Camp­bell close to mile­stone

For­mer Gold Cup and Saucer fi­nal­ist joins Is­land ranks

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - P.E.I. scene Ni­cholas Oakes Ni­cholas Oakes’ col­umn ap­pears in The Guardian each Fri­day. He can be reached at nichola­soakes@hot­ Down the Back­stretch

The rac­ing sea­son will shortly turn out the lights for a win­ter hia­tus, but one of the track’s most dec­o­rated reins­man has a mile­stone to hit first.

Marc Camp­bell is on the cusp of ca­reer win No. 1,500 with just one more win needed to get him there. The 31-year-old driver has ac­com­plished a lot since scor­ing his first ever pari-mutuel vic­tory be­hind his own trainee, Crest­wave Gaze, on July 24, 2004, at the Sum­mer­side Race­way. The two-time Gold Cup and Saucer win­ning driver and O’Brien Award win­ner just fin­ished his eighth straight sea­son where he won over 120 races in the bike. Camp­bell has six drives on the Satur­day af­ter­noon pro­gram at the Char­lot­te­town Driv­ing Park, with Casimir Luciano likely to give him a solid shot at the mile­stone in his first race of the day in Race 3.

The CDP has a 13-dash card pro­grammed for 12:30 p.m. Satur­day, with the fi­nal card of the win­ter meet set for Jan. 30 be­fore rac­ing re­sumes at the track on April 23.

My wishes for a speedy re­cov­ery go out to pop­u­lar CDP pad­dock judge Ge­orge (Butch) Ward, who has been out of ac­tion the past few race cards while deal­ing with health is­sues. Ev­ery­one in Is­land rac­ing is hop­ing to see him back soon in his fa­mil­iar post.

A for­mer Gold Cup and Saucer fi­nal­ist has made his way into the Is­land rac­ing cir­cuit and will make his lo­cal de­but Satur­day af­ter­noon. Smokin Bear is en­tered in race 10 with Mike McGuigan in the bike for trainer Ken­neth Wilkie and owner Jamie Whalen of Ver­non Bridge. The sev­enyear­son of Grin­fromeartoear boasts 18 life­time wins and $147,996 in earn­ings along with a 1:51.2 record taken at Wood­bine Race­way in On­tario. Smokin Bear was a fi­nal­ist in the 2013 Gold Cup and Saucer fi­nal with An­thony MacDon­ald in the bike for trainer Wayne Presz­ca­tor af­ter fin­ish­ing se­cond in his trial. That Sun­day af­ter­noon trial fea­tured an un­for­get­table trip by Proven Lover, who laid parked by Clic K through tor­tur­ous frac­tions. The fi­nal was won by Es­cape The News and Camp­bell.

An­other new­comer to Is­land rac­ing is Mon­tana Ben, who is now trained by Mike Ram­say of Sum­mer­side. The four-year-old son of Western Ter­ror has a 1:57.3 record at Rideau Car­leton Race­way in Ottawa in his lone ca­reer vic­tory and is en­tered in Race 5 Satur­day with CDP’s lead­ing driver, Corey MacPher­son, in the bike.

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