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SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1990s

Published: July 6, 2019 9:33 am ET

Last Comment: July 10, 2019 11:40 am ET | 10 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In this week's 'Rewind,' Robert Smith takes a look back to the decade of the 1990s in the monthly feature Years Ago. His piece includes several items and people of interest during that period in time. Harness racing in Canada was doing well and the Ontario Sires Stakes program, then in its third decade, was a huge part of the overall success of the sport.

1990-1999: Lampman Cup Award Completes First Full Decade

Jim Lampman, pictured above

In 1987 the annual awarding of the Lampman Cup was introduced to recognize the top driver in Ontario Sires Stakes competition. It was named in honour of the late James "Jim" Lampman, a well-respected figure in Canadian harness racing circles. He was very active in several aspects of the sport and served as the head of publicity for the Ontario Jockey Club for many years. At one time his family owned Lincoln Feed Supply, a well-known business in the Niagara region.

The decade of the 1990's saw a total of six different drivers win this award. Four-time winner Ross Battin and two-time champ Dave Wall were the only multiple winners. Listed below are the ten winners for the years 1990 through 1999.

1999 - Ray McLean Jr.
1998 - Dave Wall
1997 - Reg Gassien
1996 - Trevor Henry
1995 - Ross Battin
1994 - Dave Wall
1993 - Ross Battin
1992 - Ross Battin
1991 - Terry Kerr
1990 - Ross Battin

See below for a related trivia question.

1993 - Gordon Lawrence Passes

Gordon Lawrence at about the age of 85 when he proudly showed me his still neatly kept racing silks. (Authors collection)

Gordon Lawrence, one of the grand old gentlemen of Ontario harness racing, passed away on December 31, 1993 at the age of 93. He had enjoyed a lifetime in the sport and despite the fact that he raised and raced only a small stable of horses each year in addition to farming, he was amazingly successful. He drove them himself in the early years and continued to train until at or near his 90th birthday. Many of his family members followed his interest in the sport and continue to do so to this day.

I had the privilege of numerous visits with Gordon and his wife Helen at their Blenheim, Ont. farm as he shared his many stories of the yesteryears of racing horses. In 1923 he drove in his first race at the Chatham Fair with an untried mare named Sadie Brigade that he had purchased through a mail order catalogue. He drove her 15 miles each way hitched in a high wheeled cart towing his racing sulky behind. A broken hopple cost him a chance at success in his first race but taught him that after a race his fellow horsemen would come to his aid as someone lent him a hopple.

In a recent conversation with his son Charles he reminisced about his father. "If only I had his optimistic approach to this horse business. I am sure he must have had down days but he never showed it, he always thought he had the best horse in any given race. Mr. Bohana certainly was as a two- and three-year-old. Dad always planned for the first start of the year at Rodney - 24th of May. Those days are a distant memory...walking the horse until dark after going three heats and picking up a cheque on the way out for $25 or so if you were lucky."

1995 - John Campbell Night At Windsor

When Windsor Raceway hosted the 1995 Provincial Cup they also held a special night to honour one of their finest pupils: John Campbell. John spent many of his early years driving at the border oval and working with his father Jack and grandfather Duncan. He won a number of driving honours but a win in the track's signature race eluded him. On this evening a number of John's family dined trackside in the Windsor Clubhouse as guests of Mr. Tom Joy, the track's owner.

John was presented with a personalized artist's rendering showing his driving attire and "tools of the trade".

From left-right: John Millson, V.P.; Mr. Tom Joy, track owner; Florence Campbell, John's mother; Michelle Campbell; Lisa Campbell; Paula Campbell, John's wife; Brittany Campbell (foreground); Katie McLinchey; Joanne McLinchey, John's sister; John Campbell; Bill McLinchey, John's nephew; Jack Campbell, father; Jim Campbell, brother. The two gentlemen at the right end are unidentifie. Can anyone help?

1997 - Breeders Crown Events At Mohawk

In 1997 eight of that year's eleven Breeders Crown events were contested at Mohawk Raceway on the evening of Friday October 24th. The series had often visited Mohawk in the past but this year marked the first time that such a large number of events were held on the same evening at this track. When the Breeders Crown began in 1984 just one event was held at Mohawk and that was the two-year-old filly Trot won by Conifer, driven by George Sholty.

Listed below are the track records that existed at the time of the 1997 events at Mohawk. At the conclusion of the evening three records were lowered most notably the win by Village Jasper in the three-year-old pacing colt division of 1:51.4 which erased the record of 1:52 set just a week earlier by Western Dreamer. The other records which saw a reduction were set by three-year-old filly pacer Stienams Place, lowered to 1:53, and three-year-old filly trotter No Nonse Woman, reduced to 1:56.2

Where Is It? Who Was It

Trivia Question - Who won the very first Lampman Cup awarded in 1987? NO peeking allowed!

Can you correctly identify the location of this old photograph? Name the track.

Stay tuned as the correct answers will be given during the upcoming week.

July 10, 2019 - 11:40 amOnce again a lot of "sharp"

Once again a lot of "sharp" people in the reading audience. The far away shot of the grandstand was taken at New Woodbine (Cor. of Rexdale Blvd. & Hwy 27) probably in its very early years. The first ever Lampman Cup winner in 1987 indeed was Terry Kerr. It looks like the two gents previously unidentified in the Windsor winner's circle were Don Knapton and Dave Prier (far right).
A note to James Milne regarding his memories of Mr. Lawrence. I had the pleasure of doing a story titled "A 35 Year Love Affair" which was all about Gordon Lawrence and his mare Judy Chief who was 35 years old at the time (and yes the dam of Mr. Bohana). The piece was published in TROT Magazine back about 1987. Thanks again to everyone.

July 7, 2019 - 9:27 amMarvin was in the ballpark

Marvin was in the ballpark with his guess. The gentleman standing 2nd from the right end, was the then Race Secretary... Don Knapton.

July 7, 2019 - 12:25 amI am sure it was Terry Kerr

James Milne SAID...

I am sure it was Terry Kerr for the Lampman. He also represented Canada in the World Driving Championships in 1987. Great stories! I remember Gordon Lawrence had an old broodmare named Judy Chief who always seemed to have foals racing. She might even have been the dam of Mr. Bohana ?

July 6, 2019 - 11:51 pmThe two gentlemen are Don

paul ruhl SAID...

The two gentlemen are Don (race sec) and Dave Prior (assistant).

July 6, 2019 - 10:52 pmTerry Kerr and Woodbine is my

Sheldon Rose SAID...

Terry Kerr and Woodbine is my guess.

July 6, 2019 - 9:45 pmI am going with 'New

I am going with 'New Woodbine'

July 6, 2019 - 5:41 pmI'm thinking Terry Kerr. And

Bill Harris SAID...

I'm thinking Terry Kerr. And maybe Rideau Carleton?

July 6, 2019 - 3:27 pmMy picture guess is "new"

Dave Aziz SAID...

My picture guess is "new" Woodbine -- maybe still under construction?

Like to add, with the multiple mention of Ross Battin, he won a race for me at New Hamburg many years ago that set up a Quinella payoff of $140. The whole pool - for me.
He was 8 to 1. I did not notice that the horse had not raced or qualified in 14 months (not two months) until after I bought my ticket. He just looked sharp warming up!

July 6, 2019 - 1:46 pmRoss Battin, maybe Garden

Gord Brown SAID...

Ross Battin, maybe Garden City, but probably not.

July 6, 2019 - 12:02 pmAnother Great Article,

Another Great Article, Robert. Keep up the good work.
I believe the gentleman in the Windsor Raceway picture is Claire Hauck.
Clair (next to the end on the right) was the Mutuals MGR at Windsor before
Barrie Raceway.

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