London, Ontario, Feb 1, 2018 -
After a successful 25-year run as the The Raceway at Western Fair District’s
signature race, the Molson Pace, will have a new name in 2018.
Introducing The Camluck Classic, a $150,000 Invitational Pace, featuring the best older horses in North America. It will make its debut on a new date this year - Saturday, May 26
at the London half-mile oval.
The new race name is a tribute to the late world champion pacer who went on to become the most prolific stallion in Canadian harness racing history. The Raceway is very excited to announce our new title sponsor for the biggest night of racing in London - Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario.
“We thank Molson for what has been a wonderful partnership for a quarter century,” said Director of Racing Greg Blanchard. “But change is inevitable and this marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for this race and for racing in this part of the province. Camluck helped put this area on the harness racing map and we think it’s fitting that the race be renamed in his honour.”
Camluck hit the race track in the early 1990’s under the tutelage of trainer Bob McIntosh and compiled an excellent record at ages two and three for McIntosh, who was part of the New Destiny Stable that co-owned the pacer along with Al McIntosh.
At age four, he competed as one third of the powerful McIntosh-trained trio that also included triple millionaire Artsplace and the $1.4 million winner Odds Against. Camluck concluded his career on the race track with 26 wins from 69 starts and just over $1 million in purse winnings.
However, it was in the breeding shed where the handsome son of Cam Fella would truly make his mark and, in the process, he raised the bar for the Standardbred breeding industry in Canada.
Camluck sired close to 2,400 foals with more than 2,000 of those making it to the races.
“When he first went to stud I was cautiously optimistic,” recalls McIntosh. “He was a tough race horse and had great conformation but sons of Cam Fella hadn’t really hit as sires to that point. I took a shot and bred about 18 mares that first year and it all turned out pretty well. I’d have to say he’s one of the greatest pacing stallions ever.”
His offspring combined for earnings in excess of $235 million and included 635 $100,000 winners and 28 winners of $1 million or more.
“To have this race named after him is very special to myself and the entire group associated with the horse. As a kid, London was the track I came to most with my dad and I have a lot of fond memories over the years. I’ve watched this race grow and was even fortunate enough to win it so this is definitely a big deal, said McIntosh.”
Ann Straatman of Seelster Farms in Lucan, home of Camluck for more than 20 years, shares the sentiment of the entire group.
“We are delighted to have him immortalized in the prestigious Camluck Classic at The Raceway at Western Fair District, which is our home track and thrilled to be be the Presenting Sponsor,” she said. “Camluck’s legacy will live on for generations through his sons and daughters and having this race named in his honour will now add to that legacy.”
The Raceway’s signature night of racing got its start in 1972 and was sponsored by Labatt until 1992 when Molson took over sponsorship.
“This race is almost 50 years old now and it’s amazing to look back to watch its evolution,’ said Blanchard. “It has become more than a race, it is also a terrific event we look forward to enhancing in the future. We are very proud to host a race of this stature and are fortunate to have attracted some of very best in the sport who have produced some of the most memorable and exciting races in recent years.”
Additional Event details will be available in the coming weeks at www.westernfairdistrict.com
Photo – Camluck in his paddock at Seelster Farms (Seelster Farms Photo)