DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: MacPherson off to phenomenal start in 2016

Nicholas Oakes
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The winter racing season at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP) drew to a close Saturday and the four-legged performers are now enoying a well-deserved vacation.

Corey MacPherson is the story of 2016 so far, with the 26-year-old driver recording a phenomenal 19 wins from 48 starts this calendar year. The Cornwall resident’s .525 driving average leads the way in Canada by a healthy margin over second-place Alfie Carroll at .388, while he also sits tied for fifth in Canada for dash wins with Phil Hudon. The CDP driver’s standings are followed up by Marc Campbell with 10 wins, Wade Sorrie at seven and Ken Murphy and Gary Chappell tied at five each.

In the training standings, Montague resident Trevor Hicken leads the way with seven wins, followed by Ron Gass and Brian Ladner tied at five wins. Wade Sorrie and Neal Bambrick are in a tie for fourth spot with three wins each. Hicken does not register on the top percentage list for Canadian trainers, due to his limited amount of starts.

Ladner has another large distinction, as his trainee, Best Risque, is the winningest horse in Canada with an undefeated record from five starts. She also shares the top spot for wins in all of North America with five-year-old stallion Brioni, who races a $15,000 claimer at Dover Downs in Delaware.

The live racing season begins again on April 23 in Charlottetown, with Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway kicking off action on May 23 for a Victoria Day racing card.

P.E.I Scene

An Island photographer received international recognition this past week.

Frances Lund of Charlottetown was announced as the winner of the 2015 George Smallsreed award for excellence in harness racing photography. The U.S. award was won by Lund for her photograph of Crombie A and Brad Forward parading over the CDP in a torrential rain storm on Gold Cup and Saucer night just minutes before the card was called off and rescheduled for the next day.

Lund will be presented with the award at the U.S. Harness Writers Association’s Dan Patch Awards banquet on March 6 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Lund is already a finalist for media excellence award at the O’Brien awards banquet on Feb. 13 in Mississauga, Ont.

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

Organizations: U.S. Harness Writers Association

Geographic location: Charlottetown Driving Park, Canada, Cornwall Charlottetown North America U.S. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Mississauga

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