It was a show that fans at Red Shores Charlottetown won't soon forget. Jody Jamieson started early and he finished late, winning five races and four of the eight legs of the National Driving Championship, good enough for 96 points and his fifth berth in the World Driving Championships. "It feel's actually amazing, I'm super pumped about it," Jamieson said about getting to represent his country one more time. The two-time World Driving Champion got the ball rolling early in the competition winning the first two heats with C J Bluefin in 1:58.2 and followed that up in the second heat with Oppies Lifes Line. "I don't like to say anything bad about a guys horse but, No one wanted to drive C J Bluefin, I talked to the owners nephew and he told me what he liked about him. With that knowledge going forward, it just worked out and the horse stepped up for me." Jamieson followed that up with a second, third and second before rhyming off another victory aboard Solanos Dragon in Race 8. With two races to go and him and Islander Marc Campbell in a dog fight, Campbell picked up the win in Race 9 while Jamieson finished second. Heading into the final leg Jamieson was on top by 10 points with 81 to Campbell's 71. When the horses crossed the wire in the final heat, it was over. Jamieson was a going away winner aboard Perfect Escape in 1:55.4 for owner Jack Kennan and trainer Jackie Matheson. "I didn't even know what to say," Jamieson said about going under the wire and knowing he was going to represent Canada one more time. "I was just thinking about how long I'm going to stay in Australia and who's coming with me." Jamieson treated a packed house to a special tribute as he paraded Perfect Escape in front of the fans at the fence. "I like to show the fans the winning horse. I think people appreciate almost being able to touch a horse," said Mr. Canada. "I'm always trying to build a fan base and it starts from one person and builds from there." Jamieson said he didn't expect to win five races coming into the card, but things worked out. "I was just trying to do the right thing in every race, trying to navigate through some horses and hope I had some stock down by the wire, and that's what happened." The Moffat, Ont native picked up his fifth victory in the evening finale, the$ 5, 000 Builders Cup aboard Modern Xhibit. Marc Campbell finished second with 81 points. Brandon Campbell was third with 42. Billy Davis Jr. ( 39 ), Ryan Ellis ( 33 ), Guy Gagnon ( 32 ), Jim Marino ( 31 ) and Sylvain Lacaille ( 19 ) rounded out the competition. The hometown hero Campbell didn't disappoint winning three races of the NDC himself. He rounded out his night with a grand slam winning the $ 25, 000 Founders Cup aboard Wazzup Wazzup in 1:53. Up The Credit cut out all the numbers of :27.3, :56.2, 1:24.4 before Maritime hopeful D Gs Camme cleared to the lead. Wazzup Wazzup made a final lunge at the wire to win in 1:53 for his owners the Rolling Hills Racing Stables and trainer Corey Johnson. D Gs Camme finished second and All Turain was third. The fans were also taken by storm in Race 7, the $3, 000 claimer Whitesand Artist fired off a new track record for aged pacing mares winning by 16 lengths in 1:53.4 for Billy Davis Jr. and owner -trainer Neil Bambrick. The nine-year-old daughter of Artiscape who knocked three seconds off of her lifetime mark erased a 20 year-old track record taken in 1994 by Gold Cup and Saucer winner Little Black Book. The total handle on the program was $55,151. As for Jamieson when he was asked when he would be back to P.E.I. "I want to win the Gold Cup and Saucer so bad, It's a real tough race to win. Just ask Marc Campbell he thought he was going to win his second this year but it didn't work out for him. He's lucky enough he's got one," laughed Jamieson. "It's the race I want to win." by Bo Ford, for Red Shores
The question of who will wear the red and white of Canada at the 2015 World Driving Championship will be answered Tuesday night at Red Shores Charlottetown. Eight of the best drivers from their respective regions will gather in Charlottetown to contest the National Driving Championships presented by Standardbred Canada, P.E.I Harness Racing Industry Association, P.E.I. 2014 Inc. and Red Shores. Post-time for the special 12-dash card is 7 p.m. The competition to see who can fulfill the dream of representing their country will get underway in Race 3. This year's NDC is a little different than previous, this year Standardbred Canada held a draft to allow the drivers to pick the horses they wanted to drive. Two-time World Driving Champion Jody Jamieson has selected to drive the rail horse C J Bluefin, a favourite heading into the National Driving Championship, Jamieson will have to fend off seven other foes. Sylvain Lacaille took his first round selection in Race 3, selecting the two-entry Caughfoolinaround for owner Maggie Mccarthy and trainer Roy Reynolds. Quebec native Guy Gagnon had the first overall selection and took Umiztagoodthing in Race 10 from Post 5. Todd Walsh trains the five-year-old Modern Art gelding who took a lifetime best in his last race of 1:56.4. The Alberta representative, and son of former Island horseman Sanford Campbell, had the second selection in the draft. Brandon Campbell chose post 2 starter in Race 5 All Out. With two second place finishes in his last two starts, the Clarkie Smith trainee is listed as the morning line favourite. B.C. native and the second representative from the Western Region, Jim Marino had the seventh overall pick he landed the 5-2 favourite Playful Patty in Race 4. Owned by Taylor Mcguigan the newcomer to Charlottetown will look to make her mark on Tuesday night. The third overall selection went to 'The Rocketman' Billy Davis Jr. Making his first trip to P.E.I., the second entrant from Ontario will look to keep the NDC crown in Ontario, the place it has been for the past three events. Davis selected Ton Of Luck for the Ultimate Stables. Leaving from Post 5 in the sixth race, the three-year-old daughter of Camluck finished third in her last start pacing in 1:57.4. The 'Flying Pilot' Ryan Ellis had the fourth overall selection and drafted Mcdaisy Cutter for owners John and Stephen Quinn of Charlottetown. The daughter of McArdle has a no-worst-than second record in her last four starts. The hometown pride, Marc Campbell was saddled with the eighth overall pick, and if that wasn't bad enough, his first pick in the draft also won't line up behind the starting gate. Campbell selected Panacotta from Post 1 in Race 8 but he made a break on Saturday, and after a questionable review it was deemed Panacotta had broken equipment after his break and not before, putting him on the qualifying list. So instead 'King Campbell' will look towards the ninth overall selection in the draft, Rash B Havior. The four-year-old Lis Mara gelding played a contributing factor in gaining Campbell the victory in the Altantic Regional Driving Championship. The pair went right down the highway in the Championship winning in 1:56.4, a new lifetime mark. The Champion will be decided during eight of the 12 races on the card. The event concludes in Race 10. The special Tuesday card will also feature the $ 25, 000 Founders Cup and the $5,000 Builders Cup. Wazzup Wazzup has drawn into Post 6 for trainer Corey Johnson. The six-year-old son of Life Sign is owned by the Rolling Hills Racing Stables of Uxbridge, ON. Tuesday night he will gain the survives of the Maritimes top driver Marc Campbell. Only beaten a neck, pacing his own mile in track record time, 1:50.4, in the 55th running of The Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer, Wazzup Wazzup is the morning line favourite. He picked up a lifetime mark of 1:49 just three starts ago before landing on P.E.I. for the Gold Cup and Saucer trial. Millionaire pacer Up The Credit, winner of the James 'Roach' MacGregor memorial on Friday night of Old Home Week will look to knock off the runner-up in the Gold Cup and Saucer. A winner of over $ 1.3 million in career earning, the six-year-old Western Terror horse has drawn into Post 3 for trainer and co-owner Carl Jamieson along with Tomas Kyron and Joanne Morrison. Jody Jamieson will do the driving. The trio of Jody, Carl and Up The Credit have been a dynamic one in the past winning the $1.5 million dollar North American Cup in 2011. A winner of this year's Governors Plate in track record fashion of 1:53 at Red Shores Summerside, D Gs Camme moves into Post 4, fresh off of a 1:52.2 victory on Gold Cup night in the final of the Premier's Pace. A winner of four-in-a-row, the four-year-old son of Blissfull Hall will look to continue his winning ways for the ownership group of Hal and Quentin Bevan, Tom Clark and Ronnie Matheson. Gilles Barrieau will make the trek from Saint John, NB to handle the driving duties for trainer Jackie Matheson. All Turain, Ultimate Luck, Astor and Mach Wheel round out the power packed field of seven starters. The 12th race on the card will feature the $ 5, 000 Builders Cup. The race will recognize the local contribution by two local horsemen to the sport of harness racing on P.E.I. Those two horsemen are Doug Hill of Startford, PE and Eric Johnston of Summerside, PE. Modern Xhibit in-line to Jamieson has been listed as the morning line choice from Post 3. The Jonah Moase trainee was a winner in this years Walter Dale Memorial in Fredericton and also finished fourth in the Governor's Plate. The field also includes, Narragansett, Red Magician, Blissfull Bro, Cabo Pan Lucas, Machinthesand, Red Rock and Windemere Express. Please note. There is not live racing Thursday at Red Shores Charlottetown. Live racing returns Wednesday to Red Shores Summerside at 7pm and Saturday in Charlottetown at 6pm. For information on race dates go to www.redshores.ca by Bo Ford, for Red Shores
The feature race of the evening Saturday at Georgian Downs saw Swan In A Million and trainer/driver Dustin Jones get great cover and come home strong to win the $100,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot in 1:52.4. The time of the race set a Canadian season's record for trotters over a five-eighth-mile track. Swan In A Million got away fourth at the pylons through a :27.4 opening quarter and flushed out cover in the form of pocket-sitting Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) approaching the half, which was clocked in :57.1. In the stretch, he rallied by race favorite Natural Herbie and tempo-setter R Raised Emotions (Mario Baillargeon), who fronted the field past three-quarters in 1:24.2, and held off the quick-closing Intimidate (Rick Zeron) for the half-length victory. Charmed Life (Robert Shepherd) finished three-quarters of a length behind off a three-hole trip. There were five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for two-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday night and the last split was the quickest as Southwind Luna toured the five-eighths mile oval in 1:54. With driver Billy Davis Jr. calling the shots, Southwind Luna was in the lead through panels of :27.2, :56.3, and 1:24.3. Faithful Friend (Rick Zeron) took a shot out of the pocket in the final quarter, but Southwind Luna held sway to prevail by half a length. Wicked Speed (Scott Young) finished third. Otis Hall trains Southwind Luna, a Sportswriter filly, for owner Nasussito Racing Inc. of Ayr, Ontario. Southwind Farms bred Southwind Luna, who has won twice from five starts and has earned $23,540. Southwind Luna, the first foal out of Lil Presto Hanover, a The Panderosa half-sister to $2.6 million earner McArdle, sold for $20,000 at last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale. Drivers Rick Zeron and Trevor Henry split up the other four Grassroots sections, with each of them winning two. Zeron scored with Mister Big filly Show Some Leg in 1:54.4 for trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman and Shadow Play daughter Chase The Shadows in 1:54.2 for trainer Dave Menary. Henry’s victories came courtesy of Vic Puddy trainee Twin B Honour (1:55) and Richard Moreau pupil Ms Mac N Cheese (1:54.2). The feature race of the evening saw Swan In A Million and trainer/driver Dustin Jones get great cover and come home strong to win the $100,000 Honourable Earl Rowe Memorial Trot in 1:52.4. The time of the race set a Canadian season's record for trotters over a five-eighth-mile track. The next Grassroots test for rookie pacing fillies comes on September 2 at Flamboro Downs. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
It feels like the big show has just ended at Red Shores' Charlottetown, but in less then a week another show will take centre stage. The National Driving Championship, presented by Standardbred Canada, P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Assotiation , P.E.I. 2014 inc. and Red Shores, goes on Tuesday, August 26, with eight drivers from around Canada representing their respective regions. A new twist has been added to this years NDC format. Rather than the usual format for assigning drivers, Standardbred Canada will conduct a 'draft' for the eight races, similar to a hockey pool style draft. This provides the drivers direct involvement in determining the horses they will drive when they draft their horses. Red Shores' will play host to Premiers from around Canada for the night of power packed action which includes the Founders Cup Invitational for a purse of $25, 000 and the $ 5,000 Builders Cup in recognition of Doug Hill of Charlottetown and Eric Johnston of Summerside. The winner of this year's event will have the honour of representing Canada on the world stage in Australia for the 2015 World Driving Championship. The field is made up of two drivers from the Western region, the Quebec/Eastern Ontario region, the Atlantic region and two from Ontario. Here is an in-depth look at this year's competitors. A two-time World Driving Champion, Jody Jamieson, will be back to represent the Ontario region and look to gain his fifth berth in the World Driving Championships. Jamieson was the winner of the Ontario Regional in May at The Raceway at Western Fair District. The Moffat, Ont. resident is a winner of just under 7000 races, 2014 marks his 20th year with his drivers licence and over that time he has compiled more then 39,200 drives. Along with his two World Driving Championships, Jamieson has two North American Cup victories, two in the $ 1 million Metro Pace and a Little Brown Jug to his resume. In 2009, he returned a Canadian record 796 winners back to the winner circle in a single season. The Nova Scotia native is a three-time O'Brien award winner for Driver of the Year, He has banked over $ 105 million in career purses and this season he has over 180 wins and over $3 million earned. His stablemate from Ontario is Billy Davis Jr. He was the runner up to Jamieson at the Ontario Regionals. He made his move to Ontario in May 2009 for his home in Langley, British Columbia and things have skyrocketed for the man known as 'The Rocketman' ever since. Davis recently picked up his 1700 win on August 12 at Mohawk. The son of O'Brien award winner Bill Davis has been dawning the silks for eight years and has over 11,800 trips behind a starting gate and he has just shy of $15 million in career earnings. Davis returned home to B.C. last November and picked up victories in the $ 75, 000 Mary Murphy Breeders stake and the $ 75, 000 Robert Murphy Breeders stake. Earlier that year he picked up his first Ontario Sire Stake Super Final victory. Davis Jr. will be making his first trip to Red Shores' Charlottetown as he looks to keep the streak of the Ontario region representing Canada alive. A victory in this year's NDC would not be the first time he has represented Canada on the world stage, In 2012 he represented his country in the Prix des Rencontres Internationales de Trotteur Francais in France, which he won. He has over 130 victories this season and has banked just shy of $ 1.5 million in earnings to date this season. With an Ontario region win that will mark the fourth straight year Canada has been represented by an Ontario driver. Gilles Barrieau was the last non-Ontario driver to represent Canada. Heading out west, a young man with strong Island ties, Brandon Campbell was the winner of the Western Regional Driving event at Fraser Downs in April. The son of former P.E.I. horseman Sanford Campbell, this will be Campbell's second attempt at winning the National Driving Championship, he represented the 'West' in 2011 on P.E.I. A winner of over 940 races in his career, Campbell is currently in his 12th year of driving. Campbell called Alberta home from 2003 until 2011 when he made the move to Ontario just after participating in the NDC. He returned back home late in 2012 and since then has become one of the top drivers in Alberta. Campbell has over $ 5.7 million in career earnings. This season he has 62 victories from 420 drives. A win on red soil is sure to be a special one for Campbell. His counterpart from the Western region is Jim Marino. One of the leading drivers at Fraser Downs in his hometown of Surrey, BC, Marino recently surpassed the $10 million mark for career earnings as a driver. He picked up his 1, 800 lifetime driving victory on August 17 at Alberta Downs in the $10 ,000 Alberta Marksman elimination for three-year-old colts. Marino is in his 16th season with his driving tags. This season he has returned 76 of his 467 mounts back to the winner circle. Last season Marino was named the Driver of the Year and Dash winner at the B.C. Standardbred Awards Banquet. He has many major race victories to his credit from his time spent driving in Alberta and B.C., Among that list is BC Sire Stakes finals, Ralph Klein, Mary Murphy and the Robert Millbank. Representing the Quebec/Eastern Ontario region from Gatineau, Que. is Guy Gagnon, he picked up a one point victory in his regional appearance at Hippodrome 3R in June. A winner of over 4300 races is the veteran of the field with 26 years of driving under his belt and over 24, 704 starts. From 2001 until 2012 his earnings were over $1 million each year and over his 26 years he has earned over $ 20 million. He currently sits second in Canada with a .392 UDRS, in 2011 he was nominated as one of three candidates for the O'Brien award for Horsemanship. The Quebec native calls Rideau Carleton his home track and currently sits more then 30 wins ahead at the top of the leader board. Gagnon has 113 victories this season with 102 of those coming at Rideau. His best season came in 2008 when he returned 342 winners back to the winners enclosure and banked over $1.7 million. This will be his second appearance at the NDC, he participated in the 2009 event at Fraser Downs. A runner up to Gagnon in the Quebec/Eastern Ontario region championship, Sylvain Lacaille is back for his second shot at representing Canada at the WDC, he represented Quebec in 2011 at the NDC. From Repentigny, Que, Lacaille has taken a different route to becoming a driver, he drove his first race at the age of seven aboard a pony in which he near fell out of the sulky. Lacaille earned his standardbred tags in 1993 and since than has over 720 lifetime victories and made more than $ 5.5 million in career earnings. The 2013 season was a career best, he hit the 100 win plateau and earned $ 422, 188 in earnings. The Quebec native spends his time between Rideau Carleton and Hippodrome 3R. This season he has 50 wins and has earned over $ 213, ooo from more than 375 drives. Lacaille said prior to the 2011 NDC that he would like to win the WDC representing Canada before he dies. A runner-up in the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship Ryan Ellis has quietly started to leave his mark on Maritime Racing, growing to become one of the primary drivers in the region. The rookie of the field has only been driving since 2007 and rapidly has made his mark at his home track of Truro, winning the driving title in 2011, 2012, 2013 and is well on his way to winning it again this year. He was the leading percentage driver in Canada during the 2012 season batting an astonishing .418. The Brookfield NS native has over 340 victories from 1585 starts. He has a career UDRS of .339 along with more than $ 410,486 in earnings. This season he has eclipsed his wins total from last year with over 45 victories and has earned more money with $52,765. Ellis has made appearances in the year's Gold Cup and Saucer Trial and has also won the Mike MacDonald Consolation with Rare Jewel. Known as 'The Flying Pilot' Ellis is an Air Canada pilot by day and a horsemen by night. He will look to make Nova Scotia proud in his first appearance at the NDC. The winner of the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship and the final participant in the 2014 NDC, is the hometown hero, the king of the Maritimes, Marc Campbell. His second appearance in the NDC couldn't come at a better time, at the top of his game, Campbell is currently the leading driver at both Red Shores' Charlottetown and Summerside, he has 112 wins this season from 486 drives. He started driving in 2004 and is in his 10th season as a driver. He has more than 1240 wins and over $ 2.6 million in lifetime earnings. His resume includes multiple Maritime Breeders and Breeders Crown championships, an O'Brien award for Horsemanship and his biggest moment in harness racing, living out his boyhood dream of winning the Gold Cup and Saucer, a feat he accomplished in 2013. "King Campbell" sure will be at home on Tuesday, his home track is sure to be packed with family and friends, and if that isn't enough. He holds the record for most wins in a single season in Charlottetown, during the 2012 season he notched 130 of them. From a little boy growing up in Orwell, to a young man representing his region on the National stage, Campbell said he wants nothing more than to represent his country at the 2015 World Driving Championships. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores
Tuesday night (August 12) marked the second straight harness racing card Mohawk Racetrack hosted with six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series races. This time it was the three-year-old trotting fillies who got to take a turn over the seven-eighths mile oval, and it was Mystical Wishes who led the way with a 1:55.1 performance. Competing in the second division, Mystical Wishes (Billy Davis Jr.) took over the lead in the stretch after being angled out of the pocket, and she would power away to win by three and a half lengths over Quadrophenia (James MacDonald), who had led through panels of :29, :57.3, and 1:26.1. Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) was third. Tony Alagna trains the winner, a daughter of Muscle Mass, for co-owner/breeder Mystical Marker Farms LLC. of Dyer and co-owner Peggy Hood of Valparaiso, Indiana. Mystical Wishes, whose two-year-old full sister Mystical Brat won in Grassroots action last Saturday at Georgian Downs, is five-for-nine in the win column this year after going winless in four tries as a rookie. Mystical Wishes, who won for the third consecutive time, has earned $35,990 in 2014 and $39,740 lifetime. Mystical Wishes Trainer Herb Holland had two wins in Grassroots competition, striking with Cornaro Dasolo fillies Audrey Pearl (Anthony MacDonald, 1:56.4) and Kate Smith (James MacDonald, 1:57.1). Holland, who hails from Milton, Ontario, also co-owns and has a breeding credit on Audrey Pearl, who won the third flight by three and a half lengths. Vincenzo Strangis of Toronto and Mike Pelosi of Woodbridge, Ontario, co-own the filly, who has a pair of wins from nine attempts this year after not scratching out a victory in seven attempts last season. She has pocketed $26,280 on the campaign and $36,355 in her life. Kate Smith, the winner in the Grassroots nightcap, is a home-bred for Carolyn MacIsaac of Milton, Ontario. Kate Smith didn’t make a pari-mutuel start as a two-year-old, but she has a trio of triumphs from 13 efforts this year, giving her a bankroll of $25,960. Audrey Pearl Kate Smith ; Sire Kadabra also had two winners in Magic Factory (Lorne House, 1:57.3) and Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev, 1:57.4). House also trains Magic Factory, who has three wins from nine attempts this year after not getting a tally from three tries as a rookie, for owner Chantal Ruijs of Harley, Ontario. Magic Factory has put away $16,584 this season and $18,684 lifetime. Miss Aultsville, a Gold Series winner and runner-up in the Super Final last year, won for the first time in five efforts this year and for the third occasion in her career. She is trained by John Kopas, of Milton, Ontario, who also co-owns the filly with Old Aultsville Stable of Mississauga, Ontario, and Pealer Pen of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. The connections also bred the filly, who has banked $10,440 in 2014 and $161,565 in her life. Magic Factory Miss Aultsville The remaining Grassroots winner was Torches Star, an Angus Hall filly who won in 1:57.3 for Hall of Famer Steve Condren and trainer Ben Wallace. Owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario, Torches Star has won twice from nine tries this year, and she posted her third career win. She has earned $22,980 on the campaign and $70,144 lifetime. She also won in Grassroots competition at Mohawk on June 17 of this year. Torches Star The next Grassroots event for three-year-old filly trotters will be held on August 24 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Full charts and results of Tuesday night’s events at Mohawk Racetrack are available here. Ontario Sire Stakes
Headlining Mohawk Racetrack’s Monday night (August 11) harness racing program were six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series events for two-year-old pacing fillies, and while she wasn’t the swiftest winner, Wicked Speed’s win in the fifth flight pushed her record to a perfect three-for-three with two of those victories coming in Grassroots action. With Scott Young handling the driving assignment for his father, trainer Bob Young, Wicked Speed came first-over in the final half and wore down leader Marachere (Jody Jamieson) late in the mile to win by half a length in 1:57.4. Fiftyshadesofbay (Rick Zeron) finished third in the race, which was conducted over a track rated good and a second off due to rainy conditions. Bob Young of Guelph, Ontario, also co-owns the victorious daughter of Mach Three with partner Status Stables Inc. of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Wicked Speed, who also won in Grassroots action at Clinton Raceway on July 20 and has now earned $20,000, was bred by GBW Breeding Farms Inc. and was purchased for $10,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Wicked Speed’s dam is the Western Hanover mare Pannie Oakley ($106,925). Sassafras Girl (Phil Hudon) also picked up her second win in Grassroots competition after grabbing a 1:57 triumph in the nightcap. She was in front through fractions of :28.1, :58.4, and 1:28 before she splashed home in 29 seconds to win by two and a half lengths over Little Miss Artist (Mike Saftic). OK Hallelujah (Sylvain Filion) claimed third. Murray Brethour trains Sassafras Girl, a Badlands Hanover filly, for owner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sassafras Girl, who is now three-for-six overall and has banked $21,380, was bred by Winbak Farm. She’s out of the Die Laughing mare Tug River Della ($219,395) and a half-sister to the likes of Rub N Tug ($433,999). Before the rain visited Mohawk, Ride Away Shark (Jody Jamieson) was an impressive 1:53 winner in the third Grassroots contest. She moved from fifth to first on the way to the 57 second half and didn’t look back on her way to a three length decision over Solar Sister (Doug McNair). Ms Mac N Cheese (Sylvain Filion) collected third. Ride Away Shark, another Winbak Farm-bred filly, has a pair of victories from five attempts and has put away $18,280 for trainer Scott McNiven and owners Kim McNiven of Putnam and Thomas Brodhurst of London, Ontario. Those connections took Ride Away Shark, a daughter of Classic Card Shark, out of last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale for $7,000. She’s the first foal out of the Dream Away mare Freedom Away. Double Creme was an OSS winner as a two-year-old filly, and her daughter is now too as OK Heavenly (Doug McNair) won the Grassroots opener by two and a quarter lengths in 1:55. Chase The Shadows (Jody Jamieson) was next in that dash, followed by Maralika (Chris Christoforou). Mark Steacy trains OK Heavenly, a daughter of Sportswriter, for co-owner/breeder Oak Knoll Stables of Campbellcroft, Ontario, Conrad Leber of Montreal, Quebec, Richard Karper of Saint-Laurent, Quebec, and Wheelhouse Racing Stable of Mississauga, Ontario. It was OK Heavenly’s first win from four trips behind the gate, and she has now banked $12,600. Her dam, who earned $415,049 in her career, has already produced multi-time OSS winner OK Boromir (No Pan Intended, $569,884) and OK Commander ($612,304). Also winning in OSS competition on Monday night were: --Lady Jen (Royal Mattjesty-Ladyjack-Cams Card Shark), who tallied in 1:55.4 for driver Sylvain Filion, trainer Scott McEneny, and owner Hutt Racing Stable. She was also the third winner for breeder Winbak Farm. --Southwind Luna (Sportswriter-Lil Presto Hanover-The Panderosa), who clicked in 1:55.3 for driver Billy Davis Jr., trainer Otis Hall, and owner Nasussito Racing Inc. of Ayr, Ontario. Bred by Southwind Farm, Southwind Luna is the first foal out of her dam, who is a half-sister to the likes of $2.6 million earner McArdle. The next Grassroots event for rookie pacing fillies is on August 23 at Georgian Downs. For full results and charts of Monday night’s events Ontario Sire Stakes .
Warrawee Promesse and trainer/driver Wayne Henry romped to an open length victory in the $78,800 Dream Of Glory Trot for Ontario-sired three-year-old trotting colts and fillies on Sunday evening at Hanover Raceway. The Henry family swept the top three spots with Wayne driving Warrawee Promesse to the 1:58 victory over brother Trevor aboard Aventure and nephew Travis with Erin Hall. Leaving from post five, Warrawee Promesse worked his way to the lead over Erin Hall through the :28.4 opening quarter. He continued to lead past the half in :58.4 and three-quarters in 1:28 while beginning to draw away from the rest of the field. Meanwhile, Kremlin and Billy Davis Jr. advanced first over, but stalled on the outside prompting 4-5 favourite Aventure to rally wide from the backfield in his pursuit of the leader. However, Warrawee Promesse had opened up nearly five lengths on top turning for home and could not be caught. "I left out of there and it took me a little while [to make the lead]," said Henry after the race. "I didn't want to rush him too much because he's been known to run in this first turn before. Once he made the front, he was pretty much on his own." Warrawee Promesse now boasts three consecutive wins in seven starts this year with his sophomore earnings soaring to $51,940. The Windsong Espoir gelding is owned by the Henry Stable of Arthur, Ont. and Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ont. Warrawee Promesse paid $6.30 to win as the 2-1 second choice. Track Record Set In Ontario Sires Stakes Coming into Sunday evening’s program at Hanover Raceway, the track record for a three-year-old pacing gelding was 1:55.1, established by Bandexter on July 17, 2010. Well, after the five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots dashes that took place over the half-mile oval, the mark had been lowered to 1:53.4, and it belonged to a trio of geldings. The first gelding to smash the track record was Shadow Place (Trevor Henry) in the second section. Shadow Place came first-over past the :27.3 opening quarter and then battled on the outside of High Flier (Stu Sowerby) through the half in :56.1 and the three-quarters in 1:23.4. High Flier fought the good fight into the lane and continued to keep Shadow Place at bay, but in deep stretch Shadow Place finally forged his way past. The race wasn’t over, though, as Lucky King (James MacDonald), who had followed from second-over, lunged at Shadow Place at the wire, but in the win photo it was revealed that Shadow Place had just held on, defeating Lucky King by a nose. High Flier was third, beaten a length. Richard Moreau trains Shadow Place, a son of Shadow Play, for Quebec owners 9174 7998 Quebec Inc. of St-Janvier-Mirabel, Les Ecuries Bruce of Piedmont, and Henri Hebert Jr. of Papineauville. Shadow Place has now won twice from six tries this year, and he has four career victories. He has put away $23,440 in 2014 and $51,522 lifetime. Shadios (Billy Davis Jr.) then equaled the new 1:53.4 track record for a sophomore pacing gelding in the fourth Grassroots flight. Fresh off a fast 1:50.3 victory in Grassroots action last time out at Georgian Downs, Shadios led through fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.1 en route to a one and three-quarter length decision over Waco Bruiser (Travis Henry). Some Major Beach (Jody Jamieson) collected third. Tony Alagna trains Shadios, also sired by Shadow Play, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won four times from seven starts this year, and he has five career triumphs. He has earned $35,860 in his sophomore campaign and $50,150 in his life. The time of 1:53.4 also flashed up on the clock following the Grassroots nightcap. This time it was Titus Seelster(Sylvain Filion) who added his name to the record book after nosing out Blacktree (Trevor Henry) at the wire after showing the way through stations of :27.1, :57.3 and 1:25.1. Finishing in third was Arrived Late (James MacDonald). Stephane Larocque trains the victorious son of Artistic Fella for Quebec owners Brian Paquet of Quebec City and Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil. Titus Seelster, making his sixth trip behind the gate this year, broke through for the initial win of his season, and it was his second lifetime tally. He has banked $16,027 this year and $56,152 lifetime. The other Grassroots races were won by: --Little Ben (sired by Jeremes Jet), who halted the clock in 1:54.2 for driver Trevor Henry, trainer Richard Moreau, and owners Luc Ouellette Incorporated and Anita Ouellette of Campbellville, Ont. --Reasonable Force (Shadow Play), who was a 1:55.1 victor for driver James MacDonald, trainer Tony Montini, and owners Doug Dunbar of London, Ont. and Robert Leblanc of White Plains, New York. Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots action for the three-year-old male pacers will resume on August 19 at Mohawk Racetrack. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Georgian Downs rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series with five $18,000 dashes going behind the gate. When the dust had cleared, it was Shadios who shined brightest, turning in a career-best 1:50.3 clocking in the fourth Grassroots flight. With Billy Davis Jr. in the bike, Shadios sat in second while Warrawee Phoenix (Scott Coulter) rattled off fast fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:22.2. Davis Jr. already had his charge out of the pocket at three-quarters and he took control entering the far turn. From there, Shadios set sail for the wire, which he reached five lengths to the good over runner-up Regal Babe (Mike Saftic). Twin B Spy (Robert Shepherd) finished in third. Tony Alagna trains Shadios, a Shadow Play gelding, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won three times from six starts this year and he has four career victories. He has earned $26,860 in 2014 and $41,150 in his life. Davis Jr. also won the Grassroots opener with Some Major Beach, the Major In Art half-brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere. Making his first start for trainer Dave Menary, Some Major Beach worked out a second-over trip and then converted it into a 1:52.4 victory. He defeated Major Homer (Travis Henry) by two and three-quarters lengths with Allstar Seelster (Mike Saftic) back in third. Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Robert Watson of Ashfield, Australia and Martinez Equine of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania own Some Major Beach. This was his second career win from 17 tries and he has banked $154,226. The other three divisions were all won by driver Scott Coulter. He guided Andreios Kardia to a 1:53.1 decision in the second split; Regal Son to a 1:54.1 tally in the third division; and Lucky King to a 1:53.1 triumph in the Grassroots nightcap. Andreios Kardia, a gelding by Badlands Hanover, is trained by Jeff Madill for owner/breeder Ina Madill of Innisfil, Ont. Unraced as a freshman, Andreios Kardia is four-for-16 this year with $55,350 in the bank. Regal Son, a Stonebridge Regal colt, is trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont, who also bred Regal Son with long-time partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. Gordon Wright of Charlotte, Michigan is also part of the ownership contingent. Regal Son is a four-time winner in his racing career and he has earned over $55,550. Andrew McCabe sent out Camluck colt Lucky King for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. This was the first Ontario Sires Stakes win this year for Lucky King, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. He has six career victories and he has stashed away $91,053 for his connections. The next event for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series is slated for August 3 at Hanover Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 12 - A quintet of Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old pacers were contested Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Lady Shadow turned in the performance of the evening with a sizzling 1:49.2 victory in the third and final $17,477 elimination for the pacing fillies. The Gregg McNair trainee was sent hard to the front by driver Rick Zeron and never looked back. Off a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Lady Shadow paced home in :27.1 for a 8 ¾ length victory. The 1:49.2 clocking was a new lifetime best for the daughter of Shadow Play - Lady Camella and her third win in six starts this season. Nefertiti Bluechip finished in the place spot, while Justabit Mean was third. The elimination victory boosts Lady Shadow's career earnings to over $320,000 for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She paid $4.40 to win. My Secret Belle and owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon converted off a pocket trip in the first elimination. The daughter of Mach Three - Kindly Jenna grabbed the lead early and was able to take a seat in the two-hole when Brookedale Shadow cleared to the front as the field hit the backstretch. At the top of the lane, Hudon pulled the pocket and My Secret Belle paced by Brookedale Shadow for a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1. Brookedale Shadow held on for second over Artful Impulse. The win was the fifth in 17 starts this year for My Secret Belle and it pushes her career earnings to more than $110,000. She paid $3.80 to win. In the second split, Sudoku and driver Jody Jamieson turned in a 2 ½ length victory in 1:51.1. The daughter of Badlands Hanover - Mind Boggling was situated third over on the final turn and unleashed a :26.4 last quarter. Performing Art, who was second over in front of Sudoku, finished second, while Badlyinclined rallied for third. The 1:51.1 clocking was a new lifetime best for Sudoku, who is now undefeated in two starts this season for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.The victory boosts her career earnings to over $225,000 for the ownership group of Let It Ride Stable Inc, Mentally Stable Inc, Dana Parham and Howard Taylor. Sudoku returned $3.70 to win. The first $26,149 elimination for the colts and geldings went to 2013 Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel and driver Jonathan Drury in 1:50.3. The son of Mach Three - Teig N Riley took the lead approaching the half and dug in through the stretch to hold off a late charging Hunch Man by half a length. Victor Bayama finished third. The victory was the third in five starts this season for Boomboom Ballykeel and it equaled his career mark. He is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Ballykeel Racing Inc. Shadowbriand and Roger Mach Em finished fourth and fifth to secure the last two spots for next week's final. Boomboom Ballykeel now has careers earning exceeding $478,000 and he paid $7.80 to win. The second and final elimination went to the Dr. Ian Moore trained Silverhill Shadow and driver Chris Christoforou. The son of Shadow Play - Ruthie Jane made a brush to the lead down the backstretch and paced away from the field in the stretch to Prince Clyde finished second, while Speckled Door was third. The elimination victory was the second win in ten starts this season for Silverhill Shadow and increased his career earnings to over $85,000 for owner Silverhill. Lucky King and Titus Seelster clinched the last two spots in the final with fourth and fifth place finishes. Silverhill Shadow returned $4.30 to win. The finals for both divisions will be held next Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk as part of the Maple Leaf Trot card. Following the eliminations, the post positions for both finals were drawn in the paddock. Elimination winners were able to select their own post position. Here is how they will lineup for next week's finals. Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Filles - Purse: $122,343 1. Performing Art - Billy Davis Jr. 2. Sudoku - Jody Jamieson 3. My Secret Belle - Joe Hudon Jr. 4. Lady Shadow - Rick Zeron 5. Badlyinclined - Jack Moiseyev 6. Justabit Mean - Jonathan Drury 7. Brookedale Shadow - Chris Christoforou 8. Brescia Seelster - Sylvain Filion 9. Nefertiti Bluechip - Jody Jamieson 10. Artful Impulse - Steve Condren AE: Mea Lilley Mark - Mike Saftic Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Colts and Geldings - Purse: $122,028 1. Shadowbriand - Paul Macdonell 2. Speckled Door - Phil Hudon 3. Silverhill Shadow - Chris Christoforou 4. Boomboom Ballykeel - Jonathan Drury 5. Roger Mach Em - Jack Moiseyev 6. Lucky King - Billy Davis Jr. 7. Prince Clyde - James MacDonald 8. Hunch Man - Mike Saftic 9. Titus Seelster - Sylvain Filion 10. Victor Bayama - Sylvain Filion AE: High Flier - Billy Davis Jr. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
SUMMERSIDE, PE - Carnivore capped off a Marc Campbell harness racing driving triple to propel the Island reinsman to victory in Saturday night's Atlantic Regional Driving Championship at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. Campbell scored a 1:55.1 win with Carnivore in the final race of the competition for trainer Marvyn Webster and owner Valleygrove Farm of Kensington, P.E.I. Campbell finished the competition with 71 points to send him to the National Driving Championship on August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. "I'm feeling really good," Campbell said after the victory. "I had a good line up and the horses raced good. It's always close these kind of things and that's what makes it really exciting." Pictonian Press finished second to put Nova Scotia driver Ryan Ellis into the other spot for the National's with 65 points, while PC Shockwave finished third to give Darren Crowe 55 points, finishing third in the competition. "It started out good and I just had good horses I guess," Ellis said. "After looking at the card I thought I had a shot and the horses came through." Jason Hughes finished fourth in the competition with 50 points, while Gilles Barrieau was fifth with 49 points followed by Todd Trites (41), Brodie MacPhee (31), Ryan Campbell (31) and Kevin Dillon (27). Hughes opened up the competition in race 2 with a 2:01.1 victory aboard Miracleonthehudson to give him the early lead over Silverhill Princess (Todd Trites) and Diagram Hanover (Ellis). Lyndale Royal captured race 3 in a 10-length 1:56.4 score for Ellis over Ok Chivas (Marc Campbell) and Rivervues Legacy (Crowe), giving Ellis the points lead. Ultimate Labamba captured race 4 in 1:58 giving the top spot to Marc Campbell with second going to Just Coastin Along (Hughes) and Whitesand Artist (Gilles Barrieau) third. Rash B Havior delivered as the post time favorite in race 5 to widen the lead for driver Marc Campbell with Bad Date (Crowe) second and The Warden (Brodie MacPhee) third. Dance Hanover captured race 6 to propel Trites into third place with second in that race going to Blu Meadow Willie (MacPhee) and Joachim (Ryan Campbell) third. Race 7 had Darren Crowe bring himself into contention with a 1:57 victory aboard Barrett Jackson ahead of In Cahoots (Barrieau) and Smackwaterjack (Ellis). Its Handsome Hank captured race 8 in 1:59.1 to put Ellis into second place behind Marc Campbell with Roccos Cavallo (Kevin Dillon) second and River Paradise (Hughes) third. Marc Campbell sat out race 10 to see Barrieau score with Keystone Nobility over Tyber Champ (Darren Crowe) with Onehotvett (Ryan Ellis) third. Marc Campbell and Ellis will join Jody Jamieson, Billy Davis Jr., Brandon Campbell, Jim Marino, Guy Gagnon and Sylvain Lacaille in the National Driving Championship. The Summerside card also featured two divisions of the Atlantic Aged Mares Pacing Series with Bunny Mach capturing the first division in 1:56.2 for trainer-driver Hughes and owners Donald and Steven MacRae of Vernon Bridge. Veronicavermillion (Brian MacPhee) was second with Prynne Hanover (Mike McGuigan) third. The second division went to General Luckypercy and Barrieau in 1:56.1 for trainer Jackie Matheson and owners Jack Brown and Jodilynn Matheson of Charlottetown. Andro Madi (Dale Spence) was second with Dirt Track Momma (Marc Campbell) third. By Nicholas Oakes
The field for the 2014 Atlantic Regional Driving Championship, scheduled for Saturday, June 28 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Summerside in PEI, has been confirmed. The participating drivers are: • Gilles Barrieau (N.B.) • Marc Campbell (P.E.I.) • Ryan Campbell (N.S.) • Darren Crowe (N.S.) • Kevin Dillon (Nfld.) • Ryan Ellis (N.S.) • Jason Hughes (P.E.I.) • Brodie MacPhee (P.E.I.) • Todd Trites (N.B.) The top two drivers from the nine-race competition will join Brandon Campbell, Billy Davis Jr., Jody Jamieson, Jim Marino and the top two drivers from the Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional at the 2014 National Driving Championship scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. To read the rest of the story click here.
Millionaire pacing mare Voelz Hanover prevailed in a stretch duel with Bullet Point to earn her 40th career win in the $30,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Pace on Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Driver Mike Saftic sent Voelz Hanover to the top from post seven through a :26.3 opening panel and continued to lead past the half in :55 and three-quarters in 1:23.3 with pressure mounting in the form of Bullet Point, driven by Chris Christoforou. The top two were stride for stride turning for home, but Voelz Hanover persevered in the stretch duel for the 1:51.4 triumph. Bullet Point was beaten by a quarter of a length. Diving to the inside, Waasmula and Billy Davis Jr. edged out a pocket-pulling D Gs Pesquero, driven by Rick Zeron, less than a length behind in third. To read the rest of the story click here.
TORONTO, May 21 - WEG standardbred racing is set to return to Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville for the 51st season of live racing. The 102-day meet will kick off on Thursday, May 22 and live racing will be held five nights a week on Mondays, Tuesdays (except May 27 and October 7) , Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Each race night will have a 7:25 p.m. first race post time. "It's an exciting time of the year," noted driver Jonathan Drury. "Everyone looks forward to the return of Mohawk because that means it's summer time and a full schedule of great stakes events. Other drivers along with fans and customers are going to have a lot of fun this summer." The most anticipated event on the stakes calendar is the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, featuring the finest three-year-old pacers, set for Saturday, June 14. The evening will offer a special post time of 6:45 p.m. Stakes action begins immediately at Mohawk, with the SBOA Stakes eliminations for three-year-old filly pacer and trotters featured on the initial Saturday card, and continues almost non-stop until fall. Major stakes engagements include the Maple Leaf Trot (Saturday, July 19), the Metro Pace, Canadian Pacing Derby and Shes A Great Lady Stakes (Saturday, August 30) and the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage Stakes, Peaceful Way Stakes and William Wellwood Memorial (Saturday, September 13). Ribs will be prominent throughout Pepsi North America Cup weekend as Crabby's BBQ Shack and Silver Bullet BBQ will play host to fans.The popular 'Your First Bet Is On Us' promotion returns. Every customer can register on site for a free $2 bet. Fans can also visit Labatt's Beerville to play great games and win cool prizes. Mohawk Racetrack will also be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the town of Campbellville. Mohawk will host fireworks on Friday, June 13 with a special post time of 7:05 p.m. Mohawk fans can also follow the action each night on Twitter. Hosts Mike Hamilton, along with track announcer Ken Middleton and Greg Gangle will offer 'tweets' during each live program aimed at giving customers more race related information. You can follow them on Twitter at the following: Hamilton_WOMoh, Middleton_WOMoh, GGangle_WOMoh. Fans should also be sure to check out Mohawks Trackside Bar for its nightly specials throughout the meet. The specials are listed below: Monday - 1/2 Price Wings Tuesday - Bud & Burger Thursday - Steak N Stella Friday - Thank Cod It's Friday Patrons are also encouraged to engage with Mohawk Racetrack through its Facebook page found by clicking the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mohawk-Racetrack/164889090219676 Also fans can go to www.Twitter.com to sign on to Twitter and then search for the following harness racing stars. Drivers: Aaron Byron - @ByronAaron Chris Christoforou - @CCAstreos Dan Clements - @DanielWClements Jonathan Drury - @JDruryRacing Billy Davis Jr. - @BillyDavisRacin Phil Hudon – @Whodon99 Jonathan Drury - @JDruryRacing Anthony Haughan - @AHaughan Jody Jamieson - @JodyJamRacing James MacDonald - @JamesOMac26 Anthony MacDonald – @HorseRacingAMac Doug McNair – @DMcNair12 Scott Young – @YoungieAnswers Scott Zeron - @ScottZeron Trainers: Carmen Auciello - @CarmenAuciello Nick Boyd - @Ralphie9 Blair Burgess - @Desibesi Casie Coleman - @FastLane111 Danny Girard - @DannyGirard1 Mark Horner - MarkHorner44 Corey Johnson – @SeaJay09 Blake MacIntosh - @BlakeMacRacing Robert McIntosh - @BobMcIntosh52 Jason McGinnis - @JasonMcGinnis21 Anthony Montini - @MontiniRacing Mike Sinclair - @Sinny51 Shawn Steacy - @S_Steacy by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Jody Jamieson won a wide-open Ontario Regional Driving Championship in a heated battle right down to the finish line on Friday night at The Raceway at Western Fair District. Jamieson and Ontario Regional runner-up Billy Davis Jr. will advance to the 2014 National Driving Championship on August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. Jamieson secured the victory in the final leg of the eight-race Ontario Regional, earning his third challenge win to give him a total of 67 points. Davis Jr. held on for second, finishing with 60 points. Rounding out the leaderboard were Doug McNair (56 points), Trevor Henry (47), Scott Coulter (43), J.R. Plante (36), James MacDonald (32), and Paul MacKenzie (29). To read the rest of the story click here.
Harness racing driver James MacDonald comes from quite the racing family. His mom, Gale is the track photographer in Charlottetown, PEI and his dad, Fred, owns broodmares. His brothers Mark MacDonald races in the USA and Anthony is a Woodbine and Mohawk circuit veteran. There's Curtis who designs simulcasting graphics for various horse tracks throughout North America. "Curtis is a sharp cookie" says James. "Curtis learned a lot of that from my other brother Lloyd." Lloyd is in the same line of work as Curtis and there is Bobby who is a blacksmith in PEI. With his family deeply involved with horses, James 28 didn't take to horses until he came to Ontario to work for his brother Anthony ten years ago. James feels no pressure as the younger brother of successful drivers; instead James will make his own footprints in harness racing one step at a time. "You just need to work hard and respect the horse" says James. "Drive every horse accordingly depending on the race and what the situation is. There are lots to think about and I don't expect big things, I think if you work hard and people like your driving then you can catch on." "When you watch the top drivers in the world, the Tim Tetricks, the John Campbells (and Mark MacDonalds), you have to drive every kind of horse." James adds, "There are three very different styles, there is the front end, first up and off the pace... You need to be good with them all, if you end up in a spot where you are first up you need to be able to keep the horse going. You need to be able to race any horse off the pace and I think that's what all good drivers do very well." "I try to not have a style and drive the horse as the race comes to me" says James. Speaking with James, I get the feel he is the 'visionary' type of person who can anticipate what goes on during a race ahead of time. "It doesn't matter how much you study the program or how much you know the horses, anything can happen when the gates open." James says. Anthony Macdonald considers James a lot like Mark MacDonald when it comes to driving horses. It's very natural and appears effortless. "Horses will let you know what they are comfortable with" says James. "It's getting a feel for the horse and the more you drive competitive horses you can feel out what a horse is like. You might tell someone a horse doesn't like the front and then it will go out and win on the front. So it's not always full proof that's for sure." James doesn't train horses but he does have some babies along with a couple of race horses at the barn. "My wife, (Jenna) and I along with Johnny McKinnon have five babies here right now and some race horses.... We break in the babies, Johnny and Jenna do the brunt of the work and I come in and jog them and help them out." James credits his brother Anthony and Jamie Smith for helping him out when he first arrived in Ontario. "They showed me the ropes and what the do's and don'ts are when training horses" says James. "I actually trained a few for a couple of years. Mark and Anthony are equally helpful, if I do something on the track they think is wrong, they're very helpful. They won't scream or shout, they will show me the right way to do it." "Also a lot of people, who don't know me, will put me down to drive because they have had good luck with Mark or they had good luck with Anthony." James notes. A good point James brings up is there are so many good trainers and drivers in the harness racing industry sports fans never get to hear about. People within the horse industry can attest to countless people who deserve praise for their work as trainers or drivers. Unfortunately because they haven't had that break out horse to add a spotlight to their efforts, they go unseen by the general public and that's disappointing. "This is all I want to do" says James. "I love horses, I love racing horses and I love driving horses. There are so many good drivers... it's a tough game." What's good for the game is promotion of the sport and James agrees that what Jeff Gural at the Meadowlands is doing can only result in positives for the industry. "I think he's great for the sport. Clearly he's helped out the Meadowlands and built a beautiful new facility, whatever he's doing is working and he's trying. He's putting in the effort that is for sure." "I think this is a great sport and it deserves a lot of praise." James says. "Jody Jamieson can walk anywhere in Ontario and people won't have a clue who he is. Any top 20 driver in Ontario walking in Prince Edward Island or the Maritimes and everybody knows who you are because it's huge out there (in the Maritimes). The money isn't great but they love the sport down there." Harness racing offers so much in terms of fan appeal with opportunities to meet drivers and trainers, getting autographs and even going for tours of the paddocks at some race tracks. In what sport does the average fan have the opportunity to go behind the scenes to see how it really is? To date James has driven in some big races such as the Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot and many Super Finals. "The experience has been great driving against guys like Tetrick and Sears. I haven't been able to win a big one yet. They are all intense and that's when you got to shine." James explains. When it comes to being on the track with other top drivers, James is keenly observing everything they're doing with their horse. James doesn't choose to pick their brain as a professional courtesy. "They're here to drive and do a job. I would but it's out of respect." On May 9th at the Raceway at Western Fair, (London, ON) James along with fellow drivers, Alfie Carroll, Jody Jamieson, Scott Coulter, Billy Davis Jr., Trevor Henry, Doug McNair and JR Plante will square off in the 2014 Ontario Regional Driving Championship. The top two drivers of the eight race competition will compete against the top two drivers from the three other regional's taking place in Canada for the National Driving Championship. The National Champion will represent Canada in the World Driving Competition taking place in Australia. "The top eight (drivers) in wins, in Ontario were selected and I actually ended up 11th because I missed a several of months with a broken leg. I was off three months and was set back because I was having a good start to the year." James explains. "There were three drivers that opted out, because it is time consuming" explains James. "It's tough to book off drives and you had to be willing to commit and book off time if you won. Since three guys turned it down I was selected." James broke his leg during a race at Woodbine racetrack. His horse made a break and fell resulting in James' broken leg. Throughout the recovery time James remained positive with the help of his family and friends. "It's such a great industry, I had people pop by the entire time and my friends were always over to see me and my wife was always there." One thing is for sure, horsemen and women always stand firmly behind one another during difficult times, such as coping with various injuries. Whether or not you're related, if you are a part of the harness racing industry, you are considered family. By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.comTwitter: ScSupernova
Mother Hen and local horseman Mike Sumner held off a late charge from That'll Be Franny for a gate-to-wire score in Tuesday's featured $7,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3 Pace at Western Fair Raceway. Second choice Mother Hen ($7.70) grabbed the lead from post one in the evening's featured fourth race and rebuffed a quarter-pole challenge from the favourites, Insincerity and Scott Coulter, leaving them parked the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Mother Hen pressed on and prevailed by a quarter-length in 1:57.3 over That'll Be Franny, who closed wide from the back of the pack with Nick Steward aboard. Romantic Fever and Billy Davis Jr. followed two lengths behind in third. Longshots Little Brown Mug and Trevor Henry were fourth with Insincerity fading to fifth. The seven-year-old Banner Yankee mare earned her second win in 12 starts this year and ninth lifetime, pushing her bankroll to $119,636. To read the rest of the story click here.