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Canada's Oldest, Through Young Eyes

Published: June 29, 2020 9:10 am ET

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Grady Hachey is one of the youngest racecallers in the game, having started at age 11 and making Canadian news when he called a non-wagering card in 2017 at age 12. He also assists trainer Charlie Miles at their hometown racetrack when his school schedule allows.

This year, with COVID-19 shutting down both schools and harness racing in recent months, Grady has been spending more time helping out around the barn, and was recently named a 2020/21 US Harness Writers Association (USHWA) Youth member. He originally wanted to review the well-known track where he had his first-ever experience of live harness racing. But he instead chose to use this platform to promote a track closer to home, where he gained early experience as both racecaller and horseman. While he is not from a family steeped in harness racing history, Grady Hachey is part of the newest generation in a community where the sport has been contested at three different venues since 1820.


Canada’s oldest, through the eyes of its youngest

Sometimes a racetrack is more than just a place where horses run. Sometimes it’s history. For some people, it’s a second home (I am one of those people). It can even be something people live for.

Fredericton Raceway is one of those tracks. USTA records show that Fredericton Raceway opened in 1870, making it arguably Canada’s oldest racetrack. The track surface itself is loaded with history. A great deal of amazing races have taken place at the track, such as one race where the track record was broken: the 2012 Walter Dale Memorial Pace. It was won by Mcapulco (p, 6, 1:51.2s; $345,150) and driver Brodie MacPhee for trainer Jackie Matheson, in a time of 1:54.2.

Fredericton Raceway is a place for people young and old to come watch races. With two big open grandstands, little kids can have a great view of the racetrack to watch the horses race, or they can go down to the fence and have the horses go by them, just a few feet away. I will tell you, there is something special about the racetrack. It is a gathering place at the barn area for older gentlemen who reminisce about “the good old days” and tease each other about who knows what.

So many tremendous horses have come out of Fredericton Raceway such as Flying Cowboy (p, 4, 1:50.3f; $201,937), who was developed by Charlie Miles before being sold to American owners and later taking his career mark. There was also 2009 Walter Dale Memorial Pace champion All Star Dragon (p, 6, 1:50.3f; $252,835), who was developed by Stacey Gay and Everett Hansen. He went on to race in the United States and took his record there.

Despite the track not racing this year, there are still horses training down to race at fellow New Brunswick racetrack, Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John. (Note: An exhibition card was raced at Fredericton Raceway Sept. 8, 2019, the last date the track has hosted live competition.) No matter what happens to the Fredericton racetrack, the provincial capital will always be known as 'Canada’s oldest' harness racing site.


Know a young harness racing fan and/or participant who would like to share their story about the youth-friendly elements of their favourite track? The USHWA Youth Membership Committee welcomes submissions from young people (aged 21 or younger) who would like to let others know about what makes their favourite track a great place to enjoy live racing, whether now or before Coronavirus restrictions (in provinces/states where attendance is currently restricted). Please contact USHWA Youth Membership Committee Chair Melissa Keith ([email protected]) if interested in taking part in this project.

(USHWA)


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