Down The Backstretch: Awards season not too far away in P.E.I. racing

Nicholas Oakes
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Awards season is just around the corner on snowy Prince Edward Island.

The Prince County Horseman’s Club Banquet is set for Saturday, March 29, at Credit Union Place Convention Centre in Summerside. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with the dinner getting underway at 7 p.m., followed by the awards presentations. There will be a number of door prizes and breedings to popular P.E.I. studs to be drawn for. The guest speaker for the event will be released at a later date.

Tickets are on sale now for $25 from any of the association’s directors or from Lynn Whitlock and Brenda MacInnis. Futher questions can be directed to Rocky Schurman at 902-724-2786.

The P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association banquet will be held Saturday, April 5, at the Howard Johnson Dutch Inn in Cornwall. The social gets underway at 6 p.m. with the meal and awards starting at 7 p.m. Tickets have yet to be printed. More details will be released in the weeks to come.


Across the continent

Charlottetown native Paul MacKenzie made his return to the track last week at Flamboro Downs.

The winner of 7,808 races and $44 million in purses had three drives last week at the Dundas, Ont., oval and will drive four horses on tonight’s card at Flamboro, as well as Saturday afternoon’s card. MacKenzie had been out of action since being involved in a spill in October at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ont.

A pair of Stratford brothers is kicking off some solid seasons in Ontario racing wars. Robert Shepherd sits third for driving wins in Canada with 40 victories in 2014. Alfred Carroll leads the pack with 54 victories up to the first of the week. Kingston native James MacDonald is seventh in Canada with 33 wins. Three Charlottetown regulars sit in the top percentage Canadian driver category, with Marc Campbell in third with a .429 average, Jason Hughes fifth with a .389 average and Walter Cheverie ninth with a .361 average.

In the training standings, Patrick Shepherd was second in Canada for wins as the week began with 27 wins compared to leader Travis Cullen with 33. Cullen and Shepherd were finalists for the inaugural Future Star Award at the recent O’Brien Awards. Shepherd also sits fifth in the nation for training percentage with a solid .403, as well as ninth for purse earnings at $99,808.


Libertys Best Star put it all together again for Island owner Jonah Moase of Cornwall on last Friday’s card of racing at Woodbine Raceway in Rexdale, Ont.

The six-year-old son of Cammibest won an $8,000 claimer in 1:53.3 for driver Jonathan Drury and trainer Tom Riley and was claimed. David Menary now trains Libertys Best Star for Ontario owner Julie Ferguson. It was the horse’s sixth win in a row  and third for Moase since being claimed for $5,000 on Jan. 26 at Flamboro Downs.

Moase did not waste any time, though, as he made a pair of claims the next day at Flamboro Downs, along with partner Mitch Tierney of New Haven.

The pair claimed two horses out of the same $6,500 claiming race on the Flamboro card. Hoosier King finished third in the race and was claimed by Tierney and Moase. The seven-year-old son of Kingsbridge-Flask N has 27 lifetime wins to his credit, along with $166,169 in purse earnings and a mark of 1:52.4 at Indiana Downs. The horse  has drawn Post 2 in a $10,000 claimer Monday night in Race 10 at Woodbine for driver Drury and trainer Riley.

Also claimed was Kennairn Buckwheat, who ran off the front in a 57.1 half in that claiming race to finish seventh.

The six-year-old Million Dollar Cam-Abbys Nukes gelding has 11 wins and $106,419 earned lifetime with a mark of 1:52.2 at Woodbine. He is also entered Monday at Woodbine in Race 8 for Drury and Riley with Post 8 in an $8,000 claiming race.

Also of interest on the Woodbine card, Race 4 has Miracle Matts in a $20,000 claimer for non-winners of $55,000 life with Post 6 for owner Blois MacPhail of Cornwall and trainer Brian Lee. Miracle Matts had been racing the top pacers in Charlottetown until the season closed.



Former Maritime standout and O’Brien Award finalist Malabrigo had her first foal at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at Tarleton Farm in Paris, Ky.

The two-day-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight will be named Millamia. Malabrigo (Western Paradise-Lots A Bunny), now five years old, put together a perfect season in 2012 going 16-for-16 in three-year-old filly stakes for owner Buntainwood Farm of Brackley Beach.

She retired at the end of that season with $133,876 in earnings, 23 wins and a mark of 1:56.4 taken at Truro Raceway.

A deal has been inked with Brent MacGrath to breed the mare to world champion Somebeachsomewhere in 2014 and 2015.

Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in

The Guardian each Friday. He can be

reached at

Organizations: Club Banquet, Credit Union Place Convention Centre, P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association Howard Johnson Dutch Inn Indiana Downs Post 2 Post 8 Tarleton Farm

Geographic location: P.E.I., Cornwall, Canada Prince Edward Island.The Prince Summerside Ontario Charlottetown Elora Kingston Rexdale New Haven Paris, Ky.

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