The new hall, located in the atrium at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino in Cloverdale, recognizes those that have made major contributions to the standardbred industry in the province. It opened March 4 and welcomed four initial members.
Inducted posthumously were builders Jim Keeling Sr. and Pat Brennan, trainer-driver Keith Linton and the horse B.C. Count. The inductions were first made last Saturday at the B.C. standardbred industry’s awards banquet for 2006 winners.
Keeling was a pioneer of harness racing in British Columbia after he and partners Keith Waples and Doug Gillespie returned full-time harness racing to B.C. in 1976 with the opening of Cloverdale Raceway, the forerunner of Fraser Downs. Keeling, a native of Ontario where he operated Orangeville Raceway before moving west, was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2001.
Brennan was an avid and industrious supporter of harness racing in B.C. A former mayor of Squamish and president of the Pacific National Exhibition, he is credited with keeping harness racing alive in the province in the late 1960s after years of supporting the sport, principally as an owner at Paterson Park in Ladner and builder of Smokey Downs in Squamish.
Linton, born in Saskatchewan, was Canada’s leader in the Universal Driver Rating System for six consecutive years in the 1970s. He drove 2,732 winners in his career, the bulk at Cloverdale where he won six straight races on a card in 1979.
B.C. Count has been called “the most successful Canadian sired harness horse of all time.” He was foaled in Aldergrove in 1972 and was raised and raced early in his career by Jack Graham. The son of Tar Duke out of Reeds Phalla had 45 two-minute miles, the most ever by a Canadian sired horse and second only to the legendary Rambling Willie. He won 71 of 133 starts and earned more than half a million dollars.
Additional B.C. Harness Racing Hall of Fame inductees will be honored annually to build upon the ever-growing honor roll of people who have shaped the industry and the legends on and off the track.
Race fans and the general public can view the Hall of Fame’s Wall of Fame in the atrium at Fraser Downs Racetrack & Casino. There, in addition to plaques honoring the inductees, patrons can also see trophies, memorabilia and more.