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Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Famer Dr. Ted Clarke passes

April 29, 2019

ELMIRA, ONTARIO – Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame member (inducted 2014) Dr. Ted Clarke passed away Saturday at the age of 71.

Obituary courtesy of Dreisinger Funeral Home Ltd.

Peacefully passed away on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at St. Mary’s General Hospital, Kitchener, at the age of 71. Ted was the beloved husband for almost 50 years of Valorie. Loved father of Carrie and Amy. Devoted grandfather of Morgan and Riley. Lovingly remembered by his sister Christine (Brad) Coleman, brother David (Darlene) Clarke, and longtime “adopted daughter” Kelly Spencer. Predeceased by his parents Christopher and Marion (Shortt) Clarke.

Ted was a graduate of Ontario Veterinary College and lived in Elmira with his family for the past 47 years. He co-owned Eldale Veterinary Clinic and was a practicing veterinarian while being heavily involved with the management of Elmira Raceway starting in the late 80s, when he helped steer the track from financial ruin while he served as the horseperson’s representative with the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA). He became the official GM of Elmira Raceway in 1995 (while still maintaining his veterinary practice) and pioneered a number of initiatives which solidified the track’s finances and reputation. In 1999, Elmira Raceway was awarded the prestigious Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of Ontario, in recognition of its racing innovations for the betterment of the Ontario harness racing industry.

In 2002, Ted left veterinary medicine to assume a full-time role as the General Manager of the new Grand River Raceway in Elora. The creation of the track was his passion project. Recognized by his peers as an innovator and highly regarded for his thoughtful insights, Ted’s strong and steady leadership established Grand River Raceway’s reputation as an award-winning racing and entertainment destination. In 2014, Ted was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame in the Builders’ category. The honour highlighted a career spent in the pursuit of the common good for horse racing. In an article from TROT Magazine in 2014 (commemorating his Hall of Fame induction) longtime friend Dr. John Hayes (who attended Ontario Veterinary College with Clarke in the early 70s) is quoted:

“That’s the magic of Ted Clarke: patience to entertain dissenting views; a conciliatory demeanour that never offends; integrity of purpose; and intelligence to separate chicken soup and feathers.”

After more than 30 years of tireless work in the Ontario harness racing industry, Ted retired from his post as the General Manager of Grand River Raceway in September 2017.

At Ted’s request, cremation has taken place and there will be no funeral home visitation or service. A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 from 2-5 p.m. at the Lighthouse Restaurant, Grand River Raceway, 7445 Wellington County Rd. 21, Elora. As expressions of sympathy, donations to Diabetes Canada or St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation – Cardiac Care would be appreciated. Arrangements entrusted to the Dreisinger Funeral Home, Elmira.

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