Standardbred Canada's website has reported that popular longtime horse owner James 'Jim' Carr passed away on Sunday, April 27, after battling cancer. He was in his 70th year. Mr. Carr campaigned the top pacing colts Big Jim and Panther Hanover, who both now stand at stud.
Mr. Carr, a native of Hamilton, Ont. made his living as a process server, delivering court documents in Hamilton and Toronto. But it was arguably in the harness racing industry where his deliveries made the most impact.
In 2010, Big Jim turned heads with his 1:51.1. win in the final of the Dream Maker. Mr. turned down all of the offers that came in for the colt trained by James "Friday" Dean. Big Jim didn't win the Metro that year, but he atoned for that loss with wins in the Breeders Crown and world record score in the Governor's Cup to conclude his award-winning season. With every win, Mr. Carr would invite anyone interested out to the winner's circle to have their picture taken. Mr. Carr would even lift kids up to pet the young stallion, and Big Jim would stand with perfect manners.
"We have lots of pictures of five or six kids standing there in front of his front feet," said Mr. Carr in a 2010 Trot Magazine interview. "He's not going anywhere.
"Racing needs all the help it can get,” said his owner on why he invited strangers out for the win photo. "It's something you can do that doesn't cost anything.”
As racing would learn, that was Mr. Carr's nature. His gracious attitude was apparent at the forefront of numerous industry events. He donated a Big Jim breeding to Newfoundland's Amy MacDonald when her family lost horses in a fire. He donated the proceeds from auctioning off a Panther Hanover breeding to photographer Sylvain Gagnon, who lost vision in his eye when hit by a starting gate. He rallied behind four-year-old Josh Woodward, whose struggles with kidney disease made mainstream headlines.
Mr. Carr didn't know any of these people, but people knew of him through the indelible marks he left across the continent -- all for the love of racing.
In 2010, during Standardbred Canada's effort to initiate the Racing Development and Sustainability Plan, Mr. Carr demonstrated his tremendous passion for the sport. Upon hearing of the efforts, he publicly supported the concept and immediately began to hold five percent from the purses earned by his horses, reserving the funds to market and promote the sport, if the plan was approved. His actions have inspired many in the harness racing industry, to pass it forward.
Mr. Carr is survived by his wife, Darlene. Arrangements will be posted when they are made available. (Standardbred Canada)