The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS) is an approved charitable organization, founded in 1996 to assist in the adoption and relocation of retired and non-racing Standardbred horses within Ontario.
OSAS is operated by its own Board of Directors, and is funded in part through fundraising, by some horse industry organizations and by private donations.
Our program helps to educate and assist in the retraining and management of the horses. We match the desires and the abilities of each adoptive family to the temperament and capabilities of the horse. Our follow-up on each horse after adoption adds to the strength of this worthwhile program.
Volunteers and temporary foster homes are invaluable to the success of our program, and we are always looking for more help.
Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society charity number 88834 5667 RR0001
OSAS Board Of Directors
Jim Evans (President)
Jim has been involved in Harness Racing for decades. First, as a child, visiting the “Golden Horseshoe“ tracks with his race-fan parents, then as a casual participant enjoying the sport while cheering for his parents’ stable interests. This hobby became a career for Jim in 1996 when he began training their stable of horses, and minding their 76 acre standardbred farm near Campbellville. After serving as a volunteer for OSAS from 1998-2000, Jim has been on the Board of Directors since 2000. He was appointed to the unpaid position of President in August of 2007 and remains as such, chairing meetings of the Board of Directors, and acting in an executive role when required.
A full-time trainer until 2007, life events forced Jim to revert back to his initial career path. Now a practicing lawyer in Burlington, Jim lives in Milton with his wife Morag and son David. Although completely removed from the day-to-day grind of the harness industry, Jim views his involvement with OSAS as a way to stay connected to both the horses he loves and to his many friends in the business.
Bill O'Donnell (Vice President)
One of the true superstars in harness racing over the past few decades, Bill O’Donnell was known as the Magic Man during his tenure as one of the sports’ all time best catch drivers. O’Donnell has well over 5,700 lifetime victories as a driver with just under $100 million earned by the horses he has guided. A native of Springhill, Nova Scotia, O’Donnell was the leading driver at the Mecca of harness racing, the Meadowlands in New Jersey, for many years and established a number of records with respect to wins and earnings.
In 1984 he set a record for single season earnings with more than $9 million banked and topped that the following year when he became the first driver to earn more than $10 million in one year. Bill O’Donnell has captured most of the sports’ premier races, many of them on several occasions.
Some of the memorable horses he’s been associated with include Nihilator, Prakas, Cambest, Barberry Spur, Redskin, Camtastic, Staying Together, Valley Victory, Sweet Reflection, Delinquent Account and Artsplace.
O’Donnell’s accomplishments have been recognized by his inductions into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and the Harness Racing Hall of Fame.
In 2001 O’Donnell moved back to Canada, settling in Acton, Ontario, to focus more on training horses. Since then he has also become involved in the politics of racing, giving much of his time and considerable expertise to several horsemen’s groups. He currently serves as President of the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, which has the racing contract with the largest track operator in Canada, Woodbine Entertainment Group. In addition he serves as the representative for Standardbred horse people on the board of the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association.
“I was invited to join the board of OSAS in 2009 as I am well aware that some of these racehorses end up in not so nice places to spend the rest of their days after their career as a racehorse is over,” explains O’Donnell. “These horses give us great pleasure watching them race as well as earn a number of people a very good living and I believe in turn they deserve to have a good home to live out their retirement which the board and staff at OSAS strive to ensure.”
Heather MacKay Roberts (Secretary/Treasurer)
With parents that raced Standardbreds and later operated a breeding farm for 30 years, Heather grew up around, working with and loving harness horses. A graduate of the inaugural Harness Horse Industry Operations program at Seneca College, she worked as a writer for The Standardbred Record for five years upon her graduation. She then spent 15 years as Managing Editor of Trot Magazine and Assistant Manager and then Manager of Marketing at the Canadian Trotting Association (now Standardbred Canada). During her tenure there she was instrumental in introducing the highly coveted O’Brien Awards and for 15 years co-ordinated the annual black tie awards ceremony. She also was responsible for the execution of the 1989 World Trotting Conference and World Driving Championship when they were hosted in Toronto and Edmonton.
She was a member of the initial board of directors for OSAS when it was formed in 1995. She later served as a member and then Chair of the Ontario Sires Stakes Promotions Committee during which time the Super Finals and Grassroots Championships were introduced.
For the past seven years Heather has been the Managing Editor of The Harness Edge, a popular industry news website and online harness racing publication.
“One of my favourite places to be is in a field with horses that are loved. My involvement with OSAS is my small way of ensuring as many horses as possible are afforded the opportunity to find that field,” she said.
Ian Fleming (Director)
One of the most respected administrators in racing, Ian Fleming is currently Racing and Gaming Manager at Western Fair Raceway as well as General Manager for Clinton Raceway.
Over the years Ian has worked as race secretary at five of Ontario’s tracks, has been instrumental in several initiatives undertaken by the Ontario Sires Stakes program and served on the board of directors of Standardbred Canada.
In addition, Ian also was a trainer for a number of years with his most successful horse being Just Call Me Sam. His recent horses of note, trained by Gregg McNair, have included Claires Apache, Dougs Fame and Mr Battin.
“The racehorses are our industry’s hardest working employees and we need to look after them when their work is done,” noted Ian.
Ian’s experience, background and horse knowledge are a valuable asset to the board of OSAS.
Joanne Colville (Events Coordinator)
Renowned equally for her horsemanship and business savvy, Joanne Colville adds Event Coordinator for OSAS to her impressive list of accomplishments. Colville currently owns and operates High Stakes Farm, a 30-acre property specializing in breeding, boarding, rehabilitation and racing stock. The Moffat, ON operation serves as headquarters for her booming High Stakes sale services.
Under Joanne's leadership, High Stakes is now the largest Standardbred consignment company in Canada and a major player at yearling sales on both sides of the border. Joanne is now also a director of Standardbred Canada and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association.
Ever ambitious and dedicated to the equine industry, Colville's past experience includes corporate roles within Standardbred Canada and the Woodbine Entertainment Group, where she also served as the full-time parade marshall for six years.
Having ridden in every discipline, and won numerous awards for speed events, Colville also worked at the Hendervale Equestrian Complex covering the Olympic Trials.
Regarded as one of the hardest-working and smartest-working individuals in the industry, Colville is passionate about OSAS and the industry it serves.