Day At The Track

Fifth annual Vic Hayter Memorial goes ahead

07:52 AM 28 Aug 2020 NZST
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2019 Vic Hayter Winner - Sizzlen Hot Herbie
2019 Vic Hayter Winner - Sizzlen Hot Herbie

Greg Hayter wasn’t about to let a global pandemic ruin the fifth anniversary of the harness racing Vic Hayter Memorial at Clinton Raceway.

When track general manager Ian Fleming suggested they could put the Aug. 30 race off for a year, Hayter said he wouldn’t hear of it.

The event supports both the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and the Stratford-Perth Humane Society.

“I think the bigger thing that this has developed into is not so much honouring Vic (Hayter) and his name and the man he was, but more so the things that he enjoyed and his values,” said Greg Hayter. “That would include horses, that would include the people that either come to the track or the people that work with the horses. Plus, the Humane Society and the [Ontario] Standardbred Adoption Society. All those things were very important to him.

Last year, the Hayter family raised the purse of the race to $15,000 and also paid for lunch for all the horsepeople in the backstretch. The purse has remained the same for 2020 and the free lunch was provided for those in the paddock.

Vic Hayter is perhaps best known for operating The Arden Park Hotel and Festival Inn in Stratford. He died of cancer at age 77 in February 2016.

Vic Hayter owned standardbred horses for 38 years.

“He worked seven days a week, but every Sunday at 12:30 he’d be home to pick up my mother and they’d go to Clinton Raceway,” Greg Hayter said when the race debuted in 2016. “Dad was involved with horses since 1978 and even as kids, when we lived in Lucan, we used to always go to Clinton Raceway on Sunday afternoons. The last 15 years or so, mom and him used to go every Sunday and they’d sit right by the finish line.

In 2019, Greg spoke of one day turning the Vic Hayter Memorial Day into a crowd-pleasing harness racing event similar to the famed Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio, which draws more than 40,000 fans annually, or the Vincent Delaney Memorial in Ireland, which is another fan favourite.

Reprinted with permission of The Clinton News Record

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