Writing for the Geulph (Ont.) Mercury, Dave Briggs talked to driver Trevor Ritchie the day after he announced his retirement:
In simplest terms, injuries brought a premature end to the tremendous driving career of Trevor Ritchie. But integrity also led the 58-year-old Acton resident to announce this week that he was retiring from the sulky after some 25,000 races over nearly 40 years.
He said Tuesday that a debilitating neck condition had him questioning whether he was doing the best job he could for the trainers he drove for and the bettors who wagered on him.
"You start second guessing yourself. 'If I had been able to turn my head more and seen that guy coming, would I have moved if I would have seen him sooner?'"
He said he sought out a range of medical opinions, but no one could find the source of the problem, or a solution. He said modern race bikes likely compounded his pain.
"You're in these carts that, especially this day and age, have you leaning back. You have to, obviously, support your neck. That was a large part of my issue. On nights that it was acting up it could be damn painful and not a whole lot of fun being out there. So, I'm assuming and I'm hoping that without having to put my neck in that sort of a situation that it might not be as aggravating for me."
Ritchie drove the winners of more than $70 million on the track. He won 3,710 races, none bigger than when he drove Yankee Paco to victory in the 2000 Hambletonian in New Jersey for trainer Doug McIntosh. The victory, which came the same year the Hambletonian celebrated its 75th anniversary, marked the first time a Canadian-bred horse won harness racing's premier event, making Ritchie the commander of a moon shot for the Canadian breed.
"There's no question. In my mind it was the single highest highlight of my career," he said.
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