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Charlottetown PE- The much anticipated 55th running of the Gold Cup and Saucer will become a little more clear after Saturday night's race card at Red Shores Charlottetown. the 12-dash card gets started at 7 p.m. The Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer trial 1 will go in the evening finale race 12. Five of the six starters in Trial 1 have lifetime records better than 1:50. The connections of the 54th Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer winner are back to defend their title Saturday night. Trainer Ron Burke and driver Marc Campbell will install their hopes in Post 5 starter Aracache Hanover. Listed as the morning line choice, Aracache Hanover comes in showing blistering gate speed that is sure to be a factor in the compact field of six. The seven-year-old son of Dragon Again is owned by William Switala and James Martin. He is the richest starter of this year's Gold Cup entries with over $1.7 million in career earnings. A first time starter for trainer Rene Allard, Bigtown Hero, has drawn post 3. Now owned by Allard Racing and Yves Sarrazin of Quebec the son of American Ideal took his lifetime mark of 1:48.3 in his last start for trainer Trevor Stafford. Gilles Barrieau will handle the driving duties. Allard has two entries in trial 1 with his other entry right next door from post 4, Island Jet. Island native Robert Shepherd will be home to do the driving. Trainer Chris Oakes will make his training debut on red soil from post 2 when he sends out Shock It To Em for owners Hauser Bros Racing, Susan Oakes, Timothy Cable and Charles Oakes. Islander Walter Cheverie has been given the opportunity to drive. Shock It To Em finished fourth in his last start at Yonkers (half-mile) pacing his own mile in 1:52.2. The all important rail position on a half-mile track goes to the only Maritime starter in this year's field Astor. He is owned by one of Red Shores leading owners Foxyhall Racing and trained and driven by Red Shores' Charlottetown's top driver and trainer Jason Hughes. The outside post 6 has gone to the only starter from last year's Gold Cup and Saucer Up The Credit. The winner of over $1.3 million in career earnings will look to overcome the outside post for owners Thomas Kyron, Joanne Morrison and trainer Carl Jamieson. Jamieson is a former Gold Cup and Saucer winner, but will hand the lines over to Truro native Ryan Ellis. The second leg of the Spud Island Classic Series for Open Mares sponsored by the PEI Potato Board, starts in Race 6 with three divisions to line up behind the Metro Building Supplies starting gate. For All We Know will look to get back to her winning ways from post 4. Last week in the first leg she seen her three race win streak come to an end finishing second to Russian Kisses. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover is owned by Bruce Wood. The Lobsterfest champion has paced he last three miles in 1:56 and change for the trainer - driver combo of Jackie Matheson and Barrieau. Last years princess of the Maritimes Ramblinglily will try her luck with the aged mares again. Absent from the first leg the four-year-old daughter of Articulator has picked up back-to-back victories for co-owners Allan Jones and Normand Leger. She'll reunite with her regular pilot Brodie MacPhee. Last season the duo enjoyed a near $60,000 year in earnings. 'Lily' has drawn post 3. Last years Spud Island Classic Champion, Dirt Track Momma has drawn the rail for Campbell and Moase. Ultimate Faith has drawn post 5 after her victory last week, Ryan Ellis will drive as the mare looks to pick up her fifth victory in sicx starts. Keystone Nobility and Bunny Mach round out the field. Last weeks show stealer and newcomer Russian Kisses will line up in the second division, Race 8, making her second start on red soil the daughter of Badlands Hanover will look to make it two-in-a-row after taking her first leg in 1:55. She is owned by Robert Shepherd, Joe Travis and Forrest Richards, Robert has handed the training duties over to his father Harold for her stay on P.E.I. and brother Steven will do the driving again this week. Firstclassflight, Veronicavermillion, There Paid For, Silky Britches, Brodys Leona and Miracleonthehudson complete the field. Stayoutofmyaffair draws the rail in the third and final division in Race 10. A going away winner in her last start by 11 and a half lengths in 1:55.1, trainer - driver Jason Hughes will look for some of that same momentum again this week. Owned by Robi Hughes, the defending Atlantic Aged Mare champion has five victories this season. Scotian Lass, Icandothat, General Luckypercy, J K Special, Dreaming and Andro Madi round out the competition. The race 11 feature will be the Ocean 100 pace. Eagle Jolt has been installed as the morning line favourite for owners Wilbur MacDonald and Marie Macdonald. The seven-year-old has two consecutive miles in 1:56 and change. Campbell, who is sponsored by Ocean 100 in the Drive For Charity will do the driving and the crew from Ocean 100 is sure to be pulling for the win. For each of Campbell's driving victories at Red Shores' properties Ocean 100 will donate $25 to the Olivia Ruth MacLeod memorial award. Bo Ford

Georgian Downs rolled out the red carpet on Saturday night for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series with five $18,000 dashes going behind the gate. When the dust had cleared, it was Shadios who shined brightest, turning in a career-best 1:50.3 clocking in the fourth Grassroots flight. With Billy Davis Jr. in the bike, Shadios sat in second while Warrawee Phoenix (Scott Coulter) rattled off fast fractions of :26.4, :53.4, and 1:22.2. Davis Jr. already had his charge out of the pocket at three-quarters and he took control entering the far turn. From there, Shadios set sail for the wire, which he reached five lengths to the good over runner-up Regal Babe (Mike Saftic). Twin B Spy (Robert Shepherd) finished in third. Tony Alagna trains Shadios, a Shadow Play gelding, for Great Britain-based owner Tom Hill. Shadios has won three times from six starts this year and he has four career victories. He has earned $26,860 in 2014 and $41,150 in his life. Davis Jr. also won the Grassroots opener with Some Major Beach, the Major In Art half-brother to the great Somebeachsomewhere. Making his first start for trainer Dave Menary, Some Major Beach worked out a second-over trip and then converted it into a 1:52.4 victory. He defeated Major Homer (Travis Henry) by two and three-quarters lengths with Allstar Seelster (Mike Saftic) back in third. Muscara Racing Trust of Ivyland, Pennsylvania, Robert Watson of Ashfield, Australia and Martinez Equine of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania own Some Major Beach. This was his second career win from 17 tries and he has banked $154,226. The other three divisions were all won by driver Scott Coulter. He guided Andreios Kardia to a 1:53.1 decision in the second split; Regal Son to a 1:54.1 tally in the third division; and Lucky King to a 1:53.1 triumph in the Grassroots nightcap. Andreios Kardia, a gelding by Badlands Hanover, is trained by Jeff Madill for owner/breeder Ina Madill of Innisfil, Ont. Unraced as a freshman, Andreios Kardia is four-for-16 this year with $55,350 in the bank. Regal Son, a Stonebridge Regal colt, is trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ont, who also bred Regal Son with long-time partner C S X Stables of Liberty Center, Ohio. Gordon Wright of Charlotte, Michigan is also part of the ownership contingent. Regal Son is a four-time winner in his racing career and he has earned over $55,550. Andrew McCabe sent out Camluck colt Lucky King for owner Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. This was the first Ontario Sires Stakes win this year for Lucky King, who won last year’s Grassroots Championship for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. He has six career victories and he has stashed away $91,053 for his connections. The next event for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series is slated for August 3 at Hanover Raceway. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- The 2014 Buffalo Raceway live racing season comes to an end on Sunday afternoon but the track will close with a bang as the New York State Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies highlight the final card of the year.   There will be four $27,251 divisions of the Sire Stakes along a trio of $12,600 Excelsior A Series races and a $6,700 Excelsior B race in the 11-race program that is set for 1:05 p.m.   And while there be some talented filly trotters taking to the track, it's like a 'who's who' that will be driving them. Former Western New York regulars Jeff Gregory, Ray Schnittker, Jim Morrill Jr., John Stark Jr., Phil Fluet, Sam Schillaci and John Cummings Jr. all will be returning to Western New York for day. They'll be joined by others including Dan Daley, Chuck Connors Jr., Charlie Norris, Chris Lems, Gates Brunet, Jim Meittinis, Rick Zeron, Robert Shepherd, Jim Marohn Jr. and Tyler Raymer.   The Sire Stakes will be contested in the first, third, sixth and seventh races.   The first leg features Counsellor AS (Gregory) who has a 1-1/2 length win in the Excelsior A Series at Vernon Downs on June 26 in 2:00.1. Counsellor As (Conway Hall-Cordele AS) broke stride in her last appearance at Tioga Downs on July 11. She'll look to rebound starting from the three post as the 3-1 morning line choice.   Her main threat should come from 4-1 second choice Meshugana Miss (Crazed-Daring Marisa) who start from the four post. She has a pair of second place finishes in both of her pari-mutuel starts and will be handled by Connor Jr.   The second division has Betcha (Betcha-Ruccoucou) as the 3-1 choice with Daley in the bike. Betcha cruised to an easy two length decision in the $27,250 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 1:59.4 on July 11. She may play 'catch-me-if-you can' from the four spot.   The toughest leg could be the third which will go as the sixth race. It finds My Twisted Sister (Lucky Chucky-Pretzel Hanover) and Barn Doll (Conway Hall-Headintheclouds) ready to battle it out.   My Twisted Sister (Morrill Jr.) showed plenty of heart in posting a neck victory in the $27,750 Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs in 2:00 on July 11. She'll get the inside post and should get a perfect trip.   Barn Doll drew a tough post, the seventh spot, but can overcome it after posting a pair of big victories of more than three lengths in her last two starts, including 1:59.1 decision at Tioga on July 11 in the Sire Stakes. Barn Doll gets Jeff Gregory as her pilot.   The final division has Spell That (Conway Hall-Mouche Hanover) the 3-1 early choice with Sam Schillaci in the sulky. She was last seen on June 26 at Vernon Downs where she suffered a narrow neck defeat in the Sire Stakes. She'll start out of the six post.   The main threat could come from Northern Obsession (Conway Hall-Northernpossession). This 2-year-old has a pair of competitive third place finishes in two Sire Stakes starts and gets trainer-driver Ray Schnittker on the reins. They'll score from the three post.   For more information including simulcast schedule, race replays, results and the latest news, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway      

ELORA, ON - Robert Shepherd is on a big roll at Grand River Raceway. The quiet 34-year-old Prince Edward Island native is second at the Elora track in driver wins and money. He's also Grand River's second leading trainer in money and wins when combined with his girlfriend, Isabelle Darveau, who recently took over Shepherd's stable. "This year I'm a little more motivated," Shepherd said. "I had some changes in my life. I kind of got past that and moved on ... I'm driving a lot more. Last year, I didn't drive as much."   Shepherd said there's a lot more to love about Grand River Raceway than being one of its leading horsepeople. "Everyone's happy to be there. Even the people there are excited for racing. It's a great atmosphere. They want to race," Shepherd said. He said Grand River Raceway's commitment to providing a great fan experience starts at the top with the track's general manager Dr. Ted Clarke. In August, Dr. Clarke will be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame as a builder for his work turning Grand River Raceway into one of the best small tracks in the nation. Shepherd said Dr. Clarke is always present on race nights and helping out where he can. "Ted's always part of it, which makes it great because when someone's running something and you never see them, it makes you feel like he doesn't care. But you can tell Ted cares, because he's always there. Every night he's one of the last guys to leave there," Shepherd said. This year, Robert Shepherd surpassed $15 million in career earnings as a driver. He recorded his 2,000th career win in the sulky near the end of 2013. He said being both a trainer and a driver in an age when most people in the sport focus on one or the other, has given him an advantage. "I guess training helps my driving because I sit behind a bunch of horses every day. So, I know when they're good and when they're not good... You drive them a little more conservatively if they don't feel right to you," Shepherd said. "Lately, it seems to be working out great for me. I end up working out a great trip or something like that from the feel of the horse." Shepherd said the greatest Christmas gift he ever received was a set of blue, yellow and white training colours that his mother and father gave him. "I got the training suit when I started training a couple of my own," Shepherd said of the family colours that were started by his dad, Harold. "I think I might have been listed as a trainer when I was 19 or 20." He said his driving career received a huge boost 10 years ago when he won the 2004 Nat Christie Memorial at Stampede Park in Calgary driving The Bruster. "When I won the Nat Christie it changed my life in driving," Shepherd said. "I'd have to say The Bruster started it all." Today, Shepherd lives in Cambridge, which is a short trip to one of his favourite places to race. He's hoping his success at Grand River Raceway will be a springboard to even bigger things. "I'd love to win an O'Brien Award for the horseman of the year, if I could," he said. To hear more of our conversation with Robert Shepherd - including which person he'd like to change places with for a week - check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at https://soundcloud.com/grandriverraceway by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway  

The New York Sire Stakes for 2-year-old trotting fillies highlighted a 13-race program on Thursday night at Vernon Downs with four separate divisions being the focus of the night.   The $27,750 first division (Race 5) went to Frou Frou (Conway Hall-Nowerland Hana) in 1:58.1. Frou Frou (Brett Miller) followed live cover from Northern Obsession (Ray Schnittker) and just blasted on by in the stretch to win going away. Northern Obsession ended up third after getting passed by My Lucky Word (Corey Callahan), who enjoyed the third-over trip, and ended up wearing down her rival for the second spot. Frou Frou is owned by Leigh Raymer of Magnolia, Delaware, James A. Crawford IV of Manilus, New York, and Crawford Partners LLC of Syracuse, New York. Leigh Raymer is also the trainer of Frou Frou.   The $27,750 second division (Race 7) was a gate-to-wire victory for Concentration (Conway Hall-Super Starlet). Concentration (Chris Lems) took control as soon as the gate opened and never looked back, staying in front all the way to win in 1:58.2. Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory) had the first-over trip up the backstretch and ended up finishing second, with Lock Down Lindy (Scott Zeron) finishing third. Concentration is owned by Raymond W.J. Campbell Jr. of Belchertown, Massachusetts and trained by George Ducharme. She had won two 2-year-old qualifiers at Vernon Downs earlier in June before this first pari-mutuel score.   The $27,750 third division (Race 9) was won by Zanna Blu (RC Royalty-Zann's Fan) after she set the early pace of 29.1 for the quarter and 1:00.3 for the half. Zanna Blu (Gates Brunet) was then passed on the backstretch after a strong charge from Spell That (John Stark Jr.), who led into the stretch. Zanna Blu re-rallied to pass Spell That for the victory in the late stages of the race in 1:59.1. Up Chuckie (Rick Zeron) finished third. Zanna Blu is owned by Crawford Partners LLC of Syracuse, New York and James A. Crawford of Manilus, New York. Driver Gates Brunet doubles as the trainer.   The $27,250 fourth division (Race 11) might have provided the most exciting finish of the night with Hot Start (Lucky Chucky-Mallelujah) getting the win in 1:59.1. Hot Start (Corey Callahan) appeared hopelessly bottled up at the pylons in the stretch, but managed to work free in the last eighth of a mile and get up in time for the victory over Photo Message (Robert Shepherd) and the longtime leader, Cherry Crown Jewel (Dan Daley). Photo Message, in fact, also got past Cherry Crown Jewel in the shadow of the wire after being parked outside at the top of the stretch. Hot Start is owned by Green Acquisition Corporation of Canfield, Ohio and trained by Jonas Czernyson.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Friday night with a 10-race program. The 6th race is the featured event of the evening with a purse of $8,000. It is an Open II Trot for Fillies and Mares. The 5-2 morning-line favorite is Long Island Tea, who has won two of her last three starts. Post time on Friday night is 6:45pm.   by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs 

ELORA, ON ­- Kelly Waterhouse triumphed in Grand River Raceway's first annual Media Race, staged on June 6 - the track's first Fun & Frivolity Friday Night of the 2014 live racing season. Waterhouse and three fellow local media personalities were paired with professional drivers and took to the track for the half-mile exhibition race in custom-made two-person jog carts. "It was amazing - just incredible!" Waterhouse buzzed in the winner's circle. "Everyone should have the chance to do this!" The News Director at 92.9FM The Grand in Elora, Waterhouse said she's long dreamed of driving a racehorse. Her win came aboard Echos Black Dress, with the assistance of driver Bobby McClure. Wellington Advertiser reporter Meagan Leonard finished second with Callie Magoo and driver Robert Shepherd. Randy Steinman, Sports Director at CTV Kitchener, picked up third with Killean Sweep and reinsman Bruce Richardson. Simon McGhee from 107.5 DAVE FM rounded out the field of media celebs with Hollywood Ham and Paul Mackenzie. Live racing continues Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights all summer. Post time is 6:30 p.m. Kelly Spencer

Returning to Canada after a short campaign in New York, Ontario-sired Cold Certified won the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Trot at Flamboro Downs on Saturday night. With five runner-up finishes this season, Cold Certified ($6.10) finally made it into the win column with a 1:57.4 front-stepping effort in the top trot for Port Perry trainer Gary Lance's GL Racing Inc. The five-year-old Kadabra gelding prevailed by a quarter-length over Cimeronken and favourite Winkys Pride with Robert Shepherd in the sulky. To read the rest of this story click here.

Growing up in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Patrick's dream was to train harness racing horses. Patrick is working hard to make good on his dream, currently having 22 horses in his care after moving to Ontario just over 3 years ago, the biggest province for harness racing. "I wanted to be a driver when I first came here (to Ontario). I wasn't real successful at it and didn't set the world on fire by any means." Patrick says. "I was driving the long shots and driving my own horses... some horses were really nice and some weren't. That's why I decided I was only going to train horses." When Patrick decided to focus only on training that's when results started to roll in, going from training 2 horses to 22 in a relative short time frame. Speaking with Patrick, it's quite surprising to find out he's only 21. The way Patrick carries himself; you would think he's 30 or 35. To the point, he's very mature for his age. "I want to do things successfully" says Patrick. "I try really hard all the time and my goal is to win. I want to win. I will drive 5 hours to Rideau Carlton, (Ottawa, ON), to win a horse race.... I want to bring owners in." There can be so much said for what Patrick aims for and the biggest element is Patrick being able to bring in more owners, this is how the sport will grow end over end. In a way it reminds me of compound interest, earnings will be made on prior earnings. What is most gratifying to Patrick is seeing one of his horses win, more so knowing the time and work he put into working with that horse and seeing the fruits of his labor pay off. Patrick expresses how much he enjoys working with each horse, tinkering with the small things that other trainers may not notice. Back in PEI, Patrick trained horses with his father, Harold. "He taught me a lot" says Patrick. "I owe him pretty much everything. He had a full time job and I went to school and there was a time we had ten horses and we did them after work and after school, being at the barn until 11:30 at night. Then going home and doing school work. We trained horses and I was (listed) as the trainer of them. He helped me, but if I wanted to change something, he would always say, 'You're the trainer'. My dad is the one who helped me out the most, taught me how to change shoeing; he's the main man behind it all." "There were times when I did change stuff (with the horses) and it back fired. Then he would give me advice that I should have done it this way or that way. That is what helped me out a lot." Patrick explains. Listening to Patrick, his dad taught him that mistakes will be made, but what you learn from those mistakes is what matters most. We all make mistakes at one point or another, but do we take the time to learn from our mistakes? "I have a business now with help from my family, my dad, my mom and my brother Robert who pretty much got me set up here in Ontario. (Robert) got me here, he bought me a car, and he's the one who put a roof over my head. He's been good." Back in PEI, working with his dad, Patrick found working with horses to be fun despite the long hours. Patrick admits it became tougher for him once he moved to Ontario. Here in Ontario the competition is steep and fierce. Woodbine and Mohawk race tracks are the two premier tracks in the province of Ontario, however the competition at any one of the other tracks is just as fierce. "You go to Flamboro Downs and you're driving against Jody Jamison, there's Doug McNair in London (The Raceway at Western Fair)... you're always going against the top drivers anywhere. Then when I started training, I was training against the best trainers, like Richard Moreau. It was my dream to train horses and that was the hard part, facing trainers like Richard Moreau and Victor Puddy, guys that put up really big numbers." Being humble, Patrick knows he is not as established as trainers like Casie Coleman, Richard Moreau and Anthony Montini but he is willing to put in the work to reach that level of success. "I won't lie, when I first got here I thought I was a rock star" admits Patrick. "I drove in with the nice shoes and tried to live the 'life'." "I was working hard, but not putting money away. When you look at the bank account and I am walking around with nice shoes on, nice training suit... and a car my brother bought me. I paid him back as we went along but I could have paid him back (quicker). It was time to get my head on straight and let's get it going. If I am going to do it, I am going to do it now." There would be times when Patrick would be at the shopping mall and he's on his phone talking to his mom or grandmother and they want to know why he wasn't saving his money. Patrick said his grandmother gave him a great piece of advice, 'it doesn't matter how much money you have so long as your bills are paid.' That's a motto Patrick is trying to live by, day in and day out. "It's night and day" Patrick explains. "I am a different person than I was. I'm the person who was working hard in PEI with my dad. I'm not the guy who came here and thought I could just live the life. You get a reality check when you come here cause everybody else here is trying to be successful. They're trying, doing everything they can and I had to pull myself to that level." "That's the stuff I'm thankful for. My family might be in PEI but I can always talk to them. They help me get my head around, even when I am having a bad day at the track." Patrick says "...they always keep me on the straight and narrow. That's what keeps me motivated." Robert Shepherd, who is Patrick's oldest brother is someone Patrick fondly looks to for advice, whether it was back when Patrick was still in school in PEI or to present day. "When Robert was in Alberta and I was still at home in PEI, he'd always be there for me to talk to or to give me advice." Patrick says, "I have another brother Stephen, but me and Robert are close. I could always pick up the phone and call him... He's been a big brother that put me on the map." Back when Patrick was in school, instead of hanging out at the bars with friends on Saturday nights, he was at the farm working, tending to the horses. "I worked, lived and did everything at the barn" is how Patrick describes his life back then. "My mom always kept my (busy) growing up, playing hockey or curling, but I stopped all that early... because I was getting more and more into the horses. I didn't care if all my friends were going to a beach party; I was going to the races. If I was not at the races, I was in bed and sick." "There's probably one thing I missed out on and that was my prom and graduation." Patrick goes on to say, "I wish I was there for my prom and my graduation. I had everything ordered and I was supposed to be there but... I finished high school early. I had all my credits and I moved here to Ontario with half a year to go. I got here, started driving, working to get some money going." "Ya I missed my prom and graduation, but I still graduated. My mom wanted me to come back, but at the time I wanted no part of that. I wanted to stay here." Since arriving to Ontario, Patrick admits he's been quite fortunate to have owners who are willing to invest in him. Especially given the timing of his move to Ontario and what has transpired with the provincial Government and now the long term uncertainty of what lies ahead for the industry. However, this doesn't seem to faze Patrick, and it's his confidence in his abilities to persevere is what I believe draws owners to him. Owners who are willing to buy more and more horses and equipment such jog carts to ensure he has all the tools to be successful. Patrick notes that any interaction is all about respect. It doesn't matter that he is 21, all that matters is he's fully committed and handles himself and all his affairs professionally. Sure he could go out on Saturday nights with friends, but knowing that he has horses racing the next day at Flamboro Downs (Hamilton, On), Patrick has come to learn what is a priority and what can wait. Patrick will see you at Flamboro Downs. Fellow trainer Richard Moreau is someone Patrick looks to as a role model when it comes to training horses. "He does his own thing. You don't hear Richard yelling and screaming or anything like that. He's a very quiet guy, very loyal guy. I want to be like Richard and win races and win the O'Brien awards." Patrick's plan for the 2014 peak summer season is simple. It is to win, but not just win; Patrick wants to put up massive numbers. "I want things to be on the up right and keep winning, I have 22 horses now but I'd like to have 42 horses." Patrick says. There is no reason to believe Patrick can't have a stable of 50 or more and I wouldn't be shocked that one day soon Patrick will have a stable of horses numbering in the triple digits. With his mind set and desire to succeed, the sky is the limit for Patrick yet my inclination is Patrick is striving for the stars and beyond. There are plenty of reasons why I can see Patrick's name amongst the stars of the game in the near future. By: Roderick Balgobin www.supernovasportsclub.com   Twitter: ScSupernova

Moving up in class with ease, the Victor Puddy-trained Twin B Wrangler cruised gate-to-wire in the featured $11,000 Preferred 2 Pace on Monday at The Raceway at the Western Fair District. A winner in the Preferred 3 last Monday night, Twin B Wrangler ($10) and driver Alfie Carroll left from post one in this evening's ninth race feature and carved out fractions of :27.4, :57.2 and 1:25.3 en route to the one and a half length victory in 1:55.3. Mach It Big and Robert Shepherd followed in second while Leafs And Wings (Scott Wray) rounded out the top three finishers. The five-year-old Mach Three gelding now has two wins in four London starts this year for owner Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ont. The win was his 10th lifetime and bumped his bankroll to $113,910. To read rest of story click here.

It was 10 years ago in 2004 that harness racing driver Robert Shepherd was getting ready to drive The Bruster in the Nat Christie Memorial at Stampede Park in Alberta. This was Robert's third stakes race as a driver following his first in his native province of Prince Edward Island and the second in Alberta. During the race, Robert had The Bruster sitting almost 10 lengths behind the leader and on the final turn home, Robert swung almost five wide and drove The Bruster past the field for the thrilling win. The very same horse was purchased for $500 as a yearling and secured close to $85,000 in purse winnings at the time of the 2004 Nat Christie. At that time, Robert was the youngest driver to win the Nat Christie. An interesting note is that Robert broke his femur a year before the race and The Bruster ended up having a cracked knee shortly after the purchase. It's amazing how they both healed and joined to win such a prestigious race. It's a fairy tale story that perseverance pays off! "I always try to play it smart" is what Robert says about his style of driving. Patience is what Robert preaches and explains it's the best way to understand all that is happening around you. Robert explains, "If you get over aggressive too many times, a month or two down the road, that horse is going to get tired and not want to push himself. Then you're going to wonder what is wrong with the horse." Robert is 33 and gives credit to his learning's from training horses which allows him to better understand the horses when he's driving. "I can be aggressive or more laid back" says Robert. "It all depends on the horse, they're all different." From PEI, (Prince Edward Island), Robert moved to Ontario and worked for leading trainer Kevin McMaster. From there, Robert moved to Alberta to further his career in harness racing, working for Bill Landers and Keith Clarke. After some time of jogging, driving and training horses in Alberta and of course winning the Nat Christie, Robert relocated to Ontario where the purse money was then much higher. As soon as Robert's younger brother Patrick finished school, he came to join Robert in Ontario to form a formidable trainer-driver duo. Robert states that "...Patrick knew right from the start he was going to train horses." Currently, Robert does a lot of driving for his trainer/brother, Patrick Shepherd who is 21. There is a twelve year difference between the brothers which could lead to Robert and Patrick being more distant with one another, but that is quite the contrary. "We're just like any brothers, we have our spats but at the same time we are best friends. We might argue today and tomorrow it's forgotten about." Robert breaks down the synergy between them as Patrick is more aggressive, and Robert is more passive and this allows them to complement one another. As a young boy, Robert remembers his father taking care of horses in the mornings and during the evenings. In between, Robert's dad worked a full time job and every evening when his father came home, Robert would help his father with the horses. In 1999, Robert and a buddy Mark Bradley moved down to Florida for 8 months to work. "I had just gotten my license in PEI" Robert says. "We were grooms and assistant trainers.... We had about 15 horses and we worked with the babies. We jogged and trained them. We made a lot of good friends down there.... It was a great experience for us" For someone who has been on the horse racing business for over a dozen years, there is very little about Robert online, (the harness driver that is. The name Robert Shepherd does result in over a billion matches). Robert admits he is very low key and says "I just got on Facebook a month ago. I don't even have an email address. Well, I think I have one made up and my friend made it up for me, but I can't (remember) what it is." "Coming from PEI, it's different, I mean I like my cell phone now but I never had one until I was in Alberta. Even still, it's hard to get a hold of me by phone." Roberts says with a laugh. Someone Robert has a lot of respect for is trainer Susie Kerwood and acknowledges how much Susie has helped him. "She's been great, from the start she helped me out" says Robert. "She vouched for me and got me started when I first got here (to Ontario). She's a very good person." A few years back, Robert was unfortunately part of two racing accidents, one of which he was dragged off the track by a runaway horse and in the other, he ended up fighting for his life. This is the down side of any sport. Horses, like the drivers, are athletes and in any sport such as football, hockey, basketball and baseball, freak accidents and/or injuries occur. Whether human or horse, it's always sad. Luckily for Robert, he's been fortunate to bounce back each time and the accidents never hampered his spirits. "This is what I love" Roberts says. "If you love it, no matter what happens nothing changes." You can catch Robert driving at Flamboro Downs, where he has a lot of support from friends and family. Robert also drives at Grand River and Western Fair Raceway. Even though Robert races year round, his preference is the summer season where he can break out the short sleeve jacket while racing. As for what's his favorite style of track, he prefers the half mile tracks, but Robert will be happy with anything if it results in a win! Last year Robert finished 5th in the drivers' standing at Flamboro Downs, and currently he is in 1st place for the 2014 season at Flamboro Downs. Away from the track, Robert kicks back with a soda and friends to watch hockey. Being from the Maritimes, Robert grew up a Montreal Canadiens fan, but since residing in Ontario he's gotten caught with Toronto Maple Leafs' fever. I wonder what happens when Montreal comes to town. "My friends get so fired up, it's hard not to enjoy it" he says. Along the stairway leading to his man cave, Robert has framed pictures from his Nat Christie victory. In the man cave itself, Robert has a huge TV and a comfy recliner to rest from a tough but fun day at work. By: Roderick Balgobin of www.supernovasportsclub.com twitter:ScSupernova

In a pair of close calls, trotter Kashs Caviar and pacing mare Andro Madi captured the co-featured Preferred events on Wednesday's harness racing card at Flamboro Downs. Driver Robert Shepherd sent Kashs Caviar to the lead from post six in the $7,000 Preferred 3 Trot and carved out fractions of :29.4, 1:00.4 and 1:31 before holding off the pocket-sitting Out Of The Hat (J.R. Plante) to win by a nose in 2:03.1. Closing from the backfield, longshot Tornado Tim (Daniel O'Brian) finished one and a quarter lengths behind in third. The track was listed as 'good' with a two second variant and the temperature a chilly -14 degrees. Sent postward as the 5-2 second choice to Out Of The Hat, Kashs Caviar paid $7.40 to win. The seven-year-old son of SJs Caviar earned his second win in four starts since being claimed by trainer Craig Yates of Paris, Ont. and Marilyn Horner of Aurora, Ont. for $15,000 on Dec. 19 at Woodbine Racetrack. Wednesday's win was his 18th lifetime and lifted his earnings to $417,122. In the Fillies & Mares Preferred 3 Pace, Andro Madi prevailed off a pocket trip while making her first start for new connections, trainer Patrick Shepherd and owner Jonah Moase of Cornwall, P.E.I. Favourite Mamasaids (Alfie Carroll) had the inside post advantage and led the field through intervals of :27.4, :58 and 1:27 with Posey Tina (Robert Shepherd) challenging. Those two eventually finished third in a dead-heat, just half a length behind the winner. When the field turned for home, J.R. Plante sent Andro Madi up the passing lane and she prevailed by a nose in 1:58.2 over longshot Stryking Dove (Bruce Richardson), who rallied home from second over. Andro Madi paid $7 to win as the 5-2 second choice. The six-year-old Shanghai Phil mare, who has 21 career wins and earnings just shy of the $100,000 mark, was claimed by Moase on Jan. 21 at Western Fair Raceway for $10,000. To view Wednesday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Wednesday Results - Flamboro Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

Kashs Caviar pulled off a mild 8-1 upset in winning Flamboro Downs' featured $6,500 Preferred 3 Trot off the claim for trainer and co-owner Craig Yates on a frigid Thursday evening. With Robert Shepherd catch-driving, Kashs Caviar braved temperatures of 18 degrees below zero as he trotted off to a 2:01.1 victory over the 'good' track rated three seconds slow. Favourite Lakefield and Trevor Henry worked their way to the front of the eight-horse field into a :29-second opening quarter and proceeded to lead to the half in 1:00 flat. But Shepherd made his move aboard Kashs Caviar from sixth at the midway mark and took over command down the backstretch, reaching three-quarters in 1:30.3. The 8-1 fourth choice then drew off to win by more than four lengths in 2:01.1. Kashs Caviar paid $18.20 to win. Lakefield faded to fourth behind the late-charging Euro Classic (Per Henriksen) and Chewey (Bob McClure). The seven-year-old SJs Caviar gelding was claimed for $15,000 in his last start on Dec. 19 at Woodbine Racetrack by the Paris, Ont. based Yates and Marilyn Horner of Aurora, Ont. The 2011 Frank Ryan champion earned his 17th career win and lifted his bankroll to $411,072. Shepherd also won the following race with Bud Sinclair's four-year-old pacer Phil Your Boots ($5.90) to sweep the late Daily Double. To view Thursday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Thursday Results - Flamboro Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

Mach It Big wore down favourite Major Hottie in a tight finish to win the $10,000 Preferred 2 Pace featured on a Sunday night at Flamboro Downs for Team Shepherd. Robert Shepherd drove the five-year-old son of Mach Three for his brother, trainer Patrick Shepherd, and owner Stephen Morton of Windsor, N.S. Major Hottie (Luc Ouellette), the slight favourite at odds of 8-5, left hard from post four to establish a two length lead over insiders Bestinthebusiness (Scott Coulter) and Mach It Big. Major Hottie led the field of nine through fractions of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:27.1, but Shepherd sent Mach It Big first over at the half and moved up to pressure the leader around the final turn. Major Hottie maintained a slight lead into the stretch, but his rivals were quickly closing in. Bestinthebusiness zipped up the passing lane while Mach It Big surged by on the outside to prevail by a quarter-length in 1:57.3. Major Hottie held on for second over Bestinthebusiness while Smokin Bear (James MacDonald) made it a four-across finish with a late rally on the grandstand side. Sent postward as the 5-1 third choice, Mach It Big paid $12.60 to win. He now has 22 top three finishes from 37 starts this year, including eight wins, for earnings of $81,543. The Shepherd brothers also teamed up to win the $6,500 Preferred 3 with 8-1 shot Bad Boy Hill prevailing in another close call in 1:58.1 for Great Britain's Tom Hill. The gelded sophomore son of Stonebridge Regal sat fifth for most of the mile before sweeping wide to win by half a length over Web Cam (Trevor Henry). Im Feelin Good (Anthony MacDonald) was third. Bad Boy Hill paid $18.80 for the upset win. To view Sunday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Sunday Results - Flamboro Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca. 

Favourite Andro Madi fought off a challenge from Katys Jet and drew off to win the $6,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred 3 Pace featured on Wednesday's harness racing card at Flamboro Downs. Driven by Jody Jamieson for meet leading trainer Victor Puddy, Andro Madi established the lead from post six during the :28.3 opening panel. The five-year-old Shanghai Phil mare took a breather to the half in :58.3 while Kays Jet (J Harris) launched a first over attack and rushed up to confront the leader. However, Andro Madi pressed on and forced that rival to take a tuck into the pocket spot en route to three-quarters in 1:27.4. She then cruised home for the three length victory 1:57.4. Posey Tina (Robert Shepherd) edged out Ostinato (Scott Coulter) and Stryking Dove (Bruce Richardson) for the runner-up honours. Andro Madi, who now boasts a seasonal record reading 11-12-1 in 38 starts, paid $3.90 to win. She is owned by Keith Cassell of Smiths Falls, Ont. To view Wednesday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Wednesday Results - Flamboro Downs. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca 

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

ELORA, ON - Moms Apple Pie jumped to the top of the three-year-old trotting filly point standings with her third Grassroots win of the season on Friday evening, circling the Grand River Raceway oval in 1:58.3. With Robert Shepherd in the race bike the Striking Sahbra daughter sprinted past Cardio Pump in the stretch to snatch the half-length victory from the pacesetter. I Like My Kaddy rounded out the top three. Bill Budd conditions Moms Apple Pie for William Dixon of Caledon and has sent the filly out 11 times this season, watching her post three wins, two seconds and $41,460. Friday's triumph boosted her Grassroots point tally to 200, 13 more than former division leader Muscle Magic. Wind Stroll posted the quickest mile of the five Grassroots divisions, stopping the Grand River teletimer at 1:57.2 in Race 2. Jean Bernard Renaud piloted the Muscle Mass daughter to the win, her third in four Grassroots starts. Julie Walker trains Wind Stroll for Tony Holmes and Walter Zent of Lexington, KY and will be prepping the winner of $63,900 for the Sept. 21 Grassroots Championship. Hetties Honey heads into the post season tied for third with Wind Stroll after recording a 2:00.4 win in the fourth $18,000 division. The Duke Of York daughter and driver Larry Small cruised home four and one-half lengths ahead of the their peers to the delight of trainer Mario Macri and owner Harness Horsepower Inc. of Campbellville. The other two Grassroots divisions went to Standing My Ground and Be Winnin, both clocked in 1:59.2, but the 50 points they earned from the effort were not enough to propel either filly into one of the 10 berths available in the Sept. 21 Grassroots Championships. Grassroots action continues at Grand River Raceway on Monday, Sept. 9 with six divisions for the two-year-old trotting colts. Post time for the first race is 7:05 pm. For complete results For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder  

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