Clinton Raceway General Manager Ian Fleming can’t think of a better way to honour the memory of Vic Hayter than to raise money for two of Hayter’s biggest passions.
Fleming said the third annual Vic Hayter Memorial Trot – which is a $12,500 race that will be contested this coming Sunday (July 22) – will be a fundraiser for both the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and the Stratford-Perth Humane Society.
“Vic had a great passion for animals,” Fleming said. “The first two years we raised $10,000 for those two causes and we hope to raise even more money and awareness this year. It’s also National Caretaker Appreciation Day and this will be a nice tie-in.”
Hayter, who owned many hotels, but is perhaps best known for operating The Arden Park Hotel and Festival Inn in Stratford, Ont., passed away in February of 2016 after a fight with cancer. He was 77. Managing his hotel business took up most waking hours, but Hayter always made time for Clinton Raceway. He owned Standardbreds for 38 years.
“He worked seven days a week, but every Sunday at 12:30 he’d be home to pick up my mother and they’d go to Clinton Raceway,” Hayter’s son, Greg, said when the race debuted in 2016. “Dad was involved with horses since 1978 and even as kids, when we lived in Lucan, we used to always go to Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoons. The last 15 years or so, mom and him used to go every Sunday and they’d sit right by the finish line.
“He always gunned for a horse that could race at Mohawk or Woodbine, but it was the small roots type tracks that he really loved.”
Past winner's for the Vic Hayter Memorial Trophy, presented by the late horsemen's family include Lexis DJ (2016) driven by Brandon Arsenault for owner/trainer Shane Arsenault in a mile time of 1:59.2
In 2017, the prize was claimed by the Mike Weller-trained Bella Palazoo for driver Bruce Richardson in 1:59.
A shot of the winner’s circle after the 2017 edition of the Vic Hayter Memorial Trot (Photo courtesy Clinton Raceway)
Sunday’s card, which has a 1:30 p.m. post time, also will feature the final of the Sharpe’s Feed Series for pacers, a raffle (tickets $5 each), silent auction, 50/50 draw and a Pineridge beef dinner (tickets $20 each with 100 per cent of the ticket sales donated). Local musician Graham Bedard will entertain with live music between the final few races of the day, leading into dinner. Giddy Up and Go Ponies will also be trackside, with their petting zoo, for the young ones to get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals and more from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Race fans that take in the day’s festivities will have the chance to win brunches at the Best Western Arden Park, as well as the grand prize of an overnight stay.
“There will be a lot of food and prizes for the caretakers that day,” Fleming said. “There’s nothing Vic would have liked better than to take care of the people that care for the horses.”