Goodbye Barry Hewson

Published: April 30, 2010 06:57 pm EDT

When the card of harness racing ends tonight at Woodbine Racetrack, one of the organization's employees will leave the track behind after 37 years and a litany of positions


Today (April 30) Woodbine Entertainment's Director of Racing Barry Hewson retires from that position, one he has held for nearly the duration of his career.

Hewson was born into the business, as his father was a horseman that raced the Buffalo-Batavia circuit in the summer then stayed home on their Ontario farm over the winter. After following his father's footsteps and getting his trainer's and driver's licence, Hewson changed his career path after being offered a race office job at Greenwood Raceway back in 1959.

"Since it came with pay and working for my dad didn't, I took it," Hewson told Sports Eye with a laugh during a 1997 interview.

Hewson quickly ascended the ranks, becoming a patrol judge, then an associate judge. In 1969, Hewson became the youngest presiding judge in CTA history.

Marriage and an extended honeymoon in Europe made Hewson reconsider his life at the track and upon return to Canada he opened two automotive repair shops to pursue his interest in race cars. In 1973, Hewson was informed that a race secretary was needed at the track. He would return there, but only if paid his price since the garages were profitable. The next day, a deal was struck and Hewson returned to the race office.

In 1976, Hewson was named race secretary for three Ontario Jockey Club plants - Garden City, Greenwood and Mohawk. Roughly five years later, Hewson was moved to his management position under Gerard Spoor.

"In 18 years I didn't make a single enemy or hold a grudge - you can't," Hewson stated to Sports Eye.

"The thing I'm most proud of is that when I started the racing wasn't all that great, and it's been built up over the years to one of the best programs in the world."

Jamie Martin, Executive Vice-President of Racing for Woodbine Entertainment, told Trot Insider that he feels Hewson's impact on harness racing in Canada has been understated.

"He's going to be missed a lot, I don't think people realize his contribution to harness racing here in Ontario and across Canada," stated Martin. "A lot of our major stakes, he developed them. When the North America Cup started in the mid-1980s, he was very influential in the structure that got it to the million dollar level. His legacy will be those stakes, and he deserves a lot of credit for them."

Martin had nothing but praise for Hewson, whom he has worked with for the past decade.

"I was an outsider when I came in, and he was always very generous and showed me the ropes," continued Martin. "I'm happy he's retiring in good health and I wish him and his wife Betty all the best in his retirement."



Good Luck Barry! I feel as though I have known you and your entire family for many years. It's a shame your brother Jack couldn't be by your side. Enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.
Ed Tobiens

Best Wishes Barry! I just want to wish you all the best in your retirement. I can safely say you gave a brash opinionated and sometimes funny guy a break and a job in a sport I love and for that I am eternally thankful and although I may have been a pain in the blank we always had alot of fun. Thanks for what you taught me and all the best to you and Betty. May the wind always be at your back. dave

All the best to you Barry as you embark on this exciting new stage in your life. Thank you for your lifelong commitment to our great sport and for your efforts and accomplishments in improving the game year after year. We will miss you.

Darryl MacArthur

A class act would be the most appropriate way to describe Barry Hewson's illustrious career in horse racing. It has been my pleasure to have known Barry from the time he was a Presiding Judge to his current position with WEG. In all that time he always conducted himself with an abundance of class treating horsepeople with respect, dignity and fairness. Horse racing has been the big winner because of the leadership provided by Barry Hewson. His legacy will be one of distinction , professionalism and dedication to our sport. Thank you Barry for a lifetime committment to harness racing. I'm sure I speak for all horsepeople when I wish you and your lovely wife Betty the very best of health and happiness in retirement. God Bless !

Your friend,

Hec Clouthier

It has been a pleasure dealing with you and I wish you a happy retirement but i hope you still keep in touch with WEG they might need your assistance. Make the most of the years ahead of you.

All The Best for future Health and Happiness to You Barry. I know your euchre game needs more attention and now you have no excuse to not improve! your pal Al Casselman.