You meet all kinds of folks in racing. I find most are pretty darn down to earth and thankful for what they have. Heading into the Woodbine paddock is fun, because you know you will see someone. Being on the web you get to meet new people, too.
One of them, Luc Ouellette, is simply put a nice guy. Professional and courteous and he has always given us a fair shot as bettors, and me personally as an owner. In quickly glancing the news I see he is at it again with his drivers challenge to raise money for the Toronto Star's Santa Claus fund. Joining him this year are other WEG regulars, recruited for the cause. The story is here. Great job fellas.
When starting the blog I had personally no idea what to do, or what becomes of it. I'm a fan first I guess, and also the science of gambling always interested me. I thought, what the heck, let's jot down a few ideas now and again and see what happens. Interestingly, Harnesslink.com emailed and asked if I would ever like to write something for their site. I thought I would. So I did. I see tonight they posted it up over at their site. I guess we harness fans have to all stick together. I took the opportunity when asked to ask some questions of my own. I had always wondered about harnesslink and what plans they had. I got some answers and will write it up in a post soon. Funny how these things happen.
Another person I met, was Vern. He was a handicapper and a good one. A year after meeting on a harness chat board (harnessdriver.com), we had a racing stable, led by a powerful steed who could trot a laser-like mile in around 2:02. We paid $6500, lost him for $3000, but boy it was fun. From there the stable expanded to a high of 13 horses. We are having a great time, despite how hard a game it is.
Nick Boyd is a young man I met first on the web, then at the track. He was a nice young guy, always joking around. He seemed smart, too. After getting to know him I learned he was completing a business degree at the University of Guelph in Ontario, but his heart was with harness racing. He wanted to become a successful trainer, after following the sport working with horses for several years with his family; along with his friend Paul MacDonnell and, trainers Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. He had only a couple horses at the time. My partners and I sent him one to give him a try. He did a great job. It took about three months, but the horse was doing well enough to win at Woodbine and take a lifetime mark. Nick has a couple more for us now and built a stable of 8 for himself. Recently, due to a suspension of a local trainer he gained several more horses. On the phone with him today he was happy with the way things are going, and feels very fortunate to have the opportunity.
I could go on for about a week, but you get the drift.
It's a community of many thousands, but it is tightly knit. Go to the Meadowlands and hit the clubhouse level. Say hi to Ken Warkentin or Sam McKee and ask them a question. Go to Woodbine and say hi to Ken Middleton or Mike Hamilton and fire off a query. Call Dresden up in the heat of summer and ask Gary "can I please listen to this race?". You'll always receive a friendly response.
The people you meet in harness racing. Good people.
Merry Christmas everyone.