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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1980s

Published: June 4, 2016 9:26 am ET

Last Comment: June 4, 2016 1:15 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In this week's Rewind Robert Smith takes a look back to the decade of the 1980's in the monthly feature 'Years Ago'. A 'trotting' theme seems to be present in most of the reminiscences.

1980 - Sunday Best

Sunday Chimes and driver Lloyd Spinks are home first to win the Invitational Trot on at Barrie Raceway on Oct. 8, 1980 for owner Mac Sewers of nearby Minesing.

In the stands that evening of Oct. 8, 1980 to view the action was The Hon. Earl Rowe, a man whose influence on the sport spanned many decades and several generations of both horses and horse people. He was no doubt pleased that the top three finishers in this race were all direct descendants of his famous trotting stallion of yesteryear, Van Riddell. The winner was sired by Admiral Riddell, while second place finisher Eldred Todd with Chas. Lawson aboard along with third place finisher Christy Riddell and Ken Fritsch were both sired by Riddell Todd.

The winning horse, Sunday Chimes was bred and raised by Mac Sewers and her name was inspired by the time she was foaled and also the name of an old family horse. When Mac went to the pasture on a Sunday morning and discovered the foal he could hear the ringing of Church bells off in the distance. This combined with the memory of a picture of an uncle driving a horse named Chimes that hung in his family home made the perfect inspiration.

Sunday Chimes was all business during a race but at times liked to perform a bit after a race, as shown in this 1979 picture

1982 - Bobbo Wins Maple Leaf Trot

The great trotter Bobbo in his distinctive headgear appears in the Greenwood winner's circle after taking top honours in the 1982 Maple Leaf Trot. Trainer and driver Norm Jones is on the left and owner Greg Coleman on the right.

The Maple Leaf Trot, which was first contested in 1950 at Thorncliffe Park, is now in its fourth decade and remains one of the sport's most coveted prizes. The winner of the 1982 version was the four-year-old sensation Bobbo. Purchased earlier in the year for a reported $130,000 from breeder-owner Betty Fasken of Port Credit, Ont. by millionaire New York State owner Greg Coleman, the fine trotter went on to pay for himself in short order. He earned just over $250,000 while winning 12 of his 30 starts in 1982 for the new owner.

This horse went on to win in excess of $900,000 lifetime and is a prominent member of one of the truly great Canadian trotting families as his dam was Hall of Fame member Flemingtons Jane. The name Bobbo came from a sort of 'pet name' Mrs. Fasken called her husband Bob.

1984 - Segriff Impressive in OJC Maturity Trot at Greenwood

June 15, 1984 - Segriff, a four-year-old daughter of Speedy Crown owned by Bill and Eileen Stuart of Ilderton, trotted a flawless mile to capture the $63,325 OJC Maturity for four-year-old trotting mares. Trained and driven by Gord Waples, she came into the event heavily favoured and did not disappoint her backers. Segriff led at every station and easily outdistanced her closest rival Glorious Vicki (driven by Steve Condren) with Tudy Tuck third. The winning time of 2:01.1 matched the fastest ever in this stakes race which dates back to 1966.

This was Segriff's second win in eight starts boosting her season's total to $42,507 and lifetime to just over $150,000. Previous to this event she had been racing with some of the circuit's best in the Free For All ranks. The Stuarts made a sizable investment when they paid $65,000 for her as a yearling in Kentucky, buoyed by their then recent sale of Brisco Herbert, and are now reaping a return. Shortly after this victory, this fine young trotting mare was shipped to Yonkers Raceway in New York to test her skills at that level.

1988 - Ride The Wave Dominates To Win Champlain

Members of The Wellwood Stable celebrate the victory of RIDE THE WAVE an outstanding two-year-old trotting colt who had just won the $122,460 Champlain Stakes at Mohawk to kick off Grand Circuit Week. Pictured from left to right - Lenore Armstrong, Paula Wellwood, Wm. Wellwood, Jean Wellwood, Tim Twaddle and Charlie Armstrong (holding the lamp) who co-owned the colt with Wellwood Stables. This marked the 7th win in a row for the son of Balanced Image - Hurricane Honey and established his supremacy for age and gait that season. A 2:01 clocking set a new lifetime record for RTW. (Smiley Photo)

Sept. 4, 1988 - Ride The Wave, an Ontario-bred two-year-old trotter sired by Balanced Image out of Hurricane Honey, keeps getting better and faster with each start. Undefeated in seven O.S.S. contests to date, the talented youngster trotted up a storm over the Mohawk oval in winning the Champlain Stakes, defeating some of the best American-bred youngsters in the process. A pupil of the Wm. Wellwood stable, he has blossomed into quite a performer, tasting defeat on just one occasion.

With a purse of $122,460 on the line, driver Wellwood apparently had a strategy in mind before the race started. As the field left, he gave up the chance at a pocket trip and opted to race in front as he had done in virtually all previous starts. The plan worked and RTW carved out all of the fractions, resulting in a new lifetime mark of 2:01, shaving better than a second off of his previous best.

Never one to overstate the attributes of his stable members, particularly the young ones, Bill did state "I don't want to say he's the best I've ever had, but I can tell you I am very pleased with him especially tonight. He gets quieter with every start and he can race anywhere I want; he's not a front runner in any way, shape or form. ... The plan for the remaining part of this season is to stay with the O.S.S. series until the final along with a start in the upcoming Helicopter Stakes."

Rideau Revisited

Further to the recent two-part Rewind chronicling the 1962 start up of Rideau Carleton Raceway I received the above photo that was taken at the track's 35th anniversary celebration in 1997.

June 4, 2016 - 1:15 pmlove the stories thnx.

al gillis SAID...

love the stories thnx.

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