Managing his hotel business took up most of his waking hours, but the late Vic Hayter always made time for Clinton Raceway.
“He worked seven days a week, but every Sunday at 12:30 he’d be home to pick up my mother and they’d go to Clinton Raceway,” said Hayter’s son, Greg, who will be on hand with the rest of his family on July 24 for the inaugural $12,500 Vic Hayter Memorial Trot.
Greg said the idea of an annual race in his father’s honour at Clinton Raceway – that will also serve as a fundraiser for some of Vic’s favourite charities – is the perfect way to salute a man who owned Standardbreds for 38 years.
“Dad was involved with horses since 1978 and even as kids, when we lived in Lucan, we used to always go to Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoons. The last 15 years or so, mom and him used to go every Sunday and they’d sit right by the finish line.
“He always gunned for a horse that could race at Mohawk or Woodbine, but it was the small roots type tracks that he really loved.”
Vic, who owned many hotels, but is perhaps best known for operating The Arden Park Hotel and Festival Inn in Stratford, ON, passed away due to cancer in February. He was 77.
The 10-race Vic Hayter Memorial Trot card, which will have a 1:30 p.m. first-race post time, will feature a raffle, silent auction, Pineridge beef dinner and 50/50 draw with all proceeds going to two of Vic’s favourite charities — the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and the Stratford-Perth Humane Society.
“I think (dad) would be pretty proud,” Greg said. “He was a humble man. He didn’t look for much fanfare. He didn’t like his name in lights. He just went about his business and he donated to a variety of different causes. Most of the time he did it without his name attached to it… That said, I think he’d be pretty proud of the day and how it’s going to evolve.”
Greg, whose brother, Ed, is a trainer whose starters have raced to $5 million in purse earnings, said his father would be happy the race was for trotters.
“He had both trotters and pacers, but probably the last 12, 15 years his focus was trotters. He’s always loved trotters,” Greg said.
The Hayters are also proud the race will be an annual one with a permanent trophy.
“There will be a plaque that goes on the trophy every year, so every year the trophy will come out and a new plaque will go on there,” Greg said.
The entire clan will be at Clinton on July 24 in support, Greg said.
“We’ll all be there. My mom is going to be there and Eddie will be there and my sister Stephanie will be there. Then all our families, of course,” Greg said. “It will be a good event and, hopefully, we will grow it into something bigger.”
Clinton Raceway has arranged a bus from Stratford for those who are interested in making the trip to Clinton on the 24th. It is scheduled to leave the Arden Park in Stratford at noon, and is scheduled to make stops in Mitchell and Seaforth before heading on to Clinton. Reservations are mandatory, so please call 519-955-6820 for more information.
For more event details, please visit clintonraceway.com.