Steve Condren Joins Legends Line Up

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

He has been a part of many battles on the racetrack over his outstanding 30-plus year driving career but the biggest battle of all for Steve Condren has come away from the track.

The Milton resident was diagnosed with Colon cancer in 2011 and that very well could have meant the end to his storied career. But, with the steely determination and steady focus he has become known for, Condren has battled his way back into the race bike and back to prominence on the national stage.

The man in green and gold is also getting set to take part in his first ever Legends Day at Clinton Raceway on Sunday, August 18, and says he is all systems go and looking forward to the experience.

“The doctor gave me a clean bill of health the last time I saw him and I’m feeling good,” he explains following a recent golf outing where he shot a round of 75. “I’ve worked hard to get back driving and I certainly realize how fortunate I am to be able to be back doing what I love. I’m going to fully enjoy the day and the whole experience.”

Condren’s other passion is golf which gives him much of the exercise he requires to stay healthy along with a regular workout routine. After three months of excruciating chemotherapy treatments in the Fall of 2011, the veteran reinsman was forced to slowly and methodically get himself healthy and back into good enough condition to return to the race bike.

That patience, and attention to detail, are attributes that have helped him in the race bike too and made him one of the most respected drivers this country has produced.

“I’d like to think that one of my strengths is looking at the big picture with young horses and trying to show them how to race the right way,” he admits. “Being versatile has also helped me and having a pretty good sense of how to react to situations that arise in a race. When I look back now, I have to be satisfied with my career to this point and what I’ve accomplished.”

As a young driver starting out his career, Condren looked up to several prominent Ontario Jockey Club stars including the late Bill Wellwood and Ron Feagan. He also greatly admired another future Hall Of Famer named Ron Waples – a former Legends Day Trot winner who will be taking part as well this year for the seventh consecutive time.

Some of the best horses Condren has driven in his career were ones that he partially owned including Canadian champions Pure Ivory and Elegantimage – the namesake of one of WEG’s premier trotting stakes. His biggest career victory came in 1989 when he guided Goalie Jeff to a dramatic upset win in the North America Cup at Greenwood.

Condren has amassed impressive career totals of more than 6,600 victories and purse winnings in excess of $110 million but enjoys the opportunity to get back to the smaller tracks and personally interact with the fans.

“I drove in Clinton last Spring for the first time in a long time and it’s a great atmosphere,” he says. “I think that the folks there have a true appreciation of the sport and it’s going to be fun to be a part of. To be asked to join a group of guys like this is a real honour.”

The Legends Day roster this year will include Waples along with Herve Filion,  John Campbell, Bill O’Donnell, Ray Remmen, Keith Waples, Dave Wall, Clint Galbraith, Bud Fritz, Jim Doherty, Doug Brown and Steve Condren – a group with combined purse winnings of well over half a billion dollars.

The $15,000 Legends Day Trot and Ontario Sires Stakes action for two-year-olds will be the highlight races of the afternoon.

Fans will have an opportunity to meet this year’s legends and receive autographs starting at 2:30 p.m. There will also be live entertainment and pony rides and face painting for the kids.

The Pineridge Barbecue Chicken dinner is scheduled from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. (tickets $15 each) and Legends T-shirts will be on sale for just $2. All proceeds, along with those from the silent auction that day, will go to the Clinton Public Hospital Foundation.


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