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Zeron Goes Home For A Cause

Published: May 18, 2018 8:40 am ET

Last Comment: May 18, 2018 11:44 am ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

A successful career in horse racing is often counted in purse earnings, starts, wins, time devoted to the sport and natural talent. However, one factor, often left out when describing a “true horseman,” is his ability to remain family-oriented, especially when met with the challenges of the sport. Rick Zeron is a recognized leader in each of these areas.

Ask any parent to speak about their achievements and they’ll bring up their kids, of course. But the Zerons are exceptionally tight knit.

“He always made it home for dinner,” said Joyce, Zeron’s wife of 38 years.

The Zerons have four children including the next generation horseman of the family and only son, Scott. Although never an O’Brien Award winner, Scott was the youngest driver to win trotting's Triple Crown and holds accolades including three years as Canada’s leading driver.

“He jokes that he’s going to surpass me in stats, and he’s well on his way to achieving that,” said Rick.

The Zerons came from humble beginnings. Launching his career in 1975, Zeron got his start at Ottawa’s Rideau Carleton Raceway. He was soon encouraged by those who recognized his talent, to take his career outside of the Ottawa-area. Taking the advice of his dear friend, Jimmy Lancaster, Zeron made the move to Montréal’s Blue Bonnets in 1982 where he permanently trained and drove during the peak of the Hippodrome operations.

Zeron went on to become a world-renowned driver and trainer who collected over $112-million in purse earnings with over 7,400 wins throughout his career and represented Canada twice on the international circuit at the World Driving Championship in 1984 and 1995. Although the opportunities could have easily taken them outside the Canadian market, the Zerons were determined to raise their family and keep their business in Canada.

Zeron Stables moved to Oakville in 1994 and is excelling with Shamballa and Mass Production as this year’s top prospective contenders. Many horseman and racing fans may be familiar with the success of Hanko Angus, Zeron’s greatest turn-around story to date that exemplifies how Zeron’s perseverance and practices as a trainer have led to remarkable results. Shamballa is a similar case, where a damaged foot from infection sidelined him last year. But, since the 1970’s Zeron’s approach to driving and training has been progressive. Careful shoeing, chiropractic work and use of magnetic forces in recovery therapy have become a signature of Zeron’s training methods.

Using these holistic techniques, Shamballa has made a full recovery and will be racing again in June.

“I take pride in knowing that I can get a horse to where it needs to be,” said Zeron. “If it has the ability.”

Perseverance is a trait not only showed in Zeron’s training abilities, but also in the running of his business. Having felt the pressure from a downturn in the Ontario horse racing industry, some stables have had to close their doors. But Zeron has opted for growth.

“He’s really the most optimistic person,” said Zeron’s wife, Joyce.

That optimism has shown throughout Zeron’s career having earned him recognition from the horse racing community for his work with troubled horses and a true all-round horseman.

“He’s a true competitor, he knows how to get the most out of a horse,” said Bill O’Donnell, Canadian sports hall-of-famer and president of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association.

Zeron Night for Ottawa’s Shepherds of Good Hope is set to showcase and celebrate the talent and of this true horseman. The event will also serve as a kickoff for the summer season of racing at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Sunday, May 20 where Zeron will be donating his purse earnings from the evening to the fundraising efforts. The family-friendly event will feature the best in harness racing with a homecoming for the local champion. Zeron is eager to return to his roots and spend time with old friends at the track he once called home.

To view the entries for Sunday's card, click the following link: Sunday Entries - Rideau Carleton Raceway.

(NCRHHA/Lara Vronick)

May 18, 2018 - 11:44 amGood luck Rick!! In the 38

Good luck Rick!! In the 38 years I have known you since Blue bonnets - where we both were working stiffs - to now watch you devoting your time to achieving altruism is great. Continue your quest to donating to causes in which those in need benefit. Good luck and may you win all the races your driving in, but, be safe for your own welfare in achieving that goal.

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