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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1940s

Published: February 6, 2016 8:52 am ET

Last Comment: February 6, 2016 12:25 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In this week's edition of Rewind, Robert Smith takes a look back at some of the personalities and events from the decade of the 1940's in the ongoing feature Years Ago.

1942 - New Liskeard Horseman Purchases Promising Colt

​Mr. James Brown, a New Liskeard, Ont.-based sportsman has purchased The Count, a two-year-old colt that he hopes will fulfill his early promise. Based on an advertisement in the Canadian Sportsman magazine, Mr. Brown and his trainer Cliff "Chappy" Chapman recently visited the Wallaceburg track to view the youngster being offered by owner Joseph Saint. Wet weather conditions which made the track unusable and prevented them watching a regular training mile but they did see the young roan in action. The owner's son Fred Saint drove him down a nearby side road and apparently the prospective buyers liked what they saw. The deal was made and the horse was shipped to the Chapman training base at Weston.

The Count is sired By Corporal Lee and out of the Saint-owned broodmare Countess Jane. He was unraced at two but did make an impressive appearance at the 1942 race day at Saints Park in Wallaceburg. In rein to the aforementioned Fred Saint, he went an exhibition mile in 2:25 all by himself. This may have been a determining factor.

Note: This horse went on to be perhaps the most impressive and successful horse of the decade and won The Canadian Pacing Derby four times in five years (1944-1948), finishing second on the other occasion. A series named after The Count B is held each year on the WEG Circuit.

1943 - Ice Races Held At Charlottetown

February 1943: A series of 1/4 mile ice races have been held this month on the speedway off Victoria Park. Large crowds have braved the elements to watch the best horses in the area compete as they vie for local honours.

A number of the participants are well known to the fans from their performances during the summer months. One of the highlights of these race days was a series of inter-province events between horses from the Eastern Driving Club of Dartmouth and the Victoria Driving Club of Charlottetown.

Emerging as stars of the events were the great trotter Millie Kalmuck, owned trained and driven by Willard Kelly of Southport. She recorded a 1/4 mile time of :29 1/4. On the pacing side Tracey Hanover owned by the Eastern Driving Club turned a time of :29 1/2 with Mr. Scott handling the reins.

On one of the afternoons at least a half dozen horses fell during the contests, most as a result of throwing a shoe on what has been described as the 'glib' ice. According to news reports one horse fell and slid for a hundred yards before finally coming to a halt, thankfully uninjured. Veteran reinsman Tom Holmes, who is well past his 80th birthday, drew a huge ovation from the crowd when called by announcer W.H. Beaton. He now makes only infrequent visits having suffered a broken leg twice in recent years.

1947 - Dutton, Ont. Owner Makes Futurity History

Russell Miller, a Dutton, Ont. farmer and recently turned horseman, established a new record in the C.S.H.S. Futurity program held this year at Toronto's Dufferin Park. He became the first owner in the Society's nearly 20 year history to win both divisions of the annual event. After co-owning the 1946 two-year-old winner Minda Dillon, Mr. Miller purchased this year's three-year-old winner Dividend who was last year's runner up. Finishing second to Dividend was Lee Grattan Bars with third place status going to Mr. Herbert. With a purse of $3,000 it was the richest event of the year for sophomore pacers.

Miller's victory in the two-year-old event was taken by another Dillon Mc sired colt named David Dillon who has gone unbeaten by any two-year-olds this season. In both events the driver was Joe Hodgins, a young up-and-coming reinsman who hails from Lucan, Ont. The two thrilling Futurity wins came exactly one week apart in late August. David Dillon won all three heats thus taking the lion's share of the $1,200 purse.

The Futurity program which was introduced in 1929 was held for many years at Toronto's Exhibition grounds until that facility removed its track in 1939. Since that time the annual colt classics have been offered by tender each year and held at various locations, most recently Stratford and Strathroy.

1948 - Canadians Enjoying Bay State Raceway

A number of Quebec-based stables seem to be enjoying the surroundings at the brand new Bay State Raceway in Foxboro, Mass. This beautifully appointed track opened for a 30-night meeting in the fall of 1947 and became an immediate success. This year with all of the barns and other necessary buildings completed, things are moving along smoothly on and off the track. The new starting gate has been well accepted by all of the horsemen. Race Secretary Edwin Keller always runs a first class meeting.

Quebec horsemen including Honorat LaRochelle, Eph L'Heureux, Louis Praught, Pat Paquin and Georges Giguere have been frequent visitors to the winner's circle. Undoubtedly the honour of top horse on the grounds belongs to the gelding Guy H owned by Elzear Cournoyer of Sorel, Quebec. He recently stepped to a new track record for driver Honorat LaRochelle. A few others in the stable include Blackout Pointer, Chuck Worthy, Max Bingen, Fionne Hanover and Miss Stars. LaRochelle has also won a couple of Handicap Trots with Duke Volo in races where each horse starts at a different spot. The wins were achieved despite being handicapped by as much as 265 feet.

Note: Bay State (later Foxboro) was located between Boston and Providence, R.I. It was closed and later demolished.

Guy H and driver Honorat LaRochelle are joined in the Bay State winner's circle by Track co-owner and Manager Paul Bowser (Harness Horse)

1949 ​- Strathroy's Dominion Day Picnic Turns 30

July 1, 1949 - A huge crowd was on hand to celebrate Dominion Day at the Strathroy fairgrounds, a tradition that dates back to July 1, 1919. While numerous attractions were held throughout the day including several numbers by the local band, the afternoon of harness racing held centre stage. Under the direction of local farmer and horseman Harold Currie, a total of 15 heats of harness action thrilled the large crowd. Many fans and horse owners gather prior to noon to enjoy a picnic lunch brought from home.

This year's Free For All, which attracts the best pacers available to vie for the $1000 purse, was won by Dixie Lee Hy. The black Bob Lee mare owned by Moore Bros. of Sarnia was driven by Marshall Moore with the fastest heat clocked in 2:10 4/5. Marshall won a total of four heats during the afternoon also scoring with Dora Baldwin, thus sharing driving honours with Lloyd Turvey of Exeter who also made four trips to the winner's circle.

Duncan Campbell of nearby Ailsa Craig, accompanied by his twelve-year-old daughter Margaret (partially hidden) and son Ray (behind Mrs. Oliver), receives a trophy from Mrs. Oliver. The presentation followed a three-heat winning effort by the Campbell-owned Little Bill, a three-year-old gelding sired by Corporal Lee. The race called "The Corporal Lee Stake" has been staged for a number of years to honour the fine stallion by the same name who stands at Mr. Currie's farm in Adelaide Township. As part of the afternoon's proceedings the now 21-year-old sire was led out on the track and introduced to the crowd. (London Free Press)

February 6, 2016 - 12:25 pmHi Marv and thanks for your

Hi Marv and thanks for your comment. Clint and Joe Hodgins were NOT brothers. I believe they were cousins and came from around the same geographical area. At one time there were quite a few Hodgins involved in the sport. After starting his career in Ontario, including Dufferin Park, Joe spent several decades racing at Buffalo and Batavia. Joe had a twin brother Roy. Clint's brother Grant was an owner at one time and co-owned Prince Adios, an outstanding horse of the early 1950's. Clint's cousins (both male and female) were involved in various ways. Dalton was a trainer and driver and his sisters were married to horsemen. Marjorie married Harold Wellwood and her sister was married to Lew James. I believe Clint had several other connections in the sport but I do not know much about them. (This may have just been the tip of the iceberg)
As a matter of interest, David Dillon was considered to be potentially one of the sport's greatest performers based on his two year old form. Early in his three year old season he broke a bone and had to be euthanized.

February 6, 2016 - 10:20 amAnother great job Robert.

Another great job Robert. Keep em coming. Question Who was Joe Hodgins to Clint Hodgins?? Brothers??

"Miller's victory in the two-year-old event was taken by another Dillon Mc sired colt named David Dillon who has gone unbeaten by any two-year-olds this season. In both events the driver was Joe Hodgins, a young up-and-coming reinsman who hails from Lucan, Ont. The two thrilling Futurity wins came exactly one week apart in late August. David Dillon won all three heats thus taking the lion's share of the $1,200 purse."

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