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Black Heritage Day A Dresden Reunion

Published: July 31, 2021 8:04 am ET

Last Comment: July 31, 2021 2:18 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

For many people, Sunday (Aug. 1) will be like a homecoming as Dresden Raceway will host its first annual Black Heritage Day.

"This is going to be a great event," said Terry McCorkle. "There have been so many people I haven't seen in years. I can't remember the last time I saw Gates (Duwayne Guest), Freddy (Fred List) and a lot of these people."

The half-mile track will be honouring eight families and Rev. Josiah Henson for their contributions to racing at Dresden Raceway and harness racing.

The track is located on the original 200-acre property that Henson bought in 1841 that eventually became the end of the Underground Railroad. Henson was also a horse breeder and in his will left "half the proceeds of my prized Hambletonian stallion John to my son, Peter."

Hambletonian was the father of harness racing in North America, meaning there have been race horses on that 200-acre plot since the 1850s.

Fast-forwarding to the 1960s and 1970s, names like Fred List, Lonnie McCorkle and Lyle Grineage were regulars at Dresden and other local tracks.

"I'm pretty excited for Sunday. There will be lots of people I haven't seen in a while, and it will be nice to hear some of the old stories and catch up on some great memories," said Mike Grineage, who is part of one of the families being honoured. "I've been all around Ontario and through the States, and Dresden really was groundbreaking when it came to people of colour in the business. Some other places we weren't treated the same, but here in Dresden, I was just one of the guys, it was home."

"I think this event is a great idea. Lonnie (McCorkle) was a good friend of my father's and became a friend of mine as well. I remember driving against Lonnie, Fred (List) and Lyle (Grineage); they were all top-notch horsemen," said driving legend John Campbell. "I think this is great that they are being honoured for their contributions to the sport."

Dresden will be honouring the Davis Family, the Tanner Family, the Prince Family, the Simmons Family, the List Family, the Grineage Family, the McCorkle Family, Duwayne Guest and Josiah Henson.

Post time for Sunday's card of racing is 1 p.m.

Those wishing to attend can register by messaging the number of people in their party, their names and phone numbers to the Dresden Raceway Facebook page or by email at [email protected].

(Dresden Raceway)

July 31, 2021 - 2:18 pmGreat idea, great story,

Jack Darling SAID...

Great idea, great story, great memories with these guys.

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