DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: The show went on

Nicholas Oakes
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Driver Marc Campbell, front right, takes Take it Back Terry down the homestretch to eventually win the 56th annual Gold Cup and Saucer in Charlottetown Sunday afternoon at the CDP. The $60,000 race, which is the premiere event of a week of harness racing at the P.E.I Old Home Week in Charlottetown, had to popstponed Saturday night due to heavy rain causing unsafe track conditions.

Gold Cup and Saucer final on a Sunday afternoon one to remember

In recent weeks, we recapped some of the top moments in Island racing during 2015 and now it is time to look at the very best Island harness racing had to offer. This is the third part of a three-part series.

10. All soul

In a devastating performance, Heart And Soul made himself the fastest Maritime-bred two-year-old of all time, winning his P.E.I. Colt Stakes division in 1:55.3 over the Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP). Clare MacDonald trains and drives the colt for owners Earith and George Riley.

9. The accident

In a race many will never forget, Willow Warrior went down in the Governor’s Plate open mares final on July 18 at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway with most of the field barely missing her except for Veronicavermillion. General Luckypercy won the race, while unseated driver Mark Bradley and Mike McGuigan suffered minor injuries.

8. The two-hit wonder

Thunderaway rewrote the record books for aged trotters at both Island tracks during 2015. Jason Hughes trained and drove the trotter, which was a winner in 1:57.3 on Aug. 1 in Charlottetown and 1:58.1 over Summerside on Aug. 9.

7. The standings

In a year-long, hard-fought battle, Hughes and Marc Campbell went toe-to-toe for top driver at the CDP. The lead switched a number of times but Hughes tied the score 113-113 in the final race of the calendar year on Dec. 31.

6. Hardball in plate final

Determined is the best word to describe Si Semalu in the $22,000 Governor’s Plate final in July in Summerside, as he used rail control to park heavy favourite D Gs Camme for the best part of a 26.3 first quarter. D Gs Camme took a brief seat but found a way out through a gruelling 55.4 half before winning the race. The race was full of controversy as The Rev finished second and was placed sixth for some iffy interference on R Caan.

5. Australian fastest ever on Island

Crombie A stamped himself as the fastest pacer to ever tour an East Coast oval after a 1:50.3 victory in his Gold Cup and Saucer elimination in Charlottetown for driver Brad Forward and trainer Rene Allard. The nine-year-old son of Life Sign was touted as the horse to beat that week after winning in 1:50.1 over Yonkers Raceway before coming to Canada. He went off as favourite in the Gold Cup and Saucer final but failed to hit the board.

4. Souris’ horse

He is the lone horse to make the list that didn’t grace red soil, but Island-owned State Treasurer was phenomenal on the North American scene, even good enough to win the Dan Patch award for aged pacer in the U.S. and be nominated for an O’Brien award for aged pacer in Canada. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, the horse owned by Sally and Paul MacDonald put $986,960 in his bank account throughout the 2015 season.

3. The rivalry

Proven Desire and Dixieland Band went toe-to-toe nearly every week in the three-year-old pacing colt division with some epic stretch drives. Dixieland Band was the Atlantic Breeder’s Crown champion, while Proven Desire was victorious in the Maritime Breeder’s and Island Breeders finals. The duo raced against each other nine times with Dixieland Band claiming five wins and Proven Desire visiting the winner’s enclosure the other four starts.

2. Rained out Gold Cup and Saucer

In 2008, we experienced the Gold Cup and Saucer card on a Sunday afternoon, but we never imagined the day just the historic race would be rained out. Then after 11 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2015, imagination became reality. The first 12 races were run but by the time the Gold Cup and Saucer horses were parading, the precipitation had become too much to handle as the CDP oval began to wash away. The next day led way to one of the most unusual race cards in the history of East Coast racing.

1. Take It Back Terry in Gold Cup and Saucer 56

The carnival was gone and the Old Home Week races were over, except for one. The $60,000 Sobey’s Gold Cup and Saucer final was rained out the night before but Sunday, Aug. 23, at 3 p.m. the show went on. Take It Back Terry captured the lone race of the day in 1:50.4 in front of 10,000 race fans for driver Campbell, trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Karr and Phillip Collura. Atta Boy Dan (Anthony MacDonald) was second with Lucan Hanover (Jonathan Drury) third.

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

Organizations: P.E.I. Colt Stakes division, North American, Old pacing colt division

Geographic location: Iceland, Charlottetown Driving Park, Charlottetown Summerside Maritime East Coast Canada U.S.

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