A final "Farewell" to the "Outlaw" at Summerside

02:30 AM 19 Jul 2014 NZST
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Outlawpositivcharg, harness racing
Outlawpositivcharg will take a final lap before retiring
Photo by Kyle Burton

Summerside, PE- It was June 11, 2008 at Summerside Raceway, Outlawpositivcharg was making his first start on Maritime soil.

The lower-end claimer had shipped in from Edmonton to the Terry Gallant Stable. He picked up a going away victory in his first start, and what he would do over the next six years would grab the heart of every Maritime racing fan around.

The 'Outlaw' would go on to win his next five races including the biggest win of Gallant's driving and training career. His first ever Governor's Plate.

"There were memorable moments all the way around," as Gallant recalled his first plate win.

"From my mother, to the first time winning my hometown race and it was the first time owner Fred Lamont had a horse in the Governor's Plate."

That night was the last night Gallant's mother ever walked.

Outlawpositivcharg landed on P.E.I. after Gallant made a call to the former Island native Lamont. Gallant was curious to see if he may have an open mare out in Alberta that would do in P.E.I, Lamont did and her name was K G Affair.

"I had no idea this horse was coming when Fred put him on the truck in Edmonton, he called me two days later and said, ' I hope you have two stalls, because I sent you another horse (with K G Affair)."

Gallant made some shoeing adjustments and it was straight forward from there.

"In his first start I had K G Affair's hopples on him and the wrong set of harness on him, because I didn't know which harness was whose. Fred came home the next week and told me I had the wrong rigging on him."

It was after his very first start Gallant knew he had a special horse on his hands.

"After his first start I told Fred that I have a real horse here," he said. "The next day Dr. Ian Moore came up and he was working on another horse for me. Ian had Astronomical at the time, and I pointed at Outlaw and said, 'I'm coming for you with that horse."

Four starts later, Gallant was right, Outlawpositivcharg beat Astronomical on the way to his first Governor's Plate.

"Without a doubt that was my biggest win with him. There's nothing that will ever compare to that win for me, not even winning the Little Brown Jug."

When Lamont purchased the horse as a three-year-old he didn't know what he had on his hands.

"It never ever crossed my mind that he was that type of horse, before that race," Lamont said.

The 10-year-old gelded son of Blissfull Hall - Electromagnetic is owned by Lamont of Calgary, AB. He finished his career with 155 starts, returning back to the winner circle 47 times, a lifetime mark of 1:54 over Charlottetown and banked $ 168, 818 in earnings.

Although he grabbed the heart of people around the Maritime scene, it was in the winter of 2008 when he grabbed the heart of his long time groom Ashley Gamester.

"I knew right from the start that he was a special horse, he had already done a lot in the Maritimes when I started to look after him," she said. "I fall in love pretty easy, but after he won his first few races in 2009, I fell for him pretty hard."

Gamester said 'Outlaw' was always the boss of the barn and he knew it.

"He was always first in line, whether it be the first to be fed, or the first to get out in the paddock. He loved to bunt people with his head."

Outlaw was the type of horse that you couldn't take your eyes off of, she explained.

"He would always have his back feet going, pretending he was going to kick you, although he never would. He always loved to chew the cords off of my radios too, I think he chewed four or five cords off the first summer I looked after him."

Gamester said she didn't mind having to go buy a new radio every so often.

"Being as good of a horse as he was, he got away with pretty much everything. He may have been a little spoiled."

Gamester's work with Outlawpositvcharg didn't go unnoticed.

"You're only as good as your help. Everyone that took care of him always done what was asked, some of them went out on a limb and done a lot more, especially Ashley," said Gallant. " She was the one that knew him the best, she'd let him do whatever he wanted."

The 22-year-old Gamester credits Outlaw for teaching her some valuable lessons, not only in life but the game of harness racing too.

"It was pretty special to be able to look after a horse like Outlaw. I learned so much from looking after him," she said. "I'm very thankful to Terry and Fred for giving me the opportunity to look after him. It was just an awesome feeling to walk him out of the paddock knowing he was going to give you all he had every time he went behind the gate."

Gallant is proud of what Outlaw has done for six consecutive seasons, but he is very thankful that Lamont allowed him to be part of such a special horse.

Lamont said the ride was one filled with many thrills.

"Six years of major, major thrills. Every time you went and watched him he tried his best, most times he was the best, which made life so much more enjoyable being in the horse business."

Dubbed the "East Coast Warrior" by track announcer Vance Cameron, Outlawpositivcharg's numbers while in the Maritimes, speak for themselves. He will retire as one of the toughest horses to ever race in the free-for-all ranks.

While racing under the care of Gallant in the Maritimes, he picked up 42 of his 47 lifetime victories. He had over 10 invitational victories including the Exhibition Cup, Breeders Crown Invitational, Cecil Ladner and the JA Ferguson Memorial in North Sydney where he set a new track record of 1:55.

He competed in the Gold Cup and Saucer in 2008 finishing fifth, the next year he was third in the James 'Roach' MacGregor, Gold Cup consolation. His last victory came on May 16, 2013 at Charlottetown in 1:56.2.

"The day that horse retired, I haven't been the same horseman since the horse left the barn," said Gallant.

The "East Coast Warrior" has been the driving force behind many of Cameron's 'Boom Just Like That!' race calls and he is also the only horse to ever win back-to-back Governor's Plates.

"It was big because he made history, becoming the first horse to win it two years in a row. It doesn't compare to the first one. We were happy to win it don't get me wrong, we were happy to win any race with him."

He tried his luck at the Plate six times and made an appearance in the final of the Governor's Plate an incredible four times, after his back-to-back victories he picked up a 3rd in 2010 and a 2nd in 2011.

On Saturday July 19, 2014 the Outlaw will take one last tour around the Summerside oval that he called home. He will parade the consolation for the Governor's Plate. Outlaw will then enjoy retirement on P.E.I., which is more than deserving for the horse that grabbed every Maritime race fans heart over his six years of racing under the duo of Lamont and Gallant.

Just how much did he mean to Gallant, who seen Outlaw for the first time since last August on Thursday.

"When I went to pick him up there were tears in my eyes, that's what kind of a ride I was on," he said. "I don't have a son, but I'll tell you, If I had one I wish it'd be just like him."

by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

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