Mem­o­ries of a Racer

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion Ernes­tine Whipple

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!

Photo pro­vided by Ernes­tine Wi­hip­ple

Beau­ti­ful horses are judged at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair.

Photo pro­vided by Ernes­tine Wi­hip­ple

Ernes­tine was im­pressed with the Minia­ture Horse show at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair.

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