One of Canada’s most senior racehorses is calling it a day.
Friday, Spider M, a Surrey-bred racehorse will make his final bid for glory at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino.
It’s almost unheard of for a horse to continue racing to the age of 15, but Spider M has been doing just that.
On Boxing Day (Dec. 26), the Standardbred makes his 289th lifetime start, capping off a hard-fought career in harness racing.
Out of 289 lifetime starts, he’s had 30 wins, 26 seconds, and 11 thirds, bringing in $218,387 in lifetime earnings.
He earned it the hard way, with very little stake money – $21,550 – to his credit, says Jackson Wittup, executive director of Harness Racing B.C., the association that represents owners, breeders, trainers, and drivers in the sport.
Spider M is the only 15-year-old to race in Canada in 2014 at an “A” track. The mandatory retirement age is 14 in most jurisdictions, according to Wittup, who points out Spider M is also only one of two 15-year-olds to race in North America this year: The other is a horse called Lemon Pepper, who raced in New York.
Spider M’s fastest win was 1:54 at Fraser Downs.
Despite his longevity in the field, he didn’t race as a two-year-old back in 2001, but has raced every year since.
His owner, Janice Wheeler, will retire Spider M to her farm – where he’ll return to the very stall of his birth. (His sire was Demons Bell and his broodmare was Sabrina Legacy).
“After his race, Spider M will receive a retirement blanket in the winners circle from Harness Racing B.C.,” Wittup says. “Come and say bye to this pensioner!”
Hudon returns to drive for Surrey Food Bank
Former Cloverdale resident Phil Hudon is returning to Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino for a couple of days at the races over the holidays.
And he’s planning to give something back to the community. He’ll donate his drivers fees from his racing duties on Dec. 28 and Jan. 1 to the Surrey Food Bank.
He’s in step with standardbred owner and trainer Daniel Gaboury, who is donating all earnings during the month of December for his horse, Buddy’s Hope, to the Surrey Food Bank. Gaboury’s offer will be matched by Fraser Downs and Harness Racing B.C. Executive Director Jackson Wittup – who have pledged to donate $50 each every time Buddy’s Hope wins this month.
For more on the Surrey Food Bank, visit www.surreyfoodbank.org.