On Sunday, July 23, Clinton Raceway played host to the second annual Vic Hayter Memorial Trot, the stakes event that honours the late Stratford, Ont. resident who was a successful hotelier and passionate harness horse owner.
The $12,500 Vic Hayter Memorial Trot is the family’s way of honouring their late father, who always made time to come to Clinton, despite his busy career in the hotel business. Hayter, who passed away in February of 2016, was an avid owner of Standardbreds for 38 years. He rarely missed a Sunday afternoon card at Clinton.
“My family and I have vowed to continue this tradition year after year in hopes that the day will only become bigger and better, year after year, all the while keeping the memory of ‘Big Vic’ alive!” one of Hayter’s sons, Greg Hayter, recently told Clinton Raceway officials.
With Vic’s love of family, friends, community and animals being well known, the day aptly featured a wide assortment of promotions and marketing initiatives in support of two of Vic’s favourite charities – the Stratford Perth Humane Society and the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Sunday's events raised just over $5,000 for those charities via a a beef BBQ, raffle, 50/50 draw and silent auction.
The Vic Hayter Memorial Trot was carded as the last dash on the 10-race docket.
After having started from the rail, driver Bruce Richardson worked out a two-hole trip with his mount, the Mike Weller-trained Bella Palazzo ($4.90). Richardson popped the pocket on the final turn, asked his charge for trot, and got up in the lane for a well-measured win in 1:59.
Bella Palazzo, a six-year-old daughter of Tom Ridge, is owned by the Pod Stable LLC (of Seven Hills, OH).
Willyorwonthe (who was driven by William Megens) was fastest off the switch from Post 3 once the starting gate car sped away. Richardson and Bella Palazzo were able to work out a comfortable ride in the garden spot as Megens and his mount cut the fractions in :29, :59 and 1:29.
Bella Palazzo was more than willing to put forth more trot when Richardson asked her on the turn. The reinsman tipped off cover and raced his mare widest of all through the lane. Bella Palazzo appeared to be well in hand while in victory.
Willyorwonthe raced well through the lane, held on for second, and bottomed the $24.50 exactor. In what served as a tune-up for next weekend’s Legends Day card, driver Doug Brown finished third in the Hayter Memorial with Justcallmeronald and completed the $139.75 triactor.
Bella Palazzo's 1:59 clocking equalled Queen Connie's track mark for aged trotting mares, which was recorded during the summer of 2003. Now, call it irony, coincidence, or whatever else you would like to, but something special also occurred earlier on the card (Race 3), as another aged trotting mare had equalled Queen Connie's track record. The mare had started from Post 1, cut all the fractions and stopped the timer in 1:59 for driver Travis Henry. What was the name of the mare, you ask? None other than Vics Royal Lady, who is trained by Alvin Hamilton (Flesherton, Ont.) for his fellow owners Thomas McMann (Owen Sound, Ont.), Jeff Waugh (Chatsworth, Ont.) and Jeff Packer (Chatsworth, Ont.).
Clinton’s Sunday card also featured a $5,000 Preferred 3 Pace, which was carded as the eighth dash on the program. The public threw its support behind the Post 1 starter, Jackstan ($4.10), who did not disappoint. In rein to Tyler Moore for owner/trainer Fred Maguire (Ailsa Craig, Ont.), the 10-year-old Island Fantasy gelding paced to a gate-to-wire (:28.3, :57.2, 1:28) win in 1:58.1. The margin of victory was one and three-quarter lengths. Bs Tyrrific (Bruce Richardson) finished second and Mammoth Jack (Tyler Jones) was third.
The card kicked off with a $4,000 Racing Under Saddle contest, and it was the Keith Jones-trained and Maggie Jones-ridden Pukka ($5.60) that grabbed all the marbles for owner Lisa Heyden (Midhurst, Ont.). Racing against a field of five, the Holiday Road gelding went to the top early, cut all the fractions (:30.2, 1:00.1, 1:31) and trotted home to a four and three-quarter-length win in 2:01.4. Thor Seelster (Natalie Elliott) finished second and All Out Henry (Karoline Nielsen) was third.
Not to be outdone, the Mini Horses entered the track following the ninth race of the day, for an exhibition race. Making a charge at the wire for the win was Doublefistinbudz, driven by Emma Christoforou and owned by Emma and High Stakes Stables.
To view the harness racing results for Sunday at Clinton, click the following link: Sunday Results – Clinton Raceway.