Memories of a Racer
Racing was a big hit again at the local fair, and the ladies put on a great show. As one of the first three ladies to drive at Pari-Mutual many years ago, I was especially delighted to see the ladies winning some big races. Of course good horses are necessary to win but they have to be guided and controlled to do so.
I trained all types of horses from racers to saddle and driving pleasure horses,
Roadsters and Morgans, winning many classes in this area at Horse shows and fairs - even trained and showed some gentle giants (Clydesdales) - love those horses!!
Emilie Auger had a hat-trick at Ayer’s Cliff and Francine Morrisette also did well in her races. Keep up the good work, ladies! I finished 3rd in my first race at this fair and might have won except for a particular driver
interfering all the way down the stretch. I was 21 years old which was legal age to get my licence, but 3 regular drivers had to sign that I would be a safe and competitive driver. Buster Huckins was one of those drivers. It was his mare, Janie Hutch, that I drove. Officials commented that the men would let the ladies win but that was far from true. Good friends, or so I thought, said they were not about to let a woman beat them no matter who she was.
Stuart Cass and I were elemental in Ayer›s Cliff keeping their Charter for continuing
harness racing at Ayer›s Cliff when there was a question as to which tracks would be allowed to hold races. That gives me a vested interest.
For several years I raced at Sherbrooke, Three Rivers and Quebec City as well as the local circuit and in the States at the fairs which were held a week apart. When Sherbrooke closed, then it was off to Montreal’s Blue Bonnets and Richelieu Park and when winter racing started at Windsor Raceway in Ontario, we were there.
We were very successful there as the very best horses would not race in the winter so it gave a chance to other horses. Money was better as some trainers did not like winter conditions. Fairs are about the only easy places to race around here now.
One would have to go to Woodbine in Ontario or to the USA, and that means very good horses. Some history for horsey fans!
I wanted to drive Skipper Jay at Windsor Raceway in Windsor, Ontario, after my husband had an accident and dislocated his shoulder. The Presiding Judge had, at that time, the right to refuse to let a female drive in a race even though I held an A licence. He said he did not like women at the track but could not stop me from training horses which I did. Today no discrimination is shown.
After retiring from Racing I served as Paddock Judge and enjoyed seeing old competitors in much more friendly ways than now when so much money is involved. No better way to spend a day!
Beautiful horses are judged at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair.
Ernestine was impressed with the Miniature Horse show at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair.