Kicking into high gear
P.E.I.’s James MacDonald will represent Canada at world driving championship
The 2017 World Driving Championship kicks into high gear on Aug. 12 with the first leg of the competition at Century Downs in Calgary but Canada will have a new driver representing the northern nation.
Kingston, P.E.I., native James MacDonald is now the representative after national driving championship winner Brandon Campbell had one of his horses test positive for an illegal substance after a race in Alberta.
Campbell is suspended from driving and training from Aug. 1 to Jan. 31. MacDonald finished second to Campbell in the national driving championship held in October in Ontario and will don the red and white for legs in Calgary, Mohawk Raceway and Georgian Downs in Ontario, Trois Rivieres in Quebec and the final leg on Friday night, Aug. 18 at the Charlottetown Driving Park during Old Home Week.
MacDonald has 95 wins so far this season along with his 1,677 lifetime victories and $22 million in career purse money. The 31-year-old is part of the MacDonald racing family with brothers Mark and Anthony, both accomplished drivers, and his father Fred MacDonald, a sports columnist with The Guardian.
The two- and three-year-old trotters descend upon Northside Downs in North Sydney, N.S., Saturday afternoon for Atlantic Sires Stakes action. This draws a number of top drivers away from home, leading to a vast number of driving changes for the Saturday evening card at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
The $2,400 Preferred pace in Race 13 on the Saturday evening card is sure to be an exciting
one with a rematch of the Governor’s Plate final as Do Over Hanover leaves from Post 6 and Crombie A, fresh off a Truro Raceway track record performance, has Post 7. Mike McGuigan picks up the catch-drive on the Chris MacKay-trained Do Over Hanover riding a five-race win streak while Adam Merner is in the seat behind Crombie A for trainer Earl Watts. The race also includes two-time Governor’s Plate champion D Gs Camme (Gilles Barrieau) making his second start of the season from Post 5 and possible Gold Cup and Saucer trial entry Good Friday Three (Gordie Hennessey) with Post 4.
Across The Continent
John Campbell, a hall of fame driver on both sides of the border, made his final career drive Sunday afternoon in the Legends Day trot in Clinton Raceway in Ontario.
Recently announced as president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, Campbell will be in P.E.I. for the World Trotting Conference being held Wednesday, Aug. 16 and Thursday, Aug. 17 during Old Home Week racing in Charlottetown. Visit www.worldtrottingconference.com for information about the sessions and topics at the symposium as well as to purchase tickets for the two-day event.
My condolences to a pair of Island racing members who passed away recently and will be missed.
Ian Smith of Oyster Bed Bridge passed away Sunday afternoon at the age of 58. Known for a great sense of humour, Smith had been an integral member of the Old Home Week track crew over the last number of years.
Smith was a member of Smith racing family with brothers Allan and Robbie, both active horseman over the years, while nephew Brad Smith is a trainerdriver.
Pat WcWade also passed away Sunday at the age of 81. McWade was a horseowner and fan at Maritime tracks while brother Bert McWade has been an avid supporter of harness racing during his tenure at the Atlantic Lot