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Fitzsimmons Feted On Wall Of Fame Night

Published: May 17, 2019 9:47 pm ET

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Longtime horseman Larry Fitzsimmons was feted on Friday evening (May 17) as the 2019 inductee to the Wall of Fame at The Raceway at Western Fair District.

The native of Hanover, Ont. first fell in love with the horses as a youngster when he would attend the fall fairs with his father. In 1965, he turned that passion into a career when he opened his own stable.

Since that time, Fitzsimmons has not missed a race meet at Western Fair and during his 54-year career has won many Trainer of the Year titles at the London oval. He has bred and developed many top performers. Some of the horses he is best known for include quarter-million dollar winners Stonebridge Celest ($440,000), Angels Uprising ($309,000) and Laurstar ($251,000).

One of his favourites is Chicopee Star, who was his first Ontario Sires Stakes winner and became his first broodmare. She is the grandmother of current Fitzsimmons’ barn favourite Jake Parrish.

"It kind of caught me by surprise," said Fitzsimmons, who was joined by family and friends as he spoke about his reaction to learning that he was the 2019 inductee. "I'm really happy to join a lot of these guys I knew that are up in the Wall of Fame. I'm quite happy."

Larry Fitzsimmons (pictured with two of his grandchildren) looks on as his photo is unveiled in front of dozens of family and friends.

The featured $12,700 Wall Of Fame Invitational Pace followed the trackside ceremony with
National Debt ($3.80) rallying three-wide through the final quarter-mile to prevail in 1:54.2 as the 4-5 favourite. Driver Robert Shepherd celebrated his birthday with his second visit to the winner's circle of the night. He engineered the winning trip for trainer Colin Johnson and owner Francois Morin. Fine Diamond and Tero completed the top three finish order.

The Wall of Fame honours influential horsepeople and horses that have made a significant impact on The Raceway at Western Fair District. Past inductees are listed below.

1977 – Bill Herbert
1978 – Duncan R Campbell
1979 - Harold Wellwood
1980 – Harry Eisen
1981 – J. Russell Miller
1982 – Jack Kopas/Suerwave
1983 – Cass Allison/Nettie Rumas
1984 – Levi “Jiggs” McFadden
1985 - Neil McRann
1986 – Don Corbett
1987 – Sadie and Bill Habkirk
1988 – Dave Wall
1989 – Ray and Hugh McLean
1990 – Stan Williams
1993 – John Lester
1995 – Evan McGugen
1996 – Jack Herbert
2000 – Norm and Jack Hardy
2002 – Arthur Whitesell
2004 – Chris Van Bussell
2006 – Bert Madill
2010 – Ross Battin, Terry Kerr, Don McElroy
2012 – Terry Provost
2014 – Killean Acres
2015 – Camluck
2016 – Harry Holme
2017 – Mac Lilley
2018 – Bridge Street

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - The Raceway.

(With files from The Raceway)

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