In the 1980's and early 1990's London and Barrie had a track each. The average purse was about the price of a nice 42 inch television. Mom's and Pop's raced their horses out of sires like Armbro Splurge and Fundmentalist.
Today it is much different.
On Friday the eliminations for the Molson Pace go at Western Fair. Two five horse elims, followed by a $280,000 final are to be contested. Making the trek from down south are standouts such as Maltese Artist. From Canada, last years Jug winner and World Record holder Shadow Play takes on older for the first time in his career. It is a compelling race. This race used to go for $25,000. Not anymore.
On Saturday, at Georgian Downs, the $500,000 Upper Canada Cup is to be raced. If you have not bought an Ontario sired yearling, you might be missing out. This is a huge purse and when added to the Battle of Waterloo for two year olds, horses that race in Ontario have the richest pots to race for anywhere.
Why can't we get handles up? Too many reasons to mention. But these two events are good for harness racing in Ontario. For racing fans in Barrie and London, twenty years ago they would be going on a weekend to watch a $800 open pace. Now it is oh so different.