SC Rewind: Years Ago - 1980s

SC Rewind - Years Ago: 1980s
Published: March 4, 2023 02:29 pm EST

In this week's Rewind Robert Smith has assembled the monthly feature Years Ago and this time it focuses on people and events from the decade of the 1980's.  His piece as usual includes news and faces from several areas and also a few old photos that help to describe the short stories.  Also this week is an old photo familiar to most households of days gone by. 

1980 - Windsor Raceway Off To A Good Start 

Jan. 1, 1980 - The new year and the new decade got off to a good start at Windsor Raceway and certainly resembled the recently concluded highly successful 1979 fall meeting.  On the January 1 program a crowd of 4,120 saw six of the 10 race winners take new lifetime marks. On the betting side the holiday crowd sent just over $500,000 through the mutuels. Maybe some people were using their leftover Christmas money! 

Off to a good start was Swift Supreme and also driver Bryce Fenn. The youngster (Fenn) who lived nearby was starting his third season of driving even though he was yet to turn 20. He ended the evening with two trips to the winner's circle, scoring with Pistol Almahurst in the seventh and right back in the eighth behind Toledo Blue Chip.   For Swift Supreme and his driver Rick Moffatt it was a great start for his new acquisition as they took the featured $4,500 Melbourne Pace. Moffat's new charge took a new lifetime mark of 2:03.1 with the win. 

Other winning drivers on the year's first card were Richard Carroll, Hector Armstrong,  Pat Hunt, Kelly Sheppard, Jack Campbell, Trevor Ritchie, and Ross Roselle.  Ron Henderson had five horses take either second or third place money,  but was shut out in the win column. 

1984 - Richest Trotting Race Ever In Canada 

Conifer, in rein to George Sholty, wins the first Breeders Crown race to ever be held at a Canadian track. It was just the second overall as the first was held two days prior to this at the Red Mile in Lexington, Ky. This filly, a daughter of Nevele Diamond out of the Stars Pride mare Lumber Starlet, was purchased as a yearling at Tattersalls for $52,000, thus making her quite a bargain. (Photo by Steve Tambosso)

A recap of the first ever Breeders Crown race to be contested in Ontario at Mohawk Raceway read as follows. "Before a jam-packed grandstand and millions of ESPN and TSN viewers, the freshmen fillies lined up behind the starting gate at precisely 9:45 p.m.  This is how the race start was described by columnist David Stuart in the Standardbred magazine.  With a purse of $539,825 ($415,280 U.S.) it was by far the richest trotting race to be held in Canada to that point in time.  

The newly created Breeders Crown series was officially underway on Sunday evening October 7, 1984.  Initially a total of 106 trotting fillies had been sustained to the Breeders Crown by paying $1,000 (U.S. funds ) on May 15 in addition to paying $750 in mid-March.  On race night a total of just eight fillies went to the post.  Heading the field was Davidia Hanover, who already had 11 wins and over $445,000 earned.  Trained by Gary Lewis,  she had 29-year-old John Campbell in the pilot's seat.  On paper she was clearly the best. 

As so often happens the "best" does not win and a filly named Conifer won the race.  Owned by a three-way partnership and driven by George Sholty, the daughter of Nevele Diamond prevailed.  Her winning time of 2:01.2 erased the current Mohawk mark of 2:02 which belonged to Armbro Blush.  

1985 - Chairmanoftheboard Wins Jug Preview  

Track officials at Scioto Downs predicted it and sure enough many records were set on the evening of Sept 7, 1985.  For many years the lead up to the Little Brown Jug included the "Jug Preview" held at this track.  This year's edition, which was the 16th in history, carried a purse of $152,350. 

An all-time record crowd of 12,102 fans set a new standard in the 27-year history of the Ohio track and they were treated to quite a show. The big crowd set a new wagering record as they bet $894,800.  The previous records were also set on Jug Preview night 10 years earlier in 1975 when the attendance was 11,984 and they bet $855,029. 

Chairmanoftheboard, owned by the New Concept Stable and driven by 30-year-old John Campbell, sped to his fourth victory in a row in winning the big event.  The winner collected $76,175 for his efforts and raised his lifetime bankroll to just over $890,000.  His winning time of 1:53.2 was a new lifetime mark.  He originally cost his owners $60,000 as a yearling.  (Horseman & Fair World photo)

Note - Be sure to check for today's trivia question at the bottom of the page.  

1985 - Records Fall At Mohawk Grand Circuit Meeting  

First week of Sept. 1985  - Mohawk fans were treated to stakes racing at its finest with the sport's top performers setting several track records in the process.  As each group hit the track the old standards toppled.  On Friday evening the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies started the action.   In the first elim Cranberry Hill scored in 2:00.4 for driver Dr. John Hayes and owners Chas. Juravinski and Gordon Rumpel.  In the second elim Sonora Lobell was home first for Berndt Lindstedt in an identical time. 

In the final with the track record barely entered in the books,  the record toppled once again.  Maxine Lobell, owned by Castleton Farm and driven by Berndt Lindstedt, stopped the timer in an eye-popping 1:59.3.  It was her fifth win in 14 tries and raised her earnings to $110,000.  

When the pacing fillies came out for the Simcoe the result again set a new track record.  It was Brees Brief's turn this time.  With regular OJC reinsman Doug Brown in the bike for trainer Stew Firlotte,  the daughter of Big Towner set an all age mark of 1:55.4 erasing the record of 1:56 set by Fan Hanover in 1982.  The winning owners were the Surge Stable, the Mansoor Stable and Dr. Richard Wylie of St. George, Ont. 

1989 - Dreamfair Stable Sale Offerings 

August 15, 1989 - Dreamfair Stables of Ingersoll, Ont., owned by John and Mary Lamers and family, are advertising their latest crop of yearlings that will be headed to various auctions in the near future.  They have a total of four quality-bred youngsters,  three fillies and one colt.  They are sired by four different sires,  Dallas Almahurst,  Armbro Omaha, Walton Hanover and Devils Adversary.  

Their very attractive operation is located on Hwy. 19 just south of 401.  They welcome visitors to look over their young prospects prior to sale time. 

Dreamfair Farm ad
Photo courtesy of The Canadian Sportsman 

Quote For The Week: "Everyone deserves somebody who makes them look forward to tomorrow." - Anonymous 

Horse Naming Trivia Question: What is the maximum number of letters that can be used when registering a horse's name? Remember NO FAIR looking it up!  (I didn't and I hope I have it right) 

Who Is It? 

Who Is It photo question

Can you identify this driver as he heads for victory lane at Windsor Raceway? 

Who Else Is It? 

Who Else Is It photo question

Can you identify these two smiling fellows? Let us know who you think they are.  

Blast From The Past 

Blast from the Past

How many people can recall the days when the above pictured item was located in virtually everyone's home and served as the centre of many activities.  If you wanted news, entertainment or a number of other contacts with the outside world this was the spot to gather.  



Who Is It? - That was driver Pat Hunt driving Tye Clip (6) to victory at Windsor (exactly as Ron Muir stated) and it does look like Terry Kerr second with Future Fortune. Lots of "H" drivers on that card. Pat had two wins, Ron Henderson one, Ken Hardy one, Earl Hyatt had a pair in the first three. Also winning a race was a gent who just won an award at London recently. Not an "H" but a "W" -- Jack Wray!
Who Else Is It? - That was Gilles Gendron on the left and Robert Samson probably at Blue Bonnets
"Blast From The Past" - an old style cabinet radio drew some interesting comments. That radio/TV described by Mr. Aziz sounded pretty advanced. The one we had was just a radio and sat in the corner of the room near the dining table so was often on at noon to catch the farm report.
Horse naming trivia question - I believe the maximum number letters allowed (including spaces) is 18. The name that spurred this question was CHAIRMANOFTHEBOARD which took it to the limit!
Thanks to everyone for your input.

Robert Samson was an exciting, gifted driver from the province of Quebec who passed away tragically at a young age while driving back to Montreal from Quebec City after competing in some races. The truck in which he was a passenger hit a moose and Samson was killed instantly. His drives behind the free for all pacer Le Baron Rouge were a thing of beauty, always coming from the back end and swooping the field. Robert was a “showman“ for sure but his style both on and off the track garnered great publicity for the sport of harness horse racing among the general public.
Thank you Robert Smith for your Rewind articles, as you can notice from the avid response to them you are keeping us in touch with our history and that is vitally important. Merci bien and bravo!!!

Horse naming question
Used to be 18 letters including spaces

That,s my trainer/driver from years gone by..Bill Hicks

Pat Hunt driving Tye Clip May 3 ,1980, winning in new mark 1.59

18 letters/spaces.
Windsor picture - his last name starts with H. - Hardy, Hie, Holmes, Dunno
Gilles Gendron and ?
My grandparents next door had one of those old radios. It worked and we listened to it occasionally.

While the picture probably dates from before 1950, I can remember a similar item - floor model - that had a record player , radio AND a T.V.
This was in 1959, My rich friend had one ( his dad was a doctor in Leaside. ) This was the first T.V. I had seen. I saw my first cartoon on it and after 4 PM
three stations Broadcast in COLOUR!! My friend told me that it cost over $900.00 !