London, May 29, 2014 -- A familiar face, and former leading driver at The Raceway at Western Fair District, is coming back to London for the Molson Pace. Mark MacDonald has been one of North America's top pilots for many years, but this is one race he has yet to win. "I've been in The Pace with some very nice horses," he said. "Tigerama set the track record there (1:50.4 in 2008) in his elimination, but he drew the outside post in the Final and things didn't work out." "I finished second with Dr No to Our Lucky Killean (2006) and I've been there with Sand Olls Dexter (2004) and others... Having lived in London and driven there lots - it's just one of those marquee events that a guy like me would love to win." There's a 'tank' of a horse from south of the border that goes by the name of Bandolito, co-owned, trained and driven, for the most part, by Daryl Bier. He's a son of Ponder and MacDonald has yet to sit behind this 'tank', but he's very familiar with the Ponder family. "I know them well," he stated. "I've driven Ponder and I've driven his stakes champ son's Thinking Out Loud and Bolt The Duer - they're both world class and I think Bandolito is ready for his coming out party too. He hasn't beaten the big boys yet, but The Pace would be a nice spot to start." Bandolito is a lightly raced 4-year-old with just 19 career starts, but he has 13 wins, a mark of 1:48 F and he's banked over $250,000. Charles Dombeck, Dave Bier and brother Daryl all share in ownership and they've recruited MacDonald to pilot this speed demon is this year's edition of the $150,000 Molson Pace taking place Friday, May 30. "I was at Yonkers watching a race from Dover Downs, in April, and I was like 'Who is this pacing out of his harness?'" Turns out it was Bandolito, with Daryl Bier in the bike, cruising to a gate-to-wire 1:48.2 win - his 3rd quarter in 26.2 and final quarter in 25.4 - that's a final half in 52.1 after cutting it! So it is evident that Bandolito has tremendous speed over the five-eighths ovals, but how will he respond to his first test over the half-miler? "He's a very slick pacer and he doesn't wear a boot," said MacDonald. "His speed is just crazy... The half mile track should be just fine for this guy." Some say Bandolito rolls along on the lead like the late Riyadh. A front-end, half-mile track specialist who took on the best there was back in the early to mid 90's. "We'll see how he draws and go from there," added MacDonald. "I know he'll be a serious contender... I know he's ready for the big boys in London... They'll need their 'A+ Game' to beat him!" A confident Mark MacDonald will join London track announcer Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle on Friday's Molson Pace pre-game show to discuss his return to the London oval and offer more insights into this year's Molson 'Dark Horse'. First post on Friday night is 7:05 p.m. and fans will receive a commemorative Foiled Again post card with program purchase. There will also be contests, giveaways, the Molson 'Party on the Patio' and much more happening throughout the night. Full-card coverage will be available on HPItv. On the Wagering side, the early Super Hi-5 will offer an 'Instant Guarantee' of $15,000 while the late Super Hi-5 (Molson Pace) has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. Both Pick-4 wagers offer guaranteed pools - the early at $7,500 and late at $10,000. For more information, including free programs and live streaming video, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com. by Greg Blanchard, for The Raceway
It was less than a year ago, on May 23, 2008 that millionaire pacer Tigerama stepped to the fastest mile in over 47 years of history at Western Fair Raceway in 1:50.4. The 62 time career winner returns to the London track for the first time since last year's Molson Pace final for an appearance from post four in the 12th race in a $18,400 Preferred Pace on the Monday afternoon, February 16.
Further to yesterday's announcement of finalists for the 2008 O'Brien Awards, Standardbred Canada has today announced that Secrets Nephew is the winner of the O'Brien Award in the Older Pacing Horse category.
When the 36th Molson Pace turns to the starting at Western Fair on Friday evening, May 30th, drivers Mark MacDonald and Jody Jamieson share some common special reasons for openly coveting a victory in the single richest race in the London track’s 47 year history.
Canadian invader Tigerama, a winner of five straight races, has been named the 7-5 favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Battle of Lake Erie, a by-invitation pace, at Northfield Park.
Tigerama absolutely crushed the competition Saturday night in completing a sweep of the Spring Pacing Championship at Woodbine Racetrack.
Six-year-old Secrets Nephew will be facing his arch-rival Tigerama in Saturday night’s $91,000 final of the Spring Pacing Championship at Woodbine. But that’s nothing new for the son of Camluck, who is trained, driven, and co-owned by Lyle MacArthur of Dundas, Ontario.
Tigerama, a career winner of $1.2 million, is headed to Northfield for the $100,000 Battle of Lake Erie on Saturday, April 19. He is owed by his breeder, Robert Hamather, and is trained by William Elliott.