Wednesday, 29 July 2015 12:00

Brad Gunn - The Gunn That Won The West

Written by Orianna Scheck
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The late Dr. Brad Gunn was more responsible than any other man for putting Western Canada back on the harness racing map. Born in 1913, graduated BA, MA, magna cum laude at Edmonton University, he earned his PhD in physical chemistry at McGill University and retired as head of the Saskatchewan Research Council. But always in his heart, he was a “country boy”, and bought his first section of land when he was still in university. His love of horses was inherited from his father, Rod Gunn.

Back in 1954 Gunn bought a registered Standardbred mare as a pleasure horse. This was when the saga of Gunnholme Farms of Lloydminster began. He applied his analytical mind to the study of the breeding and physical development of harness horses and the economical problems of succeeding in a difficult market area.

In 1960 Gunn purchased a horse to stand stud at his Gunnholme Farm by the name of “Adios Pick”. “Pick” was out of the great Adios and out of the prolific mare Pick Up. Pick raced his career south of the border. Undoubtedly, Adios Pick went on to become the “cornerstone” in building harness racing in Western Canada.

In 1976, Adios Pick was the first Canadian sire to produce the winners of more than a million dollars in a single year. Adios Pick’s off spring were not only fast but great gaited and well-mannered. From his first eight crops “Pick” sired seven Western Canada Pacing Derby winners. In the 1964 Western Canada Pacing Derby eight of the nine starters were sired by him...the outsider finished ninth. Pick’s offspring won the Western Canada Pacing Derby eight times in 17 years. The Gunn-bred Senga Swap was the first Alberta-bred horse to pace a mile in two minutes flat. The name “Senga” was derived from his wife’s name “Agnes” spelled backwards. All the horses that they raised and born out of their mares were all named Senga.

The late Dr. Brad Gunn was inducted into The Canadian Horse Hall of Fame in 1981. It was appropriate that Adios Pick joined his owner and his full sister, Dotties Pick (world champion pacing mare), in the Canadian Horse Hall of Fame in 1989.

Owner/breeder Ken Gunn, son of the late Dr. Brad and Agnes Gunn continues to be involved with harness racing here in Alberta today.

Click the download link below for the full race program article with photos

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