For Mario Rivest, a trainer and driver at Sudbury Downs, the track has been a second home.
Introduced to the sport by his father and uncle in 1970s, the 40-year-old has been been involved directly in the horse-racing industry since the age of 18.
He trains horses at his farm in Hanmer.
“When you have animals, it's seven days a week,” said Rivest.
Rivest, who works as a miner when he's not racing, considers driving his passion.
As a member of the Ontario Racing Commission, Rivest has won close to 600 races for purses as large as $10,000. Although he admits the money is good, he said he loves the rush of winning.
For all the rush of winning, racing does have it's downfalls — literally. Rivest and his horses have suffered injuries from time to time.
But he faces an injury of a different sort now. With the cancellation of Ontario's Slots at Racetracks program, the racing industry itself faces an uncertain future.
The last race of the season — and perhaps forever — at Sudbury Downs was Nov. 24, 2012.
Although Rivest is troubled, he approaches it philosophically, looking back on the years when he held his passion by the reins.
“It's been a good run.”
1,000 Words is a project by Northern Life photographer Marg Seregelyi. With photos and audio, 1,000 Words uses a subject's own voice to tell their story combined with Seregelyi's singular eye for photography.