SC Rewind: Silk Hat Picture Parade

SC Rewind - Picture Parade
Published: March 25, 2023 01:25 pm EDT

Today's Rewind is the monthly feature 'Picture Parade' and as usual it has a central theme.  If you like to look at old photos from the days before helmets were part of a driver's attire then you're in luck on this edition.  Robert Smith has chosen a number of oldies of drivers wearing the neat old silk caps.  While they didn't offer any protection to the wearer,  they looked pretty "natty" to quote an old saying from days gone by.  

Note - Most of the clues given will be all the same because of the subject matter in today's column.  A few of these people are going to be pretty easy to identify but I included them in order to show some very good old pictures. 

Picture Parade

#1 - Who is this fellow who spent a large portion of his career in the U.S.? I have heard that he was among the first drivers to display horseshoes on his driving silks. 

Picture Parade

#2 - These fellows are all holding  cheques just received  as leading drivers.  Can you identify them all? 

Picture Parade

#3 - This gentleman was the first driver to win both the Canadian Pacing Derby — then held at New Hamburg, On. — and the Maple Leaf Trot when it was raced at Thorncliffe Park.  Can you put a name on him? 

Picture Parade

#4 - The man in the middle is shown receiving a rather large trophy for his accomplishments at Bay State Raceway as leading dash winner.  Can you tell us who he is? Can't help but wonder if those old trophies are still hidden away somewhere. 

Picture Parade

#5 - Think "Down East" on this one.  Let us know who you think he is.  

Picture Parade

#6 - This fine fellow like a number of others on the list raced for many years on the U.S. side.  Who is he?

Picture Parade

#7 - These folks were among the best in their day which was a very long time ago.  Who are they? Also the lady was very well known even though she didn't drive horses and her silk hat was not quite regulation style. 

Picture Parade

#8 - This fellow drove a lot of great horses and won some big races in both the U.S. and Canada.  I believe he still has family members that might follow racing a bit.  The big question is who is he?  I remember this man very well and talked with him many years ago. 

Note: This picture was taken in 1947 by a Hoof Beats photographer and the quality speaks well of the old photo technology back then.  

Picture Parade

#9 - This man is legendary in Canadian harness racing.  Do you recognize him and if you do let us know who you think he is?

Picture Parade

#10 - This Canadian gentleman was a popular figure in harness racing for an extremely long time.  Can you name him?

A Bit Of Trivia 

A recent Rewind recalled the introduction of helmets to harness racing which replaced the old silk caps.  The new headgear first appeared around 1956,  so about 67 years ago.  That would naturally mean that very few people who wore the old style hats are still with us.  Can anyone suggest who might still be with us that wore one of those old caps while driving.   I can think of a couple possibilities and one is pictured below as part of this week's quiz.  This can include both Canadian and U.S. drivers.  

Quote For The Week: "I think you should be a child for as long as you can.  I have been successful for 74 years being able to do that.  Don't rush into adulthood, it isn't  all that much fun." - From Bob Newhart, one of my favourites and still with us at 93. 

Who Is It? 

Who Is It photo question

Can you identify this very well-known driver who is wearing an old style cap while winning a race at Old Woodbine in 1957? I do believe he is still with us.  The mare he is driving was well-known back in the day.  



This week's pictures were all solved correctly by our "experts". Good rundown by Hector.

# 1 - Cecil Champion and probably Demon Rum ( as per DR Ackerman)
# 2 - Keith Waples, Percy Robillard, Phil Dussault
# 3 - Harold Wellwood
# 4 - Honorat LaRochelle
# 5 - Billy Hood Maritime horseman
# 6 - John Chapman
# 7 - L-R - Lindley Fraser ( of Dr. Stanton fame ) , Barbara Ann Scott ( world champion figure skater ) , Clint Hodgins , Joe O'Brien. Photo from California probably about 1948
# 8 - Morris "Morie" MacDonald - 1 st Canadian born driver to win the Jug
# 9 - The Hon. Earl Rowe aka "The Guv"
# 10 - Earle Avery

Who Is It? was Clint Galbraith and Helen Brooke K at Old Woodbine

Trivia Question - Thanks to Garth for some very good suggestions and quite possibly everyone he mentioned would qualify - I was thinking Clint Galbrath who is pictured, perhaps Bill Megens and on the U.S. side Del Insko. All would have driven in the "Silk hat era". Neil Curran for sure.
Thanks to everyone who sends in their answers, it makes it a lot more interesting.

You got them all right Hector except for number 7 the gentleman on the left as you look at the picture is Wick Lindsey Fraser. He had a real good F.F.A. Pacer back in the early fifties called Dr Stanton. I am guessing that picture was taken at Hollywood Park in California in the mid fifties. Tell you funny story that was told to me by my father Jack Gordon. Apparently Lindsey Fraser had Dr Stanton in the American National Stake race at Hollywood Park in California. The race was a mile and sixteenth. Lindsey had raced Dr Stanton on the front end the whole mile. At the end of the mile he pulled up thinking that he had won the race not realizing that there was another sixteenth of a mile to go. I remember Cecil Champion coming to Richelieu Park to race a pacer in a stake race. I am guessing it was around 1958 or 1959. It wasn’t a good night for Cecil. I can’t remember if someone interfered with him or he interfered with someone else. I know he didn’t pick up a check. But I do remember is that he had a very nice uniform White with Red trim. A Bit Of Trivia- The drivers that I can think of that wore soft hats that are still with us are Jimmy Larante Ben Cote Bill Megens . Maybe Neil Curran Reynold Filion and Melvin Turcotte. Thanks for the memories Robert .

#3 is definitely not Dr. John - BTW, he had his soft hat with him on Hall of Fame night at Mohawk a number of years back.
#8 might be Jimmy Jordan
#5 could be Johnny Conroy

# 1 Cecil Champion
# 2Keith Waples , Percy Robillard , Phil Dussault
# 3 Harold Wellwood
# 4 Honorat LaRochelle
# 6 John Chapman
# 7 Ralph Baldwin , Barbara Ann Scott ( world champion figure skater ) , Clint Hodgins , Joe O'Brien
# 9 Sep Palin
# 10 Earle Avery
Who Is It Clint Galbraith and Helen Brooke K

#1 ?
#2 Keith Waples, Percy Robillard and ?
#3 Harold Wellwood
#4 ?
#5 ?
#6 Johnny Chapman
#7 Clint Hodgins and Joe O'brien
#8 Morris (Morley) MacDonald
#9 ?
#10 Levi McFadden
Who is it: Clint Galbraith