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Homebred's Win Revives Trainer

Published: July 1, 2017 10:23 am ET

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Winning any horse race with a homebred can feel like a special occasion, but six-year-old pacer Harbourlite Jerry made it an extra special night for Ralph Jardine with his recent victory at Hanover Raceway.

Jardine celebrated his first win as a trainer in almost three decades with the Jeremes Jet-Sanskrit Hanover gelding one week ago at Hanover. Prior to that, Jardine trained his last winner, a pacer named Historian N, in 1989 when he lived in Nova Scotia.

But his absence from the harness racing scene explains the extended gap between victories. Jardine has not trained a horse since he moved to Arthur, Ont., where he began a career as a genetic adviser for dairy cattle with Select Sires.

"I left the Maritimes and I moved up here for work in the early 90s and then I hadn’t been anywhere near a racehorse or a race paddock in 15 years," explained Jardine. "And then I got to be friendly with Mike and Barb Hillis, and Mike was training some horses at the time and that kind of peaked my interest again."

Drawn back to the sport, Jardine bought a couple of broodmares and raised a couple of colts -- the first of which was actually Harbourlite Jerry.

"When he was ready to race, I still didn’t have time to race them myself so, after growing up with the Rankins in Cape Breton, I gave the horse to Callie [and Jen] and then it started from there. Callie and I formed a great friendship and a great partnership. We own a bunch together and we describe it as ‘two old guys having fun,'" he laughed.

Jardine currently owns five horses in partnership in addition to his own Harbourlite Jerry and an 11-year-old pacing gelding Hellsapoppin that he brought home this past winter and was tempted into taking over the training duties.

"Callie has been sick on and off this winter so I took a couple of the horses that I own myself home and I thought if I'm going to keep them home, I might as well race them myself," he said. "Callie’s been good to help me and kind of get me back into things."

Jardine had earned four runner-up finishes in seven training starts this year heading into the 10th and final race of the June 24 harness racing card at Hanover, where Harbourlite Jerry ($5.70) cruised wire-to-wire to win by five lengths in 1:59.3 with Patrick Shepherd in the sulky.

"It’s been a long time and I never expected this. I’ll be honest with you, it's a little bit embarrassing, it’s a long time between training wins!” laughed Jardine.

His next win is sure to be much sooner, with a shot tonight as Hellsapoppin will start from post one in race two at Hanover. The Canada Day card kicks off at 7:15 p.m.

To view Saturday's harness racing entries, click on the following link: Saturday Entries - Hanover Raceway.

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