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Friday, September 14, 2012

Hanover Raceway Heritage Day

Hanover | by Bayshore News Staff  

Dave Wall among those being honoured on Saturday night at Hanover Raceway.

Hanover Raceway is scheduled to hold their annual Heritage Night Card Saturday

Among those being honored are;

Dave Wall


Dave Wall’s career was launched into high gear in 1972 when the first foal from Dina Wall, a gift from his father Harold, proved to be a better than average racehorse. Since then, the former Kincardine native has evolved into one of harness racing’s best-loved ambassadors.     Born and raised in Kincardine, Wall obtained his driver’s license at 25 and struggled through his first few years, until Piper Wall, Dina Wall’s first foal came along. Two years later the Ontario Sires Stakes was born and Wall became a fan favourite on the province-wide series, earning the moniker ‘Mr. OSS’. Wall’s willingness to travel from racetrack to racetrack, his easy-going nature, and his ongoing success likely contributed to the ‘Mr. OSS’ title. Through every decade since its inception,  Wall has been associated with some of the program’s top horses, winning the Lampman Cup title as the program’s top driver in 1994 and 1998,  Wall also has achieved recognition beyond the OSS program.  He won the North America Cup in 1991 with Staff Director, and the Canadian Pacing Derby with Odds Against.  He also drove Goodtimes to victory in the 1999 Maple Leaf Trot and won the Fan Hanover and Breeders Crown titles with Odies Fame.  Wall also travelled to Sweden for the Elitlopp in 1999 (finishing third with Goodtimes), and in 2003 with Northern Bailey. Wall has over 7,100 driving wins to his credit, along with 518 training wins and hopes to add a few more in 2012. He is currently training more than 20 horses at his home in Komoka, ON.

Charlie Martin


Charlie Martin has been a raceway Executive member since 1964.    He is also a past president of the Fair Board, and was District Director from 1992-1996.   Charlie worked in the Mutuels in the old building and helped with the payouts in the new grandstand after 1964.  Charlie helped Allan Wedow transport the mutuel machines to Owen Sound for Wednesday night races and also took them to Kincardine and Elmira for fair days.  Charlie was also in charge of selling Nevada tickets at the track with wife Mildred.   Charlie says they had 2 good years of Nevada sales selling 92 and 94 boxes.   Charlie has seen alot of developments and changes over the years.  He points out the Opening Ceremonies for the new Agricultural Society Coliseum, which was the old Arena, was held on August 17, 1963 and the building was eventually turned over to the Town of Hanover with a rider attached for Agricultural Society usage. 

Earl Weppler

Earl Weppler was a prominent member of the Hanover Bentinck and Brant Agricultural Society for many years dating back to the late 1960’s or early 1970’s until his passing in April of 1996. In 1978, he received the Agricultural Service Diploma for Meritorious Service to Agriculture, however, for most race fans and horsepeople he will be remembered for his time as the starting gate operator, or for his great sense of humour.  Earl was born and raised in Sullivan township but moved to Hanover in 1947 with his wife Eileen (Barber).  He helped raise 3 daughters, Donna (Dinos) Leontaritis of Athens, Greece, Erla (Bill) Garcia of Hanover, and Sheila (Danny) Streler of Parry Sound.

Earl owned and operated a trucking company for many years before becoming a full-time Beef Farmer.  Earl was also a director of the Grey-Bruce Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and a founding member of the Hanover Curling Club, and enjoyed being part of a team that scored an 8 ender one season. 

Helen and Norm Lambertus


Norm was born on November 9, 1913, and was a director on the Hanover Raceway board for many years, as well as a trainer of both Standardbred horses and Hackney ponies.  His wife, Helen was a charter for many years at Hanover.  The racing bug was also passed down to their son William, who was a trainer and driver of Standardbreds.  Bill moved to New York in 1969 where he continued to train and drive professionally.  During his driving career Bill had over 3500 wins, and earned his owners more than 18 million dollars in purses until he retired from driving in 2004.   Bill says his dad was an advocate of Harness racing and never missed a night at the track, and neither did his mother. When he wasn’t at the track, Norm was selling homes.   Norm worked in the real estate business for over 30 years with both Mcintee and Whaling Real estate.   Bill says his father continued to sell homes right up until just before he died in his late 80’s in 2002. 

Jean and Peter Thibaudeau


The Thibaudeau’s have a long history at Hanover Raceway.  They moved to Hanover in 1968 because of the local horse training facility and to raise their 3 daughters, Carrie, Laurie and Vicki.  Pete and Jean have owned, trained and driven horses at Hanover for the past 45 years, and introduced harness racing to many including their own children and Grandchildren.  Both Jean and Peter have spent time as Race Secretary at Hanover Raceway, and Peter has also held the position of board member on the Hanover Bentinck and Brant Agricultural Society. Among their highlights as trainers and owners,  were many horses that competed in the Ontario Sires Stakes including Play Catch, Elderslie, Ambro Vantage and Starlite Doll, the former track record holder at Kawartha Downs for 3 year old pacing fillies.   The Thibaudeau’s have also helped out at the annual Fair with their time, most recently with the Heavy Horse show, and were integral in initiating the “Walker Memorial Trot” for Jean’s Mother and Father, Allan and Viola Walker.   Pete and Jean also were active members of the Hanover Curling Club in the past enjoying competitive curling and many bonspiels.  Daughters Laurie Thomson and Vicki Gregg are both still heavily involved in breeding, owning and training horses, and Grandson Louis Gregg is also now involved in the training business and hopes to become a driver in the future. The Thibaudeau’s are very discouraged with the Liberal Government’s cancellation of the slots at racetrack program and are hopefull that a reversal of this decision or some suitable alternative can be found to keep horse racing alive.

John Beirnes

Builder  Apr 2, 1927-June 19,2012

John Beirnes was a Fair Board Executive member for many years, and was on the Raceway committee. He and wife Judy had 3 sons, Tom who predeceased his father, was a carpenter, Stephen who was employed as a machinist, and Charlie who was employed as a Shelburne and Orangeville Police constable, before becoming an investigator with the ORC about 10 years ago.  

John Beirnes was a security officer during the races, and was also a mutuel teller during the races.   John and wife Judy continued to be regular Racing patrons right up until he passed away earlier this year.  Many of us at Hanover Raceway will miss John’s pleasant personality and his smile.

Keith Waples


Keith Waples, who resided in Durham in the past, was the first driver to break the 2:00 mile in harness racing in Canada with Mighty Dudley.  He won the Little Brown Jug with Strike Out, and the Roosevelt International Trot with future hall of fame great Tie Silk.    Keith has been inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian and U.S. Horse Racing Hall of Fame’s, and was a co-founder of Orangeville Raceway and Cloverdale Raceway , which is now Fraser Downs in B.C.

In a poll conducted by the Canadian Sportsman in 2005, racing fans and readers voted Waples the greatest Canadian Harness Horseperson who ever lived.  Waples edged out 4 other finalists, Doug Brown, John Campbell, Joe O’Brien, and his cousin Ron Waples.

Keith Waples raced at Hanover during their very first days of live horse racing in the 1940’s.  He raced many times at Hanover including at least one time with Mighty Dudley.    Many of the sports top stars say Waples was the Best to ever sit in a sulky, and a man who made an enormous contribution to the sport out of the bike as well.     Officially, Standardbred Canada credits Waples with winning 3,207 races and $6.7 million dollars in purse money during his driving and training career.  Those numbers don’t tell the whole story, as Waples flourished when such totals were not complied and when the cash was miniscule in comparison to today’s purses.

Waples’ offspring have also been heavily involved in horse racing. His daughter, Barbara Lennox is a former trade magazine publisher and currently manages two racing industry websites; Donna and her husband Mac Galbraith, own and operate a horse breeding facility in Durham; Karen Hauver is the Administration Coordinator for the Ontario Sires Stakes and has been the Photo Finish Operator at Hanover Raceway for the past 40 years; and Gord is a former driver/trainer/training centre owner and is still active as a horse owner.   Even the next generations are involved as Karen’s daughter, Christine is the Assistant Mutuel Manager at Hanover while her daughter, Brittany is a mutual teller and her son, Garreth is the Toteboard timing system operator – so Harness Racing is still a huge part of the Waples family.

Lou Macs Review


Lou Macs Review was born on May 19th, 1986, by breeders Robert Macdonnell and Ron Loucks.  She was owned by Paul Walker and Carscot Stables and died in December of last year after a brilliant double career as a Racehorse,  and then a broodmare.

During her racing career, Lou Macs review started 125 times with 26 wins, 28 seconds, and 21 third place finishes including many wins in the Ontario Sires stakes at both 2 and 3 years of age.  She also won the ontario sires stakes championship at 3, and the 2nd aged mare trot breeders crown at the Meadows.

Her lifetime earnings were over 560,000 dollars but after retiring from the track she went on to become an excellent broodmare with 9 foals all of which raced.  3 of them made over $100,000, with 1 over $250,000 and 1 over $500,000 in earnings.  The total earnings of her foals was over 1.2 million dollars and had 3 foals that went on to break the 1:56 mark as a trotter.

Ross Battin of Monkton


Ross Battin is celebrating his 40th season as a driver, after starting his career at the tender age of 18. Battin, also owns and trains horses at his Monkton farm, and he and wife Margaret have 2 children, Susie aged 34, and Paul who is 30.   Ross is best known locally for having won the Lampman Cup 6 times, as the Ontario Sires Stakes as top driver, and has won the Dream of Glory Championship at Hanover, 3 times.   As for personal career highlights, Battin pointed to driving against Herve Filion and Buddy Gilmour when he drove Bo knows Jate to victory at the Haughton Memorial Pace at the Yonkers.   Battin also set the track record with at horse at Hazel Park in the Nicole Haddock Memorial.    Another track record he’s proud of is winning with Swagger Hanover at Mohawk, setting the track record for aged horses, and racing has also sent him to compete in places like Edmonton, Montreal and Windsor.   Another career highlight was winning the Molson Pace with  in  In all, Battin has over 4700 driving wins and has earned more than 325 million dollars in purse money for his owners.  Battin was also asked for his opinion on the current state of our industry, and says he can’t believe this nonsense has gone on as long as it has.  Battin points out Quebec officials are now bringing back racing to that province after a similar greed move over VLT’s.  He calls the situation a disaster, and hopes the government comes to its senses before it ruins thousands of jobs, and threatens the lives of thousands of horses.  

Vi and Norm Fitzsimmons


In 1953 Ontario Hydro found it necessary to transfer Norm Fitzsimmons from Markdale to Hanover.  He packed up his wife Vi and son Larry and moved to a place that would become their permanent home.  Daughter Debbie Ranck came along soon after, and continues to live in Hanover owning and operating, "Deb's on Tenth," salon.   Norm was always an avid fan of harness racing and would often pull Larry out of school to travel to many fall fairs in order to watch the horse racing.   This love of racing led to a lifetime family involvement in the business.  Larry is a breeder, owner and trainer who operates his own public stable.  Grandaughter Lisa Steward is an owner and operates a public stable with Ray Bunn.  Grandaughter Leslie Jackson is the paddock judge at London and Woodstock.  Great-grandson Ryan Steward is an owner and trainer, and great-grandson Nick Steward is a regular driver at many Ontario tracks. Vi and Norm were active members of the Hanover Fair Board and Agricultural Society.  Vi eagerly looked forward to fall fair time when she could be involved in the judging of various events. Vi and Norm took great pride in the Hanover Raceway and always took it personally if things didn't go well.  Each week, for 30 years, from the beginning of the meet until it concluded, Vi, faithfully and conscientiously,.....ordered, counted, delivered and sold race programs in Hanover and the neighboring communities.    During those years when racing was just as much an enjoyable night with friends as it was a business, Vi and Norm, along with the other devoted mainstays at Hanover Raceway were sure that the races couldn’t run without them........and that time.....they were right. 



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