WOW! Signature Race Highlights

Posted Date: 
Sunday, May 22, 2022

This is the first of five ‘WOW Signature Race Highlights’ written by longtime Raceway fan Shawn Crawford of Woodstock, Ontario - in all likelihood he’s been one of our biggest fans of The Raceway’s signature event for decades… Enjoy! 

We’re almost there…

We are now less than one week away from the 2022 edition of The Raceway at Western Fair District’s signature event - the Camluck Classic! For me, it’s like the days before Christmas. I’ll be honest, I’ve been thinking of this year’s event since mid-February. A race like this only comes along once a year and when you factor in the pandemic - the last time we got to see this event was back in May of 2019.

The first edition I attended was the 1990 Labbatt Pace. After watching Jagger Hanover (Dave Wall) hold off Bond Street (Bill Gale) in a 155.1 track record my mind was made up. I said out loud that I will never miss this event again. Dedicated - yet not 100% true - as I have missed the odd one because of shift work. Nevertheless if you have a bucket list of races you plan on attending live, the Camluck Classic is a must!

Sure one can tune in on their computer or cellphone, but if you want to be a part of an electric atmosphere - then you need to be there live! Nothing beats that adrenaline rush when the starter calls the horses and everyone pours into the outdoor grandstand - literally filling it. By now the goosebumps are already happening! This type of feeling one can’t fully put into words… You need to attend this live to get the full effect. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

The following are five ‘WOW’ moments forever etched into my brain…

A recipe that has likely never been duplicated…

When you have a girl that beats the boys, an inquiry, a driver’s objection, an ongoing photo-finish (for second) - which ends up being a triple-dead-heat and then you add in the winner getting disqualified and placed back… OK, ask any horse person - that’s a lot of info to take in just moments after a Molson Pace or any race for that matter…

In 1998 that’s pretty much how it all played out. As the wings folded it was Keith Waples and Emery Flight taking early control. A nice mare named Oohs N Aahs and Clint Warrington Jr. aboard would sit a perfect pocket trip. While the mare lacked racing room, off the final turn, she somehow managed to squeeze out and wind up being a clear winner in 155.2. This would be a track record for aged mares. So I’m living in the moment where the girl has just beaten the boys. Not overly rare, but still special to see live - especially in a stake or invite…

Immediately the ‘Inquiry’ sign lights up on the tote board - followed by a ‘Driver’s Objection’ and a photo for second place. There was so much happening in such a short time - it was tricky processing everything as it happened. Eventually the ‘Inquiry’ sign comes down. The announcer calls for a second print of the ‘Place’ photo. And just a moment later it’s announced that there’s a triple-dead-heat for second. Then the ‘Driver’s Objection’ sign comes down. Seriously, at this moment I’m thinking, “What the heck is going on?!”

Then everything unravels in a way I had never ever seen before and likely will never ever see again. Race winner Oohs N Aahs placed 6th for stretch interference. As a result Emery Flight (Keith Waples), Any Excuse (Dennis Morrissey) and What A Beach (Mario Baillargeon) whom all dead-heated for second were all placed first. I cannot 100% guarantee it, but I’m pretty sure this play-out has never occurred anywhere before and I highly doubt it will ever be duplicated again.

 

*There’s more to come - check back on Monday for number two of five from Shawn Crawford!