Island-bred horses can compete at any North American track
A 10-length victory can be called nothing but impressive in harness racing and a North Wiltshire-bred mare used one to get her way into the Maritime records books last week in New York.
“Lovineveryminute has led from the start and she is absolutely crushing them here,” Yonkers Raceway track announcer John Hernan said as the Western Paradise mare turned into the stretch. “Lovineveryminute is going to win it with plenty left . . . in a romp.”
The win was in 1:51.1, just a fifth off the Yonkers Raceway track record for aged pacing mares set by top U.S. mare Krispy Apple last fall, and makes her the fastest Maritime-bred on a half-mile track, eclipsing Island Lexus’ 1:51.2 record taken last June at Harrington Raceway in Delaware.
This just goes to show Island-foaled horses can compete at any track on the continent. As a jurisdiction, we have a unique opportunity to fill the void for tracks hungry to fill race cards across North America.
Lovineveryminute was campaigned by Earl Watts while on the East Coast, then sold to U.S. interests at the conclusion of her three-year-old stakes season and it all started on the green grass of central P.E.I., by her mothers side.
A total of 337 broodmares were bred to Island stallions in 2015, the second biggest breeding jurisdiction in the nation. Those offspring will grow up on Island farms and employ Islanders to care for them, while consuming almost 100 per cent Island products.
Prince Edward Island had a plethora of talented horse people to develop and race these offspring in the stakes program at Maritime tracks. This has been the norm for years, but the area we have to truly cash in on is the export of race horses once they graduate from the program.
Rocky Point-bred Casa Miasa raced respectfully in the Maritimes, earning $25,000 while being campaigned out of Truro, N.S., then her true value showed through when she went to Dover Downs in Delaware in November. The Driven To Win filly banked an outstanding $38,000 US in just 14 stateside starts while simply climbing up the non-winners ladder.
Flip north of the border to see Maritime champion Proven Desire racing on the toughest circuit in the country, winning at Woodbine Raceway in Ontario on March 12 in 1:52.2, for owner Blair Hansen of Charlottetown.
The racing product presented by Red Shores in Charlottetown and Summerside is second to none but to recognize how smart the provincial government is in investing in the industry, you have to look at the big picture. The export of our young horses, and horsepeople, is the flagship for Island racing worldwide. The fact Island-bred horses can leave here and compete at a variety of levels on circuits everywhere should remind us that being a part of such a successful industry on a small Island is worth ‘lovineveryminute.’
On the subject of breeding, the second fastest Maritime-bred mare ever is a new mother but also acquired a new owner. Thebeastfromtheast made her own history winning in 1:50.2 in 2009 for owner Jim Whelan of Ontario, and now has an Articulator filly by her side. A filly that Articulator’s North Wiltshire co-owner thought was so nice he couldn’t live without owning. Thebeastfromtheast is now owned by Blaine MacPherson’s Howmac Farm and will now try to make her own contribution to the Island industry.
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com.