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Horses Are Gaynor's Best Medicine

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Published: May 3, 2009 10:56 am ET

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The way Gerry Gaynor figures it, working with his stable of trotters has been the best medicine since he received the news last October he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“There are good days and there are bad days now but I’m more determined than ever to carry on with the horses,” Gerry says from his home in Goderich, Ontario. “Training the horses here in Goderich and even getting back up to drive, that’s been the best thing for me.”

The 48-year-old hobby horseman and longtime employee of the Goderich based Sifto Salt mine operation has a rare form of the affliction as it’s been explained by specialists in London.

“They say I have a rare form of tumour which is most commonly found in young children,” Gerry explains. “It’s caused a malfunction of the brain which produces the chemical that automatically tells you the difference between day and night. Really though, other than the sleep challenges which they’re getting a handle on through medication, I’m pretty lucky. They can’t tell how long the tumour has been there. And most importantly, each passing MRI is showing it isn’t growing.”

Gaynor’s comeback was pushed along through the winter by his fellow horsepeople in the Goderich area that cared for his stable. Even his 74-year-old Dad, Leon, chipped in.

“Dad’s retired now but a lot of people will remember we went together on the first good horse we had, Jetset Queen” Gerry says. “I can’t begin to list the names of everyone that’s helped me out over the past eight months because the list would be too long and I’d fear leaving someone out.”

At present, Gaynor campaigns a stable of three trotting mares that are racing. They are Jetset Incredibabe (a nine-year-old homebred daughter of Incredible Abe-Jetset Queen that’s now surpassed her dam in lifetime earnings), Madison Airith, and Windsong Carnie. Gerry and his wife Michelle also have a three-year-old trotting filly that was purchased for $9,000 as a yearling and renamed to Jetset Tiffany after their daughter.

Gerry reports she has high speed and he’s hopeful her manners will be improved to the point that she can compete in the coming months in the Ontario Sires Stakes.

It was Windsong Carnie that was driven by Gaynor on Saturday night (May 2) in Hanover to mark his return to active driving duty in 2009 and since his medical challenge diagnosis. It was nothing short of a triumph of the human spirit and Gaynor drove the trotting mare to perfection, landing in the pocket quickly and just missing the win.

“I’m quite happy to keep using Dave Wall to drive the two I’m racing in London right now,” Gerry adds. “We have a long history of great luck with Dave like everyone does. He put the mark of 1:57.2 on Jetset Queen at Woodbine on June 10, 1995. As for getting back in the bike myself, I got the clearance from the doctors and drove in some qualifiers first to make sure and it feels great to be back.”

In many senses the recent help that Gaynor received from local horsepeople was an appreciated payback. After the devastating barn fire in the town early in the new millennium Gerry was among those that stepped up to spearhead fundraising efforts.

“We’ve been able to rebuild a cover all type barn and we have 50 horses here that train at the site of the former Goderich Raceway,” Gerry says. “The other half of the money from the barn fire fundraiser went to the people that lost horses.”

“The horses being so successful in the past couple of months has really been a blessing,” says Gerry’s wife, Michelle. “Gerry just lives for harness racing. He doesn’t want anyone’s sympathy or pity. He talks a lot now about how his priorities have changed. After his family the best medicine for him has been every new day and every new chance to train his horses and race.”

Grand Circuit Winner Starts Here

It isn't very often that a Grand Circuit winner starts a three year old campaign at Western Fair. That's the case on the Monday afternoon, May 4 program in the eleventh race as trainer/driver Carl Jamieson sends out Shes A Fan from post one.

The three year old Artiscape-Tear Drop filly won a division of the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk last September 5. That was part of a rookie campaign in which she won half of her starts for earnings of $146,753.

Jamieson also sends out four year old Legacy N Diamonds from post five in Monday's twelfth race which is the $18,400 Preferred Pace. Legacy N Diamonds has been nominated to the 2009 Molson Pace.

Molson Pace Month Featuring Ladies' Nights

With the turn of the calendar page into May the countdown begins in earnest to the 2009 Molson Pace eliminations program on May 22, which will also feature the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series three-year-old filly pace eliminations.

General Manger and Racing Director Ian Fleming confirms the Molson Pace final purse on May 29 will equal last year’s record pot of $280,000. The anticipation is building for the possible meeting of Woodbine and The Meadowlands top Free-For-All and Invitational horses from 2009, Ramegade Bruiser and Maltese Artist, with Shadow Play and Silent Swing also looking like stronger possibilities to turn up in the entry box on the morning of Monday, May 18 for the eliminations draw.

The next four Friday nights at Western Fair are Ladies Nights, set for May 8, 15, 22, and 29. Among the premium prizes will be a Spa Package, an overnight getaway package to Port Stanley, ON, a Hot Air Balloon Ride package, and a Girls Night Out Wines Surprise Package.

To qualify for prizes, ladies attending the track will need to have an entry ballot submitted by the sixth race. Eight ballots will then be drawn with the nightly finalists assigned a horse in the ninth race. The winning post position determines each Friday night’s grand prize winner and cash prizes will also be awarded to the second and third place finishers.

Through June, post time at Western Fair each Monday and Tuesday is at 3:35 p.m. and every Friday evening at 7:05 p.m.

(Western Fair Raceway)

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