Harness horse people stabled at Dorchester Downs Training Center, just outside of London, were the recipients of a tremendous act of generosity this month.
Joe and Judy Elliott, along with their son Sam, are the owners and operators of the training center, located on the Eaton Road, in Dorchester and recently Joe held an on-site meeting for those that are stabled there - to go over some of the new ‘ground rules’ that coincide with the ongoing coronavirus.
“Joe went around to everyone and he wanted us all to be at this meeting,” says lifelong horseman Laurie Bako. “And of course we followed along with the social distancing rules for this meeting… So we’re sitting around and Joe is now discussing who would be allowed on the grounds going forward and he’d go over a few other things with us and then at the end of it he says… ‘We’ve talked it over and to try to help everyone out (who’s stabled here) we’re going to waive the April stall rent.’ Well we didn’t expect that at all,” says Bako. “You know we wanted to get up and shake this man’s hand, but of course we can’t do that right now.”
And right now the daily routine continues as there’s still plenty of work to do with these racehorses - even though the races are currently on hold… “We’re keeping busy, but we’re still kind of waiting on word from government and following along with the info provided by our industry leaders,” continued Bako. “The Elliott’s certainly lightened the load on us that’s for sure. There’s likely 100 horses stabled here and at $200 per stall each month - well that was just a super act of kindness on their part.”
The Elliott’s took over the training center, a few years ago, making many improvements along the way. “From the barns, to the paddocks, to the track - everything has always been top notch,” notes Bako. “Joe and Judy live here on site too and they’re both really hard working people - it shows. All year long they just treat us great - it’s a real family-type atmosphere here and we love it!”
Known to be a ‘trot man’ Bako says the Dorchester track is one of the best around… “It’s so good to get a two-year-old ready for the races here - especially the young trotters… With the big turns and a great surface - this track is really kind to the horses. It’s likely one of the best tracks around to train down a young trotter or pacer!”
Dorchester features a ⅝ mile training track with regular maintenance throughout the year. There are 2 large barns with a total of 100 stalls; 5 bathing stations with hot water + a washer and dryer; a six-horse covered exerciser is available as well. There are also several small and large grass paddocks + 2 fields are available. The operators also offer hay, straw, shavings and pellets on site - for an additional cost to all boarders.
Being within a 15 or 20 minute drive to The Raceway - the training center has been recommended to those that have shipped in to race London’s signature event - formerly the Molson Pace and now the Camluck Classic. “It’s a great facility for sure,” says Raceway racing manager Greg Gangle. “Joe and his family have a great reputation and are very good people to deal with. The Tritton’s brought Bit Of A Legend N up here twice (2017 - 2018) and that’s where they were stabled. Killer Martini, for Ricky Bucci, was also there. Many of our Raceway regulars race out of Dorchester as well… There’s the Wray’s, Dennis Morrissey, Gord McKnight, John Pentland, Larry Fitzsimmons and Steve Bossence - just to name a few.”
“Everyone knows Joe’s reputation,” says Gangle. “He’s always been a fair man to deal with and this kind gesture by the Elliott’s - though it may have come out of the blue for some - it may not have come as a complete surprise to the many that know them.”
Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle
Announcer - The Raceway