Down the Backstretch: Remembering Collins Wood

Nicholas Oakes
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Island harness racing lost a member of the old guard Thursday.

Collins Lea Wood, 81, passed away Thursday in Charlottetown after a lifetime of involvement in harness racing. Wood had hundreds of horses during the years, breeding and selling some and keeping others, often times sending them to trainer Clare MacDonald in Antigonish, N.S. Most of his horses had the C Ls prefix.

MacDonald speaks fondly of Wood, remembering their top trainees including top 1994 pacing filly C Ls Social Whirl, who recorded wins in 13 of 18 starts. She describes Wood as a very unique individual.

“He was probably the most unique person you ever met,” MacDonald said. “He had a way of getting his point across that was roundabout but he always managed to do it.”

MacDonald recalls driving C Ls Goldie, who was bred by Wood but owned by Bert Haneveld, in an open mares event during Old Home Week 2001. MacDonald left out with C Ls Goldie but found herself parked out by Dennis Baxter and Lots A Bunny through fractions of 27.3 and 55.4, before both horses finished seventh and eighth. A few days later, MacDonald received a humorous call from Wood.

“Hi Clare, could you do me a favour?” Wood asked.

“Sure Collins, what is it?” MacDonald replied.

“Well I was looking for a catalogue for the tack company. Do you remember what they are called?” Wood said.

“Greenhawk?” MacDonald answered.

“Yes that it is,” Wood said. “Can you check if they have any hand holds back in stock now? They must have become a rare commodity.”

Wood’s other top breeding credits include Dunacton Dexter and Woodmere Jilly. My condolences to the family.


Across the continent

Kingston native Mark MacDonald will be part of a historic race Saturday night at The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J. MacDonald will drive Bolt The Duer from post 10 in the $512,000 TVG Free-for-all championship final for trainer Peter Foley. The race will feature a unique match-up as top three-year-old colt pacer Captaintreacherous will face off against the top aged pacers in the world, including Foiled Again, the richest pacer of all time. Tim Tetrick drives Captaintreacherous in this must see showdown, carded as Race 10 on The Meadowlands card, as he attempts to seal his spot as horse of the year.

The other candidate, Bee A Magician, will compete in the very next race in the $253,000 Moni Maker final with Brian Sears in the bike. MacDonald also has a drive in the race, steering Andie Sophia from post 4 for trainer Rob Harmon. Also on the card, Athur Blue Chip has post 6 in the $534,500 Governor’s Cup final for two-year-old colt pacers. David Miller will drive the son of Shadow Play for co-owner and trainer Dr. Ian Moore, formerly of Summerside, and co-owners RG McGroup ltd. of Bathurst and Serge Savard of Saint-Bruno, Que.

Saturday, Moore pupil State Treasurer was a winner at The Meadowlands in 1:52.2 in a $30,000 class for driver Miller and owners Sally MacDonald of Souris and Paul MacDonald of Regina.


P.E.I. Scene

Gilles Barrieau captured his first E.F. Acorn memorial trophy Saturday as part of P.E.I. Standard Horse Owners Association Horsemen’s Day. The Saint John-based driver scored two wins in the eight-race competition with Solanos Dragon and Outside The Wire, after earning his way in as fifth-place driver at Charlottetown for 2013. Even though he was eligible by statistics almost every year recently, this was Barrieau’s first time in the competition, as drivers had to be paid members of the association, which wasn’t until this year.


Maritime Scene

Sunday at Truro Raceway, Emerging Market was a winner in 2:02.1 for owner Calvin Baglole of Bedeque. The five-year-old daughter of Mach Three was driven by Paul Langille and trained by Emmons MacKay.


Who’s Hot

Owner Bill Andrew kept landing in the winner’s circle Saturday in Charlottetown. Andrew co-owned five winners on the card. It is not very often an owner records five wins on one card at any racetrack in North America.

Nick's picks


Race 1 – Lyndale Delite

Race 2 – Golden Claw

Race 3 – CJ Bluefin

Race 4 – Isleofpalms

Race 5 – Diagram Hanover

Race 6 – Zanzibar

Race 7 – Capitalism

Race 8 – Leading Camdidate

Race 9 – There Paid For

Race 10 – Toad River

Race 11 – McMaverick

Race 12 – Mach Vegas


Race 1 – Mr MacLeod

Race 2 – Honeymoonisover

Race 3 – Someone Like You

Race 4 – Lyrical Lindy

Race 5 – All Out

Race 6 – Zip The Lip

Race 7 – Block Party

Race 8 – Dr Wilbur D

Race 9 – Stayoutofmyaffair

Race 10 – KG Comet

Race 11 – PC Shockwave

Race 12 - Machinthesand

Race 13 – Bakarti Arti

Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at

Organizations: Race 10 on The Meadowlands, The Meadowlands Racetrack, Bolt The Duer Moni Maker

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Antigonish, East Rutherford, N.J. MacDonald Summerside Saint-Bruno, Que North America

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