[caption id="attachment_15472" align="alignright" width="1000"] Coherence. August 29, 1959. Trainer Gary Danelson's first win.[/caption] by Bob Gates Well, now that we have a couple of days of racing under our belt, let's celebrate with some M&M's. Nope, not the multi-coloured, button-shaped chocolates which are the flagship product of Mars, Incorporated. We're talking about milestones and memories…Read more
Yorkshire Lad CCR. $20 Wager Led to a Life-Long Career in Horse Racing.
[caption id="attachment_10218" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] L to R, Lou Davies, Jim Speers and Dr. Norm Anderson at 1st Horsemen's Ball, circa 1951.[/caption] by Bob Gates Following the death of one of the most popular and respected men in the history of thoroughbred racing in Western Canada in July 1977, Winnipeg Free Press sports editor Maurice Smith…Read more
The Curious Case of Just Cost, Grand Little Gelding or Racing’s Bad Boy?
by Bob Gates To coin a phrase from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, "Let's put the case." The case, that is, of Just Cost, a thoroughbred runner from the dirty thirties. Today you are not only readers; you are also the jurists in the case of The People vs Just Cost. Men and women of…Read more
When Hollywood came to Winnipeg to race, those were the days!
[caption id="attachment_5736" align="alignnone" width="780"] Well Caught wins for Don Carlos. June 29, 1951. Polo Park.[/caption] by Bob Gates [caption id="attachment_5734" align="alignright" width="218"] Anita King[/caption] Who knew? Once upon a long time ago Whittier Park and Polo Park race tracks were playgrounds for the rich and famous. Hollywood types from the early to mid-1900s made regular…Read more
The Legend of the Whittier Park Clocker
[caption id="attachment_5684" align="alignnone" width="780"] The Whittier Park Clocker (or his distant relative)[/caption] by Bob Gates At first glance you might think this is the story of some curmudgeonly, 60-something lifetime racetracker who was hanging on to the sport he loved and lived in the only way he could - timing the morning workouts of thoroughbreds…Read more
Raymond Stewart, The Pride of Gladstone — Reflections on a Life Well-Lived!
[caption id="attachment_4131" align="alignright" width="270"] Ray Stewart in Calgary. 1950.[/caption] by Bob It's been more than 75 years since Ray Stewart scored his first win as a jockey on the old western prairie circuit. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with the 93-year-old Stewart and reminisce about his horse racing past at his home…Read more
“Spud” Murphy and old Joe Geary, a man and his horse, the greatest and purest love
[caption id="attachment_3957" align="alignright" width="270"] Harold "Spud" Murphy[/caption] by Bob It's not likely many will remember the name Harold “Spud” Murphy. Those who do will probably associate it with his horse Brother Leo, who won the Manitoba Derby in 1963, but this week's trip back in time centers around the first horse Spud ever owned, Joe…Read more
The Mighty Seabiscuit Raced in Winnipeg?
[caption id="attachment_1391" align="alignright" width="270" caption="Joey - "The People's Horse""][/caption] by Bob Sorry, Seabiscuit didn’t race here, but now that I have your attention let me tell you the story of a horse much like the “Biscuit” who raced in our fair city in the “dirty ‘30s” and early ‘40s. Joey was a champion racehorse whose…Read more
Memories of Whittier Park, Grandfather of Assiniboia Downs
[caption id="attachment_331" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Whittier Park Program"][/caption] by Bob If horse racing were going to flourish in Winnipeg it was clear that River Park would not be the answer. A new track had to be built. The idea for Whittier Park was hatched in 1923 by R. James Speers, construction began the same year, and…Read more