Day At The Track

Gorden McKnight cracks personal milestone

09:54 AM 19 Sep 2011 NZST
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Gorden McKnight Gorden McKnight Gorden McKnight Gorden McKnight, harness racing
Gorden McKnight - In the sulky his 954 wins have come from 6,479 starts
Gorden McKnight - Has had 400 training wins for $1.6m in stakes
Gorden McKnight - And his favorite pacer - Twin B Rawley
Gorden McKnight - And his friend Sharon McDiarmid Dawson
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London (Ontario) trainer and driver, Gorden McKnight, created his own little piece of harness racing history at the Hiawatha Horse Park on September 3 when he notched up his 400th training success. Now the 48-year-old St Marys native is keen to rack up another 46 driving wins so he can achieve the 1000-win milestone.

But to be fair McKnight insists it isn’t all about nailing records.

“I’m just happy to keep competing at the 'B' tracks in Ontario to earn a living. I’ve always loved harness racing and it’s what I do best. I’m going to go until I can’t go no more,” McKnight told Harnesslink.

McKnight has been training since 1992 and driving since 1983.

His 400 training wins have come from 1,984 starts. He’s also placed 492 times for $1.63 million in purses.

In the sulky his 954 wins have come from 6,479 starts. His $2.88 million in career stakes has also comprised 1,563 placings.

Since McKnight was about five his late father Norm always had three to four horses. He got the racing bug early and from a young age all he wanted to do was work with standardbreds.

“It’s a great career. If I could have my life over again I would do exactly the same thing. I’ve always been fond of horses and I like the fact you can work your own hours.

“Most of the people involved in harness racing are good people. I don’t have any real ambitions but to keep winning so I can pay the bills,” McKnight said.

When McKnight left school he worked for Bill Herbert and then Dave Wall in Ontario before starting up his own team of three horses aged just 18.

In his early training days McKnight moved around a lot and raced his team in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

“I started at Raceway Park and also raced the first year Hoosier Park opened. I travelled around a bit in my early days but have remained in Ontario since coming home about 12 years ago,” McKnight said.

These days McKnight does most of his racing at Dresden, Hiawatha, Woodstock, Grand River Raceway, Western Fair, and sometimes Mohawk.

“I only race downtown (Mohawk and Woodbine) if I’ve got anything good enough. At the moment the only horse good enough to race there is Twin B Rawley (1:54).

“He’s a Malabar Maple trotter who has won 26 races and just over $300,000. He’s the best of the four I’m currently working at the moment.

“I prefer having a small team of six or so horses. There’s not so many overheads. Once I had 20 but I think half a dozen or so is just right for me. I’m also getting plenty of catch-driving so I’m kept busy. It all keeps a roof over my head,” said McKnight who is the only employee at his London stable.

He also rated Twin B Rawley (see photo) as the best horse he had trained and Armbro Laser gelding Hesza Laser (1:53) as the best he had driven.

Asked what his biggest win so far was, McKnight replied:

“It’s still to come but I did win a $50,000 late Closer with Miss Angie at Western Fair one year. But every win is highlight. I love winning for all the owners and trainers who support the industry,” McKnight said.

Outside of harness racing, McKnight’s greatest love is his girlfriend of 10 years – Karen Clements. He’s also likes to relax on Sundays (when he’s not working) by watching the Nascar nationwide car racing series.

By Duane RANGER (editor)

Gorden McKnight loves Nascars. Here’s a compilation of some crashes in the sport:

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