Maritime mare wins big for charity
Barona Lilac is a horse on a hot streak.
The five-year-old mare has been on fire at Truro Raceway since she arrived in May.
“She's gotten better and better as she's raced all year and she's on her seventh consecutive win right now, which has been pretty exciting for all of the charities that have been participating,” says Robyn Crowe, of Nova Scotia’s Harness Racing Industry Council.
Barona Lilac is part of a program called Cheering For Charity.
Meridan Farms in Milton, P.E.I. owns the horse, and is covering all her expenses at Truro Raceway. Whenever Barona Lilac finishes first, local charities get a piece of her winnings.
“The charities are guaranteed a $1,000 a month, whether she makes $1,000 or whether she makes $1,500. If she makes in excess of $1,000, we have an account for Cheering For Charity, the money gets banked,” says Robyn Crowe.
Barona Lilac races for a different charity each month, groups like the Boys and Girls Club, 4-H, and a family resource centre.
With seven victories in a row, Lilac has spent much of the summer in the winner’s circle.
“Mostly it's been the experience for the little brothers and little sisters. It's been a really positive experience. You know, just the memory of having done this for them will live with them a long time,” says Michelle Misener, of Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Then of course there's the money aspect and every organization appreciates any kind of donation that they can get through this kind of event.”
Darren Crowe has been driving for 25 years and he thinks Lilac is pretty special.
“She's probably one of the nicer mares that I have driven, if not the best mare and I've had some nice mares over the years and she's just a sweetheart,” says Darren Crowe. “You can lead with her. You can take her back. You can drive her with two fingers. She's just a really, really nice horse to drive.”
Robyn Crowe says Barona Lilac has been a pleasure to watch.
“We thought she was going to be a consistent cheque getter, which means that they finish in the top five to make money, and she's really exceeded our expectations.”
Barona Lilac has eight more races before the season ends in December.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh