Those that know me know that I enjoy harness racing. It was actually Biology class that got me started with this interest. Harness racing was coming to our town and our teacher used the opportunity to talk about family trees and breeding. If you ever look at a harness racing program, each horse has his/her immediate lineage listed so that you can tell who a horse’s sire and dam are. Somehow that captured my interest.
If you’re interested, you can really go deep into the pedegree of any horse. It’s all done for free unlike the current fad of tracing your DNA!
In our town, harness racing was big (and controversial) and became one of the things to do on a Sunday afternoon. My parents volunteered with the Kinsmen and Kinettes to help run the afternoon. At the time, you had to be a lot older than we were to even get into the track area. But, if you knew the lay of the land, there were places where you could stand to watch the races. For those of us who were lifeguards and worked on Sunday afternoons, you could watch the races from the pool.
I got hooked. At the time, the standard for harness racing was the ability for a horse to run a mile in 2 minutes and 10 seconds. If you saw a horse that did that, you knew it had good breeding and excellent training. Like many things, the sport got so much better. Today, you get excited when you see a horse that can run a mile in less than 2 minutes.
We enjoyed travelling the province and seeing races at various venues – Clinton, Goderich, Elmira, Hanover, Dresden, Sarnia, Flamboro, Greenwood, Garden City, Mohawk, Barrie, Ottawa, Windsor, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, and Leamington. There may be others. It’s sad that some of these tracks are no longer in operation.
It was being in proximity to Windsor that we got to see some of the best horses of all time – Frugal Gormet, Niatross, Cam Fella, Camluck and probably even more that have been forgotten since Windsor Raceway has been closed for a while.
There was a horse that I never got a chance to see and that was Somebeachsomewhere. It was sad to read this Somebeachsomewhere, Nova Scotia’s Most Famous Harness Racing Horse, is Dead. This was a legendary racer from his first race, setting speed records in doing it.
And setting records wherever he went.
Fortunately, we have video to remind us what a magnificent horse he was. Just watching these videos confirms that he was truly in a class by himself.
He truly deserved the recognition for being the Horse of the Decade.
The list of records is such a reminder of how the sport has improved over the years. Remember when I say that 2:10 was a standard. A race that goes in 1:46.4 just is unfathomable to me.
For the sport, Somebeachsomewhere has stood as a stud and so his lineage will continue. I’ll be keeping an eye out – Dr J Hanover has already hit my radar with a 1:46.4 at Mohawk! I hope to see more.