By Diane Daniels
In an effort to fool Mother Nature, Sunday's regular harness racing card at Truro Raceway has been moved to today.
Last Sunday's race card, cancelled due to an intense storm-system covering the Maritimes, precipitated the necessity for race organizers to be pro-active with a second Sunday storm looming on the horizon for tomorrow.
Today's race card will mark the final event for the 2013 season with April 2014 being tentatively earmarked for the opening of Truro's 140th year of live harness racing.
Racing gets underway at 1 p.m. with qualifying slated for noon.
Saturday's card will feature a holiday pace race sponsored by the weekly 50-50 draws involving the winners of each race on the eight-dash program.
The winning horse and connections of each of the races will have their names entered into a draw for a festive red Greeenhawk Supra quilted horse rug. The draw will take place in victory lane immediately following the final race.
Race goers will have an opportunity today to win a turkey in a free draw. Members of the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association way and means committee will be in the grandstand handing out complimentary ballots for Christmas turkey draws throughout the program. These turkeys have been donated by various horse people and racing stables at Truro Raceway.
With the completion of the election process on Dec. 18, Standardbred Canada announced its new board members. Six of the 15 seats were acclaimed and the remaining nine were elected by the Standardbred Canada membership. One of the new board members is Darren Crowe of Truro who earned the seat as active director for the Atlantic region.
Crowe operates a successful public stable and is known for his talent, skill, hard work and commitment to the sport. Crowe is also an valuable member of the Truro Harness Horse Owners Association and a constant support to young people involved and/or interested in the industry.
Tony Zuethoff of Pictou was elected as breeder director for the Atlantic region, while Kent Oakes retained the track director seat by acclamation.
With all Standardbreds celebrating their annual "birthday" universally on Jan. 1 of each year, there are always a certain number of campaigners at this time of year hanging up the harness at the mandatory retirement age of 14. Standardbred Canada has compiled a roster of 52 retirees out of the 29,937 racing in North America in 2013. Two hail from Atlantic Canada - Casimirbadmoonrising, owned by Dr. Michell Downey of Saint John, N.B., and Frank Fraser's Schmokin Shannon A out of Inverness.
Reviewing the calendar of Truro Raceway starters, one of the oldest crusaders appears to be Devin O'Connor's Weird Albert still campaigning at the age of 12 , with his 13th birthday only days away. Two 13-year-olds actively competing during the 2013 meet include Jeff Ellis' Grand Ball and Lady Gi Gi owned by Jimmy Chambers of Halifax. Although currently on leave from the track, all indications point to the pair returning to action in their 14th season at the commencement of the 2014 meet.
Although during this Christmas season, horse people and their equine partners enjoy a well-deserved respite, it will be short lived and with the holidays behind them, the task of moving forward and preparing for the 2014 meet will take precedence.
Rail Birds have no doubt noticed that every early morning workout the track is alive with two-year-olds being broke to cart and gaited. The coaching and training process continues throughout the winter and into the spring, conditioning these youngsters in preparation for their racing debut in the spring.