Her registered name is No Pelo Blue Chip but they call her “Miss Pelo” and she’s got the indefinable qualities of a celebrity in the making.
For one thing, she’s a lady, and she’s wonderful around people – she loves to have someone pat her cheek or her forelock.
Plus, she knows how to appreciate her fan base.
“Training on the track, she’s hilarious. She actually turns her head to look at all the people watching her,” says Carla Robin, executive director of Harness Racing B.C., an association representing the harness racing industry, getting ready to celebrate the 40th year of Standardbred horse racing in Cloverdale at Elements Casino, formerly known as Fraser Downs.
It would be difficult to find a horse more suitable as a representative of Harness Racing in B.C., says Robin.
“She’s got a very bright future ahead of her.”
No Pelo Blue Chip, a three-year-old filly, is the inaugural pick for the new Fraser Downs Horse Racing Club for people who want to experience the thrills of owning a racehorse.
A $250 membership offers the fun and perks of owning a racehorse, from visiting their Standardbred horse in the barn, hanging out on the backstretch on race nights, and, of course, posing in the winner’s circle when their horse wins.
Top trainer Rick White is in charge of her care and handling.
After sitting out her rookie season and struggling in the first part of this season in the U.S., Pelo has rebounded nicely since moving to Ontario in May. She has two wins, three seconds, and two, fourth-place finishes in her last seven starts, and set a lifetime mark of 1:57.4 for the mile race distance.
White has her looking good and says she should be find on the Fraser Downs track, where she’ll get a chance to strut her stuff on or near the Oct. 6 opening day.
The public is invited to meet Miss Pelo and the other stars of harness racing – the trainers and drivers – this Saturday (Sept. 24).
Backstretch Day, hosted by Harness Racing B.C., is the traditional open house, running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be information, crafts, refreshments and barn tours.
“We want to keep it really educational this year,” Robin sats. “Talk to the trainers. Go through the barns, meet the horses, ask questions on training horses.”
Members of the general public, from little kids to seasoned betters, are invited to get a behind the scenes look at the harness racing industry.
It’s been a way of life for generations of local families and one that supports hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in Cloverdale, the Fraser Valley and across B.C., Robin says.
“For every race horse out there, there are five people directly and indirectly employed by a horse,” says Robin, citing industry statistics.
“There are owners, trainers, grooms, drivers, feed stores, farriers, veterinarians. They’re all there to look after the horses. The economic spinoff is huge in the rural economies and the urban economy.”
To find the barns, turn at the log archway at 176 Street and 62 Avenue (Bill Reid Way). The backstretch is located across from the Agriplex building on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
For more information, visit harnessracingbc.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 604-574-5558.
Live racing returns to Elements Casino Oct. 6, and runs Thursday and Friday nights in October and moving to Friday nights and Sunday afternoons in November and December, with 2017 racing dates available soon.
– with files, Brian Mainman