Page 5 - The Donald Rankin Family and Harness Racing
ISSUE : Issue 45
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1987/6/1
your main business?) Yeah. Well, the work? horses were after going, getting back, and then I got started racing a few horses just for pleasure. (Was there any horse racing in Judique when you were growing up?) On the road when we were coming from dances. That, and a little ice racing--a quarter mile straightaway. On the ponds. Maybe 2 or 3 races a year, just more for sport. Even when I came down here (to Frenchvale), 1 went back up to Judique to race. And I went as far as Guysborough to race, and An? tigonish. Went to Halifax. There was a big meet there in Dartmouth. It was more of a pasttime for the winter. You'd kind of keep your horse in shape. On our farm home, we had no car. So we al? ways kept a driving horse. He'd be a cross between a workhorse and a racehorse. He'd be smaller and he could step along pretty good, and maybe do a little light work. That's the horse you'd be racing on the ice. (Do you remember when you first decided you were going to race?) Yeah, I won a horse on a ticket--a racehorse--the first horse I had. I raced him on the ice. So I got involved with him, and sold him and bought another one. So then we started at it for a living. You couldn't ship (beef). It was hard to sell much of it local. And then the Newfoundland trade, when the coal piers went out of business, the vessels weren't coming in. And you couldn't ship it by C.N.R., so you were pretty well s tuck. So that's how that I switched to the race? horses. We started going away and buying them at the sales, and selling them. You'd buy 8 horses or so in Harrisburg (Pennsyl? vania) , or at Old Glory sale. By the time you'd get home, you know, you'd be coming through Maine, or Saint John, Moncton, Sackville. I came into Saint John one time _with a load. I was there 4 days. I came back (here) with just one trade-in. But I sold the rest of them there. So that's where we were making our living mostly, buying and selling. At one time we had no racing here year 'round. It was just in the summer. So you'd go up there (to the States) and you'd buy fairly well-bred horses--3- and 4-year-olds that just weren't quite good e- Cecilia Sharon winning an early stake race for trotters in Charlottetown. Driven by Donald Rankin, she won all 3 heats that day. nough. And then you'd fool with them here (in Cape Breton), on the highway in the wintertime, what you didn't sell. By the time the summer came, you'd have them good. There was no racing here, so you had lots of time to fool with them in the winter? time. You bought horses that were young, and that were tried for a year--they were doing something wrong, and the fellows didn't want to wait. (In the States, they) weren't satisfied with them. (So you'd go up and buy those.) Exactly. Bring them down here. Through the winter, then, if they got good, some of them went back to the States. I sold 2 or 3 back for good money. Here we raised the fastest trotter that was ever raised in the Maritimes--Donmar Shalom. He still is--they didn't beat him yet. The horse is gone. We sold him, he went to Pennsylvania. It was in The Meadow- lands (New Jersey) he trotted in 1.59 (that is, ran the mile in one minute and 59 seconds). We sold him as a 3-year-old. CONTINUED NEXT PAGE "Old Fashioned Hospitality makes The Castle Inn the Traveller's Choice" - OVERLOOKING SYDNEY HARBOUR 400 KINGS ROAD, SYDNEY 1564-4567 (902)1 teiMr; 105 BEAUTIFUL ROOMS-ALL NEWLY DECORATED NEW TELEPHONE SYSTEM * AIR CONDITIONED * COLOUR CABLE 116 EXTRA LONG BEDS * 60 DRIVE-UP ROOMS CASTLE GATE LOUNGE Sir Arthur's Fully Licensed Dining Room (5)
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