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Racing Reunion In The Works

Published: September 19, 2017 12:07 am ET

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Horsepeople from all segments of Ontario harness racing will converge on the Campbellville, Ontario area on Thursday, October 12 for a reunion to renew acquaintances and celebrate the 250th year of horse racing in Canada.

Drivers, trainers, veterinarians, owners, blacksmiths, track officials, race announcers, grooms, breeders and harness writers, who were the backbone of the sport during the golden age of Ontario harness racing, and beyond, will gather at Campbellville's Mohawk Inn on the evening of Thursday, October 12. The festivities will commence at 7:00 p.m.

The Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) sponsored event is receiving highly positive comments from horsepeople.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I have made my reservations and look forward to seeing old friends,” said 83-year-old retired blacksmith and now full-time woodcarver, Ron Hill. Hill, who spent 40 years shoeing horses on the Ontario and Florida circuits, is a transplanted Brit that is now living in Somerville, New Brunswick. “I have a lot of fond memories from those times. They were the happiest days of my life, and we saw the best of the sport. But now?” he added.

Retired Barrie, Ontario horseman and current OHHA director Kent Baker, who trained a successful stable on the Ontario circuit for a half century, says, “It is a great idea. It will bring us all together,” possibly referring to the closing of the Mohawk stable area.

“Count me in, I’ll be there,” said Hall of Famer Ron Waples, a man who has a clever way with words. Mississauga horseman John Burns echoed Waples’ remarks.

Ottawa Valley breeder-owner-veterinarian-trainer-driver Dr. John Findley is looking forward to the event. ‘Dr. John,’ who has 80-some years of industry knowledge in his noggin, makes his home in Carlisle, Ontario.

“I think that it is a great opportunity, especially given that this is the 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada, to get together and reminisce about the history of our sport,” said OHHA General Manager Brian Tropea. “We have already heard from a number of individuals who plan on attending and all are invited to attend.”

Updates will be posted periodically during the weeks leading up to the event.

For additional information, horsepeople should contact Sheri Minler Grabatin at the OHHA offices at 905-854-6442 or 1-866-774-6442.

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