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Haas Returns After Five Year Hiatus

Published: February 1, 2009 2:43 pm ET

Last Comment: February 1, 2009 5:37 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

He’d tried his hand at a lawn care service company in Michigan and he’s currently working on a contract basis with the Canadian Coast Guard from his home at Sarnia, ON . To hear Mark Haas tell it, he just couldn’t stay away any longer from horses and standardbred racing.

“It was an incredible feeling when I won my first start back in January with the one horse I have now, Its My Best,” the 42 year old horseman says. “He’s drawn post one for Tuesday afternoon’s sixth race at Western Fair and he’s back in the same class after taking a life’s mark so we hope it all can work out again.”

The connection to Its My Best is a longer standing one for Haas than it would appear at first glance. Though he’s only had ownership of the four-year-old Cammibest pacer for a short while he previously owned the dam.

“I worked at Prince Lee Acres for almost five years until I resigned in 2004 to go on my own and try other things,” Haas says. “I sold Its My Legacy to Tom Pond and now she’s owned by Joanne Crowston. I just got Its My Best late in 2008, he’d been racing in Sudbury last year for Mike Noble. He had a late start to his career but we hope his best racing is still ahead of him.”

“Mark is just a great guy and it’s terrific to see him back in racing,” says his friend and former employer at Prince Lee Acres, Dan Clements, the well known reinsman now splitting his time between Ontario and Florida ’s Pompano Park . “Mark was hired to handle the broodmares at Prince Lee Acres and he was there when my catch-driving career was taking off.

“He’s a most capable horseman and we even coached minor hockey together for three winters,” he added. “He stepped up when we needed a trainer and folks in Ontario might best remember him for his biggest win. That was with Corinas Mission when she captured the $300,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Superfinal at Mohawk in November of 2002.”

Clements also discloses that he’ll be returning home to drive in Ontario after the scheduled conclusion of the Pompano Park meet early in May. Earlier this decade Clements racked up a succession of third place finishes in Western Fair’s Molson Pace with Buckeye One and upon his 2009 return to Ontario he says he’s likely to focus on driving at Georgian Downs and Grand River Raceway.

“When I get back home to Ontario in May I’m certain that a stable I’m connected with, Onlineharnessowner.com, will be looking to do business with Mark,” Clements says. “All of the summer seasonal tracks over his way will be open. It’s just great to hear he’s back in racing again.”

In addition to 40 lifetime training wins, Mark Haas also has 21 driving wins to his credit.

“I have no designs on driving again, I’m leaving that to the professionals and I’m happy to get Alfie Carroll and Brad Forward,” Haas added. “When racing is in your blood then it’s next to impossible to ever leave it for good. At this stage I suppose I’m the living proof of that with getting back into the game.”

Excellent Monday Ahead

The top four classes offered on the Monday afternoon program at Western Fair are filled to the brim.

In the fifth race Preferred Trot for $18,400, 8-5 morning line favoured status is assigned to Post 2 starter Stonebridge Diablo. The $541,000 career winner is sent out by Ron Waples Jr. with Ross Battin hired to drive.

In the tenth race Preferred-2 Pace for $12,800, Post 8 starter Best By Far is of interest as 30 year old Kerry Brown of Clinton, ON gets his first lifetime training start. He’s also in search of his first lifetime driving win after making six starts in the bike in 2008.

In the eleventh race Mares Preferred Pace for $15,200, A Fiesty Affair has been ordered to the outside Post 7 handicap this week. In five London starts dating to last May 23rd in the OSS Gold Series, the four year old mare has racked up four wins and a runner-up finish. Brad Forward is listed to drive for trainer Casie Coleman and owner Robert Hamather.

The $18,400 Preferred Pace concludes the Monday fireworks in the twelfth race. The field includes accomplished veterans such as Grand Bend Turbo (Post 4, Mike Sumner), XLB Patrick (Post 8, Doug McNair), Blissed Out (Post 5, Brad Forward), and Oakley Seelster (Post 1, Bruce Richardson).

The Monday afternoon program also kicks off ‘Freebie February’ at Western Fair. The coming week’s daily incentives at the track include a free Western Fair program (Monday), free pizza slices (Tuesday), and bonus points for player rewards club members (Friday).

Awards Banquet Booking Deadline

Tickets for the 31st annual Western Fair Raceway Awards Banquet are still available in limited supply at $35 per person at guest services and the race office, or by calling Western Fair toll free 1-800-619-4629 (ext. 320).

The early booking incentive ends by Tuesday allowing for tables of eight to be purchased for $200.

Through June, post time at Western Fair each Monday and Tuesday afternoon is 3:35 p.m. and every Friday evening at 7:05 p.m.

February 1, 2009 - 5:37 pmWelcome Back Mr. Haas. Mark

Matt Mulhall (not verified) SAID...

Welcome Back Mr. Haas.
Mark is a great horse person and everyone at OnlineHarnessOwner and Prince Lee Acres wishes him the best of luck on his return to harness racing.


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