‘I’ve been very lucky’

Ryan Cooke
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Darren Crowe looks back on beginnings after 1,000th win.

TRURO – As Darren Crowe came down the final stretch on Sunday afternoon, he realized he was finally about to shake the monkey off his back.

Darren Crowe raced to his 1,000th win on Sunday afternoon, the first of his four wins on the day. Crowe took time to reflect on his career and give his thoughts on the milestone on Thursday morning as he did some work around the track.

For two weeks, Crowe sat on victory No. 999, one shy of a milestone record achieved by very few around the Truro Raceway.

With his family in attendance, Crowe was first to the line before taking his 1,000th trip to the winner’s circle.

“It was nice to get it over with,” he said. “It was going to happen eventually, but it took a little longer than I expected. My family kept coming to the track each week, thinking ‘Are you going to get it this time?’”

Driving Twin B Wildcat, the win carried a little extra sentiment. The horse, belonging to his father-in-law, is trained by Crowe and was making its first lifetime start.

“It’s definitely a little extra special to win it with that horse, just because it’s one that I’ve raised and helped along the way,” he said.

The milestone was a long time coming for Crowe, who has been racing horses in Truro for 23 years. Growing up in Lower Onslow, he was taken into the sport when he was first introduced to it. As a child, Crowe spent a lot of time on his friend’s dairy farm, whose father owned horses. The young Darren would go to the races and spend his mornings at the barn.

“I don’t know if it’s like alcoholism or what, but you get attached to it,” he laughed. “It’s all I’ve ever really done.”

After graduating high school, Crowe began shoeing horses and racing at the track to make a living.

“It’s been a long time,” he said, looking back on his beginnings. “I started driving when I was 17. I lied about my age and got in a little bit earlier.”

There have been many big wins over the years since then, but Crowe doesn’t get hung up on highlights. In an industry that doesn’t pay out a lot of money, and involves doing 50 km/h on a rickety seat, to have health and happiness is what he fixates on the most.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky. I haven’t had a lot of bad accidents, or been hurt too badly. That’s a big thing.”

I figured if I could stick it out here and make a living, then why not? That’s all you’re going to do anywhere, is make a living. Darren Crowe

While he has spent time racing in Ontario and Alberta throughout his career, it’s Truro Raceway that beckoned him home.

“No place like home,” he said. “It’s where I grew up, it’s where my family is. I figured if I could stick it out here and make a living, then why not? That’s all you’re going to do anywhere, is make a living.”

Aside from accomplishments behind the harness, Crowe takes pride in the horses he has trained and sold, who have gone on to bigger and better things.

“There’s a lot more satisfaction in developing them and teaching them how to race,” he said. “Really, they’re just like kids when you get them. They don’t know anything at first and you have to teach them.”

With that mentality, it’s no surprise his favourite feat was the birth of his son two years ago. Crowe, and his wife Robyn, wasted no time getting young Brennan to the track.

“I brought him down here the day after he was born,” Crowe laughed. “But hopefully he won’t travel down the same road and he’ll spend a little more time in school than I did.”

As for his second-biggest accomplishment, others may argue it was driving a horse with 99-1 odds to an Exhibition Cup victory, but Crowe insists it’s something else.

“It would have to be my wife,” he said with a smile. “I guess I was lucky to get her too.”

While Crowe doesn’t have his mind set on any other milestones, he is happy to take things day by day.

“I just want to stay healthy and keep doing what I’m doing, for as long as I can keep doing it.”

 

 

Geographic location: Truro, Lower Onslow, Ontario Alberta

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  • Alecia Mansfield
    May 23, 2014 - 10:01

    He is the nicest person I met, I love him like a another dad