Legends – Builder and Standardbred
Dr. William N. Meldrum was a Norwich, Ont., practitioner whose passion for his horses equaled his passion for medicine and his patients. He was one of the most successful harness horse owners in Ontario during the first half of 1900’s. He took time from his medical practice to train and drive his stock during more than the 30 years he was associated with the sport.
One of his early stars was Hal Abbe, who began his career in Canada but was sent to the U.S., where he raced successfully on the Grand Circuit. His next star was San Abess, which took a record of 2:06 ½ at the Grand Circuit meeting at Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park. A racing accident injury ended her career. Dr. Meldrum then campaigned the pacing gelding Sir Esme and won the 1938 Canadian Pacing Derby with him at New Hamburg. Sir Esme was joined by Dr. Meldrum’s greatest performer, Dillon Mc, a son of Peter McKlyo. Foaled in the U.S., Dillon Mc was brought to Canada as a yearling. The stablemates dominated Ontario free-for-all ranks from 1937 to 1939 when Sir Esme died in a barn fire.
At age four Dillon Mc set track records at a number of Ontario ovals, some of which stood for more than 20 years. In 1939 Dillon Mc gave Dr. Meldrum his second consecutive Canadian Pacing Derby, then captured the Canadian Championship Pace at Dufferin Park in Toronto and established a race record of 2:02 ½ at Lexington, Ky. In those years each race consisted of three heats and in 1940 Dillon Mc won eight consecutive races without losing any of the 24 heats. In 1947 the racetrack and stables in Norwich was officially named Dillon Park and a plaque honoring Dillon Mc was placed on a cairn in the park. Dillon Mc was 30 when he died in 1962.
Dr. Meldrum passed away in 1952 at age 78.