Horseman Roland Beaulieu dies at age 98

08:25 AM 15 Apr 2014 NZST
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Columbia George, harness racing
Trainer/driver Roland Beaulieu with Columbia George

Roland Beaulieu, best known for his 1970s stars Columbia George, Skipper Walt and Romalie Hanover, passed away Thursday, April 10, at his home in Orlando, Fla. At the age of 98.

A native of Lewiston, Maine, with a large population of French Canadians, Beaulieu didn't learn English until his teenaged years and then employed himself by opening a bar and snack shop, although he was a teetotaler. In his mid 20s, when he developed health issues, a doctor advised him to get more fresh air and he started spending time with harness horses on the Maine fair circuit, and harness racing became his life's work. Early in his career he developed the stakes winner Eileen Eden and the raceway notables Regal Pick and Adam Eden.

In 1969, training horses for Dr. George Smith of Byram, Conn., Beaulieu became a fixture on the Grand Circuit with the two-year-old pacing colt Columbia George. Beaulieu knew the colt had talent, but he also had a couple of bowed tendons. He made a special leg paint to treat the affliction and with the help of his wife, Blondie, the Good Time colt won 12 races as a two-year-old and set seasonal, track and world records. As a three-year-old Columbia George won the American-National, a Hanover-Hempt, a heat of the Adios, a heat of the Little Brown Jug, and a heat of the Tattersalls Pace, but his nemesis Most Happy Fella was a tough adversary.

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