|Scope & Content||
00:45Sports played as a child: farming community in Ontario, grandfather (Dunc) farmer and started racing harness horses in 1920's, raised own horses, father as well, John loves horses and knew from an early age that was what he wanted to do was to be around horses
01:39Influenced by his grandfather & father, taught him everything they knew about horses and these are lessons he still leans on today when racing or helping trainers, quite school in Grade 11, one of his regrets in not finishing high school
02:25"Horses are very addicting when you are around them. I just love being around them. I love training them. When I was a kid all I dreamt about was winning races."
03:07Did you want to become a jockey? Family raised standard bred, not thorough bred, different breeds, he was too big to be a jockey and weight is not as big an issue when driving
03:54Differences in racing in the 1920's and now: horses over the years have changed dramatically; when his grandfather started standard bred were a "new breed", evolved with increased breeding, nutrition, training techniques. They are much faster, more athletic, gait when pacing and trotting is more efficient, can carry their speed for more distances, can go the optimum speed for ¾ mile."
05:05Talks about the two breeds, standard bred is a totally different breed from thoroughbred, they know the paces instinctively but you don't know if they have the heart until they start competing
05:40What influenced the decision not to return to school? Wanted to be with horses, at beginning of the school year decided not to continue; worked at home with horses, also played junior hockey in Strathroy, went at 19 to the Windsor race track
07:00First race: at the Western Fair Raceway, horse's name was Popular Jerry, finished last; not a great beginning but he was off and started
07:27About the adrenaline rush: "The sensation of being behind the starting gate was unbelievable. It was such a rush."
08:11Training: he tries to stay in shape with exercise and watch what he eats, "if you want longevity in your career you need to keep in shape"
08:55At what point did you feel you were a true professional? 1976-1977 raced at Windsor and Detroit, things improved every year; Meadowlands, New Jersey opened in 1978, with the biggest purses, decided to give it a try, 1978 was ok, 1979 everything took off from there, getting more notice, owners starting to use him, more wins, knew he would stay at Meadowlands
10:10Raced 6 nights a week, 8-10 races a night, a heavy workload; (10:26) "I feel very fortunate in that I was doing something that I dreamt about when I was a kid and something I loved, so it didn't seem like work to me."
10:49On getting to know the horses: you don't see the horse until the race starts, so you go to the trainer, look at the racing form and see how the horse fits in a class; (11:20) "It's information you are putting in to formulate a plan when you going in behind the starting gate. All the might change, depending on what the other horses and drivers do in the race but you have to have a certain amount of a plan but at the same time you better be adaptable, because if you don't you are doomed for failure."
12:08On staying in New Jersey: easy decision because it has the best purses in the world and is the best track and his family is there
13:07On riding vs. driving a horse: a jockey sits on top of a horse and doesn't have as much leverage to race them, it's more physically demanding to be a jockey but they don't have as much control; sitting in a sulky you have more leverage = more control, more strategy in manoeuvring the sulky, drafting, not going wide on the turns
14:29Talks about the danger: less dangerous in the standard bred, not as many catastrophic accidents, a jockey can get hurt more and trampled, less speed in the standard bred; talks about some of his injuries
15:49On retiring - talks about the longevity of his career, he has cut back on his winter schedule but still driving in stake races, still enjoying racing and success is still key
17:00The biggest races are the Hamiltonian and the Little Brown Jug (Delaware, Ohio), has won 6 Hamiltonians and 3 LBJ's
17:32Is there one race you are most proud of: most proud of 3 of his Hamiltonians, discussed the 2nd win with his brother who was the trainer and the 3rd when he was recovering from an injury
19:12The family farm was sold, his brother also lives in NJ and is a trainer
20:14Would you have had the same success as a jockey? Likely would not have the same longevity due to weight and possible injuries
20:30From the 1970's to the 1990's how many nights would you race? 300-310 a year
21:12Is it exhausting racing horses? "It does wear on you because you have to be so focused. Racing multiple horses is a drain on you and hard on your back."
21:46Do you raise horses? No longer, own some now
22:18On his family: has 3 daughters, they watched him compete but are not interested in racing; not many women in the sport
24:25Role model/mentor: father and grandfather, his father taught him patience and gave up part of his career to help him race; (24:51) "It's stuff I learned about life and harness racing from both is stuff that I lean on today".; parents are someone you should look up to, remembers his Dad gave him opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them
25:45On sports: "One thing I've learned from competing my whole life is that I'm a very competitive person. Over time you learn to accept the losses and disappointments better. That is one thing my father taught me - never try to get too high when things are going well and don't get too low. Try and keep an even keel. That gets easier as you grow older. I've learned to leave the disappointments and defeats at the track rather than let it bother me."
26:48Advice to young people: "My advice is an endeavour, in sports or anything that people want to do the rest of their lives, is try and learn from somebody that's had success. And not necessarily copy that blue print word for word but to learn from it, incorporate your own ideas but always be aware of whose successful in whatever sport or endeavour you chose and what makes them successful. You will find, no matter what it is, in sports or business, the people who work the hardest and are creative in their thinking are the ones who are the most successful. And there's never any shortcuts. You have to put in your due diligence."; talks about change, innovative ideas, being receptive to those ideas and work hard
28:11Define success: "Success is being able to compete at a high level and win obviously. Sportsmanship is important in success. Always being aware that when you do win there is somebody you beat and be aware of their feelings and some day you are going to be in that spot. Being able to be a gracious winner is just as important as being a gracious loser."
|Year Range from||1972|
|Year Range to||2008|