Charlottetown, PE - The official countdown to the 2015 Gold Cup & Saucer will be launched Saturday when live racing returns to Red Shores Racetrack & Casino. The legendary Charlottetown Driving Park oval kicks off the season with first race post time at 6pm. The official broadcast will be carried at www.redshores.ca It's going to be a busy day at the track with a host of new promotions, special trackside presentations and the famous Kentucky Derby live from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The evening featured event will go to the gate in race 9 with an 8:17pm AST post time. Tempo Seelster, owned, trained and driven by Vince Poulton, Charlottetown, is the favorite at 5-2 odds on the morning line. Race analyst Les MacIsaac, who returns for his 18th year on Les's Picks in the race program, says he will tough to beat. "Tempo Seelster closed out the meet with back to back wins and if the recent qualifier is any indication, he looks poised to pick up right where he left off." The field has some other heavy hitters including JRs Hurricane (Gary Chappell) who had a sparkling resume in 2014 with 26 top three finishes from 38 starts which included 12 victories while pole sitter Outside The Wire makes his season debut for trainer Craig Avery and driver Jason Hughes. Hughes, who shared with top driver of 2014 with Marc Campbell with 126 winners, is booked on five horses while Campbell is down on six. Both pilots open the season tied with 12 scores each on the leader board. The top class also includes Veronicavermillion (Neil Bambrick), Carnivore (Walter Cheverie) and Miracle Matts (Corey MacPherson). Campbell could grab the early lead in the season's rankings when he handles newcomer Fly With Max from post 6 in the PEI Poker Challenge pace in race 1. The four-year-old pacer comes in from Flamboro Downs for owners Wade Peconi, Stanchel and Nicholas Peconi Jr, Lakefield, Ontario. Customers will be greeted to a list of new promotions including the Super High 5, Pik 3 and Pik 4. On-track players will be offered the Pick 5, Wild Horses tags on races 2-10 with jackpots and Set for Summer promo where customers have a chance to qualify to win weekly prizes with the grand prize of $1,000 a week for 10 weeks being drawn on the first day of summer June 21, 2015. For race programs, Les's Picks or live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca or twitter at leedrake01 or red_shores Lee Drake
Charlottetown, PE - The always popular Fan Forum which this year will be held Sunday, October 12 at 10:30 a.m. at Red Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park will celebrate the Gold Cup and Saucer. Titled "Winning the Dream", Gold Cup and Saucer winners will answer fan questions about their experiences in winning the Greatest Show in Harness Racing. Panelists will include: Les Waite, who drove Dr. Walter C to victory in the 1973 Gold Cup, the last Prince Edward Island bred winner of the event. Les is also one of the youngest drivers to ever win the Gold Cup and Saucer Billy Companion, the trainer of Scarlet and Gold, the 2001 winner, who was driven by Wally Hennessey. Emmons MacKay, who trained and drove Maritime Bred Kilkerran Ingle to victory lane in 1992. Ingle was also a dominate horse in his local stakes campaign. Earl Smith, who won with Pownal Bay Matt in what has been recognized as one of the greatest Gold Cup and Saucers in history. Pownal Bay Matt was owned by Ian Smith of Charlottetown. Rene Allard, the co-owner and trainer of Big Town Hero, the 2014 Gold Cup and Saucer winner. Big Town Hero is also the CDP track record co-holder. Don Smith, who along with his brother Ian owned two time Gold Cup and Saucer winner Sauls Pride The Fan Forum will be held immediately after the complimentary Pancake Breakfast at Turf's Bar & Grill sponsored by David Corrigan, Coldwell Banker Parker Realty, Dr. Kathleen MacMillan Atlantic Veterinary College and Cavendish Farms. The breakfast starts at 9:00 a.m. For the complete Atlantic Breeders Crown weekend agenda go to www.redshores.ca .
Turning for home, it was a two horse breakaway in the 55th running of the $75,000 Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer with Bigtown Hero and driver Brad Forward battling past Wazzup Wazzup in a track and Canadian record equalling performance to close out Old Home Week at Charlottetown Driving Park on Saturday night. Scott Rocks (Jonathan Drury) fired to the lead, but trial winner and even-money favourite Aracache Hanover (Marc Campbell) was on the move early, sweeping around that foe during a :26.4 opening quarter. Take It Back Terry (Gilles Barrieau) began to advance from mid-pack with Forward rolling Bigtown Hero out three-wide as they passed the midway mark in :55.2. Meanwhile, Wazzup Wazzup (James MacDonald) swept up from third to take over the lead from Aracache Hanover. Wazzup Wazzup raced past three-quarters in 1:23.3 with the wide rallying Bigtown Hero advancing into second and those two took off turning for home. Bigtown Hero kept on rolling and edged by Wazzup Wazzup in deep stretch for the 1:50.4 victory. The winner's stablemate, Island Jet (Robert Shepherd), came on from the back of the pack to finish third, over seven lengths behind. To read the rest of the story click here.
It's finally here, the one day a year that racing fans around the world gather at Red Shores Charlottetown for one of the greatest shows in harness racing, The Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer. With fans lined along the fence and not an empty seat in the house, the fastest and richest Gold Cup and Saucer will be contested for a purse of $ 75,000. To most it's not a lot of money, but to the people trying to win it, it's not about the money. It's about the show. When the lights go down on Saturday night, the only thing to be seen is the Farris Wheel in the distance, but once that spot light picks up the first starter, Wazzup Wazzup, Saturday night, not a single person at Red Shores Charlottetown will be sitting, and every person will have chill roll down their spine as track announcer Vance Cameron rhymes off every horse, driver and trainers credentials. Leaving from Post 1 is the six-year-old son of Life Sign, a winner of 21 races lifetime and a lifetime record of 1:49 taken two starts ago at Mohawk, He is owned by the Rolling Hill Racing Stable of Ontario. Trainer Corey Johnson will look to follow in his father Colin's footsteps and take home his first Gold Cup and Saucer trophy. James MacDonald, an Island native of P.E.I. will return home in hopes of making his boyhood dream of winning the Gold Cup and Saucer a reality. Wazzup Wazzup was a fourth place finisher after a break passing the five-eights in his trial. Trial 2 winner Aracache Hanover has drawn into post 2. The richest horse in this year's field, he has over $1.7 million in career earnings. He is owned by William Switala and James Martin of New York. Trainer Ron Burke is back to defend his title from last year when he set the track record with Escape The News in 1:50.4. He will entrust in the Maritimes leading driver Marc Campbell, as he looks to make it back-to-back Gold Cup and Saucers. 'King Campbell' will look to do so after sweeping both trials this year. Post 3 starter is one of three entries from the Rene Allard stable, a winner two back in a lifetime best 1:48.3, Bigtown Hero will be upset minded on Saturday night for his owners Allard Racing and Yves Sarrazin of Quebec. Newfoundland native Brad Forward has been given the catch-driving call on the six-year-old son of American Ideal. Bigtown Hero finished second to Aracache Hanover in his trial. Chris Oakes will look to make his first trip to red soil a successful one. He has two entries in this year's final, Scott Rocks, has drawn post 4. The four-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding has a lifetime record of 1:48.3, and has 12 wins in only two seasons of racing. He is owned by Susan Oakes and Chuck Pompey of Pennsylvania, Jonathan Drury has been here the last two year's looking to win his first Cup and Saucer, he will do the driving. Scott Rocks finished third in his trial pacing a mile in 1:52. Island Jet, a winner of 14 races lifetime and just shy of $150 ,000 in career earnings has been saddled with post 5. The four-year-old son of Jeremes Jet is the second entry from the Allard barn. He is owned by Allard Racing, Maurice Lemieux of Quebec, Kapildeo Singh of New York and Howard Taylor of Pennsylvania. Another Island native, Robert Shepherd, will look to make his boyhood dream become reality when he reunites with his third place finished from Trial 1. The second entrant from the Burke Brigade, Take It Back Terry has a lifetime record of 1:50 and over $380,000 on his resume. He is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura, He will pick up the driving services of the 'Maritime Magic Man' Gilles Barrieau, as he looks to move into soul possession of second place for most Gold Cup and Saucer wins as a driver, winning Saturday night would give him 4. 'Terry' finished second in his trial 2 appearance. Hauser Bros Racing, Susan Oakes, Timothy Cable and Charles Oakes will place their faith in the seven-entry Shock It To Em. A four-year-old son of Western Terror, he has 15 lifetime victories and a record of 1:49 taken earlier this season. Trained by Chris Oakes he will hand the lines to the veteran driver of the field, Island native Walter Cheverie. He was a third place finisher in Trial 1 last Saturday night. The trial two winner and now co-track record holder Mickey Hanover has drawn the dreaded outside post 8. A winner in 1:50.4 on Monday, he tied Escape The News' track record from last year. Owned by Allard Racing, Yves Sarrazin and Daniel DubÃ©, he has a lifetime mark of 1:49.1 and over $ 350, 000 lifetime. Allard has been coming to P.E.I. since 2009 trying to win the prestigious Gold Cup and Saucer trophy, after his trial 2 victory Allard said each year he keeps getting closer and closer. A winner of the Meadowlands Pace, Little Brown Jug and North American Cup, co-owner Daniel DubÃ© will travel to P.E.I. hoping to add a Gold Cup and Saucer to his long list of achievements. On Paper, if everything sets up right a track record is quite possible, but only one thing is for sure heading into Saturday night, Red Shores' Charlottetown is the place to be. The Gold Cup and Saucer is featured in the Race 14 finale. Open Mares - Premiers Pace headline Cup and Saucer undercard Nine of the best mares that the Maritimes have to offer will line up in Race 13 to contest for the $ 12,250 Spud Island Classic sponsored by the PEI Potato Board. Winning both legs of the series, Russian Kisses has drawn post 2 in the final, a four-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover she is owned by Robert Shepherd, Joseph Travis and Forrest Bartlett, Robert will do the driving for his trainer Harold Shepherd. She was a winner in leg one in 1:55 and followed that up with a 1:56.3 score for driver Steven Shepherd. A winner in Leg 1 Stayoutofmyaffiar has drawn post 6 for owner Robi Hughes, Last year's Atlantic Aged Mare Champion won her first leg in 1:55.1 and then followed it up with a second place finish pacing in 1:57.2. Jason Hughes does the training and driving. Last year's Spud Island Classic winner, Dirt Track Momma is back to defend her title from Post 4. The six-year-old E Dees Cam mare is owned and trained by Jonah Moase, she finished second in the second leg to secure her spot in the final. Marc Campbell will do the driving. Moase will also send out the nine-horse trailer Silky Brithces, also a second place finisher in the second leg, Dale Spence will do the driving Two-time Spud Island Classic champion made it four years in a row that she has won a leg of the series when she won her second leg in 1:57.1., General Luckypercy is owned by Jodi Lynn Matheson and Jack Brown, a mainstay in the open mares ranks for the last four years, she is trained by Jackie Matheson. Saturday night she will get the services of Daniel DubÃ© from Post 3. Her stablemate and this years Lobsterfest winner For All We Know draws post 7 for owner Bruce Wood, a winner in leg 2 in 1:56.2 For All We Know comes in with a no worst then second record in her last 5, The Matheson- Gilles Barrieau connection will hook up to try and get her into the winner circle. Ultimate Faith has put together some stellar numbers this season and seems to have made the jump into the open mare ranks this season, a winner in leg 1, Ultimate Faith is owned by Abel Arsenault, Philip Desroches does the training on the seven-year-old daughter of N Xample. Mike Stevenson will do the driving from Post 5. National Driving Championship finalist Ryan Ellis has drawn the rail with his own trainee Icandothat for owner Danica Ellis, the four-year-old No Pan Intended mare finished third in both of legs of the series. The outside post 8 goes to another open mare mainstay over the past four years, J K Special, A second place finisher in the first leg for owner - trainer Joe Smallwood, driver Walter Cheverie will look to get the ball rolling before his Gold Cup and Saucer drive in the finale. The race 12 Premiers Pace final plays host to the best free-for-all horses the Maritimes have to offer. A pair of winners in both legs of the Premiers Pace series will hook up and do battle, side-by-side. Post 3 starter D Gs Camme heads into Saturday night, hot as a fire cracker. He has picked up victories in his last three, including a 1:53 victory setting a new track record at Red Shores' Summerside in the Governor's Plate. He followed that up with a 1:53.4 score in the first leg of the series at Summerside and then a 1:55.3 win by three lengths. The four-year-old son of Blissfull Hall is owned by Quentin and Hal Bevan, Tom Clark and Ronnie Matheson, Jackie Matheson handles the training duties and will hand the lines over to Barrieau for the fifth consecutive week. From post 4 is the six-year-old son of Camluck, owned by the Ultimate Stable, after drawing 6,6,6,8 and 6 in his last five, Ultimate Luck has finally lucked out at the draw. A winner of two-in-a-row for trainer Sifroi Melanson. He picked up both victories in the Premiers Pace series, the first coming in leg one in 1:55 and then in 1:55.2 last week. Terry Gallant did the driving in both starts and will be back in the bike again to try and extend the streak to three. Red Rock has drawn the coveted rail in the $15, 000 final, a new edition for the ownership group of Donald, Brian and Steven MacRae and Melissa Trainor, the red horse has four starts on red soil and five on maritime soil, in those five starts he hasn't missed a cheque and missed the top three only one time. The 'Blue Knight' Jason Hughes does the training and driving. Modern Xhibit, Schooner, Judge Jon, Cheyenne Ford and Machinthesand round out the field. Two Gold divisions of the Joe O'Brien for three-year-old pacing colts go in Races 3 and 5. Settlement Request has been enrolled as the morning line favourite from Post 3 in Race 3. Owned by Alfred Barrieau and Michael Clinton, Gilles Barrieau does the training and driving. The son of Coasttocoast Yankee will look to push his bankroll well over $40,000 with a victory in the $11,000 race. Island Gigolo, J Ps Warrior, Dumas Walker, Rebelseven and Wine To Go complete the field. A pair of Atlantic Sire Stakes 'A' division winners from Monday will hook up and do battle in the fifth race. Arties Magic, Post 4, gets the slight advantage in post position for owners Windemere Farms and Clive Balderston. Earl Watts trains the son of Articulator and Todd Trites will drive. Tobins Fusion is the other winner from Monday, he draws Post 5 for the Boyd Macdonald Produce LTD and Dan Ross. Barrieau handles both the training and driving duties on the son of Western Paradise. Say It Again Sam will put his double digit win streak on the line in the race 11 Norman MacPhail Memorial pace. Undefeated this season, the three-year-old Well Said gelding has been untouchable since coming to the Maritimes. He is owned by Foxyhall Racing, and Jason Hughes does the training and driving. Eagle Jolt, Junebugs Baby, Kass Hall, Pan Larceny and Dance Hanover will look to halt the streak at 10. Reminder to race fans that racing action gets underway at 6:45 p.m. Bo Ford
Charlottetown, PE - Old Home Week 2014 is sure to be filled with tons a power packed racing action and memories that will last a life time. Every OHW is filled with memories, last year, Marc Campbell and Escape The News winning the Gold Cup and Saucer in track record fashion. Dubbed one of the greatest Gold Cup and Saucers of all-time, the special Sunday afternoon mile in 2008, when Island native Earl Smith and Pownal Bay Matt crossed the wire first, and only four lengths separated the whole field. The 1988 Gold Cup and Saucer when Dr. Ian Moore worked his way up the inside of the entire field from fourth to win in the mud. How about August 20, 2005 when Flaming Moe and Gilles Barrieau set the track record of 1:54.3 for three-year-old pacing colts, winning by 10 lengths. August 18, 2001 when they needed to grade the track because of the mud and Firms Phantom picked up his 22nd straight victory in 1:54.4 just four races later. These memories are what makes Old Home Week and racing in the Maritimes special. As part of making memories last, Red Shores is proud to announce that the Memory Lane segment sponsored by Metro Building Supplies will be back again this year. The Race Day broadcast will highlight some of those Old Home Week memories from years past. Memory Lane 2014 will feature the three horse match race between Winner's Accolade, Angel's Shadow and Waveore dubbed the Battle of Champions, the 1984 Gold Cup and Saucer with Pearl's Falcon and Mike MacDonald, trot record mile by Colgan's Comet in 1983 and the Royal Pace. By Bo Ford
Charlottetown, PE - Grandstand seats for the 2014 edition of the Gold Cup & Saucer will go on sale Wednesday July 2, 2014 at 9am AST. The price is $50 per seat (tax included). Customers can purchase them in person at the Red Shores' race office or by phone at 1.902.629.6636. The 55th running of the Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer is Saturday August 16, 2014. by Lee Drake, for Red Shores
Maritime horseman Phil Pinkney has been involved in the harness racing industry for over half a century and there is not much Phil hasn't seen and as time has passed his passion for harness racing has never faltered. "I am 29 years old so I've been doing this for 9 years now" Phil says with a laugh. "They say I am 70-something now and I started when I was 15." Phil has the spirit of someone a quarter of his age and if anything, Phil's passion and enjoyment for the sport has only grown deeper roots as each season passes. "It's the best sport in the world!" says Phil. Harness racing is facing uncertain times and the need to garner upbeat public attention is right now. Phil explains the only direction left for the sport to go is up and the more I get to know people within the industry, from drivers to trainers, grooms to joggers, announcers to handicappers I can sense the tide turning for the good. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but with a positive outlook and demonstrating to the public the immense passion the horsemen and women possess, sooner rather than later fans will be flocking to the grandstands. "It's a tough deal out there with so many things to compete against for the attention of the young generation; we haven't kept up our end as horsemen and management to grab their attention." Phil says. "I just don't think we have done our homework, we never paid attention to the public. We took the public for granted I think and we didn't promote our sport to them. We thought (the public) should come bet on us, but there was so much stuff starting to take place and we didn't have the proper leadership as horsemen and we didn't have the proper leadership from track management to look after the public. "We just thought the public would keep showing up to the races when we should have been buttering (the public's) bread and we are still not doing that." Phil explains how he would love to see the grandstands full at every track and wishes harness racing garnered more positive media attention. "More needs to be added to it, giveaways and good food and stuff like that. You just can't give them a hotdog and french fries and think you're doing good." Phil adds, fans need to be treated in a way where coming to the track is more than just a onetime thrill. "Make people feel like they want to come back next week to good food and they're thinking 'the track puts on a good show we should come back next week and bring some friends.' That's the way you got to try and make people feel in my opinion." Last year Phil thought the local tracks were going to be shut down, but what actually happened was the tracks continued to thrive by continuing to advertise, putting people's pictures in the local papers and making sure there were continuous giveaways to the fans. "It's amazing the stuff they've done" says Phil. "They advertise you could get your face in the paper and it made a great difference. (The tracks) did all the small things they could do, like I say, there is so much for the younger generation to get them interested... because today they have their faces stuck to their telephones and computers 24/7. We got to put on a good show for the grandstand." Phil is as straight forward a person one can meet and it's a pleasure because Phil tells you his thoughts openly, but in a classy way. Phil is not rude or abrupt, rather diplomatic and caring is his approach to discussing the harness racing industry. In 2008 Phil won the prestigious O'Brien award for horsemanship. "They don't come by too often" Phil laughs. "I was pretty lucky to get it.... There were probably a lot of people who deserved it more than I did. I sure appreciate it. I didn't go down to accept the award... I don't really know why, maybe they should have hit me on the head." Aside from shoeing, breaking-in, training and driving horses, I asked Phil what he hasn't done to date and with a boisterous laugh he said he wasn't sure. "I've been around so long sometimes you try and do it all. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work out to well." Phil acknowledges. "I've been lucky to have pretty good owners. That's the big thing, good owners and treating them right. I always try to keep everything straight and tell the owners how it really is. "In horse racing, the media will advertise something bad many more times than they would something good. So always be honest." Phil says in regards to treating horses with care. In Phil's eyes, if a horse isn't well, you don't push the horse because in reality, like humans injuries will occur and that affects everyone, but most important of all, the horse. Looking back over his career, there are several horses that stand out in Phil's mind, one of them being Dunachton Gale. "We bought him here in Truro at a yearling sale. He made around $200,000 racing here in the Maritimes. He was a cheap horse but anytime you can race around the Maritimes and pick up $200,000 you got a fair horse." Phil has also won 2 Gold Cup and Saucers as a driver/trainer, the first in 1978 with Nickname in a time of 2:02.2 and in 1986 with Rev Your Engine in a time of 2:02.1. "They put on a great show in Charlottetown... now with the out of town horses you have them going a mile in 1:50 or 1:51. It's one heck of a show that's for sure" says Phil. "It's good for racing because people want to see the fast mile. I remember when I won it with Rev Your Engine the centre field was packed and it was just unbelievable and they still get just as big of crowds now." Phil is a fan of what Jeff Gural is doing down at the Meadowlands. "He's building the public's trust and he's probably on the right track. The betting is up and people will want to go down that way and that will benefit the horsemen in the long run. If no one is betting there's no racing." Nowadays Phil has four horses in his care, however Phil admits "...we've been busy all winter. In the winter time I usually head to the woods and do my rabbit hunting, I like to get to the outdoors and get my hunting time." "I have Beagles and we hunt rabbit and hunt deer" says Phil. "During the winter time we try to get out at least two or three times a week. A group of us go, bring our lunch and have a good time spending the day in the woods." With the intense winter weather the Maritimes encounters, Phil makes sure he has his sled for the dogs and has his snow shoes. "It's some pretty rough days at times, stone cold but we got the four wheeler and the sled for the dogs behind. It's good fun! The biggest deer I got was about 220 pounds.... I used to hunt a lot of bobcats, and there's still quite a few around." For the upcoming season, Phil is looking forward to the stakes season, watching the young horses improve. "Brent McGrath has a colt from Somebeachsomewhere, Melmerby Beach and I would put him on the calendar to watch." Phil continues, "He's a three year old who trained in Florida and he's really nice. I think he's in Paul MacDonnel's hands now and Paul is very high on him and they're getting him ready for the big races." One thing Phil wants all harness racing fans to know is that his horse always comes first no matter the situation. "They always have to be fit to race and able to put on a good show." Phil says. "I like to help the young driver's out... seeing them start out and doing their best and not over drive their horse." Phil has three sons, Brian, Dale and Keith. "Keith and I own some horses and Paul Langille is like a son to me." Once Phil started talking about Paul, it sounded like he was getting a bit choked up; it was quite a feeling to absorb, hearing Phil describe Paul's talents and work ethic. Phil has a lot of heart and still has a lot left in the tank to continue his work within the harness racing industry. By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com Twitter: ScSupernova
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
Ok racing fans, looks like we are on a minor positive roll now...Gotta pick some more winners. Right now I stand at picking horses in 73 races with just 28 winners, not good enough. I went five for six week and won $4.80. We are still in the minus earning column at -$26.60 going into this weekend. The big action is at Pocono Downs with the Battle of Brandywine and Colonial Trot but we are also trying our luck at Saratoga for the Joe Gerrity Memorial and at Charlottetown Driving Park for Gold Cup & Saucer final. Some chalk, of course, but some opportunities to make a score! $500,000 Battle of Brandywine 3YO Open Pace 12th race Pocono Downs – It’s the return of Captaintreacherous, rested and once again fit and ready to race. Tough to go against this colt, who is undefeated in six starts this year. With $250,000 winners’ share of the purse the competition will not be lying down and letting him win for fun. Mach It So is on a five-race win streak, seven of nine wins this year, Sunshine Beach, Some Kinda Beach and Lonewolf Currier will make the race interesting but from a decent inside post (4), I see the “Captain” winning once again. $500,000 Colonial Trot 3YO Open 11th race Pocono Downs – Looks nearly like the same field from the Hambletonian final two weeks ago and I am looking at about the same results once again. Royalty For Life, despite outside post eight, has been awesome and with a week’s rest should be ready to do battle once again. It’s never a walkover against this group but he has been razor sharp last four starts and a repeat of any of those efforts and We Will See him in the winner’s circle again. $350,000 Valley Forge 3YO Filly Pace 10th race Pocono Downs – Six of the nine fillies in this classic matchup are all coming off victories in their last start and you can actually make a case for most of those six making it into the winner’s circle. Of course I Luv The Nitelife looms the class of the field having won seven straight but Somwherovrarainbow, Love Canal, Shebestingin, Novascotia Hanover and Jerseulicious are no slouches either. Great looking race but with I Luv The Nitelife getting a week off from racing her heart out most of the season, I can only see her being ready for action and winning in here even if she gets parked out most of the mile. $275,000 Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial FFA Pace 8th race Saratoga – I saw Foiled Again on a half mile in the Battle of Lake Erie and he ended up being a non-factor in the race as the betting favorite. With a little rest since his last start he could fare better in here but I don’t think so. Thus I am going with Bolt The Duer (post 5). Always in the hunt against the best in the country but provided he can handle the half mile oval he may be able to return to his winning ways in here. $200,000 Colonial Trot Consolation 3YO Colts 7th race – Despite lack luster effort in the Hambletonian final, Creatine made people stand up and take notice after he won his Hambo elimination heat on the front end in a lifetime best 1:52.4. Lightly raced so far this season he should be primed for a big effort and handle this group. $200,000 Battle of Brandywine Consolation 3YO Colts 8th race Pocono Downs – Another great race where most of the field has a good shot at winning. Rockin Amadeus and Johny Rock figure to be the favorites and rightly so but I am looking at Resistance Futile to win in here and perhaps pay a decent price. In his last start he got perfect cover and scored in a lifetime best 1:49.2 with a :26.4 last quarter mile. Has good inside post (2) and with some early cover he can come on later in the race to win. $60,000 Gold Cup & Saucer Final Open Pace 14th race Charlottetown Driving Park – This is the Little Brown Jug of Canada as thousands of people will be attending this classic race. And this year it has drawn some top pacers from North America, all coming to little PEI for Old Home Week. All three trial winners from last week have a good shot at repeating and thus I am going with Hillbilly Hanover. Has good post (3), won his trial in a romp in 1:51.4 and whether he tries to cut the mile or gets any live cover early he will tear into this field.
Charlottetown, PE – Machinthesand, with Brodie MacPhee in the bike, made it three wins in a row in the feature event Thursday night at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. MacPhee sent the son of Mach Three through splits of 27.4, 57 and 1:26.2 before stopping the timer in 1:55.2. Mark Bradley trains the gelding for Noonan Holding Ltd – Russell and Karen Noonan, Middleton. Creighton Hanover was second for Gary Chappell while Comeback and Lenny Myers were third. Driver-trainer Patrick Shepherd made his arrival for Old Home Week. The young Stratford native drove two winners on the program including Lakers Vett who matched the fastest mile of the night of 1:55.2 Kenny Arsenault also recorded a driving double that included the evening trot’s class with Sandhill Angel for owner-trainer Glen Claybourne of Charlottetown. Arsenault will drive States Treasurer in trial one of the Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer Saturday night. Driver Terry Gallant also hits the top of the leader board after driving two winners on the night. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca Racing returns Friday. Post time is 7pm. Lee Drake
21 ENTER 54th ANNUAL PACE AT CHARLOTTETOWN
Charlottetown, PE - The Spud Island Classic, presented by the PEI Potato Board, will go to the gate on the 12 dash race program Saturday at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. The first leg will be contested in race 9 and 11. First race post time is 6pm. The top guns square off Sunday at Red Shores Summerside in the Premier's Pace. Post time is 1pm. Highland Dancer has drawn the rail in the first Spud Island Classic division for open mares for driver Brodie MacPhee and trainer Jackie Matheson. This driver-trainer combination is red hot right now. MacPhee is coming off a four win performance on Thursday while Matheson, sporting an average of .314, is one of the best on the grounds. The mare, owned by Bruce Wood, Marshfield, may be well placed on the pylons but the real challenge comes from two spots right with Dirt Track Momma who has reeled off three straight wins with two back to back 1:55 miles. Marc Campbell gets the driving assignment from trainer-owner Jonah Moase, Cornwall. Private Joke, from the Wade Peconi and Windemere Farms, John Howatt stable and Matheson's other trainee General Luckypercy are listed as triactor candidates on the morning line. Campbell could sweep both divisions of the Spud Island Classic as he handles one of the toughest competitors in the region right now with Block Party. The five-year-old daughter of Western Terror, owned by Bill, Brian and Blake Andrew, gets the rail and will attempt her fifth win in a row for conditioner Darren Trainer. JK Special and Doober Hoozzitz will try and spoil the party. For the complete list of entries, race programs and live broadcast go to www.redshores.ca Premier's Pace Attracts Star Studded Fields Summerside, PE - Governor's Plate winner Wild Dragon and Gilles Barrieau headline the first leg of the $4,000 Premier's Pace Sunday at Red Shores Summerside. Post time is 1pm. Wild Dragon, who is coming off a fourth place finish in the Exhibition Cup at Truro, has drawn post two in the power packed field. The pacer goes into the event with $37,970 in the bank with three wins from 22 starts this season. The line-up also includes Blue Star Outlaw, Greatheart Hanover, Inspired Art, Windemere Express and McApulco. This group gets called to the starter on race 9. The second roster in the Premier's Pace will parade in race 11 has Balanchine off the rail for Ron Matheson. Matheson gets the duty after regular pilot Brodie MacPhee is on stakes assignment in N.S. The field has Big League (Mark Bradley), Touch of Lightning (Earl Smith), Cambest Kisser (Jason Hughes), Lucky Encounter (Walter Cheverie), Carnivore (Gilles Barrieau). For entries, results, race programs and live video go to the new www.redshores.ca by Lee A. Drake
The Gold Cup Ambassadors selected their horses and post positions for the 53rd Running of the Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer at Charlottetown on Saturday night (August 18). Post time for the harness racing card is 6:45pm with the big race going to post at two minutes to Midnight. Here are the horses and their ambassadors.
The official draws took place this morning for the Sobeys Gold Cup & Saucer trials that will lead up to the 53rd running of the harness racing Gold Cup & Saucer on Saturday August 18th at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
The harness racing season will return Saturday night at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Post time for the 11 dash card is 6pm. The card officially launches the countdown to the Gold Cup & Saucer with only 119 days before the spotlights return to the legendary oval.
Exhibition Drive, a harness racing documentary focusing on the Gold Cup and Saucer, is now available for viewing online at www.exhibitiondrive.com.