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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1960s

Published: April 7, 2018 10:39 am ET

Last Comment: April 11, 2018 2:15 pm ET | 15 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The monthly feature ‘Years Ago’ focuses on the events and personalities from the decade of the 1960s, as this week's ‘Rewind’ offering. Harness racing in general was advancing in popularity at this time in all sectors. The decade of the 1960s saw the building of many new tracks in Canada, particularly Ontario where the sport was experiencing an unbelievable growth.

1961 - Young Driver Scores Maiden Victory

June 27, 1961 - The thrill of a young driver winning his first race is a major happening and one never forgotten. For a 17-year-old Garth Gordon from Cobourg, Ont., that special happening took place in this evening's sixth race at Richelieu Park as he showed all of the attributes of a veteran. Driving the then 12-year-old pacer Country Lad owned by Garnet Kirkpatrick of Odessa, Ont. provided the youngster with that once-in-a-lifetime experience. Out to greet the young driver were three special ladies: Sadie Habkirk, Sheila L'Heureux and Mrs. Jean Jodoin.

Somewhat overlooked in the betting, the winner paid $17.20, $6.80 and $4.10. Time of the winning mile was 2:06.4, well off his lifetime best 2:03.4 taken as an eight-year-old. Young Garth was in good company as a winning driver joining such veterans as Roger White, Rosaire Bouthillier, Marcel L'Heureux, Barney Hughes, Real Bardier and Jules Giguere who also made visits to the winner's circle that evening.

A couple of weeks later on Sunday, July 9th, Garth was back in the Richelieu winner's circle with win number two, this time with the trotter Tim's Lad scoring in 2:11.4 and paying just a slim $7.40 to win. He was on his way to a 40+ year career in the sport and soon learned how to win a race with a horse without Lad in its name.

The green and white Gordon silks were already a familiar sight to Montreal racegoers as Garth's father Jack had been campaigning at both Richelieu and Blue Bonnets for several seasons prior to this.

1962 - Dale Jingles Enjoys "Leisurely" Season

Horses are usually winding down their careers at the age of 14. While that may be the "normal" path, there are some notable exceptions. During the 1962 season the 14-year-old chestnut gelding Dale Jingles was still going strong to say the least. A foal of 1948 the son of Frisco Dale - Jolly Jingles started his career far from where he ended it; first racing in his native Ohio. From here he munched his oats in quite a few different stables and saw a multitude of different tracks. At this time he was doing his racing at Halifax and Lower Sackville, probably some starts were in ice races.

In 1962, racing for owner and driver Harold B Yorke of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, Dale Jingles made an amazing 90 starts, winning 15 of them and finishing second nine times to go along with 22 third-place finishes. Apparently Mr. Yorke had a liking for older durable type performers. That year he also raced the 11-year-old Hi Lo's Baron who started a mere 85 times and also campaigned the 12-year-old gelding Pius who made just 72 starts. Each horse had almost identical season's earnings right around $1,000. That totals 247 starts by three horses according to my calculations!

One last tidbit of information. Back in about 1957-58 Dale Jingles had a caretaker that went on to a pretty good career to put it mildly. A teenaged Wm. Wellwood had Dale Jingles as one of his very first care taking assignments.

1964 - Accident Sends Drivers To Hospital

Track photographer Michael Burns took more than the winner's circle photo on this race as he captured a bit of in-race activity. Drivers John Millman (left) and Laurence Geisel attempt to restore order following an accident as Meadowview Champ is sprawled on the track. Neither of these two drivers were injured and the horses all left the track under their own power.

Oct. 8, 1964 - A spill during the 4th race at Mohawk this evening resulted in four horses unable to finish the race and also caused injuries to two drivers. The accident occured on the backstretch when the pacer Sharp Gain driven by Hugh Stewart Jr. of Peterborough fell suddenly. This caused a chain reaction among trailing horses and getting the worst of it was Meadowview Champ owned and driven by Jack Reid of Orono who fell to the track. Two other horses were affected as Mr. Dillon and Streamline Lee also did not finish.

Both injured drivers were transported to Milton Hospital where it was determined that Hugh Stewart had a broken arm and dislocated shoulder while Mr. Reid suffered a broken nose as well as facial lacerations. Thankfully none of the horses received any serious injuries. Freddy Pick avoided the mishap and went on to win the race for driver Don Fines and owner Mrs. Hilliard O'Connell of Roseneath, Ont. with Agate second for Jack Gordon. By a strange coincidence several of the race's starters came from the same general area near Peterborough, Ont.

1968 - C.S.H.S. Sale Held

​Toronto Sales Ring

The 6th annual mixed sale held on Nov. 27th by the Canadian Standardbred Horse Society saw a mixed lot of 146 horses sold at auction. Wm. R. McDonnell, the organizer of the sale, reported the final figures showed a gross total of $76,625 and an average of $524.00. Overall he expressed satisfaction at the results but did indicate the late withdrawal of a couple of well-bred yearlings by Gene Abbe and Dancer Hanover probably held the average down from pre-sale expectations. The top price of $2,300 was shelled out by owner Oivind Haugen of Port Perry when he had the final nod on Pontiac Sal. Plans call for the yearling daughter of Philip Frost to be placed in the stable of Billy Hicks of Greenwood, Ont.

A few other purchases of interest included the following showing the price paid and the new owner:

  • R E Counsel by Mac Casselman; Marmora, Ont. - $1,400.00

  • Hi Noble by Marshall Dorion; Toronto, Ont. - $1,000

  • Miss Sandra Grattan by J.W. McIntosh as agent; Wheatley, Ont. - $450.00

  • Pink Lil by Cliff Lilley; Dutton, Ont. - $600.00

  • Fay D'Ennes by John Waples; Elmvale, Ont. - $550.00

  • Claybrook Grattan by Jim Harrison; Essex, Ont. - $225.00

  • The Medicine Ball by Glen Battin; Monkton, Ont. - $200.00

  • Time Changer by Hector Clouthier; Pembroke, Ont. - $500.00

  • Morning Frost by Mr. & Mrs. Wm. O McLean; Goderich, Ont. - $600

  • Tidy Creed by Freeman Lamb; Calgary, Alta. - $700.00

Lady K Brooke (Harold Wellwood) during her racing career (Harness Horse)​

The lowest price paid in the sale involved an 19-year-old mare named Lady K Brooke. At one time a top trotting performer she made her way from small town Ontario to the top ranks at Yonkers Raceway groomed by Maritimer Jimmy Webber. She was originally raced for a Mr. Greer of Glamis, Ont., by Hughie McLean and in later years had a number of productive seasons at Buffalo and Batavia for Stratford Hotel owner Wesley Litt. Harold Wellwood, the man who raced her for many years, was at this sale and purchased a filly named Belle Gay Brenda for $550.00. Her new owner for the sum of $100 was Irene Kell of Milverton, Ont. So nice that she got a new home.

1969 - Zip Tar Tops At Windsor

Zip Tar is alone at the wire a winner in 2:03 with Tanya Herbert and driver Jack Herbert his closest pursuer. A huge crowd is evident in the background as patrons fill the apron at Windsor Raceway. (Harness Horse)

The four-year-old pacer Zip Tar is certainly at the top of his game as the fall meeting winds down at Windsor. On November 30th the brilliant son of Tar Heel won yet another $5,000 Invitational, this time stopping the timer in 2:03 even, somewhat slower than his previous victory in 2:00.4 three weeks previous to this outing. Trained by co-owner J. Russell Miller of Dutton who shares ownership with his daughter Marjorie Patterson and Eugene Stirling, Zip Tar is yet another top performer brought out by Mr. Miller who seems to have a knack for spotting talent.

In later years Zip Tar became the first stallion ever to stand at the well known farm of Mac Lilley also located at Dutton, Ont.

Where Is It?

Can you identify the location of this once popular racing location? The correct answer will be given during the coming week.

April 11, 2018 - 2:15 pmThis week's picture seemed to

This week's picture seemed to puzzle a few more than usual. It was indeed the venerable old grandstand at Morrow Park in Peterborough which served the needs of race enthusiasts and fair goers for many years. These quaint old wooden structures were once commonplace but today very few remain. Thanks to those who sent in their answers.

April 10, 2018 - 1:02 pmJust a few comments about

Just a few comments about Country Lad, one of my favourite race horses. I skipped classes at Ryerson in 1954 to go out to Dufferin Park to see him race with Allan Pacey. The year after this picture he was still racing at Connaught Park, and Carmen Hie will remember that well - especially the night we bred my mare Mildred Chips to him in the backstretch and he kicked Cliff Hie - Carmen and Allan Waddell had to take Cliff to the hospital. The foal was Quinte Lad who was possibly my favourite horse that I raised and raced. Country Lad loved the mud and so did Quinte Lad! The good old days! Another great story Robert!

April 9, 2018 - 12:33 pmI'm sure it's Morrow Park in

Tom Foley SAID...

I'm sure it's Morrow Park in Peterborough. I recognize all the buildings in background - they are still there. The grandstand is now torn down. This was our old stomping grounds for all working with the horses back in the 60's. Great racing back then with very much family involvement... everyone knew everyone.

April 9, 2018 - 9:46 amDresden Raceway?

Dresden Raceway?

April 9, 2018 - 9:07 amIt is Morrow Park, spent lots

Shawn Murphy SAID...

It is Morrow Park, spent lots of time there as a kid.

April 9, 2018 - 8:52 amMorrow Park, Peterborough.

Morrow Park, Peterborough.

April 8, 2018 - 2:09 pmMr. Aziz to answer your

Mr. Aziz to answer your question. YES the location is in Ontario.

April 8, 2018 - 10:54 amOld Ancaster Fairgrounds?

John Hill SAID...

Old Ancaster Fairgrounds?

April 8, 2018 - 6:25 amMorrow Park in Peterborough,

W Doug HIe SAID...

Morrow Park in Peterborough, years after racing had moved to Kawartha Downs.

April 8, 2018 - 5:51 amI was only ever there once,

I was only ever there once, but I think it might be New Hamburg

April 7, 2018 - 11:02 pmLooks like either New Hamburg

Rick Moffatt SAID...

Looks like either New Hamburg or Dorchester fairgrounds.

April 7, 2018 - 10:12 pmDon't think it's Belleville .

jim morgan SAID...

Don't think it's Belleville .

April 7, 2018 - 1:56 pmThis is tough! I don't recall

Dave Aziz SAID...

This is tough! I don't recall Woodstock having the main barns at the 3/4 pole.
Don't recall Belleville having this fancy of a covered stands. Is it in Ontario?

April 7, 2018 - 11:59 amBelleville?

Sheldon Rose SAID...


April 7, 2018 - 11:41 amWoodstock Raceway?

Woodstock Raceway?

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