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Trois-Rivieres, QC - A packed house came out Sunday afternoon to the Hippodrome 3R for the tracks richest harness racing program of the season headed by eight Quebec Series Finals for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. For Super Sunday there was $512,000 in total purses over the 12-race program. Here is a breakdown of each of the eight championship divisions. $65,000 3YO Colt Pace - The fasted mile on the afternoon came in the colt division that turned out to be a two-hole race between Kinnder Jackson (Louis Philippe Roy) and track record holder Hudson Phil (James MacDonald). It was Kinnder Jackson that was first on the lead with Stock (Stephane Brosseau) in second place past the opening quarter in :27.3. MacDonald came first-over with Hudson Phil and going past the half mile in :56.4, nearly got the lead, but Roy kept them parked out. Then in the backstretch, the dogfight continues with Hudson Phil a head up on the outside at the three-quarters in 1:25. But on the final turn Kinnder Jackson took the lead back and was up over a length as they started down the stretch. It was then that Hudson Phil found another gear for MacDonald and they collared Kinnder Jackson before the wire to win by a half length in 1:54.1. Stock was third. Trained by Mark Steacy, it was the fifth win this year for Hudson Phil, who was bred and is owned by Tony Infilise's Hudson Standardbred Stable of Hudson. He paid $5.10 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Pace - Driver Stephane Brosseau left quickly with All You Can Dream with race favorite Katniss S BG and driver Louis Philippe Roy sitting in second place as they went by the opening quarter mile in :27.2 and the half mile in :57.1. Then in the backstretch, Roy pulled the pocket and sent Katniss S BG to the front with Sharks Summershandy (Pascal Berube) following on the outside past the three-quarters in 1:27.2. Then in the stretch Katniss S BG was an easy winner by two lengths in 1:57. Sharks Summrshandy was second with Butterfly BG (Guy Gagnon) third. Sired by Mach Three, it was the fifth win this year for Katniss S BG. She is trained by Richard Moreau and was bred and is co-owned by Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau of Sorel-Tracy. She paid $3.40 to win. $65,000 3YO Colt Trot - It was race favorite Nobodynojustice and driver Guy Gagnon who was not going to let anyone take the lead away from them. SOS Irresistable and driver Daniel Laflamme tried early on and those two played hardball, neck and neck, to the quarter mile in :29 and the half mile in :58 with neither horse giving way. Then in the backstretch, SG Goliath King and trainer/driver Sylvain Grenier got into the mix first-over and at the three-quarters in 1:29.4 they could not pass Nobodynojustice. As they came down the stretch Nobodynojustice could not maintain the lead and SG Goliath King came on to win by a half length in 2:02. SOS Irresistable was third. Owned and bred by Grenier of Saint-Rene, it was the fourth win this year for the son of Lucky Fool. SG Goliath King paid $7.20 to win. $65,000 3YO Filly Trot - Montanaalaska and driver Guy Gagnon was first on the lead with Precieuse CC and driver/trainer Claude Beausoliel following in second place as they went to the quarter in :29.2, the half mile in 1:00.2 and the three-quarters in 1:32.1. With no one challenging from the back of the pack, Beausoliel waited until the final turn and pulled Precieuse CC from the pocket and came after Montanaalaska. Those two locked horns coming down the stretch with Precieuse CC the stronger horse, going on to win by one length in 2:03.3. Montanaalaska was second with Stand For Justice (Stephane Brosseau) third. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for Precieuse CC, who is sired by Angus Hall and is owned by Marie Andree Cournoyer of Chicoutimi. She paid $6.10 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Pace - It was Ginness Panic and driver Louis Philippe Roy who shot out to the early lead and cut fast fractions of :27.1 and :55.4 with Dernier Essai (Sylvain Filion) trying to keep up in second place. Then in the backstretch Stephane Gendron came first-over with YS Sunshine and the not only collared Guinness Panic, but past them by before the three-quarters in 1:25.1. YS Sunshine then kicked in another gear for Gendron and pulled away in the stretch to win by three and one-quarter lengths in 1:55, a track record for two-year-old pacing geldings. GA Speed Gary (Guy Gagnon) was second with Guinness Panic third. It was the fourth win this year for YS Sunshine. The son of Sunshine Beach is trained by Michel Allard and was bred and is owned by Yves Sarrazin of La Presentation. He paid $3.30 to win. The previous track record was 1:56.4 set by Sugarsam in 2014. $55,000 2YO Filly Pace - The biggest upset of the day came when Cooking The Speed and driver Stephane Gendron won at odds of 18-1. Hurryupatthebeach (Pascal Berube) cut the mile with Cooking The Speed sitting the pocket seat through fractions of :27.4 and :57.3. Jody Jamieson was already on the move with Better Now and as he approached the leaders in the backstretch, Gendron pulled the pocket with Cooking The Speed and the action heated up past the three-quarters in 1:27.3. All three horses were stacked three-wide around the final turn and as they started down the stretch, Hurrayupatthebeach began to fade as Cooking The Speed found another gear, winning by one length over Better Now in 1:57.3. Hurryupatthebeach was third. It was a lifetime mark for the daughter of So Surreal who is trained by Michel Allard and is co-owned and bred by Allard Racing of Saint-Esprit. She paid $38.90 to win. $55,000 2YO Colt Trot - The 1/5 favorite, Cesar Dunharas and trainer/driver Stuart Sowerby went right to the lead with Mister Sky (Francis Picard) trying to follow the live cover in second place to the opening quarter mile in :30. Then at the half mile marker in 1:01.1, Stephanie Brosseau came first-over with Only For Justice but was unable to gain ground as Cesar Dunharas went to the three-quarters in 1:31. On the final turn Only For Justice found another gear and gained on Cesar Dunharas, collared him in the stretch and came on to win by a quarter length in 2:01.3. Mister Sky was third. It was the second straight win and a lifetime mark for Justice For All. The gelded son of Justice Hall is trained by Dany Fontain for breeder/owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal. He paid $14.30 to win. $55,000 2YO Filly Trot - Claudi P V and driver Pascal Berube were the only one in the field to stay trotting and thus was an easy winner by five and one-half lengths in 2:01.1. Stablmate My Lady Hall (Jocelyn Gendron) was second with the 1/9 favorite, Kenogami Darling (Guy Gagnon), who was going for her fourth straight win, broke at the start. My Lady Hall led the field through fractions of :29.1, :59.2 and 1:29.3 with Claudi P V in pursuit. Then coming down the stretch, My Lady Hall made a break and Claudi P V blew by her for the win by 15 and one-quarter lengths. It was the second win and a lifetime mark for the daughter of Holiday Road, who is trainer and co-owned and bred by Serge Nadeau with Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu. She paid $9.70 to win. The Open Handicap Pace saw former Quebec Series Champion, Atomic Million AM ($3.80) and driver Guy Gagnon wire the field with ease in 1:54.2. Another Quebec Series Champion, Capteur De Reve ($6/90) and driver Pierre Luc Roy, were able to wire the field in winning the Open Handicap Trot in 1:59.1. Track Notes: Driver Stephane Gendron and trainer Michel Allard each had two wins in the championship finals and driver Louis Phillipe Roy has two wins, one in the finals. Live harness racing resumes at H3R next Sunday, September 16, first race post time at 12:50 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

Ontario's exciting two-year-old trotting colts and geldings were in the spotlight at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening and delivered thrilling finishes in all three $19,500 Grassroots divisions. Royale Elite opened the stakes program with 1:58.3 victory from Post 3 that saw him roar down the stretch to nab fan favourite and pacesetter Judge Ken at the wire by a neck. Arcanum was well back of the duelling leaders in third. "The other divisions went faster, but the way he won tonight, it was very impressive," said driver James MacDonald. "It got backed up pretty good in the last turn, I had to back him out around, and usually with an aged horse if you have to back them up it's tough to get them rolling again, and he did it just like a pro. I backed him out around and as soon as he saw daylight he took off. I was really impressed with the way he fought right to the wire." "He's a nice colt, great gait, and you can do whatever you want with him," added the Guelph resident, who crafted the win for trainer Mark Steacy and owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, QC. The mile was a personal best for Royale Elite, who also scored Grassroots victories in the July 17 season opener at Georgian Downs and in the Aug. 11 event at Hiawatha Horse Park. A third in the July 31 contest at Woodbine Mohawk Park gives the Royalty For Life son a total of 162 points and ownership of top spot in the division standings. In the second division fan favourites A Royal Line and driver Trevor Henry left smartly from Post 5 and tucked in behind second choice Windsong Patriot through fractions of :28, :58.1 and 1:27.4. Turning for home Henry tipped A Royal Line to the outside and the chestnut gelding steadily reeled in the leader, reaching the wire one-half length on top in a personal best 1:56.4. Cousin Peter was well back in third. "Royal is getting better every week, stronger and smarter," said Henry, who was also part of the stretch duel in the first division aboard Judge Ken. "Judge Ken raced well too. He just got picked off, but that's racing." Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh conditions A Royal Line for his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. Windsor resident McIntosh also bred the son of Royalty For Life and Direct Dial. Like Royale Elite, A Royal Line was victorious in the July 17 and Aug. 11 Grassroots events, but he tried his hand in the Gold Series for the second event so sits behind Royale Elite in the standings with 150 points. As the gate swept away from the field in the third division it was Lariat Seelster and Magical Journey from Posts 8 and 9 that led the way into the first turn. Magical Journey took the early lead, reaching the quarter in :28.2, then yielded to Lariat Seelster heading for the :57.4 half. Lariat Seelster hit the three-quarters in 1:28 and as the pair turned for home Magical Journey mounted his attack. The pair battled tooth and nail down the stretch, with Lariat Seelster holding on by a stubborn head in a personal best 1:57.4. Rap Royalty was two lengths back in third. "Not gonna let that guy by me, you know, so that's good," said trainer Bob Young. "We've been waiting for him to break loose, and tonight he broke loose." Roger Mayotte piloted the Kadabra gelding to his second straight win for Guelph resident Young and his partners Robert Deveau of Toronto, Frank Chiaravalloti of Downsview and Jaftica Stable of Guelph. The long-legged youngster, a $54,000 acquisition from last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale, was also victorious in an overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park on August 27. "He's a Mohawk horse. I told my guys that own him, he's not going to any track but Mohawk, he's just too big a horse," said Young of his decision to race the colt in an overnight rather than in the Aug. 11 Grassroots event at Hiawatha Horse Park. "That was our game plan from day one and that's what we've done." With Monday's victory and a fourth-place result in the July 31 Grassroots event at the Campbellville oval, Lariat Seelster has accumulated 58 points, which should assure him of a berth in the Grassroots Semi-Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Sept. 20. The gelding's peers will have one last opportunity to accumulate points in the regular season finale over Grand River Raceway's half-mile surface on Sept. 12. The top 20 point earners following the last event will advance to the Semi-Finals, with the top five finishers from each Semi-Final earning a berth in the Sept. 29 Grassroots Championship. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their Grassroots regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park this Thursday, Sept. 6, competing in Races 1, 9 and 10. The fillies will kick things off at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

LAZARUS’ dominant debut US win certainly didn’t surprise former world champion driver James MacDonald. In fact, MacDonald is already strongly tipping a repeat dose in the $600,000 Canadian Derby at Woodbine Mohawk on Sunday morning NZ time. “This race is no harder than last time. I’d expect the same result. He’s drawn better and should be fitter. McWicked would be the danger again if he can get the right trip,” he said. “Lazarus earnt so much respect last start the way he won. If Yannick wants to press for the front or gets headed and wants to re-take, he’s got that respect now.” So where will another win this week sit Lazarus on the scale of North America’s best pacers, which is essentially the world’s best? “These are the best of the best he’s facing this week. There might be a few others here and there, but it won’t get harder than this,” MacDonald said. “If he keeps going the way he is, he will be the best over here. “The sky is the limit for him knowing Yannick (Gingras, driver) told me he should keep getting better as he gets fitter and adapts more to the style of racing.” MacDonald’s opinion of Lazarus was in high demand at home given he had the opportunity to watch the megastar win the Perth Inter Dominion in the flesh while he contested some invitational driver races at Gloucester Park last December. “I told everyone I’d never seen a horse do what he did in that final, sit parked and run past them like he did,” he said. “I think he was a bit under-estimated when he got here, but not anymore. Not after that first win. “My only query was how would acclimatise to the shorter speed racing and how fast he could get off the gate, but he answered both those things in that first win.” Adam Hamilton

MILTON, ON - August 16, 2018 - The Pure Ivory and Define The World Series resumed Thursday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The second-leg of each event saw a single $14,000 divisions with six competitors. The Pure Ivory for fillies did not feature round one winner Dark As A Pocket, while Smart As Hill was attempting to repeat his first-leg score. Mark Steacy trainee Minor Obsession was a front-end winner in her Pure Ivory Series debut. The daughter of Muscle Mass and driver James MacDonald floated away before trotting on to secure the front entering the first-turn. Minor Obsession hung up fractions of :29.4, 1:02.1 and 1:32.2 before stepping home in :28 for a 2:00.2 victory. Grimmie Hanover finished a length and a quarter back in second, while Angel For Life was third. A $17,500 Goshen Yearling Sale purchase, Minor Obsession picked up her first-career victory in her third start Thursday. The Steacy trainee finished second in her debut on July 26 at Woodbine Mohawk Park before finishing sixth in a New York Sires Stakes leg on August 3 at Tioga Downs. Minor Obsession pushes her earnings to $10,500 for owners Mark Steacy and Salt Hill Farm Limited. She paid $5.10 to win. Smart As Hill may have won the first leg of the Define The World, but the Mike Keeling trainee didn't receive much respect at the windows and went off at odds of 10/1. Royal Rob entered Thursday's second leg undefeated in two starts, which included an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division score. The Bob McIntosh trainee was the talk of the toteboard at 1/5, but unfortunately for his connections made a break after the start. Steuben Hanover, who got nailed at the wire by Smart As Hill in round one, went off as the 3/1 second-choice. The Luc Blais trainee made a break at three-quarters when moving on the outside from fourth. Meanwhile, Smart As Hill and driver Roger Mayotte enjoyed a perfect two-hole trip behind Cesar Duharas, who posted fractions of :30, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4. Mayotte angled Smart As Hill from the two-hole just before three-quarters and proceeded to trot by the leader and go on to a 1:59 victory. Blazing Trail finished a length back in second, while Cesar Duharas was third. A son of Muscle Hill, Smart As Hill improved to two for four with his second leg score and will now have an opportunity at a series sweep. The Keeling trainee was a $70,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. Smart As Hill has earned $19,180 in four starts for owners Dreamville Stable and Harbor Racing Stable LLC. He paid $23.30 to win. The finals of the Pure Ivory and Define The World will take place next Thursday (August 23). Live racing continues Friday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

JULY 17, 2018 - James MacDonald and Mark Steacy teamed up to win two-thirds of what was a very regal night of Grassroots action at Georgian Downs on Tuesday. MacDonald opened the two-year-old trotting colt and gelding Grassroots season with a victory behind Rap Royalty in the first $18,450 division. Starting from Post 7 the pair moved strongly off the gate and sat briefly in third before circling around to second as Northern Tailwind logged fractions of :31, 1:01.3 and 1:32. Coming off the final turn MacDonald turned Rap Royalty loose and the co-favourite held on for a neck victory over H A Houston, stopping the teletimer at 2:03.2. Zorgwijk Tim, the other fan favourite, finished third. "Rapper was good. I got him off the gate good and then I had to move him first up a little bit, but I got to tuck in and draft for a little while and pop out just before they got to the stretch," noted Guelph, Ontario resident MacDonald. "He was a little green still, like he went by them and then he kind of let up when he cleared, but they're two-year-olds, everything's new to them still, so I was pleased." Steacy conditions the son of Kadabra for Landmark 11 Racing Stable of Lansdowne, David Reid of Glenburnie, Ontario, Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. of Hudson, Quebec, and Bertrand Gilhespy Stable of Edmonton, Alberta. The gelding was a $60,000 purchase out of the 2017 Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Six races after their first visit to the winner's circle MacDonald and Steacy were back in front of the Georgian Downs fans with Royal Elite. Starting from Post 2 in the third division, MacDonald employed a similar strategy with the Royalty For Life son, sitting third early and then advancing up the outer lane heading by the three-quarter pole. Never Tell rolled along on the front end through fractions of :30.4, 1:01.3 and 1:32, but could not hold off Royal Elite when MacDonald asked for another gear. The colt trotted home a 2:02 winner, one and one-half lengths ahead of Never Tell and fan favourite Judge Ken. "He's a homebred from a hard luck Muscles Yankee mare (Day Dream) we bought several years ago. This is her first live foal and he has been good from the time we broke him," said Lansdowne resident Steacy, who trains Royal Elite for owner-breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable Inc. "We're hoping for a couple of Grassroots starts and then maybe, if he keeps improving, a Gold try would be nice. He raced very game tonight, moving first up to win." The colt also impressed MacDonald, who had driven both Royal Elite and Rap Royalty in their pre-season qualifiers. "He was a little better today. He's got high speed, he just needs to learn how to do it right, like sometimes he wants to go when he shouldn't and doesn't want to go when you want him to," explained the driver. "He's just green, and I was really pleased with him." Rounding out the trio of regally-named winners was A Royal Line, who captured the second division in 2:02.4. Starting from Post 2 driver Robert Shepherd settled A Royal Line in fourth as MacDonald sent Steacy trainee In The Will out to a :30.3 quarter and 1:02.1 half. When In The Will skipped off stride heading for the 1:32.2 three-quarters, A Royal Line was advancing up the outside to the lead, a lead he had extended to four and three-quarter lengths by the wire. Y A Titan finished second and Sweet Lou Wittaker was third. Flamborough resident Shepherd crafted the win for trainer Bob McIntosh of Windsor and his partners Dave Boyle of Bowmanville and Mardon Stables of Loretto, Ontario. McIntosh also bred the son of Royalty For Life and Direct Dial. The two-year-old trotting colts and geldings will make their second Grassroots start on July 31 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Georgian Downs this week as the Innisfil oval welcomes the three-year-old trotting fillies for their third Gold and Grassroots events this Saturday, July 21. Saturday's first race goes postward at 7:15 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - July 7, 2018 - The popular pacer Nickle Bag surpassed $1 million in career earnings with his 38th career victory Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Known for his gritty performances, Nickle Bag did it all on the front to score a 1:52.2 victory in a $13,000 event. James MacDonald guided the classy pacer, who was just $2,120 shy of $1 million, for trainer Bill Robinson. A gelded son of Rocknroll Hanover, Nickle Bag was making his 198th career start Saturday with his racing debut coming back all the way back on August 24, 2012 at Mohawk Park. All 198 starts have taken place at Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Park. Nickle Bag has spent a large portion of his career racing in the Preferred and took on the sport's heavyweights in the 2016 Canadian Pacing Derby, finishing fifth. A true warrior, Nickle Bag has hit the board in 118 of his 198 starts. His career-mark is 1:49, taken on April 30, 2016 at Mohawk Park. Nickle Bag continues to grind away at the age of eight and now has four wins and nine "on the board" finishes in 23 starts this season. The Robinson trainee paid $2.60 to win Saturday. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications  

TRURO, N.S. – The Red Shores broadcast team is on the road for a special presentation as the top drivers in Atlantic Canadian harness racing converge on Truro Raceway Friday evening. The Bible Hill, N.S., oval will play host to the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship with P.E.I. sending a team of four drivers for the eight-person competition. All the action will be broadcast live on www.Redshores.ca, while hosted by Red Shores’ Lee Drake and Peter MacPhee along with Truro Raceway’s Joe Kelly and Brad McCallum.  The competition kicks off in race 1 Friday night at the Nova Scotia half-miler with a 6:30 P.M. opening post time. Each driver will compete in races 1-7 and race 9 while starting from each post position once on the eight-wide starting gate. The top two point earning drivers will advance to the National Driving Championship in September at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ont., where the winner of that event will represent Canada at Sweden in the 2019 World Driving Championship. Defending World Driving Champion James MacDonald, a native of Kingston, P.E.I., will also be at the world event in 2019 after winning the championship in 2017 and earning Canada the right to send a second representative. Drake, manager of Marketing, Brands and Playwise with Red Shores, is excited to be part of the action at the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship Friday night. “The team at Truro Raceway has put together an outstanding card for the regional qualifier with Red Shores more than happy to help out and host the worldwide broadcast,” Drake said. “The action is sure to be nonstop all evening and hopefully one of the Atlantic representatives will go all the way to the World Driving Championship joining P.E.I.’s own James MacDonald in the top echelon of the sport.” Drivers in the Atlantic Regional qualified off of 2017 statistics with the two leading reinsmen on red soil garnering the first invitations. The ‘King’ of Island harness racing, Marc Campbell of Winsloe, will headline the Island team fresh off an O’Brien award winning season where he smashed nearly every record available to him in Atlantic Canadian harness racing. Stratford resident Jason Hughes also gets a call to attend as the popular trainer-driver is back in second place at the Red Shores Summerside driving standings so far in 2018. Gilles Barrieau is also part of team P.E.I., as the New Brunswick driver moves his stable to the Island province during the summer racing season and finds himself continually near the top of the driving standings at Red Shores Charlottetown. The final P.E.I. driver at the event is Harrington resident Ken Murphy, who finished a solid third in the 2017 Summerside driving standings and just recently went over $1 million in career earnings in the race bike. Other drivers in the event are John Gerard Kennedy, Redmond Doucet and Darren Crowe from Nova Scotia and Todd Trites representing New Brunswick. The card also features a $2,500 preferred pace in race 8 headlined by top P.E.I. pacer Mr Irresistible with Hughes training and driving for owner Danny Birt of Stratford. by Nicolas Oakes, for Red Shores

MILTON, January 15, 2018 - James MacDonald, the 2017 Harness Racing World Driving Champion, has been announced as a special guest for the upcoming Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction. The 16th annual Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction is coordinated by the Milton Chamber of Commerce and will be held on February 6 at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club. A top-five driver at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks, MacDonald represented Canada and captured the 2017 World Driving Champion this past August. The Guelph, Ontario resident is now in his 10th season of driving and has won 1,745 races and driven the winners of over $23 million. MacDonald joins an impressive list of celebrity athletes attending the event, including Hockey Hall of Fame members Yvan Cournoyer, Geraldine Heaney and Billy Smith, Toronto Maple Leaf legend Ron Ellis, NHL great Dennis Maruk and Canadian Olympic wrestler Korey Jarvis. Ken Reid of Rogers Sportsnet will host the evening's festivities. The Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction has become one of Milton's most talked about events, raising the profile of the Milton Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Scholarship Fund. The Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction brings together sports heroes and sports enthusiasts alike. Organized by a volunteer committee of Chamber members, the evening's program includes an autograph signing session, a cocktail reception, a gourmet meal and a silent and live auction. Bidding on the live auction items, which in past years has featured golf packages, spa packages, autographed jerseys and sports memorabilia, is one of the highlights of the evening. The festivities conclude with the celebrity athletes gathering on stage for a question and answer session led by Reid. Proceeds from the event go towards the Chamber Scholarship Fund, which helps fund post-secondary education for local high school students. Woodbine Entertainment is a proud sponsor of the Milton Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction. Tickets are $175 and can be purchased by clicking here. Mark McKelvie

TOP local driver Gary Hall Jr had to be content with second in the Inter Dominion aboard Chicago Bull, but still snared a Group 1 win on the night. Hall Jr teamed with his father, Gary Hall Sr, and classy mare Ideal Alice to win the $125,000 Group 1 Mares’ Classic (2536m) at Gloucester Park. And it came courtesy of a typically brilliant Hall Jr driver to extricate Ideal Alice from a three-peg run rounding the final bend, find clear air and storm over the top of a super gallant Ameretto to win by a head in a slick 1min55.5sec mile rate. The NZ-bred Ideal Alice is now in foal herself and will soon be retired to return to her homeland. The win was her 20th from 63 starts with another 20 placings and earnings over $400,000. “She’s been a wonderful mare. I wasn’t sure her recent form was quite up to the likes of Ameretto and A Piccadilly Princess going into these big mares’ races, but she had three nice runs for two seconds and now this big win,” Hall Sr said. It was almost unfair to see Ameretto beaten after Kerryn Manning’s star worked three-wide for more than a lap to finally get outside the heavily-backed leader, Eden Franco, and kick away with what looked a winning break on the home bend. Eden Franco raced a little keen at times, making her vulnerable over the longer trip, and she tired late for fourth. The hardluck story, just as she was last year, was the All Stars’ A Piccadilly Princess. Mark Purdon got the gun through behind the leader and had to decide with a just over a lap to go whether to stay on the pegs and risk being pocketed or move outside the leader. Purdon stayed in, the run never came and A Piccadilly Princess hit the line hard-held in fifth spot. _______________________________________________________________________________________ FREELANCE driver Chris Voak is such a breath of fresh air. An effervescent personality, Voak is also a serious driver and shown by his two big wins in support races as well as a close fourth on roughie Vultan Tin in the Inter Dominion final last Friday night. An $85 shot, the locally-bred Vultan Tin just missed snatching third spot from the leader Tiger Tara. Voak then produced a dashing front-running drive on former Victorian trotting mare Itsgettingcalder to win the $50,000 Group 1 Trotters’ Cup (2503m). He then caused a minor upset on $12.60 shot Costa Del Maginifico to win the last race of the night for trainer Ross Olivieri. “It’s been fantastic o be part of the Inter Dominion series with Vultan Tin, who did us all proud tonight. And to win a couple of other races on the night, especially the big trot, was fantastic. It’s been a great few weeks,” Voak said. _______________________________________________________________________________________ FORMER Olympic hockey gold medallist Michael “Mouse” Brennan already has sights set on the next Inter Dominion. Brennan thinks his emerging star Mista Shark will fly his stable flag in the Melbourne Inter Dominion next year. “He’s going places. Look at the way he won his heat and the final of this (San Simeon) series,” Brennan said. “He’ll be my Melbourne Inter Dominion horse in 12 months time.” Mista Shark sat parked to win his San Simeon heat at Bunbury last Tuesday week, then found the front in a dashing drive by Michael Grantham before easily holding-off the classy El Jacko to win in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. Shane Tritton’s buzz former Kiwi mare Reaza Grunter made an early break, just as she did on night one, and lost all chance in the final. But her win on middle Friday of the Inter Dominion series showed why Tritton’s thinks she is potentially one of Australia’s best mares. Back to Brennan and he had another reason to celebrate on the big night when stable favourite The Bucket List overcame plenty of trouble to win the Inter Dominion consolation with Grantham in the cart. “I wish it had been six heats and a final because he’s only hitting his straps now,” Brennan said. “He’s not quite up to those very best ones, but that was a super win tonight to overcame the check he got early and come from so far off them.” Former top class Kiwi pacer Ohoka Punter also showed a glimpse of his best with former with a huge second after burning midrace around the field to take the lead and fight on well for a close second. _______________________________________________________________________________________ NEWLY-CROWNED World Champion driver James MacDonald admitted to getting a huge buzz from his win aboard Skippy Rascal in one of the Sky Racing Drivers’ series heats at Gloucester Park last Friday night. Macdonald escaped a pocket from behind the leader straightening for home and Skippy Rascal picked-up quickly to rundown the leader, Simba Bromac, and win by 1.3m in a 1min55.5sec mile rate for 2130m. “I needed that,” MacDonald smiled. “The first night didn’t go so well.. “We’ve had such an amazing time over here, everyone has looked after us so well, and to land a winner on Inter Dominion final night adds to it.” The other guest international driver, US-based Marcus Miller, finished third in the race aboard Wrappers Delight. _______________________________________________________________________________________ IT was an all local finish in the Invitation Lady Drivers’ race at Gloucester Park. Talented young local Kiara Davies made the most of the pole draw on favourite Dior Mia More to lead throughout and beat Kristy Sheehy on Bettor Bling and Jocelyn Young aboard Madame Meilland. Kerryn Manning, Lauren Tritton and US visitor Hannah “Hurricane” Miller were among the beaten brigade. _______________________________________________________________________________________ LET’S hope Shadow Sax stays sound. Emma Stewart’s injury-plagued star made it six wins on end – and 16 wins from just 24 career starts – when he won the Geelong Cup last Saturday night. It was closer than expected though with former classy there-year-old Cant Refuse running a great race for third and old-stager Messini a close fourth in a 1min57sec mile rate for 2570m. _______________________________________________________________________________________ A QUEENSLAND raid is paying dividends for the KerryAnn Turner and Robbie Morris team. They snared the feature, the Christmas Cup, at Albion Park with their classy gelding Aztec Bromac, who just nabbed remarkable veteran Avonnova. They landed a treble on the night with Smokey Quartz and Come Cullect winning easily as well. _______________________________________________________________________________________ MACH Doro is enjoying Tiger Tara being away in Perth. The classy Craig Cross-trained pacer, who contested last season’s Victoria Cup, opened this campaign with a good second to Tiger Tara at Menangle on November 4. Since then he’s brilliantly won both free-for-alls he’s contested, the latest in a blazing 1min51.9sec mile at Menangle last Saturday night. Trainer-driver Jarrod Alchin landed the feature at the Menangle meeting when Ima Mystery Girl won the Group 3 Teeny Teeny Stakes for mares’ in a 1min52sec mile. The talk of the race was the flop of Mark Jones’ star Kiwi mare Rocker Band, who finished second-last, prompting stewards to open an inquiry into the performance.   Adam Hamilton

Canadian World Champion harness racing driver James MacDonald took out the third heat of the 2017 Perth International Driver Series at Gloucester Park in Perth on Friday night with a superb exhibition. Drawn the pole with the $7.70 change Skippy Rascal, MacDonald didn’t panic when he was crossed in the early battle for the lead and show his great skill and patience when he extracted the horse from the pocket turning for home and hit the line strongly to win from the $4.50 favourite Simba Bromac. American reinsman Marcus Miller was close up in third place with the $12.70 chance Wrappers Delight which had worked hard three wide over the final 900 metres of the race and fought on strongly in the straight. “It was an amazing buzz to win a race in Perth, not as good as the World Driving Championship but pretty close to it,” an ebullient Miller said post-race. “I have had an amazing stay in Perth and everybody involved in the Inter Dominion carnival has been so friendly and welcoming and the racing here is tight and exciting.” “Mick Radley and his staff here at Gloucester Park have done a superb job and the crowds have been great”. There were some 9,000 fans on-course on Friday night. James MacDonald enters the record books as the first Canadian reinsman to drive a winner at Gloucester Park. American Pat Iovine is the only other Northern Hemisphere driver to win a race at Gloucester Park and he achieved the feat in May 1976 behind a horse called Main Morris. MacDonald is the 1854th individual to drive a winner in Perth in the 53,062 races held in the city since harness racing began in Western Australia in 1910. The second of last night’s two Drivers Series heats was taken out by the $114.50 chance Courage Tells which his driver Ryan Warwick got up in the last stride to down Johnny Disco $8.70 and Three Blind Mice $17.10. With the $2.50 favourite Argyle Red finishing out of a place the first three horses home paid a trifecta dividend of $14,559. Local tipster Pat Harding, renowned for his tipping skill in terms of value selections, had selected Courage Tells as the winner on his Friday morning radio programme. MacDonald finished sixth in the final leg of the Drivers Series on the $73.70 chance Jaxon Fella while Marcus Miller, sitting in a perfect position on the leaders back had his drive Ohoka Darcy go out of its gear and break just as he was about to make a winning move. Local ace Gary Hall Jnr won the Drivers Series, sponsored by Sky Racing and Slater Gartrell Sports, with an overall points score total of 36 ahead of Ryan Warwick and Chris Lewis who each finished with 32 points. Hall failed to win a heat but was placed in three of the four races. MacDonald finished fifth with 27 points and Miller was in tenth place with 19 points. American reinswoman Hannah Miller drove the $17.50 chance Parisian Partygirl in the Retravision Invitation Lady Drivers Challenge which was won by the $1.50 favourite Dior Mia More which was driven by Kiara Davies. Miller finished in seventh place. Alan Parker

World champion James MacDonald has sound prospects of making a flying start to the International Drivers series at Gloucester Park by guiding the tough, consistent and in-form Your Excused to victory in the Sky Racing opening heat on Friday night. Your Excused, trained at Waroona by Bob Mellsop, is handily drawn at the No. 4 barrier on the front line and should be prominent. The seven-year-old is a good frontrunner, but can also perform strongly when in the breeze. He faces a hard task to get to an early lead, with speedy beginners Bad Round (barrier one) and Abraxas Blues (three) on his inside. He has performed well in his current campaign after being forced to race without cover. He could be seen in a similar role on Friday night. MacDonald, a 31-year-old Canadian, drove six winners and won the world drivers championship in Canada in August this year. Up-and-coming American reinsman Marcus Miller, who finished third, will also compete in the Gloucester Park series. He will handle eight-year-old Ona Happy Note, who will start from barrier five. Ona Happy Note has a losing sequence of 26 and has been unplaced at his past ten starts. Todd McCarthy, a brilliant young reinsman from New South Wales, will drive the Debbie Padberg-trained Bad Round, who excels as a frontrunner and is sure to take plenty of catching. In Friday night’s second heat, sponsored by Slater Gartrell Sports, local champion Chris Lewis will drive the favourite Eden Franco, a Colin Brown-trained mare blessed with sparkling gate speed. Eden Franco is a brilliant frontrunner who has won at six of her past seven starts and looks hard to beat. Victorian star Chris Alford will be in the sulky behind Madame Meilland, who is in top form for trainer Ross Olivieri and is sure to be prominent from the No. 2 barrier on the front line. MacDonald will drive A Boy Named Rosie from barrier five and Miller will handle Extreme Prince, who will start from the outside of the back line. Ken Casellas

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 31 - Harness racing fans coming out to Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday will have an opportunity to meet and congratulate James MacDonald, the 2017 World Driving Champion, ahead of the Canadian Pacing Derby card. MacDonald, 31, recently captured the 2017 World Driving Championship by besting 10 other drives from around the world to take the top prize on home soil. One of the leading drivers at Mohawk Racetrack, MacDonald became the fourth Canadian driver to capture the World Driving Championship. The special autograph session with MacDonald will get underway at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday and will take place on the main level of the Grandstand. Mohawk has put together a special photo for fans to receive and have autographed by MacDonald. Only a limited number of photos are available, so fans are encouraged to arrive early to get this special collector's item. Draw ballots will also be available at the autograph session for fans to win a special poster signed by all of the World Driving Championship participants. Mohawk will be giving away three of the signed posters with the draw taking place later in the evening. The first 300 fans to Mohawk on Saturday will also receive a free program. Post time for Saturday's Canadian Pacing Derby card is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Charlottetown, PEI -- Canadian harness racing driver James MacDonald of Guelph, Ont. clinched the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC), and its $25,000 top prize Friday evening (August 18) at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park, Prince Edward Island. In a night to remember, a capacity crowd witnessed the hometown triumph of MacDonald, the first-ever Canadian to claim the international title on home turf. MacDonald entered the fifth and final day of competition with a 26-point lead over Finland's Mika Forss. Without a win in the first three races to clinch the overall points lead, MacDonald sealed his claim to the WDC title in the night's final of four races by earning four points for an eighth-place finish with Instant Shadow. The Canadian reinsman amassed a total of 211 WDC tournament points, ultimately besting overall runner-up Forss, who completed his drives with an accumulated 193 points for second. Marcus Miller, from the United States, tallied 181.5 points to round out the top three WDC drivers.      The 31-year-old Prince Edward Island native returned to his home province as the only one of the 11 WDC contestants to have won at least one race at each track leading up to the final leg of the tournament. MacDonald won two of five heats at Century Downs in Alberta on Saturday (August 12), teaming up with Lucky Lucka and Barossa Blue Genes, before prevailing with Mystery Bet on Monday (August 14) at his current home base of Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He went on to double up again at Georgian Downs on Tuesday (August 15), reaching the winner's enclosure with Shemars Lulu and Walk The Plank, before earning his sixth WDC win at Québec's Hippodrome 3R on Wednesday (August 16) aboard Federal Strike.   Hosted by Standardbred Canada, the World Driving Championship is held every two years in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference. The 2017 editions of the events coincide with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada, and Canada 150 celebrations.  MacDonald is now the fourth Canadian driver to win the World Driving Championship, the first to do so on Canadian soil. Hervé Filion won the inaugural edition in 1970; his nephew Sylvain Filion won in 1999; and Jody Jamieson won the 2001 and 2011 editions of the WDC. 2017 World Driving Championship Leaderboard (final) Rank - Driver (Country) - Points 1. James MacDonald (Canada) - 211 2. Mika Forss (Finland) - 193 3. Marcus Miller (United States) - 181.5 4. Dexter Dunn (ITA/New Zealand) - 166 5. Björn Goop (Sweden) - 152 6. Noel Baldacchino (Malta) - 148 7. Eirik Høitomt (Norway) - 136 8. Shane Graham (Australia) - 135 8. Gerhard Mayr (Austria) - 135 10. Mark Purdon (New Zealand) - 124.5 11. Rik Depuydt (Belgium) - 107   A more detailed release will follow.   Jeff Porchak World Driving Championship Media Liaison standardbredcanada.ca

TROIS RIVIERES, QUEBEC – James MacDonald, the representative of host country Canada in the 2017 World Driving Championship, added his sixth win of the tournament at Hippodrome 3R in Quebec Wednesday night to widen his lead in the contest, and the trip to the fifth and final venue, Red Shores Charlottetown Driving Park on Prince Edward Island for racing Friday, looks more and more like a triumphant “home stretch” for the 31-year-old, for he is a native of the Island province, and he may be well receiving the driving crown at the place where it all started for him. Hippodrome 3R is appreciative of having the honor of hosting eleven of the world’s best drivers in their fourth stop on their five-stop West-to-East journey across Canada in the World Driving Championship, which is held every two years in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference; Canada was selected as host in honor of the country’s 250th anniversary of being a home for horse racing. The standings going into the card: James MacDonald                                            Canada                 144 points           (five wins) Mika Forss                                                          Finland                 130 points           (three wins) Marcus Miller                                                    United States     123.5 points       (three wins) Shane Graham                                                  Australia              97 points            (one win) Dexter Dunn (defending champion)                   New Zealand      93 points Noel Baldacchino                                                 Malta                    90 points Eirik Hoitomt                                                      Norway                89.5 points          (one win) Bjorn Goop                                                         Sweden                86 points             (one win) Gerhard Mayr                                                    Austria                  83 points Mark Purdon                                                     New Zealand      69 points Rik Depuydt                                                       Belgium                68 points Here is a description of the four races at the Quebec half-mile oval, all contested at 1 1/16 miles: RACE ONE ($4000 pace): Dexter Dunn, James MacDonald, and Marcus Miller were all 2-1 in the betting, and those three drivers and their horses – respectively, Imagine Speed, Ninoscredit, and Maracasso --were 1-2-3 at the quarter, though Dunn and Imagine Speed had to pay a 27 price to get to the front. The field stayed in that order until a half-mile remained, when Gerhard Mayr moved Eataam Whosurboy first-over to challenge the leader, and with a strong move with 3/8 remaining Eataam Whosurboy got in gear and started a move that carried him to the lead nearing the far turn. The key to the race was the horse with the cover behind Eataam Whosurboy – who was nobody, which allowed Miller and Maracasso to get out behind him and then move after the new leader, with MacDonald and Ninoscredit pinned in as the two horses went by. Ninoscredit came on well in the stretch, but Maracasso had the jump on him and sustained to the wire, winning by a length in 2:06.1 over the 1 1/16 miles to give Marcus Miller his fourth win of the tournament. “I wasn’t sure if I’d get that kind of trip when we left the gate,” Miller noted after the race. “But I was able to get out behind the horse who went to the lead and could keep James (MacDonald) in. I was able to keep going and win, but MacDonald got out and finished second – he’s tough, driving very well now.” DRIVERS’ ORDER OF FINISH: Miller, MacDonald, Mayr, Dunn, Depuydt, Baldacchino, Goop, Graham, Purdon, Forss, Hoitomt. LEADER BOARD AFTER FIRST 3R RACE: MacDonald 157, Miller 141.5, Forss 132, Graham and Dunn 101. RACE TWO ($4600 trot): When you work out a second-over trip from post eleven – the third trailer – on a half-mile track, you know things are going your way – and you are making things go your way. Native son James MacDonald managed to work out a second-over trip with Federal Strike in this event, following Abundasass and driver Bjorn Goop. Both were out much of the 1 1/16-mile distance, but worked their way to the front spots down the backstretch the final time. It looked for a moment as if MacDonald might not get clearance – that pesky Marcus Miller again – but this time Miller’s horse backed off, and Federal Strike moved out and took it from there, going by Abundasass as the slight favorite and winning by 1 ¼ lengths, with the added-distance time of 2:08.1 declared a 3R track record, since the books and Standardbred Canada had no record of a race over the distance listed. “I can’t believe I worked out a trip like that,” a disbelieving/euphoric MacDonald said after the contest. “But I know the respect that Bjorn Goop has earned and is given in Sweden and Europe, and when I found a way I could follow him, I figured – I hoped that would be able to carry me up. He did and then my horse got his chance, and we won.” Asked if he felt in a commanding position by now, MacDonald put his game face back on and said, “Still have to grind it out – lots of great drivers out there.” DRIVERS ORDER OF FINISH: MacDonald, Goop, Forss, Miller, Mayr, Graham, Hoitomt, Dunn, Baldacchino, Purdon, Depuydt. LEADER BOARD AFTER 3R RACE TWO: MacDonald 175, Miller 149.5, Forss 142, Graham 107, Dunn 105. RACE THREE ($4200 pace): “The Finnish Lion,” Mika Forss, looked like everything was going his way. His pacer Shanghai B G, the slight 2-1 favorite, got away in the pocket behind a strong pacesetter in Jolt’s Prayer (Dexter Dunn), saw waves of challenger fell back, then looked to move his move on the far turn. “And my horse felt good.” And then his sulky broke. “My sulky seat started to break on me, and I had to hold on (to the sulky),” Forss noted after the race. Despite being driven literally one-handed (and perhaps accounting for his bearing out in the stretch), Shanghai B G was able to rally, and he was just up at the – well, finish line for the Finnish Lion, the 1 1/16 miles in 2:06.1. “That’s never happened to me in all of my career,” the veteran Forss noticed after the race, which provided his fourth victory of the tournament. It also boosted him back into second, a half-point ahead of Marcus Miller, who was on Forss’s back throughout but could do no more than keep his 24-1 shot going for third. MacDonald was in the parked tier and rallied for fifth. DRIVERS ORDER OF FINISH: Forss, Dunn, Miller, Mayr, MacDonald, Purdon, Hoitomt, Graham, Baldacchino, Goop, Depuydt. LEADER BOARD AFTER 3R RACE THREE: MacDonald 182, Forss 160, Miller 159.5, Dunn 118 (no wins but five seconds in the tournament), Graham 111. RACE FOUR ($4400 pace): Nobody wanted to leave anything anywhere but on the track for the last local race, and the field was stacked two- (or more-) deep the entire way. But Noel Baldacchino, from the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, used the physics to his advantage: he and Tidewater Tomahawk drafted behind the pacesetting Danzig Moon in the pocket, then moved out,  was already past the former leader when he made a stretch break, and drew off, winning by 3¼ lengths over the favored Hard Rock, closing well to give defending champ Dexter Dunn his sixth second of a winless tournament, with that MacDonald guy from Canada working his way through with 23-1 shot Winoc Jimmy for third. It was the first win of the tournament for Baldacchino, and oddly Tidewater Tomahawk, who was the program choice, returned $16.30 to win. DRIVERS ORDER OF FINISH: Baldacchino, Dunn, MacDonald, Depuydt, Hoitomt, Forss, Goop, Purdon, Miller, Graham, Mayr. AFTER THE FOURTH ROUND OF THE TOURNAMENT: James MacDonald                                            Canada                 192 points           (six wins) Mika Forss                                                          Finland                 166 points           (four wins) Marcus Miller                                                    United States     162.5 points       (four wins) Dexter Dunn (defending champion)                  New Zealand      131 points Noel Baldacchino                                              Malta                    120 points           (one win) Shane Graham                                                  Australia              113 points           (one win) Bjorn Goop                                                         Sweden                111 points           (one win) Gerhard Mayr                                                    Austria                  109 points Eirik Hoitomt                                                      Norway                108 points           (one win) Rik Depuydt                                                       Belgium                85 points Mark Purdon                                                     New Zealand      83.5 points FINISHING LINES – Also featured during the card was the draw for Sunday’s $200,000 Prix d’Ete, for the leading four-year-old pacers in North America. The entrants, with their post positions and listed drivers: 1, Sintra (Jody Jamieson); 2, Lyons Snyder (Daniel Dube); 3, Awesomeness (driver TBA); 4, Roll Away Joe (Louis Philippe Roy); 5, Western Fame (Trevor Henry); 6, Stonebridge Beach (Stephane Pouliot); 7, Sports Authority (Pierre Luc Roy); 8, Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair). Bali went one of the fastest miles in Hippodrome 3R history when he won a $3800 pace in 1:53.1 for Team Auger, sprinting home in 56.1 under the guidance of the track’s leading driver, Stephane Brosseau … In a $4200 trot, the mare Lucky Promesses won her seventh straight start, here in 2:01.2 for breeder/trainer/driver Jerome Lombart. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Canadian harness racing driver James MacDonald propelled himself back to the top of the 2017 World Driving Championship standings, overtaking Finland's Mika Forss after winning two of Tuesday night's (August 15) five tournament races at Georgian Downs in Innisfil, Ont. MacDonald, who entered the third leg of the Championship in second place behind Forss, drew first blood in the evening’s first tournament event, reaching from the pocket with Shemars Lulu ($7.60) in 1:59 after stalking duelling leaders through the middle stages of the race.  He also teamed up with Walk The Plank ($5.20) in the night’s third Championship race, clearing, yielding, and pulling from a clear pocket on approach to the far turn before powering to a decisive 1:55.1 victory. In addition to his pair of wins, MacDonald notched a pair of minor placings, finishing second with Art Of The Deal behind James And Morgan in the night’s penultimate event, and saving third with Im The Man in the evening’s last race as Hetties Honey circled up from behind a contested pace to win. James And Morgan ($40.80) gave Norwegian Eirik Høitomt his first win of the Championship, drafting in the pocket behind MacDonald and 25-1 pacesetter Art Of The Deal before reaching up the pegs in 1:57. Hetties Honey ($15.90) took advantage of sustained pace pressure afore in the finale, circling three-wide up the far side to overtake a stalled Ken Kan Win and wear down co-favourite Waikiki Hanover (Marcus Miller, USA) for a 1:57.2 victory under Australian Shane Graham. Forss, who slipped from first to second in the standings, was first past the post with A Boy Named Suuzz in the evening’s second tournament race, but was disqualified behind Jansen Hanover ($28.20, Miller, USA) after committing a pylon violation on the second turn. MacDonald reclaimed command and opened up a 144-130 lead on Forss through the third leg of the five-city Championship, while American Miller closed the gap behind the top pair, with 123.5 points heading out of Ontario.  Graham (97) gained into fourth spot over defending champion Dexter Dunn (93) of New Zealand, followed by Noel Baldacchino (Malta), Høitomt, Björn Goop (Sweden), Gerhard Mayr (Austria), Mark Purdon (New Zealand), and Rik Depuydt (Belgium). The action shifts to Trois-Rivières, Que. on Wednesday, August 16, where Hippodrome 3R will host the fourth leg. After that, the drivers will head to Prince Edward Island's Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park for the fifth and final leg of the Championship on Friday, August 18, one of the major highlights of Old Home Week. The top point-earner at the end of the five legs will be declared the 2017 World Driving Champion and win $25,000 in prize money. The World Driving Championship – along with the 25th anniversary edition of the World Trotting Conference, to be hosted in Charlottetown – are both held every two years and will coincide with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada, and Canada 150 celebrations. 2017 World Driving Championship Leaderboard (after three of five legs) Rank - Driver (Country) - Points 1. James MacDonald (Canada) - 144 2. Mika Forss (Finland) - 130 3. Marcus Miller (United States) - 123.5 4. Shane Graham (Australia) - 97 5. Dexter Dunn (ITA/New Zealand) - 93 6. Noel Baldacchino (Malta) - 90 7. Eirik Høitomt (Norway) - 89.5 8. Björn Goop (Sweden) - 86 9. Gerhard Mayr (Austria) - 83 10. Mark Purdon (New Zealand) - 69 11. Rik Depuydt (Belgium) - 68   Jeff Porchak World Driving Championship Media Liaison standardbredcanada.ca

TROIS RIVIERES, Quebec - The Hippodrome 3R will host leg four of the five-stop World Driving Championship this Wednesday, August 16, and an evaluation of the drivers' likely performance in the four races through an evaluation of the track's knowledgeable morning line reveals some interesting patterns - ones that could help reshape or shape the standings before the final leg at Charlottetown two days afterwards. The World Driving Championship is held every two years in conjunction with the World Trotting Conference, which in 2017 is being staged in Canada, as the country celebrates its 250th anniversary of horse racing. The two drivers to watch in the H3R harness competition figure to be James MacDonald, representing host country Canada, and Noel Baldacchino, from the tiny (316 square kilometers) Mediterranean island of Malta. The races to be used for the competition at H3R are races 5 through 8 - with, unusually, MacDonald drawing the favorite in the first two races and Baldacchino in the latter two in the random draw matching drivers and horses. In just as strange a coincidence, two other drivers have drawn the second choices in consecutive races. Dexter Dunn, a New Zealander and the defending World Driving Champion, was evaluated as second behind Baldacchino's horses in races 7 and 8, and Marcus Miller, of the United States, is second choice to MacDonald's sulky assignments in races 5 and 6. The full projection, understandably, finds Baldachino and MacDonald rated as the top two, with the former having a one-point edge based on their other two mounts. Dunn is rated third and Miller fourth - but Miller would do well to get as many points as he can from his first two drives, as his horses in the final two races are both evaluated to be - last, eleventh! Then again, Miller already is in the lead after the first leg of the series, and morning lines have been known on occasion to not always reflect how the racing takes place. Plus, we have yet to find a racehorse that could read the morning line in a program to see how they might do! Post time at the Hippodrome 3R on Wednesday is 7:15 pm. The entire race card will be simulcast, not only throughout North America, but also to Australia and New Zealand. H3R is also holding a meet and greet for the race fans with all eleven drivers starting at 6:15 pm and the opening ceremonies for the night will start on the racetrack at 7:00 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com or www.standardbredcanada.ca. From the Quebec Jockey Club      

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