RAISE A COLT
Dawson and MacArthur found others whowere in sympathy with their cause toprovide more racing opportunity foryoung horses and after several informalmeetings and discussions they formed aplan to create an organization, the PrinceEdward Island Harness Racing Club,through which they could organize suchan annual event.There were nine men involved in the earlyplanning and they found a willing leaderin George Callbeck, then a principal in theCanadian Silver Fox Breeders Associationheadquartered in Summerside. The firstformal meeting, at which the executivewas elected, was in fact held in the officesof the Silver Fox Breeders on Water Streetin Summerside on May 15
, 1934. Therewere around forty horsemen present atthat historic meeting and George Callbeck was elected President of what was to bethe first stakes organization in Canada.The first Colt Stakes races took place thatfall in Charlottetown, on September 20
,with two races contested for total pursesof $655. The winner of the two-year-oldrace was Bud Aubrey owned by GordonDawson. His horse won two of the threeheats, losing one heat to his fellow ColtStakes founder, Wilbur MacArthur, thussettling their argument, at least for thatyear, as to whose colt was the better.
This 1960 Guardian photo shows the PEI Harness RacingClub executive making plans for the annual meeting. Left toright are Bill Gillespie, Charlie Willis, Earle MacDonald andPresident Jack Annear
There have been nineteen Presidentsthrough the years with our currentPresident, John Clarey, holding that officesince 2004. The day-to-day business of running the organization has beenmanaged primarily by three individualswith current managing director NormanHall having served for the past twenty-sixyears in that position. With nine directorsserving for three-year terms there havebeen over 150 individuals who haveserved in that capacity, some for severalterms, including current directors AllieCarr and Ralph Annear. They, in fact, aretwo of the earliest living members having joined the PEI Harness Racing Club in1953 and 1957 respectively, precededonly by Doug Hill, the oldest livingmember, who joined in 1951.The oldest living past participant in theColt Stakes races as a driver is Jack McGuigan of Montague who drove hisown horse to a stakes win in 1948 at theage of sixteen. At the time he was also theyoungest person to ever win a stakes raceanywhere in North America.Members of the PEI Harness Racing Clubwere instrumental in introducing severalinnovations in the 1950s. The first make-shift mobile starting gate in Canada wasput together by Willard Kelly and the nextyear in 1957, a more dependable one wasprovided by Colt stakes director RankinMcLaine. It was in use for twenty years.
Canada’s first starting gate is still running and is still usedfor ceremonial occasions.
Night racing under the lights was anotherinnovation introduced for the first time inCanada at the Northam track, and the firstphoto finish took place in Montague.In a sport dominated by men, there havebeen some significant contributions fromthe fairer sex as well. Mrs James “Ma”Poulton was the first woman to breed andown a Futurity winner and she did it twoyears in a row with different horses.Ladies such as Norah Longworth, an avidhorsewoman, and Ida (Yeo) Sudsbury, thelong time clerk of the course inCharlottetown, were staunch supporters of