ELORA, ON — Robert Shepherd made his 2000th trip to the winners circle on September 23 at Grand River Raceway.
The Cambridge, ON resident entered the card with 10 drives and three wins shy of the milestone.
J M Regal set the course for Shepherd in race three with a one-length score from post seven for Link Stable and trainer Nick Gallucci.
Autodynamic put the 33-year-old reinsman one step closer as he guided the trotter, in race five, to his second season win for trainer William Walter who co-owns with Linda Rumney.
It was Johnny Prine Tyme in race nine who granted Shepherd the relief he sought. “It was nice to get it done in this race,” Shepherd said in a post-race interview. “Takes the pressure off for when I race my own horse tonight in the eleventh.” The two-length victory was the pacer’s second consecutive score with Shepherd, in a new career best of 1:57. David Brown owns and trains the homebred sophomore.
Shepherd’s first career win came in 1999 at the age of 19 at Charlottetown Driving Park in his native PEI with Whattheblazes, a chestnut pacer trained by his father Harold.
Ten years later in 2009, he hit his 1000th win with Secret Lives at Georgian Down.
“I’d say my most memorable win was with The Bruster in the 2004 Nat Christie,” he recalled. Then 24, the $120,000 race at Stampede Park was Shepherd’s first major stake win, and came just two years after relocating to the west. He relocated to Ontario a few years later and quickly established himself as one of the province’s top reinsmen.
Shepherd is a winner of $15 million in career purse earnings.