The top drivers in Ontario harness racing will battle it out tonight at Western Fair Raceway in London, Ont.
The Ontario Regional Driving Championship will see eight drivers compete for two spots in the National Driving Championship being held at Red Shores at The Charlottetown Driving Park on Tuesday, Aug. 26 (a week-and-a-half after Old Home Week). The eight-race competition has Kingston native James MacDonald and Charlottetown native Paul MacKenzie up against Trevor Henry, Jody Jamieson, Scott Coulter, Billy Davis Jr., Doug McNair and J.R. Plante.
The Atlantic qualifying leg is set for Saturday, June 28, at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway, while the Quebec-Eastern Ontario regional will be held Tuesday June 17. The Western Canada regional was all ready held with Brandon Campbell and Jim Marino advancing to the national championship.
Across the continent
Monday at Woodbine Raceway in Rexdale, Ont., So Not Cool won the $35,800 Tie Silk final in 1:55.3 for driver Mario Baillargeon, trainer Ben Baillargeon and owner Awesome Acres Stbds of Rockwood, Ont., which is owned by Charlottetown native John Hennessey.
The three-year-old son of Muscles Yankee is paid into a few stakes this year including the Goodtimes and the Canadian Trotting Classic.
Tuesday at Harrington Raceway in Delaware, Scootin For Joy won the $17,000 Mares Open for a second straight week with Ross Wolfenden in the bike, this time in 1:53 over the half-mile oval. Wade Sorrie trained the four-year-old daughter of Western Paradise while on P.E.I.
The new additions keep filtering into P.E.I. racing.
Alcars Spud Baran (20 wins, $86,379, 1:55.4 Flamboro Downs) is a new addition for owner Wendell Grady of Summerside and trainer Wendell Shaw. The eight-year-old son of Rambaran was racing claimers in Ontario, with his last start in August at Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia.
Upfront Ticket (10 wins, $93,284, 1:51.2 Harrah’s Philadelphia) is a newcomer for Jennifer and Darren Trainor of Earnescliffe. The five-year-old Dragon Again gelding had been racing in Ontario, showing a mile in 1:55.4 in March over Flamboro Downs’ half-mile oval.
Prynne Hanover (two wins, $62,516, 1:54.3 Mohawk) is now owned by Jamie Whalen of Vernon Bridge and trained by Mike McGuigan. The four-year-old daughter of Badlands Hanover had been racing condition races at Woodbine and was a former Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final entry as a two-year-old for trainer John Burns.
A clarification on last week’s column where I stated the opening dates for the stake races this season.
The three-year-old pacers will kick off the year on June 1 at the Summerside Raceway in the Bob Dewar stake for colts and the Ruby Chappell stake for fillies. The three-year-old trotters get underway July 9 in the Maple Leaf Trot in Summerside while the two-year-old trotters and pacers make their first stakes starts in mid-July during Lobster Carnival week.
My apologies for any confusion this may have caused.
The Jonah Moase stable was on fire Saturday night in Charlottetown.
The Warren Grove trainer recorded three wins and a third from four starts at the CDP.
Newcomer Mach It Big captured the top class in 1:56.1 while Sterling Seelster had a 1:58.1 score and Lets Make Ideal was a winner in 1:58.2. All told, the 18-year-old conditioner pulled $2,544 from the purse pool for his successful night and now leads all CDP trainers with 10 wins, compared to Darren Trainor and Jason Hughes sitting in second with eight each.
Dale Spence will join Moase and his hardworking girlfriend, Kathryn Gilfoy, in the stable this week, as the reinsman makes the move from New Brunswick for the 2014 P.E.I. season.
Nicholas Oakes’ column appears
in The Guardian each Friday. He can
be reached at email@example.com.