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I’d like you to know his name

The View

Fifteen years ago, just a few months after I took my job here at TROT, our Communications Department also hired a new Website News Editor.

Although his name has appeared near the front of this magazine in every issue for the past 15 years, and is still there on page six in this very issue, many of you probably didn’t know it. You mainly knew him as a TROT Insider, as he was referred to in the thousands of the website pieces that he penned for Standardbred Canada over the years, but to me and the others that worked with him, his name was Jeff Renton. He wasn’t the TROT Insider to us, he was just our friend. Now, very sadly, he’s gone.

Jeff came to us from the media department at WEG, and he was very good at what he did, but considering that his two career jobs were at WEG and SC he wasn’t necessarily a huge fan of racing. What he was, was a huge fan of his wife and his young son.

Jeff was also a fan of humour, and he loved to laugh. Other than our jobs at SC, the two big things he and I had in common were our love of The Howard Stern Show, and Seinfeld. Many days while working late it was some good belly-laughs over things like Baba Booey or Festivus that helped get us through our work. In fact, Jeff’s biggest contribution to TROT over the years came through his sense of humour as well, and his love of a section of the magazine that I’m told by many is popular to them too - ‘Separated At Birth’.

Sep At Birth was an idea that I had to add to our publication more than 14 years ago. Everyone here liked the idea but most figured we’d run out of content for it after 2-3 years at most. Since then we’ve received tips and suggestions from our regular readers, our co-workers and others throughout the industry, but Jeff Renton has to be one of the main reasons that this popular feature has lasted as long as it has. I couldn’t even begin to guess as to approximately how many of the 165+ Sep At Births that Jeff came up with, but there were lots.

There were also quite a few of them that he came up with that we didn’t (or couldn’t) use over the years - Jeff was a very funny guy but I also realize that maybe not everyone out there has the same sense of humour as him (or I).

This month, on page 12, the new Separated At Birth is “a Renton.” It’s being printed in his memory after spending the past 9 years hanging on a tack from the corkboard in my office - because we weren’t really allowed to use it back then.

Rewind to approximately 2012, shortly after the Provincial Liberals had dealt a tremendous blow to horse racing in Ontario by ending the very successful Slots-At-Racetracks-Program. When the then-CEO of the OLG, Paul Godfrey, had been proven to be instrumental in our demise, Jeff Renton brought me this month’s (July 2021) Separated At Birth - I immediately loved it. Our bosses at SC, who knew that the industry had better do everything that we could to establish a good relationship with the new Wynne government, strongly suggested (and probably rightfully so) that we not use the artwork.

I swore to ‘Renton’ (as I’ve always referred to him) that one day we’d run it anyway.

In February of 2020, with news of a virus heading our way from the Far East via Europe, I left the Standardbred Canada offices one evening, attempting to head south for a week in Deerfield Beach, Florida with my family. When I left the office Jeff said to me something along the lines of, “Be safe dude… have fun and I’ll see ya when you get back.”

I’ve never set foot in the office since that day, and other than exchanging some emails and seeing him on a few work-related video meetings, I never saw my friend ‘Renton’ again.

A few days ago (June 14) all Standardbred Canada employees were notified that Mr. Jeff Renton, known better to most of you as the TROT Insider, had passed away at the young age of 43 years - leaving behind a wife and young son that he adored.

I just wanted you to know his name - the name of the wonderful family man who has been writing stories and news pieces on the Standardbred Canada website for you to enjoy for the past 15 years. He never wanted the limelight, even though he deserved it.

As for you ‘Renton’ - I’ll see ya in another life brother.

Dan Fisher
[email protected]

3 Comments

July 7, 2021 - 11:39 amThank you Robert.

Dan Fisher SAID...

Thank you Robert.

July 5, 2021 - 3:24 pmThank you Dan for writing

Thank you Dan for writing this piece. This man certainly deserves to be remembered.

July 2, 2021 - 7:31 pmR.I.P. Jeff R., nice young

R.I.P. Jeff R., nice young man.


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