By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Behind the wheel of her 1969 Camaro, back in the day Pat Jarvis was known as “the fastest gal in the Northwest” on the National Hot Rod Association circuit.
“I could drive faster than my boyfriend in high school,” she says. “Nowadays you’d get locked up if we did what we did in the mid-1970s with our road racing at Boundary Bay and Richmond.”
Jarvis can only wish that some of the 27 horses she has in her Hastings barns these days were as speedy as that old Camaro. The veteran trainer isn’t off to an encouraging beginning this season, still looking for her first win after 14 starts.
“Chicken one day, feathers the next,” she says with a grin. “All you can do is keep working hard and hope for the best.”
The Jarvis team has five B.C. breds on today’s seven-race card with the full intention of hitting the winner’s circle and improving on its current 32nd ranking in the leading trainers standings.
“My late father (Albert) trained at Hastings for 50 years and always said you can’t manage without a good crew backing you up,” Jarvis points out. “As far as I’m concerned, I’ve got one of the best.”
She is referring to a roster that includes Danny Fisher, Vince Quesnelle, Joe Manzo, Dave Travers, Danny Bekesi, Russ Greene, Hernan Gomez and her sister Lillian Meehan.
Pat’s introduction to horse racing has a familiar ring to it: hot walker and barn worker in her early teens; acquiring her trainer’s licence at 16 and spreading her wings from there.
“I went to Yakima and other parts of Washington, then to northern California to the old Bay Meadows track that’s now Golden Gate,” she says. “I broke away from horse racing in favour of hot rod racing for four years but got the bug again when I came home to visit Dad at Hastings. It made me realize how much I missed it.”
Over and above her training career, Pat Jarvis enjoys a sideline interest that also relates to the horse racing scene: the making of those beautiful blankets presented to trainers and owners in the winner’s circle on special occasions. We’ll tell you more about it in this space tomorrow.