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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1970s

Published: May 4, 2019 11:06 am ET

Last Comment: May 12, 2019 9:01 pm ET | 7 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

This week's 'Rewind' is the regular monthly edition of Years Ago, this time devoted to events, personalities and memories from the decade of the 1970's. This offering is a bit different than usual in that all of the pictures and accounts are from the same location.

For many years, horsepeople from numerous geographical areas in Canada raced at Wolverine Raceway located on the outskirts of Detroit. Thanks to the work of archivist and photo collector Don Daniels, viewers are able to see some good quality photos from the Abahazy collection that Don has painstakingly restored. It is interesting to note that in each photo a rather large crowd is visible as a background.

1970 - Springfield Wins Matron Stake at Wolverine

The connections of Springfield gather in the winner's circle at Wolverine following a victory (shown in photo above) by the Dr. George Boyce-owned two-year-old son of Shadow Wave. He and Mrs. Boyce are at the far right end of the picture receiving the trophy. (Abahazy photos)

Two races after Springfield's win came the second division of that year's Matron Stake and it was won by the amazing Albatross, then driven by Harry Harvey. That year saw the great son of Meadow Skipper win a total of 14 races in 17 starts good enough for $183,540 taking a two-year-old mark of 1:57.4. Numbers not seen too often back then or since for that matter.

1971 - Ontario-Owned Merrywood King Scores in 2:02.3

Merrywood King is shown in the Wolverine winner's circle with driver and trainer Don Larkin with his distinctive polka dot silks. (Abahazy photos)

For many years Don Larkin was the private trainer and driver for the Merrywood Stable of Grand Bend, Ont., owned by Eric McIlroy. Their farm and training centre was located close to this once-popular summer resort town located on the shores of Lake Huron. At one time Mr. McIlroy operated a popular dance hall dating back to the 1930's. The Merrywood name for their horses became popular and many of the farm breds were successful across Ontario and Michigan. When the O.S.S. started in 1974 Merrywood Sara was the fastest performer during that entire season.

1974 - McIntosh Brothers Winning At Wolverine

By the 1970's the brothers McIntosh -- Doug as driver and Bob as trainer -- were making their mark. Both were introduced to the sport through their father Jack McIntosh who bred and raised a number of notable performers at his Wheatley, Ont. farm. In the 1950's, accompanied by the noted veterinarian Dr. Lloyd McKibbin, the senior McIntosh purchased a filly named Success Barbara at a U.S. sale. After racing her at many local one-day meets and at Old Woodbine she was retired and began her career as a broodmare. Among her better offspring was Baroness Barbara, shown in the photo below.

Baroness Barbara, owned by Leo Thibodeau of Windsor, Ont., is shown in the Wolverine winner's enclosure following a win in 1974. On the left is Bob McIntosh with brother Douglas John on the far right. Mr. Thibodeau, long associated with the transport industry as part-owner of Thibodeau - Finch, owned a lot of good horses over the years. In later years Mark Austin trained a number of his horses. (Abahazy photos)

1976 - Ray Remmen Campaigns At Wolverine

Western-born horseman Ray Remmen of Hanley, Sask., made his way eastward in the late 1960's. His journey, which eventually led him to become a star at the Meadowlands in New Jersey when it opened in 1976, included stops at Windsor Raceway and many trips across the border to Wolverine. Always in demand as a catch driver in addition to his own trainees, Ray made numerous visits to the Wolverine winner's circle. A couple are shown below.

Ray Remmen reaches the wire a winner behind the pacer Goyo, owned by Eric and Harry Whebby of Dartmouth N.S., in 2:00.3 to defeat Master Command (Boring) in a conditioned event for $3,400. The betting public must have had others to wager on as this winner paid $37.00, $10.60 and $5.00 across the board. The roan son of Canadian Dares out of Betts Folly was a six-year-old at the time. (Abahazy photos)

Jewell Mir, co-owned by trainer and driver Ray Remmen and Wilbur Thompson of Weyburn, Sask., is shown in the Wolverine winner's circle with driver Remmen after a 2:01 score which was a pretty good mile for April. The six-year-old son of Buxton Hanover had been a member of the Miron Farms contingent in previous years racing for Marcel Dostie. (Abahazy photos)

1976 - Quebec Stable Successful at Wolverine

Even a few horsemen from Quebec made the long trip to Wolverine and showed their expertise. Yvon Demers of Angers, P.Q. was one of those who campaigned here during the 1976 season. His own Chief Hielo was also among the top performers in his stable.

Yvon Demers had his trainee Keystone Sheldon, a four-year-old son of Bye Bye Byrd in top form as he took a new lifetime mark of 2:02.3 on April 13th. This horse was owned by Thaddee Matte of Papineauville, Quebec and won a total of eight races that season. As shown, the winner received a nice Wolverine Raceway cooler to mark this victory. (Abahazy photos)

Note: There are a number of unidentified individuals in the above pictures. If anyone in the reading audience can readily identify these people please feel free to do so.

Who Is It?

Can you identify this driver appearing during the 1978 season at Wolverine? The correct answer will be given during the upcoming week. (Abahazy photos)

May 12, 2019 - 9:01 pmI think the groom at the

I think the groom at the horse's head in the winner's circle picture of the Ray Remmen win picture is a guy from Detroit called Emmott. He worked for Gerald Aiken earlier in the seventies when my father had horses with Gerald.

May 8, 2019 - 6:21 pmThis week's photo was driver

This week's photo was driver Bob Lackey of Orangeville who raced at many places over the years and was mentioned in a recent Rewind as being the first driver to win a race at the newly opened Barrie Raceway back in 1973.Thanks for your guesses - always appreciated.

May 4, 2019 - 9:42 pmBob Lackey in picture. King

Bob Lackey in picture. King of the single shaft sulky. I can see why the McIntosh brothers were trainer, drivers if either of them put those brace bandages on they sure were not good grooms? It looks like someone put them on with a pitchfork! lol. I love the picture of Don Larkin, he was a "great" horseman and a real character, with a dry sense of humour. He and Bill Caroll were great friends and pulled some good jokes on me. e.g. They gelded a horse and put the testicles beside my bed at night and when I got up in the morning that is what I stepped in! Thanks Robert for another "home run" article.

May 4, 2019 - 1:28 pmI think it is Robert Lackey?

Gerry Drew SAID...

I think it is Robert Lackey?

May 4, 2019 - 12:37 pmBob Lackey

Gord Brown SAID...

Bob Lackey

May 4, 2019 - 12:19 pmBob Lackey

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Bob Lackey

May 4, 2019 - 11:46 amPicture looks like Bob Lackey

Bill Sharpe SAID...

Picture looks like Bob Lackey

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