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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1970s

Published: April 3, 2021 12:10 pm ET

Last Comment: April 8, 2021 3:48 pm ET | 14 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This week's Rewind is the monthly feature Years Ago and Robert Smith has selected a few old pictures and short clips related to the decade of the 1970's. That means that names and faces from 40 to 50 years ago will be a part of this week's offering. My hope is that many of you will find an item or two that brings back a happy memory from the past.

1970 - Grise On The Rise

Photo courtesy of Montreal Gazette

July 1970 - Followers of the sulky scene at the big Montreal tracks are beginning to notice a rising star on the horizon and his name is Serge Grise. The now 26-year-old sulky sitter just scored his first hat trick of the season at Richelieu Park over the weekend. His victories came behind Lonesome Valley, Beaute Coloniale and Devil Mir and vaulted him into the top spot in the driver's standings based on his 52 wins. He seems almost certain to reach at least 100 victories for the season which will be a milestone.

Young Grise would like to better his career wins total for a season which is 94, garnered just last season. He began driving on a full-time basis three years previous to this and each year his win totals have improved. His career best of 94 in 1969 was achieved by winning 76 races at the Montreal tracks and 18 more at Quebec City and Three Rivers. Serge trains and drives for his father's stable which currently numbers 13 head and is likely to increase in size. He is also in demand as a catch driver.

The orange and red silks of the Grise family have been prominent in recent years with the team of father Alcides as trainer and son Serge doing the driving. Unfortunately the senior member of the family is currently on the sidelines recovering from a serious track accident. The Grise Stable has a nicely equipped horse van which sports the stable colours and transports their charges wherever they need to travel and they also ship for others when time permits.

1971 - New Publication Launched

Shown above is a very early 1971 copy of Canada's newest harness racing publication first known as The Standardbred Record. The magazine's description was "Dedicated To The Improvement Of Canadian Standardbred Racing And Breeding." See below for a trivia question related to this cover photo.

Back in 1971, which has somehow quickly become 50 years ago, an enterprising and capable young lady by the name of Barbara Waples (later Lennox) started a new print publication and it was initially called The Standardbred Record. Her headquarters were first located in Orangeville, Ontario and later in Acton. Her background and upbringing certainly were contributing factors in leading her in this rather unusual and challenging direction. She being the daughter of Keith and Eileen Waples, thus not a lot more elaborate introduction is necessary.

In time, through her diligence, foresight, professionalism and vision for the future, her magazine rose to world-class status and was read by many who wished to be well-informed. The format, colour and overall quality rivalled any publication in the business. I am proud to have been even a small part of her success as for several years I penned a column titled Looking Back; a series that chronicled the sport's earlier days and personalities. One lasting memory I personally will always associate with this column was the logo Barb chose for me which was the old traditional soft silk hat that all drivers once wore before the days of helmets. It was a theme that most often evoked memories of a bygone era, but ones well worth remembering.

Early in 1971 her first issue came rolling off the presses. A small notice posted on page 3 showed some important facts. "The Standardbred Record is published bi-weekly and distributed by mail to all residents of Ontario who are members of The Canadian Trotting Association. Subscriptions $5.00 per year." The fact that a year's subscription cost the princely sum of $5.00 tells us that quite a bit of time has passed and a lot has changed in 50 years.

To this day, a number of the old back issues of The Standardbred serve as a treasure trove of information, pictures and, yes, even inspiration in what I am doing at the present time. In writing for the Internet, things have changed drastically, but you still require good background information.

"Looking Back," I say "Thanks" to Barb for a job well done and a job now well remembered.

1972 - Moffatt Scores Four On Sunday Card At Windsor

London-based horseman Rick Moffat put together the winningest card of any driver in the first six weeks of Windsor's summer meeting on the afternoon of Sunday, July 23. The 25-year-old sulky sitter, who got his start with fellow London-area horseman Neil McRann, was red hot. He started out the day with a fifth-place finish in the opener but was right back in the second with a winning drive behind Mighty Gent. He followed this with another win in the fourth with Stately, Kon Tiki in the fifth and Lus Imp in the sixth. After watching the next three races from the paddock he came within a proverbial whisker in the tenth and final when he was second behind Leo's Star.

Moffatt joined a rather select group of drivers who had scored four or more victories at Windsor since its opening in October 1965. Herve Filion led the elite group with six wins on opening night 1969, Carmine Abbatiello had five while Greg Wright had two four win cards in 1971 and Percy Robillard previously also had a four-win performance.

The 1972 season turned out to be a productive one for Moffatt (shown above) as he recorded 116 wins in 615 drives, also winning $98,000 in purse money, the best numbers of his young career.

1976 - Randy Fulmer Has Record Day

Courtesy of The Windsor Star

Saturday March 8, 1976 was a "really big day" for a young 20-year-old Windsor horseman named Randy Fulmer. He had a taste of how the big time drivers spend their days and nights. In the afternoon he was off to Chicago's Hawthorne Park where he piloted the trotter Rising Wind to an upset victory in the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot. That race was named after Mr. Dygert, a man who was instrumental in bringing night time racing to Chicago. Rising Wind, now a five-year-old, was owned jointly by Fulmer, Louis Moisson and Dan Cottingham. As an outsider the horse paid $69.40 to win in the $50,000 event, trotting in 2:04.

Following that event Fulmer was on a plane headed back home. That evening at Windsor he resumed his winning ways as he piloted Super Baron, owned by his parents Bruce and Frances Fulmer, in the featured pacing event. Off as second choice to favourite Harry Fritz (Bill Gale), the young reinsman was home first in 2:05.3. Not quite finished with his day and night's work, he came back to win the ninth race behind Brideys Bullet. Apparently he was still not getting the attention of the bettors as he paid a whopping $54.40 to win in this one. Again Fulmer co-owned this horse along with Kathleen Cottingham of Tilbury.

1977 - Leamington Opens 1977 Season

Sunday April 17, 1977 marked the opening day of harness racing at Canada's most southerly racetrack, Leamington Raceway. A card of 10 races, most with a field of seven starters, went postward for starter Bob Givens (even though the program showed Gibbons). Other racing officials were the following:

Judges - Allan McManus, Norman "Bucky" Platford and Laurence Geisel
Patrol Judge - Jarvis Ross
Announcer - Robert Q. Smith (no relation)
Race Secretary - George Deacon
Paddock Judge - Bob Brown
Track Vet - Dr. Gordon Gilbertson
Gen. Manager - Bob Pearson
Fair Board - Marj Knight

I thought it would be interesting to show a list of all drivers programmed that afternoon. I have listed them in alphabetical order and shown the number of wins earned that day in brackets.

Marty Adler, Hector Armstrong (1), Lou Beaulac, Ken Bogart, Richard Carroll, Norm Desserault, Rodney Duford (1), Pete Dupuis, Larry Eaid, Bryce Fenn, Chuck Fraleigh, Lyle Grineage, Norm Harrison, Wm. Hamm, Wm. Holden, Earl Hyatt (1), Rick Kennedy, Albert List, Gordon Mairs, Lonnie McCorkle, Dennis McFadden (1), Ted McFadden (1), Doug McIntosh, George McKenzie, Lorne McKenzie, Norm McKnight, Dick Mitchell, Jack Rich, Bruce Richard, Ross Roselle, Nelson Shay, Ross Siddall (1), Lazlo Simon (1), Dean Stevens (1), Walter Srigley, Andre Thibault, Vaughn Webster (1), Dale Williams.

The featured race of the day was won by Shelly Duke, driven by Dean Stevens for owner Arthur Maskell of Goderich pacing the mile in 2:07.4. Finishing second was the current track record holder Peggy Lynne 2:03.2 driven by Earl Hyatt for owner Jos. Booth of Dresden. Purse $1,200.

Quote For The Week: With the major league baseball season just getting under way, why not have a quote from Yogi Berra. "It's always nice to win the home opener even if it's on the road."

Trivia Question: Can you figure out where the front page picture on the 1971 Standardbred Record was taken? Not too much to work with.

HAPPY EASTER to all in the reading audience as we celebrate a rather early Easter this year. It is a wonderful time of year as we see the magic of nature with the return of green grass and the warmth of the sun. It can't come too soon.

Who Is It?

Can you identify these two fellows as they appeared at the 1976 HTA convention in Palm Springs, California?

Who Else Is It?

Here is a good one. We have one horse and 14 people. Can you name the driver because that's all I have? If anyone else looks familiar let us know. The winner paid $13.00,$ 6.40, $5.60 which may explain at least some of the smiling faces. Abahazy photo collection.

Be sure to stay tuned for the correct answers during the upcoming week. They will appear in the comments section.

April 8, 2021 - 3:48 pmAnswers - The top picture in

Answers - The top picture in this week's offering was Michael MacCormac, Blue Bonnets executive  presenting a silver trophy to Joe O'Brien who was accepting on behalf of Armstrong Bros. The Award was won by 2YO Armbro Ranger. It looked like in order to attend that gathering you required a pretty good sized bow tie.
The lower picture taken at Wolverine Raceway in 1978 featured the horse Sly Call and driver Ross Roselle. It looks like his brother Gord was at the horse's head. Many others will remain unidentified.
The correct answer to the trivia question which asked where the picture was taken that was on the magazine cover was Windsor Raceway. Most of us have known for a long time that "two heads are better than one" and now we may have learned that "Two Gords (Waples & Brown) are better than one."
The following caption was included in the magazine. About the cover......"An unusual photo of a race start - taken from the moving gate by a 180 degree lens (commonly called a fish-eye) - as the horses in the fifth event at Windsor Raceway Sat. afternoon, Feb. 13, 1971 line up behind the gate. Winner of this race was Malcolm's Creed (No. 3) with John Bonne at the reins." (Kirsch Bros. Windsor photo) Thanks for your participation, it is always appreciated.

April 6, 2021 - 4:14 pmNote to Jack Darling and

Note to Jack Darling and other "would be guessers." The trivia question applied to the 1971 item which showed the old front cover of the original Standardbred Record magazine in purple. But if you were to name where the bottom picture was taken; well as usual you're pretty darn sharp in your ID skills.

April 5, 2021 - 3:09 pmI see a racebike behind the

Jack Darling SAID...

I see a racebike behind the winners circle so that would rule out Windsor Raceway. My guess would be Hazel Park or possibly Wolverine. Ross raced at those tracks.

April 3, 2021 - 7:01 pmActually will change my

Gord Brown SAID...

Actually will change my answer to Windsor, Gordy Waples should know as I was just a pup when he raced there!

April 3, 2021 - 5:26 pmThe cover photo must be a 5/8

Karl Holub SAID...

The cover photo must be a 5/8 track due to 8 horses on the gate! I agree with Gord on it being Windsor! Loved Windsor, and remembering an 18 year old driving sensation named Mark MacDonald makes me feel quite on in years;-)

April 3, 2021 - 5:23 pmAlways a pleasure to read

Always a pleasure to read about my brother. Thanks for the memories
No. 1 Mike MacCormack and Joe O'Brien

April 3, 2021 - 4:33 pmMichael MacCormac is the

Michael MacCormac is the fellow making the presentation to Joe O'Brien. Mike, who is in the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, was a horse racing executive in the province of Quebec. He was primarily responsible for starting the Prix D'Ete race at Blue Bonnets.

April 3, 2021 - 4:17 pmIt is Michael MacCormac from

It is Michael MacCormac from Blue Bonnets, with Joe O'brien

April 3, 2021 - 2:26 pmThe driver is Ross Roselle,

Jack Darling SAID...

The driver is Ross Roselle, and his brother Gord is holding the horse.

April 3, 2021 - 1:38 pmThe track on the front page

kent benson SAID...

The track on the front page of the Standardbred: is it Garden City? The second photo, one of the fellas is Joe Obrien on the right.

April 3, 2021 - 1:13 pmFirst picture... little guy

First picture... little guy is Joe O'Brien (jingling jesus) and Lloyd Arnold.
Second picture... driver... Ross Rosell. At head is Gord Rosell... far right is Joe Nantais.

April 3, 2021 - 12:38 pm'Who else is it' looks like

John Hill SAID...

'Who else is it' looks like Gord Roselle holding the horse for brother Ross, the driver.

April 3, 2021 - 12:36 pmThe track picture could be

gord waples SAID...

The track picture could be Windsor Raceway.

April 3, 2021 - 12:36 pmMichael Guigure? Joe

Gord Brown SAID...

Michael Guigure? Joe O'Brien.
Ross Roselle maybe brother Gord holding. I will say Garden City or Orangeville.

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