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A Sure Bet For Johnny Longshot?

Published: December 12, 2012 6:56 pm ET

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One Canadian has already been contacted for a role in the upcoming harness racing movie Johnny Longshot, but if Emilio Estevez is looking for Hollywood star power with experience in a racebike he should consider contacting a Canadian acting legend with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

William Shatner and his wife Elizabeth own a 360 acre farm in Kentucky where the pair breed American Saddlebreds and Quarter Horses. Shatner himself shows horses from time to time in roadster classes, and of the top road horses showing in the U.S. is former Ontario Sires Stakes star Blaze Of Sonshine. That son of now-deceased Son Of Grace was bred and initially campaigned by horseman Gregg McNair, who noted that the family has always displayed the kind of trotting action sought after by show horse performers.

"Son Of Grace's mother (Graces Dream) was a showy-going horse, guys always wanted to buy her for a roadster mare," McNair told Trot Insider. "We had Blaze Of Sonshine and he made about $130,000. I tried to sell him for a show horse and the guy had a little trouble getting him going so I ended up selling him to a woman in Florida. She raced him for a couple of years and she was quite happy with him, now he's around the top of the show classes in the United States."

McNair notes that one of the other top show horses is also a son of Son Of Grace - Delcrest Sonny. This pedigree wasn't lost on Shatner, who came back to Canada in search of a breeding to his hot stallion.

"I had a message on my phone to call this phone number, people wanting to breed to Son Of Grace. So I called and it turned out it was 4 o'clock in the morning their time," said McNair with a smile. "He lives in California. They didn't tell me what time to call them at and I didn't realize it was a California number."

In speaking to Shatner and his wife, McNair mentioned that he had a brother to Blaze Of Sonshine - Big Brown Sonshine.

"They mentioned they wouldn't mind coming up to have a look at him. I thought I'd never hear from them again but they phoned back a while later and asked if they could come by and look at him. I said sure, and he said he'd like to drive a couple of other ones."

McNair eventually met the pair in Guelph and showed him to his farm, where he was impressed with the set of hands on the 81-year-old entertainer.

"He handled a horse really well. He was a pretty neat person...I don't know how many times he's handled a horse around the track and the horses that he drove for me weren't the nicest to drive and he got along fine with them. He enjoyed it too and we enjoyed having them there."

Trot Insider has learned that Meadowlands announcer and TV host Ken Warkentin has already been approached by Estevez himself to contribute to feature film, set for production and release next year.

"At first, I thought the call was a prank, until he read my letter over the phone," noted the Canadian-born announcer. "From there it was a delightful conversation about an exciting project. He made a point to say I didn’t have to write the letter since he had intended on calling me anyway, and I was duly flattered."

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