Oct. 28 has been special day
It’s the final card of live harness racing in Summerside on Sunday afternoon.
The end of the 2012 season will feature five divisions of the David Rose Memorial Series for $3,500 claimers. Post time is 1 p.m.
Its horseman’s day and the Prince County Horsemen’s Club has teamed up with Illsley’s Feed and Farm Supply for an array of prizes as we bring down the curtain on the 2012 season.
Oct. 28 will always be a special date in my harness racing career.
It was on that date in 1977 that I made my debut as a professional race announcer. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Potato Days – we would race the Friday night, and come right back and race on Saturday.
Back then, we opened things with the fall/winter meet on that date; now we are closing down until spring.
At the beginning I remember being so nervous that first night, and then settling down and completing the program. At the end of the night Summerside Raceway manager Bob Dewar congratulated me on my first night, and handed me a little brown pay envelope, which I held on to pretty tightly as I scurried to my family home on Second Street.
Like a lot of homes back then, we stored wood in the porch for the old Kemac stove, and we always left the porch door open. On this night as I was racing through, I noticed a black and white cat in the porch. It scared the daylights out of me, and I gave it a nudge with my boot to get it out of the way. Well, that black and white cat turned out to be a SKUNK!
You don’t have to have a real good imagination why the evening was so memorable!
When I finally got around to opening the little brown envelope, there were three crisp $5 bills. It could have been $1 bills, I was just happy to be a track announcer.
Oct. 28 also played a role during my illness with cancer. It was a race day after a radiation treatment, I couldn’t go any further and had to step away from the booth. I’m very happy to say it’s now been six years of cancer-free days.
On Oct. 28, 1977, longtime colleague Bernie Gallant would make his debut as a harness racing judge. I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Gallant as a teacher in school, and now as a co-worker in the judges stand.
Bernie has walked away from the judges stand this year, and Island racing has taken a loss without him. Bernie was a true horseman’s judge, bringing integrity and professionalism to the track on nightly basis.
I would like to thank Bernie publicly for all his years of service to Prince Edward Island horse racing. From a mentor in the classroom, to a colleague in the judges stand, to becoming a lifelong friend, his contribution was never unnoticed. Thanks Bernie for a wonderful 35 years!
A look at Sunday’s picks:
Best bets – Rich Raider (Race 3) and Woodmere Rose (Race 6).
Long shot possibilities – Roi De Coeur BG (Race 7) and Tactical Attack (Race 5).
Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.