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Saint John harness racing driver Mark Haig reached a milestone on Friday night in his racing career at Truro Raceway winning his 500th win of his career.   Haig, who started his driving career following in his Dad Tony's footsteps in the year 2000, scored with four-year-old pacing mare Miss Oromocto to register his career victory number five-hundred.   Sharon and Rick Burchill own the pacing mare with co-owner and trainer Mel Land of Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick.   In 2014, he captured his first-ever driving title at his home track at Saint John's Exhibition Park Raceway.   Haig has become one of the most popular catch-drivers in New Brunswick, and has won over $ 560,000 in career winnings, and sports a very respectable lifetime driving average of .270.   Scott Waddell    

There's been a buzz recently around the racetracks in New Brunswick as another harness racing season is just around the corner in the picturesque province. Horsemen have been very fortunate this season with the co-operation by mother nature as we experienced a much less bolder winter than we had last season. With still no support from the provincial government, the horsemen remain focused and optimistic for the upcoming season. This means that not as many days were missed by both returning race horses as well as stake hopefuls prepping for the 2016 lucrative stakes season. Speaking to Debbie Mahar, she reports that Saint John has been a bee-hive of activity and also states that the track in Saint John is having maintenance done on it this weekend to improve the track for the coming spring training season and for racing preparations. Tentatively, the 2016 racing season in New Brunswick is set to begin on Monday, May 23rd with an annual holiday card at Canada's oldest racetrack, Fredericton Raceway. Qualifying dates are expected to be announced shortly by Horse Racing New Brunswick. by Scott Waddell, for the HRNB  

Canada's oldest racetrack- Fredericton Raceway- will wrap-up it's final live card of the 2015 racing season with a matinee program that kicks off at 1:00 P.M on Saturday afternoon.   Going into the final card of the meet, Todd Trites and Ed Harvey are deadlocked for the top driving honours with twelve wins each. Trites will have the advantage on Saturday as he suits up for five drives to Harvey's three.   Also, Mark Haig remains just one win shy of his 500th career victory and will have five chances to get one victory and reach the career milestone.   Included in the six-dash program will be the $ 1000 featured event of the day with Darth Bader looking for his second consecutive victory.   Ed Harvey, the track's leading conditioner with fourteen wins on the season, will drive the pacer from post-two. Newcomer C L Royal Star will leave post-one for the father/ son duo of Rick and Luke Armstrong.   Magical Alex ( Todd Trites ) and Skippy ( Mark Haig ) round out the four starters that will do battle in the top-class which is scheduled as race five. Live racing is scheduled to commence in Saint John at Exhibition Park on October 3rd.     Scott Waddell

Fredericton Raceway's top trainer, Ed Harvey took Saturday afternoon's top-class at the capital city oval with a 1:58.3 triumph.   Leaving from post-two, Harvey pointed the big strapping pacer to the lead and led at every marker. Saturday's top event was reduced to three starters and the pacer went unchallenged for the entire mile.   Mark Haig scored one driving win on the afternoon and stands one shy of winning his 500th career race. Fredericton Raceway will wrap up its 2015 harness racing season on Saturday, September 26th with post time scheduled for 1:00 P.M.   In other New Brunswick related news, Downey Stables and their two outstanding two-year-old colts both won on Saturday afternoon at Red Shores in Charlottetown. Both pacers will driven to victory by Gilles Barrieau in divisions of the P.E.I colt stakes.   Scott Waddell    

Mark Haig, Exhibition Park's leading driver in 2014, sits just two-wins shy of five-hundred in his career going into Saturday's seven-dash harness racing program at Fredericton Raceway.   Post time is scheduled for 1:00 P.M and Haig will pilot Couleur Magnifique from the rail position in the $ 1000 feature. Eric Lakes of Fredericton owns the pacing mare who will face three other rivals in the main event.   Haig is slated to drive in five of the seven races being contested on Saturday and is enjoying a career season in 2015 with several stakes victories with three-year-old New Brunswick filly Miss Oromocto.   Darth Bader will leave from post-two for Ed Harvey who sits second in wins at the capital city oval with eleven wins, one shy of leader Todd Trites. Magical Alex will be looking for his second straight victory and has the catch driving services of Chris Davies.   Rounding out the field is Coral Snake for rookie teamster and co-owner Luke Armstrong who will guide the six-year-old pacer from the outside post position. This Saturday's card is a lead up to the following Saturday which will mark the final live card of the season at the track.   Racing is scheduled to switch to Exhibition Park Raceway on Saturday, October 3rd.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

Fredericton Raceway will be the host of traditional Monday Labour Day harness racing card on Monday presented by Horse Racing New Brunswick.   Post-time is set for 1:00 P.M and the afternoons feature is the prestigious Williamson stakes for two-year-old pacing colts and fillies.   Among the starters will be K D Overdrive and Jackson K Down from the powerful Downey Stables of Quispamsis, N.B.   K D Overdrive is coming off a win at Red Shores in the Joe O'Brien stakes while Jackson K Down tasted his first lifetime defeat in another division and will be looking for redemption.   Both pacers will be under the guidance of Gilles Barrieau.   Monday also features a $ 1000 top-class that will include the Milton Downey Memorial winner, American Terror.   As always, wagering is available on-line through Horse Player Interactive and streamed live on Horse Racing New Brunswick's official website.   Scott Waddell        

It's been a wonderful harness racing story in New Brunswick this season, one of many but a standout performance by filly Miss Oromocto in the classic Maritimer stake was one for the ages on Saturday at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Purchased at the Atlantic Classic P.E.I sale in 2013, hip # 95 garnered a final bid of $ 2000. Mel Land of Cookies Lighting fame and Sharon Burchill who owned stakes winner Camco Kyle, purchased the filly.   As a two-year-old she showed tremendous potential in winning three of five races and bankrolled close to $7500. Not a bad year for her connections who decided to lightly race the daughter of former P.E.I track record holder, Driven To Win.   Land, a well known and respected trainer in the region was busy prepping the promising filly this spring and she made her 2015 debut in Summerside with Mark Haig in the drivers seat and notched a new lifetime mark of 1:59.4.   She continued to improve and has gone on to win five stake races this season including the one and only Maritimer stake. This unique event in the Maritimes tests the endurance of young fillies by having them win both the elimination and the final to claim the overall title in one afternoon.   Miss Oromocto did just that for her driver Mark Haig and owners Land and Burchill. She captured her elimination heat and advanced to the final to take on seven other quality fillies for the showdown.   Stage was set and because of her elimination win, she had the chance at either post one or two in the draw. As luck would have it, she drew the rail for last year's driver of the year in Saint John, Mark Haig.   Haig went into the final confident and poised as they set up behind the starting gate. When the wings flew open it was a surprise to many to see a filly from the far outside, post position eight go for the lead as they sped to the opening eighth.   This is where things got really scary not only for her cheering owners and fans, but every driver in the race. Woodmere Arcticblue, in line to Stephen Trites made a horrible misstep while going for the lead as they battled past the first turn. Luckily, no horses or drivers were hurt but the incident left a couple horses breaking stride including Haig and Miss Oromocto.   Haig, who has developed into one of the most underrated drivers in the region did an outstanding job getting the filly back on track and she then inherited the lead. It was up to her after that as she controlled her own destiny.   After the rock dust had settled the small but mighty filly was not to be beat on this afternoon and stopped the clock in 1:59.4. She is Maritimer champion and now has earned over $44,000 lifetime. Not bad at all for a $2000 yearling purchase named Miss Oromocto who caught the eye of the sharp conditioner Mel Land.   As history will write, Miss Oromocto was champion of the 2015 Maritimer stake in Saint John for her elated connections and talented teamster, Mark Haig. With the industry struggling in the province, this is one of the feel good stories of 2015 and it looks like she may not be done yet.   Scott Waddell

Racing returns to Saint John on Saturday afternoon with a number of events including the prestigious Milton Downey Memorial which carries a $ 2500 purse.   Slated for race seven on the eight-dash program, the field includes Walter Dale Memorial winner, Skippy from post-one.   Facing five other rivals, Skippy has drawn the inside post-one for driver Mark Haig and owner Harold DeFazio.   Gilles Barrieau, at time of this writing was just five-wins shy of his 4000th career driving victory. He will sit in the bike on the number two entry American Terror, a winner of seven races this year from the powerful Ed Harvey stable.   Young Michael Folkins will send out the veteran pacer Rocknroll Band from post-three for catch-driver Todd Trites. Post-four belongs to the iron sided pacer J Rs Hurricane for Jean Charles Belliveau of Scouduc, New Brunswick.   He has been a tough competitor over the past couple of years on the New Brunswick circuit and has drawn the services of the capable Lonny Stokes. Ed Harvey's second entry in the field leaves from five as Ed will handle the driving chores of the steady pacer Darth Bader.   Rounding out the Downey Memorial is Coral Snake for co-owner Luke Armstrong. Luke captured his first-ever victory with the pacer during Old Home Week and makes his first top-class drive. He shares the ownership with his father Rick.   Saturday also will feature the Maritimer stake that will race in two divisions for three-year-old fillies and a final all raced in the same day. Over $ 21,000 in purse money is available for the ten entrants that are set to go.   Post time is Saturday at 1:00 P.M.   by Scott Waddell, for HRNB    

Two of New Brunswick's best known names in harness racing circles are both on the verge of milestones in their careers.   Mark Haig, last year's leading driver in Saint John is six-wins shy of his 500th career victory heading into Saturday's card at Exhibition Park Raceway.   Haig, winner of 494 races lifetime, added wins this past week in Prince Edward Island to inch closer to his personal milestone.   Meanwhile, Gilles Barrieau who will drive at both Summerside and Prince Edward Island on Wednesday and Thursday is six-wins shy of his 4000th career win.   Coming off a huge Old Home Week in P.E.I, the Dieppe, N.B native is also expected to drive Saturday in Saint John.   Scott Waddell

Lost but not forgotten in all the storylines from Old Week on Prince Edward Island is that rookie harness racing driver Luke Armstrong of New Brunswick scored his first-ever career victory.   Armstrong, a fifth generation horseman scored his milestone win with veteran pacer Coral Snake after leading the entire mile.   His race actually ended in a dead-heat but Luke still gets full credit for the win.   After completing his necessary qualifying drives, he made his debut on Gold Cup and Saucer night.   Leaving from post-one, the confident youngster took the veteran pacer Coral Snake to the front to cut out his own destiny.   Coral Snake crossed the wire in 1:57.2 with Blue Star Outlaw in a dead-heat effort. It was the pacers eighteenth win in his career and third of the season.   Luke won for co-owner along with Rick Armstrong.   They have deep roots in the harness racing industry in N.B.   Racing in New Brunswick returns in a big way this Saturday ( August 29th ) at Exhibition Park Raceway featuring the lucrative Maritimer stake for three-year-old fillies and the Aged Mares series as part of the program.   Scott Waddell        

New Brunswick award winning harness racing trainer/driver Gilles Barrieau leads all of Canada in this week's statistics for driving percentage with a sparkling .473 average.   Barrieau who has won multiple Maritime awards and recognized nationally for his horsemanship, is just twenty-eight wins shy of hitting the milestone of four-thousand in his illustrious career.   In ten straight years the Moncton native has recorded a seasonal driving average of over .400. He also sports over $ 7.5 million in career earnings and is closing in on $ 200,000 in earnings this season.   Scott Waddell        

New Brunswick owned and driven horses were front and center in Atlantic Sires Stakes action on Sunday afternoon at Inverness Raceway in Nova Scotia.   Jackson K Down, home bred by the Downey Stables of Quispamsis, N.B, remains undefeated as a two-year-old in 2015. His latest impressive win was a track record setting performance of 1:59.   Gilles Barrieau has been handed the driving chores this season on the freshman and he has close to $ 12,000 in seasonal winnings. He's a son of Camystic out of Village Jericho.   Also on the card Brandons Glory, co-owned by Cindy Gunn of Saint John was a solid winner in 2:01.4 for trainer Tommy Gunn and driver Dale Spence Jr.   On the filly side Amirightorwrong and driver Scott Hubbard was third in her stakes test for owner Traci Friars of Quispamsis, N.B. She has been in the top three in each of her four starts and has accumulated over $ 6500 to date.   Racing in New Brunswick is now on a break as many of the industry participants will be in P.E.I for Old Home Week festivities starting this weekend in Prince Edward Island.   Scott Waddell

Fair harness racing at it's very best takes place this Friday night at 7:00 P.M at picturesque Connell Park in Woodstock, N.B.   Seven dashes will be on center stage during the Old Home Week festivities at the half-mile oval.   Woodstock Driving Club will play host to a live card of racing on Friday with partnership of Horse Racing New Brunswick presenting a solid field in the prestigious Kelti Burnett Memorial Pace   Connell Park is one of the most exciting race tracks to visit with the support of local horsemen, fans and businesses.   It is grassroots harness racing at its finest.   This year the Kelti Burnett Memorial Pace has attracted a sold field of seven pacers that will compete in the final seventh race on the live card.   This years premier event at the N.B track will carry a purse of $ 3000. Sponsored this season by Corey Ford and McCain Foods.   American Terror and trainer/ driver Ed Harvey will put his win streak on the line on Friday as he has drawn post five in the premier event.   Winner of four in a row, the pacer will have his hands full with his competition.   He comes off an impressive 1:57.2 this past Monday's New Brunswick day program.   Walter Dale Memorial winner Skippy will be looking to get back on track for his owner Harold DeFazio of Saint John.   Mark Haig, eight wins shy of five-hundred in his career, will drive the handsome son of Camluck.   It's an impressive group for the invitational pace. D J Power has drawn the coveted rail position from Quebec and comes in with some solid credentials.   He has been victorious over the half mile track in Quebec in 1:57.   Iron Phil is another solid campaigner from Quebec who sports a 1:57 win on his lines and will look for Louis Roy to make some waves on the Maritime racing circuit.   P.E.I invader Lyndale Royal has won three straight and includes a 1:56.3 clocking at Red Shores.    Meter Leader and Rocknroll Band look to be longshots in the race but both have been on fire as of late with a role of being the spoiler.   Scott Waddell

Trainer/ driver Ed Harvey was at it again on Monday's New Brunswick day program at the harness racing meeting at Fredericton Raceway as he scored in the $ 1000 top-class with American Terror in 1:57.2, fastest performance of the day.   For Harvey, it was his second driving win of the afternoon.   He came first up with American Terror and engaged in a feisty battle with Kass Hall before driving clear in the homestretch.   After the dust had settled, it was American Terror and Harvey prevailing with a margin of victory over five lengths.   Kass Hall held on for second with Meter Leader rounding out the top trio.   It was the pacers fourth straight win as he closes in on seasonal earnings of $ 30,000.   Harvey's other win came with Darth Bader in an impressive mile of 1:58.   Other impressive winners on the day included Kdmakeaway as he was a winner in his first-ever start in 2:02.2 for the red hot Stephen Mason and the Downey Stables.   He's a son of Largo who was purchased in 2013 as a yearling for $ 6500.   Trotter Jusplainshea was on his game on Monday with a 2:03.1 win for owner/ trainer John Stewart.   He survived a first over early drive and held on for a length and a quarter victory.   Racing in the province of New Brunswick returns on Friday evening at 7:00 P.M at Connell Park in Woodstock, N.B.   Horse Racing New Brunswick will present a card that will feature the prestigious Kelti Burnett Memorial pace.   Scott Waddell

Harness racing trainer/ driver Ed Harvey continued his winning ways at Fredericton Raceway on Thursday as he piloted three winners to victory.   Harvey notched three straight wins on the program and started in race three with the pacing mare Couleur Magnifique in a gate to wire win for owner Eric Lakes in 2:02.1   He was back in victory lane in race four as Star Collector earned a hard fought victory in 2:02.2. Harvey co-owns the horse with Kevin Legge of Onslow, Nova Scotia.   Darth Bader went the trip of the night as he survived a break in stride to come back to win in deep stretch for Harvey in the fifth race of the night. Time of the mile was 2:03.3. Even more impressive, the horse was last at the half-mile after a pedestrian like half by Grimsby.   Top class of the evening went to Todd Trites and Meter Leader as the pacer led at every point of the mile in the 1:59 victory. That win snapped Fall Bliss' win streak at four races.   Racing resumes in Fredericton on the traditional holiday Monday card on New Brunswick day with a post time of 1:00 P.M.   Scott Waddell

New Brunswick driver Mark Haig scored one of his biggest wins of his harness racing career on Sunday at Truro Raceway as part of their Grand Circuit week.   Winning a division of the prestigious Stanfield three-year-old filly stake was pacer Miss Oromocto.   She is owned by Mel Land of Hopewell Cape and Sharon Burchill of Oromocto, New Brunswick.   Haig, Saint John's top driver for last season is off to another great start this season and is just ten wins shy of five-hundred in his career.   He also has over $ 530,000 in lifetime earnings.   Time of the mile was a new lifetime best for the filly who earned over $ 11,000 in the victory.   She has now accumulated close to $ 31,000 in lifetime earnings.   Meanwhile, another New Brunswick owned filly was second in another division.   Jann Down, owned by the Downey Stables of Quispamsis was a runner-up in her race for driver Gilles Barrieau and earned $ 5900 for her effort.   In just two years of racing the local filly has close to $ 80,000 in earnings.   Scott Waddell    

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