April's Calendar Photographer

Published: April 1, 2018 10:33 am EDT

Laverne Turnbull of Kitchener, Ontario is the Heart of Harness Racing’s April photographer. Turnbull, who now lives year-round in Ontario, makes the trip back home to Manitoba each summer to catch the races. While visiting this past year he captured this image at the Manitoba Great Western Fair Circuit in Killarney, Manitoba. The photo was taken during the fifth race on Sunday, August 6, 2017 on the last turn of the half-mile track.

The horse on the inside of the track is Brain Teaser with Garett Isman in the bike. The middle horse is Luvn The Life with Dean Rey driving, and the horse who had the three-wide power move, and was the eventual winner, is Marvtherat and Cory Manning.

Manitoba has 10 weekend fair events for harness racing that take place at small towns throughout the province. As you can see from the photo, they have used pool noodles as markers for the track, something that is common to Manitoba racing, but not something you would usually see at more established racetracks.

Although Turnbull had a career in harness racing for decades, he now works as a pharmacy technician at Grand River Hospital and has been an assistant for several veterinarians, floating teeth throughout the years.

Laverne “floating teeth” (photo by Dr. Julie Ballinger)

“I used to go to the races with my Dad when I was in high school in Manitoba and then I became a groom. I groomed horses for the Ron Waples Stable in the mid to late '80s in Ontario and the eastern states, before returning home to Manitoba, where I got my driver’s license and raced my own stable in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario for 20 years.”

Laverne considers photography a hobby and tries to get the camera out when he has a chance. “My photography experience is purely casual - I love horses and like to pull the camera out when opportunity arises, and I took many photos that day.”

This is the second time that one of Laverne’s photos has been featured in the calendar.