Down The Backstretch: Bolt The Duer shoots Islander to winner’s circle

Nicholas Oakes
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Bolt The Duer finished off his three-year-old campaign in style Saturday night at Northfield Park in Northfield, Ohio, in the $130,000 Cleveland Classic.

With Kingston native Mark MacDonald at the lines, the son of Ponder surged to the front before letting Pet Rock (driven by Doug MacNair) retake the lead through a 27.2 first quarter on the half-mile racetrack. Bolt The Duer sat on the pylons while Thinking Out Loud (Dave Miller) advanced first-over for the 54.4 half. MacDonald then tipped his charge out of the three-hole at the 1:22.1 three-quarters and made up ground on the outside to win in 1:51 with Pet Rock getting up for second and Thinking Out Loud finishing third.

The win was No. 9 on the year for Bolt The Duer, while pushing his lifetime earnings to $1,116,668 for trainer Pete Foley and owner All Star Racing of Towaco, N.J.

Friday night at Yonkers Raceway, MacDonald had a win in the $35,000 Open Trot with Mystical Starlight in 1:56.3 for trainer Ross Croghan. MacDonald has 165 wins in the United States in 2012, along with $4,591,808 in seasonal earnings.


P.E.I. scene

My condolences to the family of Bruce MacDonald of Charlottetown, who passed away recently at the age of 86.

MacDonald was a veteran of the Second World War and the Korean War before becoming a successful Island businessman. He had a love of harness racing, owning a number of horses trained by horsemen like James (Roach) MacGregor, Earl Smith, Jim Whelan and Cyril (Toby) MacDonald. In recent years, he owned tough raceway horses like West River Neldie and Breeder’s Crown champion Clay Henry. Both were trained by his son, Alan, who also has a lifetime of involvement in racing as a race announcer at tracks across the country.

Live harness racing continues at the Charlottetown Driving Park Saturday with a 1 p.m. start time for the 13-dash card.

The feature goes in Race 12 with Block Party looking to repeat her top class win last Saturday for driver Marc Campbell, trainer Darren Trainor and owners Bill, Brian and Blake Andrew. The daughter of Western Terror is shouldered with a tough spot from Post 7 and will face stiff competition from Capitalism from Post 2 for trainer-driver Jason Hughes and owner Tommy Collings, and Balanchine, who is again stuck with the outside Post 8 for driver Brodie MacPhee, trainer Jackie Matheson and owners Mike Pollard and Joey Gallant.

The card will also see Ambyr Campbell return to the bike in Race 6 with her own trainee Doll R General. The pacer has drawn Post 4 and is listed as the morning-line favourite in the $1,100 event.

Campbell will look to rewrite the history books Saturday, as he currently sits with 120 wins  at the CDP in 2012, with the record at 122 wins set by himself in 2011. He has 10 drives on the card.


Across the continent

Proven Lover is on a roll in New York State.

The Real Desire stallion was a winner in 1:51.4 over the Yonkers Raceway half-mile oval in a $21,000 conditioned class. Jason Bartlett was in the bike for trainer Amber Buter and owner Casey Gavin of Tignish. He was a winner the week before at Yonkers and the start before that at Saratoga Raceway to make it three in a row since relocating stateside. Proven Lover races again Saturday evening at Yonkers Raceway in Race 12 for a purse of $26,000 with Bartlett in the bike.

Another Island horse has been on a roll in the U.S. Sittler has won his first two starts at Scarborough Downs in Maine. The son of Astronomical-Susan Shea is racing in a $3,000 claimer, winning his last start in 1:57.4 with Shawn Thayer in the bike for his new Maine connections.


Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in

The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at

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