Wintery racetrack showcases the heart of harness racing

Cherie Paskaruk's image of a trainer and a racehorse out for a morning jog at a snow-covered Fraser Downs is featured in a new calendar.

Cherie Paskaruk’s photograph of Sandra Roberts and her racehorse

Cherie Paskaruk’s photograph of Sandra Roberts and her racehorse

A picture capturing a serene winter’s jog around the track at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale is featured in a new calendar showcasing the sport of harness racing in Canada.

Cherie Paskaruk’s photograph of trainer Sandra Roberts and her racehorse, Alverna, setting out across a blanket of snow last February was chosen for the 2015 I Love Canadian Harness Racing calendar.

The image adorns the month of January. 23-year-old trainer is one of two media award finalists in the upcoming national Standardbred racing awards.

Paskaruk will be flying to Toronto for the Feb. 7 event, thanks to support from colleagues at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino, where she’s been involved in harness racing since the age of 15.

“We will end up with about $1,500, which will end with her flight, room, transportation, food and a new dress,” says Jackson Wittup of Harness Racing B.C.

Paskaruk is currently training two mares, Cowgirls Poetry and Fast Lane Ferrari.

Meanwhile, driver Bill Davis is a finalist for an O’Brien Award for Horsemanship at the national Standardbred awards, honouring Canada’s best in harness racing.

Davis, 53, has put together some “incredible stats considering it was probably the most personally challenging of his career.” He and partner Rick Mowles lost 17 horses in a barn fire in Langley in 2014.

Davis, pictured covered in mud from the track, has driven 130 winners, with $686,000 in earnings. He’s trained 103 winners and horses with $556,000 in purse earnings, Standardbred Canada says. Davis was the inaugural winner of the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship, and returns as a finalist in 2015.