31 May 2016 – The World Chariot Racing Federation (WCRF) pre-Olympic tour on its “Road To Rio” made stops in both Sweden and Canada over the weekend.
The WCRF is dedicated to resurrecting Chariot Racing in the Olympics while revitalization and reshaping the sport of harness racing.
WCRF founder, Sam Stathis, was in Stockholm, Sweden Saturday and Sunday for the world renowned Standardbred harness horse race called the Elitloppet, where more than 28,000 fans came out Sunday to see the classic event.
“What a tremendous weekend of racing at the Solvalla track,” Stathis said. “The crowds were overwhelming, everyone rooting for his or her favorites. It took me more than a half hour to get from the dining room to the winner’s circle just in time to see Jimmy Takter’s Pinkman win his race.”
Stathis met with Swedish racing officials over the weekend, setting up WCRF future events for later this summer and for 2017.
“I want to thank the AGT for hosting the WCRF at their tremendous VIP party,” Stathis said, “My good friends Ann and Johan Lindberg (secretary general of Travsport) introduced us to racing dignitaries from as far south as Australia, Russia to the north and everyone in between. This will help pave the way for the WCRF to do some great things around the globe as I met people who now know about the goals of the WCRF and will join our team.”
“Pink highlighted the day,” Stathis explained, “There were pink hats, shirts, pants and dresses topped off by a “pink horse” Pinkman, who won his race while defeating other US Stars. And what a great ambassador for the USA and WCRF pre-Olympic Tour as world renowned driver, Yannick Gingras joined us and his friends at the VIP party for a pre-race photo shoot and then topping it off by carrying the Olympic and Greece flags in the winner circle after Pinkman won.
Stathis said they were also joined at the VIP party by Mr. and Mrs. Karl-Eric Bender, owners of the Palema Trotting Center in Vero Beach, FL along with Jimmy Takter and his wife Christina and renowned Australian breeder Duncan McPherson.
“This was an amazing party,” Stathis said, “and a superb weekend of racing that I will cherish in my memories the rest of my life. Everyone wanted to take a photo with the Greek and Olympic flags in support of the what the WCRF is doing for the special Olympics.”
The Pre-Olympic “Road to Rio” tour is being highlighted by the exotic chariots designed by Sam Stathis as the sport that the ancient Olympics were founded on in 776 BC. The tour is winding its way around the world and winding up at the Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro in August, 2016.
At Mohawk Raceway in Ontario, Canada on Saturday, one of the WCRF exotic chariots was on the track during their stakes race evening, taking children around the main track, showing off the unique two-seater design.
World champion harness driver, Jody Jamieson and the trotter, Calamar, took the children for their rides.
“This is what the WCRF is all about,” Stathis said. “Educating children and adults with hands-on “grass-roots” experience getting to sit behind a racehorse on the track.”
Stathis’s Celebrity Farms top racehorse, Celebrity Eventsy, was also at Mohawk Raceway Saturday, finishing third in the $174,000 final of the SBOA Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies.
With international support from every equine discipline, the WCRF is leading the effort to return Chariot Racing to the Olympics.
Stathis is now on his way to his native country of Greece, where on Sunday, June 5 he will be at the new Olympic Stadium with special Olympic children, attending the National Show Jumping competition.