This Saturday’s feature race is the 25th running of the Frank Arnason Sire Stakes. The race is for Manitoba bred 3-year-olds over a distance of 6 furlongs for a purse of $25,000. The winner of the inaugural running of the Frank Arnason in 1988 was Hazel Wright’s No More Foolin and last year’s winner was Poseidon Stables’ Going For A Few.
While the last 24 years has provided a great deal of history, the true history of this race lies with the man for whom it is named, the late Franklin Marino Arnason, better known as Frank Arnason.
Who was Frank Arnason? Well the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) summed it up as follows: “This was no ordinary man! He was a great family man, horseman, businessman and sportsman, all wrapped-up into a fine gentleman.”
At the time of his passing in 1987 Frank was the President of the CTHS and a long time Board member. In addition, he was a lifetime member of the Gimli Curling Club and the Pembina Curling Club, President of the Gimli Kinsman Club (1954) and Chairman of the Gimli School Board (1951/52).
Frank bought his first horse, Honey Pan, at a sale conducted by the Manitoba Horse Breeders Inc. at Assiniboia Downs in May 1972. In July 1972 Honey Pan found the Winner’s Circle and Frank referred to the win as “A great thrill.”
In addition to Honey Pan, Arnason owned Restless Star, Crupper’s Dream, Dance Again, Pipe Smoker and his favourite, Roman Conquest. Back in the day, Arnason Farms, located on Rosser Road, had seven equal shareholders, Frank and his wife Marie, sons Brett, Barry, Ron and Roy, and daughter Lynne.
Son Barry spoke as you would expect any proud son would when talking about their father. And of the many, many, good things he had to say about his Dad, the one thing that really hit home were these words of wisdom he shared with Barry:
“Before you do anything else, learn how to listen.”