SUMMERSIDE – D Gs Camme and driver Gilles Barrieau made history Saturday night.
The four-year-old brown horse by Blissful Hall-Cam Me Kindly-Cams Card Shark won the 46th running of the $25,000 Governor’s Plate in a track-record time from the rail, and Barrieau became the first driver to win Prince County’s most prestigious standardbred race three years in a row.
“My God I’ve had good luck,” said Barrieau, who previously won the Governor’s Plate with Comedy Hour (1998), Mcapulco (2012) and Wild Dragon (2013). “This is by far the best one, just to win it for the (horse’s) connections. It was just great.”
The Jackie Matheson-trained D Gs Camme stopped the clock in 1:53 flat over a fast-rated racing surface before a big crowd at Red Shores Summerside. Fractions over the historic Summerside Raceway oval were 28 seconds, 56.3 and 1:24.3.
The time established a new track pacing record by one-fifth of a second. The Todd Trites-driven P H Bestman set the previous mark of 1:53.1 with a strong stretch drive in the 2010 Governor’s Plate.
“I wasn’t going out to set track records,” said Barrieau, who has over 3,800 career driving wins. “I was just going out to race my own race.
“It’s just the way the race unfolded. I got away good, but I was sitting in a bad position. You are sitting in the three-hole and in order for me to win I had to make a move, and it paid off. . . The horse was extra good. He was full of himself tonight (Saturday), and we just let him roll.”
Astor, driven by Jason Hughes, placed from Post 2 while Red Rock, with veteran Gary Chappell in the bike, got up from the six-hole to round out the triactor.
“I thought there was one horse that might beat me out,” said Barrieau. “Jason got ahead of me in the two-hole, and I didn’t want to get into an early speed duel.
“I let him go and I saw his stablemate (Red Rock) coming, and all of a sudden I’m sitting three. Now I had to make a move.”
Barrieau explained that move: “At the three-eights I was sitting in the three-hole, and I heard footsteps coming behind me. If you are sitting three you are taking a chance of getting boxed in and not getting any racing room.
“I had a move to make, and when I did make my move I made it with authority. As it turned out, I cleared pretty quick.”
Barrieau said there was no stopping D Gs Camme after he made front at the half.
" I wasn’t going out to set no track record. I was just going out to race my own race. It’s just the way the race unfolded. I got away good, but I was sitting in a bad position. You are sitting in the three-hole and in order for me to win I had to make a move, and it paid off. . . The horse was extra good. He was full of himself tonight (Saturday), and we just let him roll.” Driver Gilles Barrieau
“He swelled up and did it all himself the last half,” said Barrieau, who admitted D Gs Camme probably raced as fast as he can. “He was going all he could.”
Quentin Bevan, Hal Bevan, Tom Clark and Ron Matheson of P.E.I. share ownership of D Gs Camme.
“Jackie and Ronnie do a great job,” said Barrieau. “I’m lucky that they use me as a catch-driver now and then, and I couldn’t be any happier.
“They have a nice bunch of horses that are able to do something. I’m just happy to be part of the team.”
Barrieau described Saturday’s track conditions as “lightning fast,” adding the track had a little cushion to it and wasn’t too hard or too soft.
A total of $62,803 was wagered on the 14-dash card, which completed the seven-card Lobster Festival harness racing meet. It was the third-highest pari-mutuel handle in the history of the Governor’s Plate, sponsored by Summerside Chrysler Dodge and the City of Summerside.