Hometown boy Terry Gallant seeks third Governor’s Plate victory tonight.
Terry Gallant will visit his mother Ruth’s gravesite before tonight’s Governor’s Plate in Summerside.
She was his biggest supporter before cancer took her life a few months after he won the big race with Outlawpostivcharg in 2008.
“We’ll have a little chat together. She’ll help calm me down a lot,’’ Gallant told The Guardian on Thursday.
Gallant will drive R Caan from post position 4 in the $22,000 Governor’s Plate.
“I’ve got her beads. My sister always puts them in my (driver’s) suit whenever I’m in that big race. She pins them inside my suit for luck. That is what this race means to me.’’
Gallant has been around harness racing his whole life but says the butterflies still get to him before races like the Governor’s Plate.
“My first one . . . I think I might have gotten sick three or four times before the face.’’
His win with Outlawpositivcharg is a night he will never forget.
“That was the last day my mom walked. Her last footsteps were when she walked over to centre field with me. They had to put her in a wheelchair to take her back. She passed away three months later.’’
Outlawpositivcharg defended its title the following year and Gallant was once again handling the reins. It was almost a three-peat but PH Bestman caught Outlawpositivcharg down the stretch to win the 2010 Governor’s Plate.
Gallant also has two secondplace and one third-place finish in the Governor’s Plate.
Gallant says he likes his chances tonight with R Caan.
“They’ll know he’s in the race before it’s all over,’’ Gallant said when asked what his chances are. “This is my third really good shot at winning it again.’’
R Caan finished second in his $5,000 elimination race on Sunday to Big Surf, which just happened to equal the track record at Summerside Raceway, with the race going in 1:53.
“I was out working most of the way,’’ Gallant said of R Caan’s effort on Sunday. “He’s got a real, real, real good shot (tonight).’’
Gallant likes his post position, explaining that he’ll be able to put R Caan where he wants right off the starting gate. As for a strategy, Gallant says it’s not something he will give a whole lot of thought to before Race 13.
“That race could go a million different ways. We talked a little bit of strategy last week before the (elimination) went and it never happened that way at all. You don’t know what a horse race is going to be until you get behind the gate because you’ve got seven other minds with you and everyone might have the same opinion you’ve got.’’
Besides visiting his mother’s gravesite, Gallant says he’s also looking forward to being introduced by track announcer Vance Cameron during the post parade.
“When Vance starts talking about what you did through your career . . .,’’ he says, his voice trailing off. “This race means a lot to me. It’s my hometown race. I can’t explain the feeling. It’s the prestige of the race. You work most of your life to get a horse good enough for that race and when you get one you appreciate it when you’re there.’’
Summerside native Terry Gallant drives R Caan, 7, to a second-place finish in the second $5,000 Governor’s Plate Elimination Invitational Pace at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway on Sunday. R Caan qualified for Saturday’s $22,000 Governor’s Plate, presented by Summerside Chrysler Dodge. R Caan races alongside the Gilles Barrieau-driven Perfect Escape, 2, while Kenny Arsenault and Waterside Light, 1, are right behind.