Since the first years of Barrie Raceway and up to the present at Georgian Downs, probably no local family has been more involved or contributed more to harness racing in this area than the Byron clan.
Father Charles ‘Chuck’ Byron, well known Barrie car dealer of Byron-Graham Motors, has owned race horses for many years while sons Bill, David and Steve all hold race drivers’ licences.
David has been one of the perennial leading trainers at Georgian Downs while Steve is a popular and sought after catch driver. Continuing the tradition a third generation of boys are beginning careers in the sport as Chuck’s grandson’s Jeff and Aaron are both involved.
Last Saturday evening demonstrated why Steve Byron has become one of the best teamsters at Georgian Downs, considered one of the premiere tracks in Canada and one of the most competitive circuits anywhere.
In a great display of sulky skill, Steve drove five winning horses on a ten race card. In a sport which recognizes driving doubles and hat tricks as significant, five wins stands out as a milestone accomplishment which many drivers never see in an entire career.
Fittingly Steve began his amazing evening with a win with a horse his brother David trains. ‘Kidsinthehall’ started from post 5 and led all the way in a surprising long shot win which rewarded Byron backers with a $22.00 payoff for every $2.00 ticket.
Showing that Steve can drive heavy favourites as well as long shots, he came back to win the fourth race with ‘Herecomes the Boyz’. Enjoying a ‘pocket’ two hole trip, the $6,000 claiming trotter raced in second place until Steve pulled the trigger and he won by a convincing two lengths. It was a popular win for the fans which paid $3.10.
Coming right back out in the fifth race, Steve showed why you can never underestimate him.
Driving another long shot in ‘Opera Mystic’, trained by local horseman Gary Crowe, Byron lit up the tote board with a $32.10 payoff. Anyone who could have picked the Superfecta of numbers 6-4-1-2 could have been rewarded with a monster pay out of $8,843.25.
Byron came out again for winner’s circle appearance in the evening’s eighth race driving ‘Amying for Gold’. In an exciting three horse photo at the wire, it was determined that Steve had won his fourth of the night and this effort paid his fans a return of $14.90 for a winning ticket.
Finally realising Steve was on a roll, the fans chose him as favourite in the ninth race and he didn’t disappoint, winning with ‘Phone Tag’ and returning a nice odds on price of $5.40 for $2.00.
Of course hind sight is always 20/20, but if you had been a Steve Byron fan and bet $2.00 on each of his nine drives for a total of $18.00, you would have had a very satisfying evening with a return of $77.50.
Since beginning his driving in 1984, Steve has driven 2758 wins and amassed career earnings of $15,526,701.
Last Saturday evening was certainly a high five for Byron in a long and outstanding career.
Scott Rowe - Georgian Downs Newsletter Writer