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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1960s

Published: March 6, 2021 11:51 am ET

Last Comment: March 12, 2021 2:23 pm ET | 11 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This week's Rewind offering is the monthly edition of 'Years Ago' and focuses on names, faces and happenings from the decade of the 1960's. A wide range of topics are featured as well as a few old photos related to the themes. I hope that readers will find some familiar names and even faces associated with that time in history.

1960 - Record Number Of Entries At Richelieu Park


A packed house at Richelieu Park watch the races on a Sunday afternoon (Harness Horse)

Provincial Raceways the operators of Richelieu Park Raceway have announced that a record number of entries have been received for this year's stakes program. As of the entry deadline which was April 15th, a whopping 944 entries have been received which topped the previous high by over 200 entries. The upcoming meeting will start August 1.

The busy stakes schedule will include over 30 individual events and offer purses valued at around $254,000. Eighteen horses including Mighty Dudley have been nominated for the $60,000 Canada Pace. Others in the field include Armbro Express, Captain Wright, Sir Winston Pick, Margie Eden, Senator Spangler, Champ Volo, Great Adios and Senator Spangler to name a few. The Metropolitan Trot for $58,000 and the Beaver Pace worth $25,000 are among the most anticipated early closers.

Entries from several top U.S. stables are guaranteed to provide some of the best quality of racing ever seen in the Province of Quebec. The format for a number of events will see weekly editions followed by a final which will carry some attractive purses. As in the past the Sunday afternoon cards will usually be stacked with top performing horses of both gaits. With the memory of Canada's first two-minute mile being achieved the year previous to this, it is anticipated that the 1960 season will be perhaps the best ever.

1963 - Rideau Carleton Opens Second Season

Ottawa, Ont. Wednesday, May 8, 1963 - After several days of qualifying races in readiness for the upcoming season, Rideau Carleton Raceway opened its doors to kick off their second season of racing at the Albion Road plant. Plagued by extremely inclement weather during its inaugural meeting Racing officials and horsemen alike are hoping for a better fate this year. On a business note, the season's operations will be in the hands of The Guaranty Trust Co. of Canada as receiver and manager.

On opening night, the honour of winning the first race of the season went to owner Albert DeFosse of Trenton when his Emlen Hanover (Platford) crossed the finish line ahead of Starliner in a Cond. Trot for $300 stopping the timer in 2:14.2. The fastest mile on opening night belonged to a horse with the rather catchy name of Ruby Duby Doo in rein to Francois "Frenchy" Lebouef when they annexed the second race in 2:09.3. In all, 10 races were contested in front of an enthusiastic crowd. On Saturday evening of the first week, the $800 Invitational feature went to Superior Richard handled by young (almost 19) Carman Hie whose father Clifford Hie of Cobourg Ont. owns this fine pacer now six years of age. He stepped off a nice mile in 2:06 flat, defeating in order Colonel C Volo 2, Hi Acres Rudy 3, Check Out 4, Paceaway 5.

A number of stables that competed here last year have returned along with some new faces. A partial listing of the driver's colony for this meeting would include (in alphabetical order) Johnny Atmore, Franz Beitlich, Gerard Bouvrette, Florent Brochu, Ken Carmichael, Neil Curran, Ross Curran, Yves Desjardins, Wilf Duford, Henry Farrington, Ivan Farr, Allan Geisel, Ray Gemmill, Fred Goudreau, R. Hanna, Ken Kerr, Mervin Kirkness, Omar Knight, Guy Larush, Vic Lutman, Don McNutt, Claude Miville, John Murphy, Everette Norris, Allan Pacey, J.K. Pritchard, Wm. Pyke, John Roloson, Andre St. Amour, Phil Sauve, Wilbur Thompson, Jim Wiener. (Partial list only)

Once again this season Mr. Claire Smith will be in the Judge's stand representing the C.T.A. with Chas. Lamb for the O.R.C. and Bill Westwick the Rideau Carleton judge. Allison Grillo is the G.M. and Lew James the Race Secretary. Racing will conclude in July.

Note - The above was created based on records available at the time.

1964 - London Closes Successful Fall Meeting

On the afternoon of November 14th London's Western Fair raceway closed out a successful fall meeting in front of a crowd of 3,452 who wagered a respectable $110,616. The 30-night gathering (the final two Saturdays were matinee affairs) was a success by all standards and had the track's general manager Evan McGugan in a good mood following the final race. He told Harry Eisen "It's certainly encouraging, our betting is up nearly $25,000 over last Saturday alone. Things are looking good for the upcoming winter meeting."

The day's feature event, the ninth race Invitational Pace for a purse of $1,200 was taken by Billy By-O handled by Johnny Atmore for his father Sheldon Atmore of nearby Parkhill, Ont. This win gave Atmore a driving double as he joined driver Ellis Dell as a two-time winner on the closing day card. In the tenth and final race of the afternoon it was fitting that the meet's leading driver Jack Campbell would close with a victory. He was home first with 11-year-old Argyel Sam, a horse described in Mr. Eisen's write up as "an honest veteran of the local pacing scene." Campbell, a 33-year-old from Ailsa Craig, was presented with the Carling trophy and a cheque for $50 as his leading driver award. In second place but unable to be on hand to accept his award was another fine young driver, Wes Coke of Petrolia, who had to leave before the races were over to drive five horses at Garden City Raceway in St. Catharines. The overall points leader in the driver's standings was Levi "Jiggs" McFadden of Dresden who tallied 244 points.


Jack Campbell leading driver at London is shown receiving a cheque and a trophy from Carlings Brewery Rep. Chuck Butler (London Free Press)

1965 - Windsor Raceway Opens

On the evening of Thursday October 21, 1965 Canada's newest and most modern racetrack opened its doors for the first time. Windsor Raceway, built specifically for winter time racing, included a number of firsts. Its 3M Tartan racing surface would allow for racing in all types of weather. If the fans could get there, racing would go on.

Although the City of Windsor had been without a racetrack for many decades it had a long history of tracks dating back to the 1800's. This new venture was at least the fifth track to exist within or near this city's boundaries. The names Devonshire, Kenilworth and Windsor Driving Park (located at the modern day location of Jackson Park) were all once well known equine racing centres. A newer short lived track called Phillips Park was once located just down the road from Windsor Raceway.


Shown above is the list of entries for opening night at Windsor just a few months over 55 years ago. (Windsor Star)

See below for a trivia question related to this item.

1966 - Who's Who At Mohawk

I recently received a photo of an old Mohawk program (Price 35 cents) from 1966 which would have been their fourth year of operation. The great public relations man Bill Galvin who we just lost, always did a super job of keeping racing fans updated on things behind the scenes such as driver bios as well as current stats.

Quote For The Week: "I'm not arguing; I am just explaining why you are wrong."

Who Is It?

Can you identify the horse and driver in this photo? There are some oddities at play here but that's as far as I can go with clues. (Brian Smiley photo)

Who Else Is It?

This horse led the post parade in the 1989 Maple Leaf Trot. Can you name him? I don't have an identity for the driver but our experts just might know who it is.

Trivia Question: How many drivers listed to drive on opening night at Windsor in 1965 (shown above) are still with us? I have a number in mind and maybe our astute readers will see someone(s) I don't. Stay tuned for the correct answers to this week's questions and picture identities during the upcoming week.

March 12, 2021 - 2:23 pmTo Gord Brown:  I understand

To Gord Brown:  I understand but this is why you are considered an "expert". You are always able to come up with the impossible answers. Remember an old saying, "When a task seems too difficult, don't ask for an easier task but instead ask for strength to do the one at hand." Thanks!

March 12, 2021 - 10:26 amThis weeks pictures were as

This weeks pictures were as follows:
1 - Matts Scooter with catch driver Dave Smith who took over the seat usually occupied by Mike Lachance. After the race Smith told  a reporter  he was merely along for the ride and added "Anyone could drive this horse, even Charlie Juravinski" who of course was co-owner along with Gord & Ila Rumpel of Port Perry. 
2 - The horse hitched in an old high wheeler was A GO GO LAUXMONT. No driver was listed in the original so I still don't know. 
Trivia Question - I am not sure just how many drivers listed on the opening night card at Windsor in 1965 are still with us. In my opinion from looking over the names I can only find a possible 3. My three names will be Keith Waples, Pat Crowe and Tom Merriman. I think I am correct on the Merriman choice. I know Murray Waples was in action at the opening meeting but I do not believe he drove on opening night. Gordon Norris just passed away in 2020 at the age of 87. Beyond that I cannot add more names with any certainty.
Thanks as always.

March 11, 2021 - 2:46 pmKind of hard Robert with only

Gord Brown SAID...

Kind of hard Robert with only last names!

March 9, 2021 - 3:32 pmThis week's trivia question

This week's trivia question regarding remaining Windsor Drivers seems to be drawing little interest. The answer I was looking for was something like this. After looking over the driver's list  "I see 5 (or some number) and their names are Joe Blow, Jake Snow, etc. The number itself is not sufficient without attaching a name.
Note to Leon Siple - Yes "Red Fred" Roloson was victorious driving Castle Direct for Michigan interests.

March 7, 2021 - 4:10 pmBridger with Dave

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Bridger with Dave Green
Trivia - 8

March 7, 2021 - 4:03 pmWho Else is it is A Go Go

Leon Siple SAID...

Who Else is it is A Go Go Lauxmont with someone other than Earl Lennox in the bike.

BTW Robert, did Red Fred Roloson win the first race at Windsor?

March 6, 2021 - 4:45 pmThe first picture is Matts

The first picture is Matts Scooter. I’m not sure if the oddity is this but Dave Smith is in the bike. He drove in the beginning of his career.

March 6, 2021 - 4:20 pm(1) Matts Scooter w/ David

(1) Matts Scooter w/ David Smith.
(2) No Sex Please w/ Ron Waples Jr

March 6, 2021 - 3:35 pmWho is it? Motor city (Dave

john crake SAID...

Who is it? Motor city (Dave Smith) and Matts scooter.

March 6, 2021 - 1:32 pmWho is it? Looks like David

Eric Sherban SAID...

Who is it? Looks like David Stanley Smith driving Matts Scooter.

March 6, 2021 - 12:45 pmDave Smith and Matts Scooter,

Gord Brown SAID...

Dave Smith and Matts Scooter, gonna go out on a limb and say Bridger and John Hayes. Trivia 15?


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