The excitement in harness racing starts to build as the starting car drives into position and the gates fan out engaging the horses to approach. During that time, the Starter announces to the drivers to approach and the race is about to kick off! Brad Pittock of The Raceway at Western Fair, (located in London, ON) is the Starter who prides himself on fairness and always keeping in mind safety at all times. Whenever the starting car moves into position, Brad like all starters faces the field and is also the eyes for the driver of the starting car, notifying him of any horses nearby if and when the cars has to make any turns. Brad watches as each horse approaches ensuring everyone is aware of the timing. The starter must also control the tempo using a joystick as an accelerator, (which is connected to the driver's foot accelerator), to increase the starting car's velocity while on his left side there is a switch to open and close the gates. "I operate the speed of the car around the turn" explains Brad. "It is pretty much like a golf swing, you continue to pick up speed around the turn and ideally when you get to the start, you're flowing away from (the field). You don't want to bring them up to the start and just take off... this way the horses can come out on their best foot and follow through." Yes there is a driver in the front seat who steers, but it's the Starter who must ensure there is fairness by maintaining a gradual rise in speed so all horses leave the gate together. The Starter keeps an eye out for any broken equipment and is in constant communication with the judges pending any inquiries after the race and if a horse is required to go to the test barn after each race. The Starter must relay all information clearly to the horsemen, so everyone is aware and not caught off guard. Communication is of vital importance as any hiccup not only affects the horses and horsemen, but the betting public as well. Brad announces through his microphone to the drivers at one minute intervals starting when there is three minutes to post. "I say three minutes, two minutes, one minute and when we get to the middle of the track that is the official call (to post). There is a horn and a light, what I will do is hit the horn and turn on the light and that is called by the rule book the 'official call' and then I will see the horses coming my way." Brad says. "Generally if there is a scratch in the race, when they're coming up I will give a verbal (announcement) as to what the scratches are." Brad notes, "they're very aware, but if a driver is in every race, he may not know (there is a scratch). A 'scratch' means a horses has been pulled out of the race after the program has been released. A horse can be scratched for various reasons, primarily the reason is due to the horse being sick or the racetrack Veterinarian doesn't feel the horse is fit enough to race. "I've had my starter's license for 14 years" says Brad. "I originally started in Hanover and I've also filled in at Flamboro Downs. I've also worked at Woodstock and at Grand River when Grand River first started. I've been here (at Western Fair) for the last eight years and I work at Clinton Raceway as well." By doing so, Brad has a year round job as a starter as Western Fair races from September to May and Clinton Raceway conducts live racing from June through August. Brad also trains two horses on the side. Brad went to Seneca College for the Harness Horse Industry Operation program that was taught by well known trainer Benjamin Wallace. "I also worked down in the States for a few years for a buddy who (learned) his trade under Linda Tuscano." Brad explains. "I've also worked for a couple different barns training horses and then had a public stable. More recently, probably the last twelve years I've just had a couple horses myself and do the starting for a living." Brad's personality suits his career as he's always conscientious about others and their well being. "I want to be able to give everybody an opportunity to make a living with their horses" says Brad and this is his motivation for every race. Aside from looking out for everyone's interest, Brad took the Starter's role as a means to make a living as well as training horses. Brad taking care of his own needs helps facilitate the needs of others in an honest and moral way. "You want to make sure the public has a fair and equitable opportunity for their dollar and give them a good chance. Also with my horse background I know how tough it is to make a living owning horses and training horses... it is a strength for me to be conscientious for others to make a living." Every track Brad works at has a different driver. So being able to work cohesively with as many people possible is a major aspect for Brad to ensure everything from his standpoint runs in a fluid manner. "It's a partnership for sure" says Brad. Every race needs someone like Brad, someone who cares for everyone! Brad enjoys taking fans in the starting car for a great experience, a view unlike any other. To see the horses, nostrils flaring in eager anticipation, going into full step as the starting car pulls away is second to none. The only people with a better view are the harness drivers themselves. At Western Fair, the car pulls away going into the first turn and sitting to Brad's right give you a full view action of the horses battling for position going into the turn and you are able to get a full view on the back end as the horses come out of the first turn. Even better, with Western Fair being a half mile track, as the starting car sits in the far side away from the grandstand, you're able to witness the thrill of the drivers making moves to the outside as they gear up for the final 1/2 mile coming out of the third turn. This is where key decision making comes into play by the drivers and ultimately having a major factor in outcome. If you're interested in riding along in the starting car, be sure to check with the Racing Manager at Western Fair, Greg Blanchard. If and when it is possible, Greg would be sure to have you enjoy the experience of a lifetime along with Brad. The ride does get bumpy so be sure to hold on! By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
Hanover, ON - Due to the quick melt and the hard work of track staff, Hanover Raceway will be able to open its track to outside training on Monday April 28th. Training will be open daily from the ship in barn. Hanover's 2014 live season begins Saturday June 7th, and will continue until September 27th. The season opening day will include a FREE HR 50th anniversary hat for the first 100 programs that are sold on site, and June's live schedule include's both Pepsi Family Day and Molson Men's Night, with 2,000 dollars worth of prize giveaways each night. by Gord Dougan, for Hanover Raceway
TORONTO, April 21 - Samira Hanover found the line when it counted the most as she notched her first win of the season in the $43,200 final of the Lifetime Dream final on Monday evening at Woodbine. The trotting miss, driven by Paul Macdonell, stopped the clock in a stakes record time of 1:53.3 at odds of 28-1. MacDonell left alertly in the early stages as he settled Samira Hanover in third, behind the two favourites Rose Run Oriana (Randy Waples) and Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) at the opening quarter in a quick :26.4. As the field of 10 headed towards the half, Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) made a brush to the lead at the half in :56.2. That left Frisky Magic first over around the final turn, which allowed Samira Hanover to angle to the outside to catch cover. Heavily-favoured Rose Run Oriana popped out of the two-hole before three-quarters in 1:25 and quickly took over command. Down the stretch, Rose Run Oriana was in an all-out drive from Waples, but MacDonell showed his charge open road and Samira Hanover wore down the tempo-setter in deep stretch to win by half a length. Rockin With Dewey split horses late in the mile to finish third. Trained by Mike Keeling for P C Wellwood Enterprises Inc, Steve Organ, William Weaver and A K Malik Stable, Samira Hanover increased her career bankroll to $104,280. The four-year-old daughter of Kadabra celebrated her sixth career victory. She paid $59.40 to win. The Lifetime Dream Series is for four and five-year-old trotting mares, who are non-winners of $200,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2013. Also on Monday's programme, the opening round of the Tie Silk Series kicked off with a pair of $15,000 divisions. Driver Mike Saftic guided both Musical Spell and Entranced to victory in their respective connections. Sent off as the co-favourite at odds of 2-1, Musical Spell Mike Saftic went gate-to-wire in 1:57.2 to capture the first division. The son of Kadabra laid down panels of :27.2, :58.4 and 1:29.1, before fending off a late challenge from the other co-favourite Windsun Revenge (Chris Christoforou) to stop the clock in 1:57.2. Gangio (Keith Oliver) finished third. Trained by Mike Guitard for owner Haryott Stables Inc, Musical Spell remains a perfect two-for-two to start his 2014 campaign. The bay gelding increased his bankroll to $15,500. He paid $6.80 to win. One race later, Saftic used the same tactics as Entranced stopped the clock in a speedy 1:54.4, a North American season's record. The Garth Gorden trainee cruised through panels of :27.1, :56 and 1:25.1, before scoring a comfortable one and a half length win. So Not Cool (Mario Baillargeon) came on for second, over even-money favourite Verdi (Paul Macdonell). Gorden also co-owns the son of Kadabra with Gary Green and Bernard Tobin. After banking $21,000 as a rookie last season, Entranced celebrated his second career victory and new lifetime best. He paid $11.90 to win. The Tie Silk Series is for three-year-olds trotters, who are non-winners of $30,000 in 2013. More stakes action continues on Thursday night as two $15,000 divisions of the Tie Silk kicks off in the opening round. Post time is set for 7:25 p.m. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
London, April 21, 2014 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District wishes to advise horse people and customers that the start time for qualifiers on Friday mornings will be changed from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. beginning this Friday. The new start time will remain in effect for the balance of the Spring Meet which concludes on Friday, May 30. The Raceway will be a busy place during the final month of racing as it plays host to the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on May 9, the Molson Pace Prep on May 23 and the Molson Pace on May 30. by Greg Blanchard, for the Raceway
With Grand River Raceway's 2014 live racing season less than six weeks away, the Elora, ON track has issued the following training notice. Effective Thursday, April 24, the track will be open for training every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon, with all horses vacated by 1:00 p.m. This schedule will remain in effect for the balance of the season, except by special notice. Details of the track's qualifying schedule and draw days will be released soon. The 2014 season kicks off its 48-day meet on Monday, June 2 with the fifth annual Local Biz Night event. Grand River's 2014 live racing schedule is posted here: http://grandriverraceway.com/live-racing-schedule/ by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway
Darren Crowe is a 23 year veteran who feels blessed to have been able to be in harness racing for this long. Darren has been one of the leading drivers at Truro Raceway for many years and has made quite an impact on horsemen throughout his career, including last year's top driver, Ryan Ellis. "The last four years we've been going at it" says Darren about the competition between him and Ryan Ellis for top driver at Truro Raceway. It's definitely about bragging rights and as Darren says "we give it to each other pretty good." One thing all horsemen enjoy is joking and having fun with one another. "I enjoy my job and I love getting out of bed each morning and coming to work and a lot of people can't say that" says Darren about his passion for working with horses. Darren in past years raced in Alberta and in Ontario at Western Fair Raceway and Flamboro Downs. One key race Darren drove in was the Nat Christie in Alberta. "It was pretty cool; I just got there a couple days before I went to work for Meridian Farms. Bill Andrews, he had a couple of horses in it and one of them made the finals, so it was pretty cool to be in it. I think Hawaiian Cowboy won it that year." Darren says. Hawaiian Cowboy won the Nat Christie in 2001 by 4 ½ lengths driven by Luc Ouellette. Darren is currently the Active Director for Standardbred Canada in the Atlantic region and his goal is to voice the opinions and concerns of his fellow horsemen constructively. Darren is a family man with a two-year-old son Brennan and his wife of three years is Robyn. "We weren't going to have any children, but we decided to have one.... I love spending the afternoons with him. We have this little fella and we are happy with him so we are going to quit at one." Darren says with a chuckle. To the point, when it comes to horse racing, Darren's most proud of being able to do what he loves for this length of time. He definitely doesn't take his work for granted. "Once you have a kid your perspective on life changes a bit. Things that used to bother me, like getting parked in a race or a horse going lame... things happen and you move on. I can go home and see my little fella and hangout with him." "For example I grew up on a dairy farm" explains Darren. "My best friend growing up has a dairy farm and in the afternoon if my little fella wants to go do something we'll go hangout there and do some field work or milk some cows, he enjoys it. That's how I unwind." With Darren growing up on a dairy farm, he got into horses through his best friend's dad and grandfather, who both had horses. "I kind of took a liking to them and came up through that way, cleaning stalls and jog their horses."Darren explains. "They were friends with Phil Pinkney who was an O'Brien award winner for Horsemanship and he's in the barn next to me and I grew up around Phil, watching what he did with young horses and shoeing. I shoe horses for Phil now, probably 18-20 years and I learned so much from him in regards to shoeing and looking for soundness." "I've had great owners over the years" says Darren. "Good owners, that's the key. You have to have owners that are going to stand behind you." Through the years, Darren has had quite a few horses pass through his care that have gone on to be quite successful, but the biggest name of all would be Somebeachsomewhere! "I got to shoe Somebeachsomewhere when he was here in the Maritimes." Darren says. "That was cool, going on to be the horse he was. I got to say I got to shoe him as a yearling til his 3-year-old year when he left." "As it turned out now, nobody knew he was going to be the horse he was as a yearling. He is just a nice horse, a little rough to shoe cause he would throw you around a little bit." Darren admits. "Now that he's the sire he turned out to be its pretty cool thinking I got to shoe that horse when he was here." Darren does have a pair of Somebeachsomewhere's shoes left as a keepsake which is pretty awesome, what a piece of horse racing memorabilia to have! Darren plans on getting the shoes chromed and then displayed on a plaque. Darren likes to keep shoeing simple and not make it complicated as others try to make it. It's about having proper angles and keep the levels right. "Horses are horses and you got to keep it simple" says Darren. "A lot of people get hung up on shoeing in regards to different shoes and fancy shoes... messing with their angles. A lot of it has to do with confirmation of the horse. If the horse has good confirmation, chances are you're not going to mess with the shoeing very often. Just keep it simple and he'll be what he's going to be. God made them that way, that's how they're going to be." Darren doesn't get hung up on what races he has won or hasn't with the exception of one given that he's a Truro native. "The Exhibition Cup, that's the free for all race of the year. During the Grand Circuit week and it wasn't for a lot of money, maybe $7,500 but I had the longest shot on the board at 99-1 and the horse ended up winning that race." Darren says. One major aspect to horse racing Darren feels the sport needs is better marketing and more attention. "I always thought the show they had on Monday nights on the Score was a pretty good show. Then they changed it a little to Bet Night Live, I think people like the interaction and interviews with the drivers and trainers talking about their horses. It's not on anymore, probably due to funding." During the discussion with Darren, they idea of company sponsorship came up such as putting company names on numbers or even if Nike got into the business and designed helmets for drivers. Having the Nike logo on the back or side of helmets would be awesome and the ad revenue can go towards purses or even to drivers. With drivers including Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos and sporting shirts in ads and being paid to do so. What if Scott Zeron had his race jacket designed by Reebok and in billboard ads you see him sporting the jacket with the Reebok logo and the next big upcoming race featured right beside the logo and which track the race would be taken place? Even t-shirts with the Under Armour logo and the name of top horses like Foiled Again or Vegas Vacation beside it. That could be a fashion trend that could draw potentially millions of dollars for the horse racing industry. Drivers, trainers, owners and race tracks could all draw in funds in sponsorship revenue. All other sports do it, why not horse racing? Start with the biggest races and have it trickle down to the point where all tracks and all races can attract news fans through new trends. Kids might want to sport a pair of Nike Shoes that are nicknamed 'The Captain' and have Captaintreacherous' profile on the shoe, or major stake names that he's won designed in the trainer's or driver's colors. Why not? It's different and new, if it hasn't been done up to now, who says it can't work? "Look at NASCAR and what they do with their sponsorship" says Darren. "It's boring up until the last ten laps but look how much they do." In the TV show Duck Dynasty, the characters are sporting Under Armour camouflage shirts... if hunting can get that type of sponsorship, why not horse racing. "It's a great show" says Darren. "Why not? It would have to be the right sponsor and they'd have to get some kind of bang for their buck right." "There's a lot that can be done promotion wise, but I think TV would be the best route." Darren explains. "If Jody Jamieson won a race on national television and he had Nike on his suit, that's a pretty good plug for Nike." Or after certain races, the winning driver is filmed drinking Powerade or Gatorade or Chocolate Milk. Drinking Milk would help promote another farming industry as well. "Jeff Gural at the Meadowlands, he runs it his way but it seems to be working" according to Darren. "He wants people to bet and he's pretty well on the right track I think." Definitely check out the interview by Standardbred Canada's website featuring Trot Radio host Norm Borg and Meadowlands' owner Jeff Gural, (Episodes 319 and 320). It's a beautiful discussion about open communication and drawing positive attention to the sport. By, Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
BIBLE HILL – It’s long been a tradition for some, and yesterday’s start to the harness racing season was no different. Close to 200 people hit the grounds at the Truro Raceway for the first card of the 140th season of harness racing. “I’ve been crazy enough to come here for the past 47 years, so that’s why I’m here,” said Guy Densmore, a resident from East Noel who was sitting with some familiar faces. “The only thing is that there should be racing three nights a week like before.” Densmore had a seat close to the finish line to keep an eye on things, with his program not far from his reach. Sitting with him was Truro Heights’ Fred Sullivan, who said he doesn’t miss too many races at the facility. “I’m glad to see it open again, I really am,” said Sullivan. “It’s something to do on Sunday afternoons. We all know some of the (horse) owners, and it’s all in the families.” With the sun shining bright but the wind keeping things brisk, many spectators took to the side of the track just as each dash was set to begin. As soon as it was over, they’d step back inside. Raymond Tynes, the interim general manager of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition, was excited to see such a turnout for opening day. “I’m just amazed,” he said while looking around. “Especially with it being Easter Sunday, we knew we would get the regulars. To all the naysayers out there, I think we’ve proved them wrong.” The last live race at the track was five days before Christmas, following a brief period last summer when the facility’s future was in doubt. Management announced it was shutting the facility down due to financial difficulties. Things were initially resolved on a temporary basis, however in January, Keith Colwell, the province’s agriculture minister, stripped the 12-person exhibition board of its powers and ordered a forensic audit on the financial operations of the facility. He has since appointed to members to an interim panel – former exhibition commission chairman Bruce Kennedy and former vice-chairman Cameron MacEachen. A third member is expected to be appointed later this week. “Under Minister Keith Colwell and his team, they have made my job easy,” said Tynes. “But without the fans, we don’t have a thing. We wouldn’t be here and I expect things to improve each week.” Tynes said the racetrack’s “magic number” is eight dashes, however with 63 horses entered into Sunday’s event, spectators were able to see nine. “I think it will just get better and better, especially when horses in Cape Breton start training, I think we’ll see them coming down to race here as well,” he said. While looking around, Sullivan was pleased with the turnout, however most were familiar faces. “It’s the same old faces here,” he said. “There aren’t too many new faces, and no young people. I don’t know how they could attract new faces and younger ones.” by Raissa Tetanish, reprinted with permission by www.trurodaily.com
Keith Clark's American Venture put a stop to Big N Bad's Open win streak on Sunday afternoon at Fraser Downs with a 1:51.4 career-best effort in the $10,500 feature. Riding a four-race win streak, Big N Bag was assigned outside his four rivals in the first race on Sunday, but easily swept from last to first after the :27.1 quarter for trainer/driver Bill Davis. The heavy favourite proceeded to lead the field past the half in :56 and three-quarters in 1:23.4. However, driver Don Monkman Jr. made his move with American Venture around the final turn from third and the American Ideal gelding sprinted home in :27.2 to prevail by two lengths. The time of the mile matched Big N Bad's Canadian season's record for a five-eighth-mile track and came within two-fifths of a second of the gelding track record. To read the rest of the story click here.
Overlooked at odds of 11-1 in Sunday's featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Handicap at Flamboro Downs, 12-year-old pacer Bolero Charles drew off down the stretch to a seven and a quarter length victory. Giving James MacDonald his third winning drive of the night, Bolero Charles pulled the pocket and collared Nothingbutmach near the third quarter mark before kicking home in :28.3 for the 1:55 triumph. He closed out the Sunday harness racing program with a $24.10 win mutuel. Justa Camilion finished second while Astute edged out Nothingbutmach for third. To read the rest of this story click here.
Happy Easter from Harnesslink
TORONTO, April 20 - After finishing second in both preliminary legs, Frisky Magic will look for her best stride when she faces the gate in Monday's $43,200 final of the Lifetime Dream Series at Woodbine. Trained throughout her career by Per Henriksen, Frisky Magic will look for the upset in race nine when she begins from post seven for driver Chris Christoforou. The speedy trotter will look for her seventh career triumph for owner Steve Organ. "She seems to be coming around right now," Henriksen said. "She's always shown a lot of talent. She's four now and I think she's matured quite a bit and developed very nicely." Henriksen developed the daughter of Kadabra and elected to race her lightly at age two with just six starts. "She was a well-made individual and certainly looked the part and came from a solid family," Henriksen said. "At two, she needed to mature. She was on the verge of getting aggressive and hot so I decided to quit with her for the season." Last year as a three-year-old, Frisky Magic certainly made a good account of herself with $68,082 in earnings from 20 starts, including five wins. "She had a good year, but it took forever for her to come around," he said. "She won in early May, but then didn't win again until September." That's when the trotting lass found her beset stride as she whipped off four straight wins and capped off her sophomore campaign with a 4-2-0 record in her last seven starts of the season. "I decided to back off on her training and that's when she really started coming around," Henriksen said. "She was finishing her miles better and was a lot stronger." Henriksen then applied the same training tactic again this season. "I raced her three of four starts this season and again backed off on her training and it's paying off. That seems to be the key with her," he said. "She's really coming around right now, just like the end of last season. She's in good form." Henriksen also confirmed that Frisky Magic will be making her final start in North America on Monday. "Her and West Side Story will be leaving at the end of the month for France," Henriksen explained. "Over there, they can race against their own age and sex, and go for good money." The final of the Lifetime Dream Series final will line up as follows: 1. Samira Hanover 2. Majestic Taglet 3. Justasmalltowngirl 4. Standing My Ground 5. Bop Too The Top 6. Rose Run Oriana 7. Frisky Magic 8. Rockin With Dewey 9. Her Name Is Lola 10. Talbotcreek Jewely The Lifetime Dream series is for four- and five-year-old trotting mares, non-winners of $200,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Marc Campbell's winning drive in the 2013 Gold Cup and Saucer is by far one of his most memorable victories. Marc guided Escape the News (trained by Ron Burke), to victory in a staggering 1:50.4 to set the track record at Charlottetown Driving Park. "I drove the horse, (Escape the News) the week before the trial and I was half expecting them (the people that brought the horse up to PEI), to tell me how to drive. I had no idea what to expect" says Marc. "The only thing I got told was he is kind of lazy.... I love those horses so it was perfect. "I love those big grinding, kind of lazy horses. I like to make them work." Marc notes. "For some reason I get along with them and as soon as I heard that, I was pretty excited. Some people wouldn't be, but I was." After winning the trial, Escape the News drew the 7th spot, "It took the pressure off me and put it on the other guys." Marc explains. Marc, 29, is grateful to the racing manager at the time, Brett Revington, who suggested Marc's name and reputation as a good driver to the Burke stable for helping Marc land the opportunity to drive Escape the News. If it were not for Marc's grandfather, Charles MacDonald, perhaps Marc would never have grown into the horsemen he is today. Charles MacDonald taught his grandson that hard work and understanding the importance of quality work was the essence to success. Marc also had his two uncles, Jimmy and Michael MacDonald to help guide him as well; ensuring his hard work would pay off. "I started at an early age, my grandfather had horses and my uncles were into horses and helped get me into it." Marc explains. "I was raised by my grandfather and my mom and two brothers, (Shawn Campbell and Robby MacDonald), lived with my grandparents." "My mom, Jeanie, loves racing right now and she goes to all my races but growing up she wasn't really into it, she knew we had horses. She's a huge fan right now and loves going to the track now." Marc says. "My grandfather is the whole reason I drive and train... working at the barn with him, he was a real special guy to me. He's the one who started taking me to the track" say Marc. "It was with him I jogged my first horse. He dragged me or I dragged him to the track. I started driving matinee (amateur) races when I was 14 years old. He put the gas in the truck and took me where I had to get to." Growing up, Charles MacDonald would buy older horses to help teach Marc how to properly care and tend to the horse's needs. "You take care of the animal and they'll take care of you" Marc says. "They weren't expensive, but it taught you how to work from the bottom up." In essence, the value Marc was taught was to never take anything for granted. A fond recollection Marc has is being at his first Gold Cup and Saucer race in 1994 when he was ten with his grandfather. "I remember trying to hang on to the fence so I can see over the fence to see the race and I remember the crowd." Mark recalls, "I was lucky to grow up watching the Gold Cup and Saucer and I drove in it twice before last year and to actually win it was special." 'The best thing about my grandfather is he treated everybody the same. It didn't matter how much money you have or you didn't have, he treated everybody equally. I try to learn from that, he was a pretty amazing guy." Marc watched how his grandfather worked and interacted with others since Charles MacDonald was the quiet type, the type of person who led by example. With Marc, you can hear the heartfelt emotion rise the more he spoke of his grandfather. Unfortunately Marc's grandfather passed away a few years ago. "That was pretty hard to get through but we did it with thanks to my wife, and she helped me keep battling.... She's always in my corner." Marc is married to Natasha, going on seven happy years, (although they've been an item for 12 years) and they have three kids, their son Landon who is six, Allie who will be five next month and Rayah who is 19 months. A couple of months ago, Marc and Natasha got the happy news that they are expecting a fourth child. "I keep saying it's going to be a boy" says Marc. "So it will probably be a girl... it's going to be fun and we are getting excited by it." Marc's wife Natasha trained horses with her stepfather, trainer Darryl MacLean, prior to meeting Marc at the track. "He does pretty good... I drive a little bit for him" Marc says. "Sitting at the dinner table, horse racing will come up. My family supports me huge, I have other uncles who were never really involved in horse racing until I started to get involved and now they follow me like crazy. At (last year's) Gold Cup, the after party went on for a long time. Being surrounded by friends and family when I pulled into the winner's circle and a bunch of them put me on their shoulders; it was a pretty cool feeling." Back in the early part of 2007 prior to getting married in the summer, Marc was working in Ontario for Anthony Macdonald. "I drove some for (Anthony). I drove a few at Flamboro and some at Kawartha. I did drive for a few other people... it was pretty fun." Marc continues that he got hurt at the barn one day, so bad that he packed up and moved back home. "It was kind of a freak thing. Down in London... I was getting a harness ready for a horse I was going to drive and I stepped awkwardly onto a mat from off a platform where we get ready and I pulled all the ligaments in my ankle. My ankle blew up... and tore everything in it." Aside from driving, Marc does train horses so he is one of the lucky few people in the Maritimes who is able to be a fulltime horseman. "We've been pretty lucky so far and hope things keep going." Marc says gratefully. David Rose is someone Marc also credits for helping him getting started as a young driver. Marc got his license when he was 18 and David helped Marc by giving him catch drives when possible. "Very smart guy, very quiet guy too" is how Marc describes David. "He started giving me catch drives and I got to drive this three-year-old colt, Elm Grove Rebel, that he had who was making breaks and was a bit erratic at times but very fast. I drove him a couple times and a stake race came up... and I remember I moved him first up and at that time I didn't move that many horses first up because I didn't have any power. "This day David told me don't be scared to move him (first up), so I did. He ended up winning in 1:56 which was the fastest win at that time. I remember that day and thought, 'this first up stuff isn't that bad' and I've been doing a lot of that ever since." Marc is a keep it simple type of person, family and being a top quality horseman is what matters. Marc enjoys taking his kids to hockey, playing hockey with them and cheering on the Montreal Canadiens. "My kids are big Montreal fans now so it's pretty fun to watch games.... My son is a big Carey Price fan and he likes competing" Marc says. "I like Brandon Prust a lot, I like the way he plays. He's a tough little guy... kind of makes me think of how I would play if I played, getting into the corners, mix it up and have some fun." It was at a Montreal Canadiens hockey game where Marc met his father, Carl Campbell, a few years ago. "It was the first time, I found out I had a sister, Ellen, so we met her first and then we met the whole family and we have been in contact the entire time." Marc explains. Many people would hold a grudge about not knowing their father or the fact that there are siblings out in the world. But . Marc isn't the type of person to judge; rather Marc quite understands the situation. Marc recalls having a memory or two from a young age but nothing that stands out in his mind. "I don't hold anything against (my dad). The way I see it, he's probably lived with guilt for quite a few years so I think that's enough torture." Marc states. "We have a good relationship now, so it's all good. When I was a teenager I thought about it and was half mad at the world because of it, but as you get older you get wiser." "Once you have kids, things change so much it unbelievable" says Marc. "They teach you to have patience. It teaches you so much, it's pretty cool." by Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
After being sidelined from harness racing for six month’s, $3.1 million career winner, San Pail, was not his former world champion self in his 2014 debut at Woodbine Racecourse Saturday, making a break in the two-hole and finishing seventh. The 9th race $34,000 Preferred Trot feature saw Slip Into Glide and driver Mario Baillargeon shoot to the early lead with San Pail (Randy Waples) using their inside position to grab the two-hole spot. Past the opening quarter mile in :28 and then to the half mile marker in :57.2, Slip Into Glide seemingly held the field at bay with a two and one-half length lead. Race favorite San Pail could not keep up and when approaching the three-quarters, make a break that took him out of the race. Slip Into Glide pulled away after the three-quarters in 1:25.4 and then glided home a five and three-quarter length winner in 1:53.3. Boogie Woogie (Keith Oliver) was second with Burnin Money (Jonathan Drury) third. It was the third win this season for Slip Into Glide, a six-year-old gelded son of Yankee Glide, who is trained and co-owned by Benoit Baillargeon with Craig Turner. Slip Into Glide paid $6.20 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
TORONTO, April 19 - Mego Moss, driven by James MacDonald, enjoyed a beautiful trip en route to a career-best clocking of 1:52.4 in Saturday's lone $18,000 division of the Don Mills Series at Woodbine. Mego Moss quickly made his way to the front from post three well before the opening quarter in :27.3 with Its Payday Friday (Mario Baillargeon) and even-money favourite Hldontghttoyurdrms (Jonathan Drury) still parked on the outside. MacDonald elected to allow Its Payday Friday to command well before the half in :56.1, but Hldontghttoyurdrms was still parked on the outside. The pair would match strides past three-quarters in 1:24.1 with Mego Moss enjoying a ground-saving trip through speedy fractions. Down the stretch, MacDonald angled his charge three-wide and the 11-time winner gobbled up racetrack to win by one length. Crosbys Clam Bake (Paul Macdonell) came from behind to finish second, with Flight Of The Kiwi (Chris Christoforou) third. Its Payday Friday settled for fourth, with Hldontghttoyurdrms fifth. Trained by Carmen Auciello for owners Robert Watson, Mike Bartram and Armando Cappuccitti, Mego Moss increased his lifetime earnings to $128,845. The five-year-old gelded son of Amigo Hall has amassed a 4-1-2 record from 12 starts this season. He paid $7.20 to win. Last week's winner, West Side Story, elected to skip this week's second leg in order to prepare for the $43,000 final which goes Saturday, April 26. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
The very popular Jackpot Hi 5 wager at Woodbine's harenss racing meet continues to grow and going into Saturday night's card has reached $287,000 in the carryover pool. On Friday night multiple handicappers were able to come up with the winning combination of 2-6-7-8-1, and as a result a massive carryover in excess of $287,000 will spill into Saturday’s pool. Barockey, the 2-5 favourite in Friday’s finale, won by 3-1/4 lengths in 1:52.3. Next best were Play At Wynn (5-1), Warrawee Limelight (10-1), Boat House Row (40-1) and Olivias Way (74-1). The Jackpot Hi 5 requires players to correctly select the first five official finishers in the race, but the carryover jackpot is not paid off unless there is just one correct winning ticket. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
A last-to-first sweep was turned in by Credit Card Junkie in Friday’s $10,500 Fillies & Mares Open at Fraser Downs, and that was music to the ears of the longshot players that had faith in the Debra Mc Carthy trainee. Sent off at odds of 27-1 in her first start for the new barn, Credit Card Junkie got away sixth for driver Kevin Anderson while Call Me Up and race favourite Prairie Illusion took turns on the lead through panels of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.1. Still sitting last as the field turned for home, Credit Card Junkie fired home in :28.3 and came away with a half-length score of Prairie Illusion in 1:54. Keep The Dream was third. To read the rest of the story click here.