‘Hobby horse­men’ re­al­ize a dream

Red Isle Rac­ing part­ners with Al­lard, MacRae with Gover­nor’s Plate win­ner

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY JA­SON SIMMONDS JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER jp­sports@jour­nalpioneer.com Twit­ter.com/Jp­sport­sJa­son https://www.face­book.com/ja­son.simmonds.180

An in­no­cent com­ment paved the way for a group of “hobby horse­men” from the Kens­ing­ton area to re­al­ize a dream.

That is win­ning Prince County’s most pres­ti­gious stan­dard­bred race – the $22,000 Gover­nor’s Plate, pre­sented by Summerside Chrysler Dodge – at Red Shores at Summerside Race­way on Satur­day night.

“It was kind of a fairy tale story,” said Matt MacKay, who as­sem­bled the 11-mem­ber Red Isle Rac­ing group. “All the dots con­nected, and it went from a sim­ple joke into win­ning the Gover­nor’s Plate. It’s a pretty re­mark­able feel­ing.”

MacKay has owned horses for 12 years, and re­called a busi­ness con­ver­sa­tion he had with Rene Al­lard, who is known as one of the top train­ers in har­ness rac­ing.

“Rene wanted a spot for the sum­mer for Gover­nor’s Plate and Old Home Week, and he also wants to re­tire here,” said MacKay. “I ended up be­ing his re­al­tor, and Rene ended up buy­ing a house a cou­ple of doors down from me (in North Granville).

“The in­side joke is I would look af­ter his house if he found me a horse for the Gold Cup and Gover­nor’s Plate. It was a run­ning joke for three or four months, and one day he called me and said, ‘I found you a horse.’”

This is where the four-yearold bay geld­ing Do Over Hanover en­ters the story.

Own­er­ship group

MacKay reached out to his “hobby horse­men” friends, and within 24 hours Red Isle Rac­ing was formed and part­nered with Al­lard and Steven

“It was kind of a fairy tale story. All the dots con­nected, and it went from a sim­ple joke into win­ning the Gover­nor’s Plate. It’s a pretty re­mark­able feel­ing.” Matt MacKay

MacRae of Vernon Bridge. Red Isle Rac­ing is com­prised of both vet­er­ans and new­com­ers to the in­dus­try.

“Some of them have been hobby horse­men for 20, 30 years, and never had this chance (rac­ing in a race like the Gover­nor’s Plate),” added MacKay. “There are a few who are new to the busi­ness.

Ob­vi­ously, to win the Gover­nor’s Plate with the first horse they had, they are hooked for life.

“Out of the 11 we prob­a­bly had about 100 fans who just came to see this horse.”

Red Isle Rac­ing owns 50 per cent of Do Over Hanover while Al­lard and MacRae each own 25 per cent. MacKay ac­knowl­edged this would not have been pos­si­ble without Al­lard.

“He loves P.E.I.,” said MacKay. “He races for $20,000 US a night in New York, and he is here with us (for the Gover­nor’s Plate).”

Marc Camp­bell, who drove Do Over Hanover to a 1:53.2 win in the Gover­nor’s Plate, feels it’s great for the in­dus­try to have so many

Is­lan­ders in­volved.

“Un­til (Satur­day) I didn’t know who all owned him,” said Camp­bell in a post-race in­ter­view. “One of the own­ers, Blaine Thibeau, his kid plays against my kid at the rink all the time. It’s pretty cool.”

The own­er­ship group is hope­ful Do Over Hanover will get an in­vite to the Gold Cup and Saucer Tri­als in Char­lot­te­town next month.

“I hope we can get to the Gold Cup, it’s been a big dream,” said MacKay. “Gover­nor’s Plate was a dream, and we ac­com­plished it.”

JA­SON SIMMONDS/JOUR­NAL PI­O­NEER

The own­er­ship group of Do Over Hanover – Rene Al­lard, hold­ing the head of the horse; Steven MacRae, front left, and mem­bers of Red Isle Rac­ing – pose with driver Marc Camp­bell, trainer Chris MacKay, right, and Jor­dan MacKay, sec­ond right, who is look­ing af­ter the four-year-old bay geld­ing on P.E.I. Do Over Hanover won the 49th run­ning of the Gover­nor’s Plate in 1:53.2 at Red Shores at Summerside Race­way on Satur­day night.

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