Over 800 people showed up on Sunday at Dresden Raceway as the track celebrated Black Heritage Day by honouring eight families in conjunction with Emancipation Day.
Former driver Fred List was a star attraction as he ‘held court’ several times as fans and reporters would listen to the 80-year-old tell stories about memories of his career.
List was overheard telling a group of fans about his father Harry List, “I remember going to the races in Glencoe with my dad and he had won five races so I said to him, Dad, don’t you think you had better let someone else win the last race?”
Former driver Larry Grineage told fans about the night he had a line break and his brother Lyle who driving right beside him tried to grab his horse and missed so he just hung on to his tail until he finally ran himself out.
The eight families represented included the Davis Family, The Tanner Family, The Simmons Family, The List Family, The Prince Family, The Grineage Family, The McCorkle Family and Duwaye Guest while Rev. Josiah Henson was also honoured.
Henson, who Harrett Beecher Stowe used for her inspiration for the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was a horse breeder and trainer when he bought 200 acres of land in 1841 and used it as a freedom point for runaway slaves.
Dresden Raceway is located on the orginal 200 acres Henson bought and he also indicated in his will that he had a Hambletonian stallion which proves he was a breeder in the same local vicinity as the track.
Hambletonian is the father of modern day standardbred racing.
Steven Cook the manager at Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historical Site said, “This is a great way to celebrate the first official Emancipation Day in Canadian history. We are honouring contribution by Black Canadian just down the road from our site and that is a wonderful thing.”
Scott Wray scored four wins on the day to bump his season leading wins total to 16 while Garrett Rooney notched three victories to move to 14 wins with just one day to go.
The handle at Dresden Raceway was $45,989.