view counter
view counter

SC Rewind: The Wearin' Of The Green

Published: March 16, 2019 9:30 am ET

Last Comment: March 16, 2019 5:53 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In this week's edition of 'Rewind' Robert Smith adopts a St. Patrick's Day theme as many folks observe this year's Irish holiday tomorrow on March 17. His piece recalls a special all Irish race from many years ago and also touches on a few more tidbits to do with St Patty's Day.

Remembering March 17, 1966 at O'Windsor Raceway

Way back on March 17th, 1966 (and everybody knows what day of each year that is) Windsor Raceway's Race Secretary Joe DeFrank (or was he O'DeFrank?) came up with the rather novel idea of staging a race with an all-Irish theme. In addition, on that evening every lady in attendance at the Windsor clubhouse received a Green Corsage. The idea was to have a complete field of horses and drivers, all with Irish names or backgrounds or some connection to The Emerald Isle. They say that on St. Patrick's Day everybody is either Irish or at least wish they were for that one day.

The "All-Irish" Race

The race, which went off as the fourth event of the evening, was won by McCarr Hanover, owned, trained and driven by Clarence "Shorty" Lockhart of Collingwood. Ont. Mr. Lockhart was a long-time figure in Ontario and Quebec racing circles and was also an automobile dealer in his hometown. His accomplishments in the sport were sufficient to place him in the local Sport's Hall of Fame. McCarr Hanover was a seven-year-old gelded son of Tar Heel and he apparently liked being with other "Irish" horses as he started in another 21 races that season following this evening without another victory.

Following the race, Clarence appeared in the winner's circle and was presented with an Irish-styled top hat for his horse and a pipe which he graciously puffed on. The above photograph appeared in the next day's edition of The Windsor Star. How much "green" was involved with the outcome of the race? McCarr Hanover paid a paltry $4.50 for a $2.00 greenback...I don't know how "Irish" Clarence was the rest of the year but he sure looked and acted the part that night.

Results Of St. Patrick's Day "Irish Derby" - March 17, 1966

1. McCarr Hanover (Clarence Lockhart)
2. Dame Abbe (Terry O'Brien)
3. Irish Direct C. (Thos. Stephenson)
4. Irish Ensign (Ron Feagan)
5. Pat Yates (Don Keeton)
6. Adioo Killean (Ray McLean)
7. R Kelly Chief (Fred Rollason)
8. Danny B Harmony (Roy McFadden)

The so-called Irish Influence has long been apparent in harness racing circles. Perhaps no better known or more proficient driver ever existed than Joe O'Brien, the man for whom the O'Brien Awards are named and certainly a man steeped in Irish heritage. Green, or shades thereof, have always been among the most popular colour for driver's silks. At one time the U.S.T.A. listed various shades of green as possibilities for silks.

An excerpt from Bill Galvin's "Golden Horseshoe Fact Book" from many years ago included the following passage. "GREEN - GREEN - GREEN. Irish drivers find the U.S. Trotting Association helpful when registering their colors. They can choose Bronze Green, Dark Green, Forest Green, Kelly Green, Light Green, Lime Green, Pearl Green, Olive Green or just plain old Green. Joe O'Brien however wears Gold and White!"

Over the years a number of drivers have incorporated Shamrocks as part of their driving silks; after all they are a part of the clover family. A couple who stand out in my memory are Neil McRann and one of his pupils Rick Moffatt who remains active to this day. I'm sure there have been many more.

London-based horseman Rick Moffatt in his green and white silks adorned with shamrocks on each shoulder appears in the Wolverine winner's circle in this 1978 photo after reining Merrywood Deana to victory. To his right is his brother Jerry the trainer. Perhaps someone in the reading audience can identify a few of the others in the winner's circle. For a further bit of "Irish" the co-owner along with Rick was Albert McCarty (Abahazy Photo collection)

A Bit More About St. Patrick's Day

Ireland's Derek Delaney presents trophy and special blanket from Ireland to George Brennan and Absolutely Michael at Freehold Raceway in this 2015 photograph. Holding the flag is Derek's daughter Lexie and wife Lillian. (Helene Gregory/World Wide Racing Photos)

An Irish Joke: Two Irish people walk out of a bar. Hey, it could happen!

If you are one who celebrates this joyous day and maybe even one who sips the odd green brew to observe the day. "Happy St. Patrick's Day To You !" Erin Go Bragh (Long Live Ireland!! or Ireland Forever!!)

March 16, 2019 - 5:53 pmAnother Great Article Robert.

Another Great Article Robert. I think you're reaching a bit with Joe O DeFrank.....LOL

Keep up the good work. Happy St Patty's Day and not tooooo much Green Beer, OK.....

view counter

© 2020 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal