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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 50s & 60s


Published: February 6, 2010 10:06 am ET

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Robert Smith takes a look back at some of the people and events in the years surrounding 1960 in the ongoing harness racing feature "Years Ago".

Veteran horseman George Bennett of Mossley, Ont. has been rewarded for his patience. His now seven-year-old trotting mare Stewarts May made her first lifetime start August 13 at Melbourne, Ont. .At season's end she had racked up 14 victories to go along with three second place finishes in 20 starts .They raced at Melbourne, Woodstock, Tillsonburg, Petrolia, London, Shedden, Rodney, Wallacetown and finished the campaign at Simcoe Thanksgiving weekend with a two heat winning day. For all of his efforts Mr. Bennett banked $823 in purse money but I am sure his satisfaction was worth much more than any dollar amount.

Edward and Annie Arthur of Otterville, Ont. have their fine stable of homebred stars currently racing at Vernon N.Y. Among their hopefuls are Ambassador Pick, now 7, with a record of 2:02 2/5 taken this year. A couple of three-year-olds, Dilly Pence and Liza Direct have shown very well and plan to ship back to Canada in September for the Supertest stake at Goderich. Also on the move is Ambassador Direct, a two-year-old sired by Ambassador Pick who has taken a record of 2:10 3/5 at Vernon in an early closing event. Ensign Dillon is the stable leader and flirted with the two minute mark earlier this year stopping the teletimer in 2:00.3 . Mr. Arthur does all of his own training and driving and maintains a very neat operation.

Tornado Lee appears to have regained the form he showed a few years ago. The now seven-year-old son of Corporal Lee out of Streamline Grattan has had a productive season racing mainly at Connaught Park in Aylmer, Quebec after starting the season at Maywood Park. He won a total of six races and banked $2,147 for owners Dr. George Elliott and Jack Little both of Clinton, Ont. Tornado Lee raced much of the season under the care of Seaforth, Ont. horseman Ken Kerr.

Ambitious, the pride and joy of Dr. Gordon Gilbertson of Burford has completed her nine-year-old season. The daughter of Rip Hanover took a record of 2:03 last season at Vernon Downs with "Doc" in the bike. This year she has stayed closer to home and in 41 starts has been in the winner's circle a total of 10 times to go along with 10 seconds and three thirds good for a bankroll of $5,274 on the season. The pair travelled to many of the small towns as well as a successful stint at Woodbine and multiple wins at the new London meet.

Canadian racing has been graced this season by a couple of rather special U.S. visitors. Wee Irish, a nine-year-old trotting gelding and his driver Bobbe Huntress have put on several thrilling performances in the top trotting events. On a couple of occasions the pair even grabbed a win from a field of both pacers and trotters at London, a rather unusual happening these days. Miss Huntress, acknowledged by many to be one of the top female drivers in the sport, has shown her ability to beat the "boys" on a number of occasions at Old Woodbine and the big Montreal tracks. George McLear of Hammond, N.Y. is the owner of Wee Irish who now has lifetime earnings of nearly $135,000. Miss Huntress, who hails from Gouverneur, N.Y., has appeared in many distaff driving competitions along with Canadian Mildred Williams.

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