Racing veteran Marks passes away at 93
Norman (Buster) Marks left his marks (pun intended) on
all he met. “Buster was a great guy,” was the prevailing
remark as your agent talked to people -- both front and back
at Fraser Downs -- after they learned of his death.
The long-time owner/breeder/trainer/driver passed away
Sunday morning in Delta hospital. Marks, who was 93 years
old, was still involved in the B.C. harness racing scene
after 40 years.
He had half a dozen horses at his Ladner farm and still
owned So Dare Me To, who finished third in a race last
Perhaps the most popular story about Buster was his last
competitive race -- a nonwagering affair that was the first
race to be held at the refurbished and newly-named Fraser
Downs in 1996.
Marks was 87 years old on that day as he took on such
well-known drivers as Joe Hudon, Ray Gemmill, Keith Linton,
Keith Waples, Steve Shinn and Bill Davis. To make a story
short, he won while piloting Lamppost Lady.
Hubert Kaul, who trained Marks’ horses over the last
number of years adds spice to the story.
“When the horse’s trainer told Buster the horse did not
like the whip and not to touch her, he threw the whip back
to the trainer as he left the paddock,” Kaul said, “He won
with only a hand drive.”
Russ Morgan, who has worked with Marks and Kaul for
years, added. “He came back really tired from that race, but
he was really happy.”
Marks was initially involved in the logging industry but
retired at 53 to get into harness racing -- something he
considered as fun, not a job. Although he always kept just a
small stable, he had such good horses as Big Gabe, Shafted
Spud and Golden Kid among the many he had over the years. He
raced for many years at Patterson Park in Ladner and also
competed in Alberta and California.
Today, in addition to So Dare Me To, his stable includes
a young horse named Booted En Suited that Kaul hopes to
qualify this weekend and a Brace Yourself colt that Kaul and
Morgan now hope to name Busters Boy.
Marks died of pneumonia and kidney failure although as
Kaul and Morgan said, “he was mentally alert right to the
He is survived by wife Pat, sons Dennis and Victor and
their families which include grandsons Brian and Bruce.
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