It seems fitting that in a race honouring the late, great trotter Billyjojimbob, the winner was driven by a woman driver for a female trainer/owner. After all, Billyjojimbob was owned throughout his 15 years of life by Lori Ferguson, who was on hand Saturday night at Kawartha Downs to reminisce with old friends and newcomers about her champion trotter.
“I was really happy to be here and share memories with so many people who remembered 'BJ' when he raced at Kawartha," said Ferguson. "The track did a great job with all of the memorabilia and video of his races. It was really touching to hear so many nice things about him.
Billyjojimbob got his start at Kawartha Downs before moving on to become one of the most successful Ontario-sired trotters of all time. In 1992, he captured the prestigious Elitlopp in Sweden and is still the only Canadian-bred to have accomplished that.
Inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1995, Billyjojimbob passed away in 2002 at the age of 15. Tonight Kawartha Downs honoured his memory with the $12,500 Billyjojimbob Memorial Trot as part of the track’s 42nd Anniversary celebrations.
In the race, JB Oui Oui, driven by Riina Rekila, was eighth at the :58.4 half, came three-wide down the backside and romped home in 1:56.3 to win by six lengths over the sloppy racing surface. Michelangelo was second with Turbo Donato third.
The win was the sixth in 10 starts this year for the six-year-old gelding by Daguet Rapide, who is owned and trained by Marie Ortolan Bar of Kentucky.
When Lori Ferguson went out to make the presentation to the winner, she realized Rekila was on her own and quickly passed the flowers off and held the horse for the winner’s circle photo. It was a job she was quite familiar with having groomed Billyjojimbob throughout his career and seemed rather fitting this night.
A great crowd was on hand again at the Peterborough, Ont. track despite the inclement weather.
From the Kawartha Downs Press Box