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News and Insight On Winbak Farm

Read below for the latest on Winbak Achievements and graduates. Stories are from the leading industry news sources.

Meant To Be And Meant For Me

Tuesday, April 7, 2020  By: Western Fair District

 

She may just be 15, but Gracie Mae Barr has always had a thing for the horses. This young Thamesford, Ontario miss grew up watching both of her parents, Scott and Bethany, work in the business of harness racing. “There is no chance that I wasn’t going to be into the horses,” states Barr. “My parents are into harness racing - my Dad trained full time and my Mom works the London Selected Yearling Sale… The day I was born (March 8, 2005) my Dad raced two horses, Coyote Sam and Future Honey, at Western Fair Raceway and they both won! For me - I think it’s just meant to be… ”

 

Though it’s been a lifetime of horses, for Barr, it’s only been over the last few seasons that she’s been attending the races in London. “My first actual memory of the Raceway was when my Dad took me in to see a ‘mini pony race’. We went to watch and cheer on our friend Travis Moore who was racing his pony Wally,” she says. “And now I enjoy watching and cheering on many who race in London… Sue McNeight and the Horner Stable, Lorne House, Paul Chapman, Brent Belore, the Reibeling’s and there’s lots more - pretty much anyone than can get me to the track on race days - I’ll cheer them on too…”

 

So being this young lady, relatively new to the backstretch, we asked if there was a horsewoman that Barr has noticed and now looks up to on race nights… “It’s Teesha Symes - no question,” she says. “From watching her I can tell she’s a hard worker and I can see that she cares a lot for her horses too… She’s always smiling so she must love what she does and her horses always look great when they walk into the race paddock - everything just looks so professional…”

 

Barr’s favourite racehorse, this meet in London, has been Hidden Potential - a former top class pacer who found his form with the ‘seniors pace’ events. “He’s a really nice horse, to be around, except in the winner’s circle,” notes Barr. “He has knocked me over, in there, but other than that - as long as he has his chew chain and carrots - he’s a happy boy.”

 

Another Raceway fave for Barr, this racing season, would be her victory with Family First. “He was my first win, paddocking by myself, for trainer John Pentland,” she says “John is a family friend that we’ve known for years. I started going to his barn with my Dad on the weekends and now, with school shut down, I’ve been busy working at his stable… My parents are OK with it as long as my grades don’t suffer.”

 

And in her spare time Gracie Mae - like so many others in the business - has a retired racehorse to ride…”His racing name was Nospeednofeed, but I call him ‘Buddy’. My Dad used to race his mother Tenacious Dream.”

 

Another connection for Barr and Pentland has been the impressive filly Lauras Love - they share ownership on this lightly raced daughter of Betterthancheddar. “She didn’t race as a two-year-old, because she was a little on the immature side and John wanted to take things slow with her,” she explains. “That way she could maybe have a strong three-year-old season and so far she has.” 


Indeed she has… Lauras Love would debut at Woodbine Mohawk Park, on January 23 of this year - finishing sixth, but her strong 26.3 final quarter would indicate that she may be good to go next time out. And just one week later - that she was… “When she won that night - as she crossed the finish line - there may have been a few tears, not only because it was my first win as an owner, but because it was our first win together. I’ll also never forget Ken Middleton giving me the shout-out in the winners circle - it was just a real special night!” 

 

Now a winner of 4 from 5 career starts - Lauras Love gets some down time to freshen up as Ontario - and the rest of North America - awaits the return of harness racing. “I’m just beyond proud of what she has accomplished,” says Barr. “I knew last year that she had some talent, but I had no idea she would go out and win four in a row. She’s the first horse that I’ve officially owned and there’s no other horse I’d rather own than her. She’s super goofy - with a lot of personality, but she’s just meant for me…”

 

And the future plans for Lauras Love - is there any chance that we’ll see her at The Raceway going forward? “I’m not sure where else she’ll race - other than at Woodbine Mohawk Park,” reports Barr. “It’s completely up to her trainer to decide… And I’ll trust that he’ll do what’s best for her - he’s been right so far!”


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