Pompano Beach, FL...February 26, 2014...Veteran driver-trainer Jim Mc Donald, who recently celebrated his 1,000th career training win, joined the 1,000 win driving club by guiding Etruscan Hanover to victory in a lifetime best 1:55.4 performance on Monday night at Pompano Park.
The Newfoundland, Canada native, generally known for his excellence in training standardbreds, came to Florida in the mid-1970's with so little capital that he slept in a hand pitched tent on the grass adjoining Miami International Airport. Since then, he has established himself as one of the finest horsemen in the sport, having developed many Stakes and Free-For-All competitors that have banked close to $5,000,000 for his owners.
Though Mc Donald rarely makes an appearance in the sulky these days, Etruscan Hanover vaulted him into the 1,000 club with victories in his last three outings.
"He's just a young, talented trotter that, I think, has his best days ahead of him," Mc Donald said. "He's a pleasure to drive and I'll pass along the credit to the horse, as I have just been a passenger during his winning streak."
Though a longtime participant in the sport, Mc Donald had one of his best training years in 2013, sending out 72 winners in 447 starts, good for $411,542 in earnings to go along with a very respectable "batting" average of .297. So far this young season, Mc Donald is winning races at nearly a 20% clip--15 for 76--and has a .600 UDRS in the bike with Etruscan Hanover the major factor for that lofty number.
As a driver, Mc Donald has amassed almost $3,000,000 in purses but, these days, prefers to leave the vast majority driving chores to the top drivers on the grounds. "The driving colony down here at Pompano is exceptional, so I am at a point that I'd much rather 'leave the driving to them.'
"Yeah, some asked me about working on the next 1,000 wins," said McDonald.
In a sport that, in many cases, is based on chance, Jimmy Mac says, "not a chance...not a chance!!"
by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park