We had the pleasure of catching up with the Executive Director of the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association, Fred Gillis. Gillis, who has been with ASHA since 2008, has long been a part of the horse racing industry in Canada. Prior to his tenure with the association, he was a talented Standardbred driver and trainer with a long career that has taken him across the country. Growing up in Nova Scotia, Gillis’ uncle had Standardbreds which started his career on the racetrack early. “When I made up way up to the racetrack, they had me jogging horses at eight, so I was kind of whelped into it” explained Gillis. He spent a number of years driving and training out in Ontario before making his way west to Alberta where he continues to be an avid proponent of the sport and its social impact.
In addition to his racing accolades, Gillis has also acquired a reputation for spearheading charity initiatives. “I think I fell into it, I was the go-to guy in the backstretch when it came to fundraisers. I like doing it and I was pretty good at doing it.” In 2010, Gillis found a way to combine his passion of both racing and fundraising in the inception of Fun For Fans; a program that races a specific horse and each month give a percentage of the earnings to a charity or non-profit group. To date, over $100,000 has been raised by the program and has touched organizations including the Stollery Children’s Hospital, volunteer fire departments, kids sporting organizations, and many more.
While Gillis has been an incredible asset to the racing industry in Alberta, he is still quick to discuss some of the issues that the industry faces and is an advocate for continuous improvement. The number one item on Mr. Gillis’ Christmas list is a call for cooperation and comradery. “The industry has to come together as a whole, I’d like to see Alberta move forward. Let’s strive to be better instead of just trying to survive. I think it’s there and I think if we all pull together, we can put a pretty nice sport out there and help us all move forward.”
From everyone at ASHA and Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, we with you happy and safe Holidays and the all best in 2019!
Coming Up at Century Downs
For more details on Fred Gillis, head over to Century Downs’ YouTube channel or Facebook page @centurydowns for the full video on this story. Also check out our upcoming events! Win up to 1,000,000 Winners’ Zone points with our Winners’ Zone Bonanza. Hot seat draws every Wednesday in November.
Join us daily or the 12 Days of Christmas from Monday, December 10 to Friday, December 21 for your chance to win your share of $12,000! Daily draws for $500 will be hosted at 7p.m. and 8 p.m. If a winner is not present, the cash will roll over to the next draw for the final draw on Friday, December 21 at 8p.m., if there is no winner, another winner will be drawn until one is found. Must be present to win!
On New Year’s Eve, join us for our afternoon racing event, Pacing Around the World. Enjoy an afternoon of racing, fashion, cocktails, and culinary delights as we celebrate with a new country around the world each hour! Stick around for our three course dinner by reservation at [email protected] followed by an evening of music, party favours, a champagne toast, and a midnight cash draw for $2,019