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Bill Gale Passes

Published: November 19, 2018 11:57 pm ET

Last Comment: November 26, 2018 10:39 am ET | 16 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trot Insider has learned that Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer William 'Bill' Gale passed away on Monday, November 19 at the age of 70.

Born in Toronto on October 18, 1948, Gale was a lifelong horseman. He was known by many as a consummate gentleman who was a highly decorated harness driver. Gale was one of Canada’s leading drivers for a period that spanned the '70s, '80s and '90s. Between 1982 and 1997, he recorded 16 consecutive $1 million+ seasons.

During a driving career that spanned over 30 years, he won 6,375 races, started 32,134 times and earned $42.1 million. In the fall of 1991 at Pompano Park he won a pair of Breeders Crown Championships, as he guided King Conch to a world record 1:56.2 win in the $300,000 Two-Year-Old Colt Trot and reined Three Wizards to an upset victory over Die Laughing and Artsplace in the $357,000 Breeders Crown for three-year-old pacing colts.

In 1991, Gale was honoured with an O’Brien Award as Canada’s Driver of The Year following a season where he exceeded $3.2 million in purse earnings. He was inducted into to the Windsor / Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2015.

Bill’s hobbies away from the racetrack included spending time with his young granddaughters or hitting the links to play some golf. Bill was also known to go on road trips with no set destination where he could tell his countless stories. Bill was able to have a great sense of humour right until the end.

Loving husband of Janice Gale of 47 years. Cherished father of Jason Gale and his wife Veronica of Ingersoll, and Jennifer Gale and her partner Jeremy Jackson of Woodstock. He was the proud grandfather of Chloe, Lola, Jaylen, Heather, Jasmine (Aaron), and great grandfather of Archer.

Bill is survived by his siblings, Ron Gale (Mitzie), David Gale (Rosa), Larry Gale (Cheryl) and Dianne Copping (late Bill Copping) as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Bill is predeceased by his parents Reginald and Helen Gale, and his brothers Frank and Ross Gale.

Following Bill’s wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be no public visitation or service.

The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Palliative Care Team at Woodstock Hospital for their efforts that went above and beyond to make sure all needs were met in the final stages of Bill’s life.

Donations in Bill’s memory can be made to the Woodstock Hospital-Palliative Care Unit, and can be made through SMITH-LeROY FUNERAL HOME, 69 Wellington St. North, Woodstock, Ont. (519-537-3611)

Please join Standardbred Canada in offering condolences to the family and friends of Bill Gale.

November 26, 2018 - 10:39 amNever saw Bill over use a

Greg Perry SAID...

Never saw Bill over use a horse, always had them in position to do their best and ready to race the next week. One of the best drivers I've seen ever in this sport. Always a gentleman.

Condolences to Janice and family.

Greg & Lorraine Perry

November 21, 2018 - 3:12 pmOne of the true greats. Many

One of the true greats. Many great memories will live on.
Sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Dave Green

November 21, 2018 - 2:17 pmHad the opportunity renting

gord waples SAID...

Had the opportunity renting stalls to Bill and Janice a while back, what a good show they ran and a pleasure having them there. Thoughts and prayers to Janice, Jason and family

November 21, 2018 - 10:13 amCondolences to Janice and

Condolences to Janice and family.
R.I.P. Bill
The Montini family

November 21, 2018 - 8:35 amDrove for us in the '80s and

Drove for us in the '80s and certainly was a gentleman. Condolences to his family.

November 21, 2018 - 7:07 amI remember Bill way back in

Gord Brown SAID...

I remember Bill way back in the Orangeville days when he was driving Walvis Bay in the weekly invitational. He also drove quite a few for my father years later. Couldn't meet a nicer person. I agree 100 per cent with the posts! My condolences. R.I.P. Bill.

November 21, 2018 - 2:05 amJust an old timer fan, but he

Just an old timer fan, but he was one of my favourite drivers of all time!
So sorry to the family for your loss.

November 20, 2018 - 7:28 pmGreat hands - never overdrive

Great hands - never overdrive a horse. True talent - sorry for your loss.

November 20, 2018 - 4:18 pmCondolences to Bill's family;

John Findley SAID...

Condolences to Bill's family; he was one of the very best.
John Findley.

November 20, 2018 - 3:03 pmMet Bill a few times. Sorry

jim morgan SAID...

Met Bill a few times. Sorry for your loss

November 20, 2018 - 10:13 amSincerest condolences. Very

Jen Lucier SAID...

Sincerest condolences. Very sad to hear.

November 20, 2018 - 9:58 amBill Gale was the most

Marty Adler SAID...

Bill Gale was the most dominant driver in the 47 year history of Windsor Raceway.
He represented all that is good in harness racing.

He got his maroon and black colours from his mentor, Morris Macdonald of Strathroy.

He never "overdrove" a horse, and always brought back your horse in one piece.

You could always find Bill, mornings, in the cafeteria where you could discuss,face to face, everything from how your horse raced last start, to how he should race in the next.
His insights when returning from a race, made this driver #1 with most trainers.

Most fascinating about Bill, was how he made the choice when named on more than one horse on the overnights - he always chose the trainer with whom he had the longest relationship, even when another horse had a better shot. THAT, is loyalty.

If you ever had a chance to greet Bill, shaking his hand was like shaking the hand of a concert pianist, and his moves on the track, were those of the conductor of a symphony.

November 20, 2018 - 9:44 amI had the the great privilege

I had the the great privilege to meet Mr. Gale and be in the same barn as him later in his career. As a hero of mine as a younger man he was everything I'd imagine him to be. Very approachable, kind, soft spoken and most of all , more than willing to share his knowledge with anyone who wanted to take the time to listen. He was a professional in every sense of the word. The way he carried himself, the way him and his wife Janice kept their barn. The way he trained and cared for the animals under his care. They say you should never meet your heroes. I disagree, I consider myself lucky to have met and shared in a small portion of his life and to able to call him my friend.

They don't make them like that anymore. A very sad day. My condolences to Janice and Jason and the whole family.

November 20, 2018 - 6:59 amSad news. It brings back 40

Jack Darling SAID...

Sad news. It brings back 40 years of great memories,especially from the Windsor Raceway and Hazel Park days. Its always hard to rank the greatest drivers of all time but Bill is without a doubt in that elite group.He was especially good with 2yr olds,teaching them how to race without hurting them.
Our condolences to Janice,Jason and the whole family.

November 20, 2018 - 5:38 amBack in the 80's and 90's

John Carter SAID...

Back in the 80's and 90's Bill gale was one of my favorite drivers. You could always count on him for a good drive. The big 3 on the weg circuit for a long time was Brown, Condren and Gale. They were indeed the good old days of harness racing.

November 20, 2018 - 5:36 amA great era of Ontario

A great era of Ontario harness racing when Bill Gale dominated Windsor Raceway.

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