2 for driver Mark MacDonald, trainer Casie Coleman and owner Niele Jiwan.

All told, four out of six pacing categories in the track record chart were re-written in 2008.

On the trotting side just a single track record fell in 2008 but it was a big one and it also occurred on the Molson Pace program.

Trainer and driver William ‘Callie’ Rankin sent Brawn Seelster first over to win that card’s Preferred Trot in 1:56 over T Js Mr Lavec and Locofoco N. It turned out to be the fastest trotting race in the London track’s 47-year history.

Rankin shares ownership of Brawn Seelster with Jeff Goreski of Richmond Hill, ON . The trotter would go on to earn almost $150,000 on the year as he racked up wins throughout the Ontario half mile and ‘B’ track circuits.

Youth Movement Strong

Along with the arrival of modern era speed, Western Fair’s place as a proving ground for upcoming young horsepeople remained intact in 2008. A total of five newcomers to the Ontario scene marked their first career wins while competing in London in the past calendar year.

Topping the list was 18-year-old driver Doug McNair. After breaking through for his first career win last February 22 in the sixth race at Western Fair with pacing filly Eagle Kay and less than six months later he went on to win Grand River Raceway’s 2008 Battle Of Waterloo.

McNair became a fixture at Western Fair in the Fall Meet as well, and in his first full year of bike duty he drove in almost 1,200 races and surpassed $1 million in purse earnings. McNair is marking his 19th birthday on the Monday, December 29, 2008 card at Western Fair with three drives scheduled.

Other aspiring horsepeople counted their first career wins in 2008 when competing at Western Fair. Noted equine glass artist Brianna Fenn, 29, of Mt. Brydges, ON celebrated her first training victory with pacing mare Botown Flyer.

Twenty-year old trainer/driver Jim Robblee of Woodstock took his first two lifetime wins in the bike with pacing mare Fulla Camotion. And joining the list of young drivers to count their first lifetime wins when competing in London in 2008 were 20-year-old John Peletier of Cambridge, ON and 21-year-old Ryan Holliday of Mount Forest, ON.

Some of the year’s most memorable moments did not occur on the track. At the Annual Awards dinner last Spring, legendary horseman Dave Wall made a poignant speech while presenting local breeders Mel and Keith Wilson with a lifetime service citation and a special plaque documenting the success of their homebreds to their 1966 foundation broodmare Painterkin.

Among the year’s fundraisers were an evening devoted the National Women’s 7’s Rugby Team based at the city’s University of Western Ontario, and the Fall Meet visit by the Mildred Williams International Women’s Driving Series raised thousands of dollars for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

This holiday season in the track's front lobby a Granton Horse Trailer which was filled to capacity with toys was turned over to the Salvation Army. Dozens of horsepeople made contributions and driver Brad Forward donated his December 15 fees of $1,173 to the cause.

2009 Post Time Change On Monday and Tuesday

The 2008 campaign at Western Fair concludes with Monday and Tuesday live cards on December 29 and 30 at 3:05 p.m. and the traditional New Year’s Eve program at 7:05 p.m.
In the January through June portion of 2009 Western Fair presents three live programs per week. The track’s schedule of four cards per week returns from October through December.

Monday and Tuesday post time in the New Year moves to 3:35 p.m. eastern while the Friday evening programs remain at 7:05 p.m.

(Western Fair Raceway)

December 28, 2008 - 3:21 pmDear readers, I had the

Anonymous (not verified) SAID...

Dear readers,
I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Wall when he drove our horse "Valuable Item" to his maiden win at Mohawk. To say that Dave Wall is a gentleman is obvious but he is also a superior horseman whose expertise has been witnessed time and time again on the race track. The inclusion of Dave Wall in the Racing Hall Of Fame is a must. Mr. Wall's performance as a driver and trainer easily justifies his induction into the Racing Hall.
Thanks Tony

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