Ted Wilson’s resolve

Some 50 years after he got his start with horses, the man that bred, raised and raced Resolve is hoping either that stallion’s daughter Resolving, or Royalty For Life son Kipper Whipr Snipr can deliver Super Final victories on Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

by Sandra Snyder

Ted Wilson owns a pair of trotters preparing to compete in Saturday night’s (Oct. 16) $1.8 million Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Finals, but the Seagrave, ON resident can claim a grandfatherly connection to two others.

The lifelong horseman bred and raised Ontario sire Resolve and campaigned the son of Muscle Hill through his 2-year-old season in partnership with fellow breeder Michael Pozefsky of Saratoga Springs and William Pozefsky of Albany, NY. Resolve, who would go on to earnings of $2.7 million, stands at Tara Hills Stud, just kilometres from his birthplace, and will see three members of his first crop compete for a division title on Saturday.

“He’s standing right in the same county he was born in,” said Wilson, who has a Resolve weanling filly roaming the same fields her sire did a decade ago. “She’s absolutely gorgeous. She has the same breeding as Duly Resolved; she’s by Resolve out of a Muscle Mass mare, so I am hoping that history will repeat itself.”

Wilson also owns a share of Resolve filly Resolving with Yolanda Fellows of Rockwood, ON and Blair Corbeil of Beaumont, AB. Out of Garland Lobell mare Sunshinenlollipops, Resolving was a Gold Series winner at Grand River Raceway on July 28, delivered a pair of runner-up results at Woodbine Mohawk Park, and finished the regular season ranked third in the division standings with 106 points.

Resolving and driver Trevor Henry will make their bid for the lion’s share of the $225,000 2-year-old trotting filly Super Final purse from Post 4 in Saturday’s third race, giving them an advantage over division point leaders Adare Castle and Dabra Day, who will line up at Posts 8 and 10, respectively.

In addition to Resolving, Wilson will also be rooting for homebred Kipper Whipr Snipr in the 2-year-old trotting colt division that has been dominated by Duly Resolved. Royalty For Life son Kipper Whipr Snipr got his first Gold Series win at Flamboro Downs on Oct. 3 and driver Louis-Philippe Roy will try and make it two in a row from Post 2 in the eighth race.

Both Resolving and Kipper Whipr Snipr are trained by Rockwood resident Rob Fellows, who has known the Wilsons since he was a child growing up in Port Perry, ON.

“In the very early 1970s, when I got involved in the horses at the Port Perry Fairgrounds, it was Ted Wilson who I began this long career with. Here it is close to 50 years later, I still train horses for him,” said Fellows. “He’s one of the nicest, hardest working people I’ve ever met in my life, to be honest. He bred them, raised them, trained them, drove them, shod them, he was a one-man-band, he did everything. He still has a few mares, and he’s slowing down, but I still have two or three horses with him and it’s a pleasure.

“Some people know who you are now, but Ted and Kipp; they knew me before I cleaned my first stall, it was just the beginning of what has turned out to be my life.”

It was Kipp Wilson who inspired her husband of 60 years when it came time to name the first foal of New Years Day, whose mother Wilsonator is a half-sister to Resolve’s dam Anikawiesahalee.

“My wife one day had the whipper snipper out cutting the weeds, and I took a picture of her and I said, ‘That’s what we’re going to name the horse,’” said Wilson, who often names horses in honor of family members.

“You never told me you were naming the horse that,” said Kipp, sharing a laugh with her spouse.

Wilson grew up with draft horses, which his grandfather and father used to promote their Cannington, ON lumber company, and it was meeting Kipp that first piqued his interest in Standardbreds.

“We had a six-horse hitch and we showed them all over Ontario and the States and in Quebec back in the 1940s, 1950s,” recalled Wilson. “And when I met my wife down in New York her father had Standardbred horses down in Saratoga, so it was kind of a natural to go from the Clydesdales to the Standardbreds.”

The couple purchased their farm in Seagrave 46 years ago and over the next two decades housed as many as 20 horses at a time, which Wilson drove and trained as a part-time endeavour alongside his teaching career. Health problems forced him to scale back in the early 1990s and since his return to harness racing he has concentrated on raising and racing trotters. He currently has three mares in residence, all in foal to Green Manalishi.

“The Europeans don’t buy pacers and so it makes the value of trotters much better, and boy pacers have to go so fast,” said Wilson of the transition to trotters. “You look at those 2-year-old pacers going in 1:50, of course some of the trotters can do that now too, but it’s just so common to see in the 2-year-old pacers, going so fast.

“I remember some years ago, one of the drivers coming up to Barrie after he had raced in Toronto in an earlier race and he said, ‘You know, I just went in 1:52 and a piece and I didn’t get a check,’ and that was few years ago.”

In spite of his current focus on trotters, the horse that holds the biggest part of Wilson’s heart is pacer Wobbly Legs. The horse’s mother Dahlia Lobell was the only mare he retained through his health struggles, and her Kiev Hanover son banked $525,013 and took a mark of 1:49.1 before retiring in 2009.

“He was a dear horse, he was a great friend,” said Wilson.

So long as the weather holds, the couple will be on hand Saturday night to watch Kipp’s namesake and Resolving make their bid for a Super Final title, a race that has eluded them thus far. They have two Grassroots Championship trophies — earned by Legzy in the 2013 sophomore trotting filly final and Resolve’s half-sister Anikadabra in the 2016 freshman filly test — but their best result in the Super Final was a runner-up effort by Wilsonator in the 2009 2-year-old filly Super Final. With Adare Castle and Duly Resolved looming large in this year’s 2-year-old trotting filly and colt Super Finals, Resolving and Kipper Whipr Snipr will be lightly rated, but Wilson shares the same optimism every other owner has heading into the season finale.

“That’s how this game goes, you live in hope,” he said with a chuckle.

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