CAVENDISH, P.E.I. – What a weekend to be on Prince Edward Island.
There's the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, the Cooke Insurance P.E.I. Amateur Golf Championship at Green Gables with spots on the provincial teams for nationals in play, a great harness racing card at Charlottetown tonight and the Governor’s Plate eliminations at Sunday in Summerside.
Let's take a closer look at the sporting events.
The amateur always attracts the best golfers in the province with the usual suspects in the field. I expect veteran Tim Yorke will be near the top of the leaderboard along with ageless seniors Ron Garrett and Ernie Corrigan. Belvedere's Stephen Anderson, who just concluded an outstanding university hockey career with UNB, is an amateur with plenty of upside, so it will be interesting to see what he does. Also playing this weekend is young Tyler Hashmi, who won a leg of the Atlantic junior tour last week at Covered Bridge in Hartland, N.B., with rounds of 74-71, which included seven birdies in his last round. Tyler also has received a full academic and golf scholarship to Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina.
In other local golf news, reliable insiders have told me Wendell MacEachern is in the midst of serious talks with Chinese parties for the sale of his Avondale course in Vernon Bridge.
There's also a number of celebrity golf events on the horizon, especially the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside Celebrity Golf Tournament, led by hard-working Adam Binkley and sponsored by Novus. This event boasts the biggest cast of hockey celebrities in Canada with greats like Brian Trottier, Mike Bossy, Gerry Cheevers, Pete Mahovlich, Johnny Bucyk and the New York Islanders first-round NHL draft pick Noah Dobson to name but a few. The cast would not be complete without the biggest celebrity of them all, Gerard Gallant, who is on the top of the hockey world right now. Turk is the toast of Summerside and the toast of Las Vegas. Who would have guessed a hockey star who grew up as far away from Las Vegas as one could find in North America, and a guy with a faultless reputation, who doesn't drink (on rare occasions), smoke or gamble (except for small poker games with C.J. Gallant, Hal Birch, Shannon Ellis and others) becomes King of Las Vegas.
Gallant is so hot, Binkley informed me there will be two custom made chairs: Gerard Gallant, coach of the year in Las Vegas colors, available for the silent auction on the Monday, July 16, at Credit Union Place along with autographed jerseys of Bobby Orr and Dobson. Former Columbus play-by-play man George Mathews will be master of ceremonies and to hurry the evening along, they will dispense with a guest speaker and concentrate on the wide array of silent auction items.
Doug MacLean, the more articulate of the Sportsnet hockey analysts, is expected to be back in Stanley Bridge and he may be available although trying to contact him is like looking for someone on the witness protection program.
On Friday, July 20, the P.E.I. Golf Classic (aka Trent Birt's tournament) goes at Fox Meadow with a noon start. New York Islanders rugged winger Ross Johnston and Alex Gallant, who just signed on with the Golden Knights, are two of the newcomers to this event along with Josh Currie, and the two Brett Gallants, one of hockey and the other of curling fame. Two popular personalities that always play in this event are Dr. Bill Stanish, former Team Canada Olympic doctor, and Al Woods, an original Toronto Blue Jay who travels here from San Francisco. In addition to fielding a competitive foursome, Bill also heads the Dr. Barry Ling scholarship group, which was formed at Trent's tournament.
In recent years, the kitchen party in the early evening has become a major component of the event with talent like Bruce Guthro, Lennie Gallant, Dave Carroll, Kim Dunn, Terry Kelly, Kyle MacNeil, Heather Rankin and Joey Kitson. It's also possible participants may even get to hear Irish balladeer Rabs MacDonald — but that may be late into the night.
Live harness racing continues tonight in Charlottetown with a 10-dash card and a 6 p.m. post time.
The $2,200 feature goes in Race 9 and it includes Larry and Kathy Chappell's Elm Grove Kaboom who looks a notch better than Oh To Be Me, Tempo Seelster, Narragansett, Stars Above, Perfect Escape and Red Magician.
The Governors Plate elimination races go Sunday afternoon in Summerside with two seven-horse fields. Euchred looks like the best in Race 10 while the Race 12 field has four top ones with In Spades, Do Over Hanover, Czar Seelster and Cartoon Daddy.
The Meadowlands Pace eliminations go tonight at the Big M and with Lather Up out of the picture for the time being, this is a wide-open race. Canadian-owned Jimmy Freight and Courtly Choice have been supplemented for $60,000 each and have a big shot.
At Yonkers tonight, Mark MacDonald has Cappozzo in the $44,000 top class against Somewhere in LA, Caviart Luca and five others. At Mohawk tonight, Ellis Park (James MacDonald) looks like the favourite in the $34,000 top class against Easy Lover Hanover and five others. Ellis Park won last week in 1:49 and change.
Congrats to Brackley Beach owner Judy Profitt whose is a major shareholder in the flashy two-year-old filly Linnea (by Sportswriter), who hustled home in 28:1 en route to her 2018 debut 1:55:1 victory at Mohawk for The Stable.Ca and trainer Harry Poulton.
The Ohio contingent of The Stable under Jason Mcginnis posted impressive debut victories with Oh So Pine (by Uncle Peter) in the $40,000 Ohio two-year-old trot. The mile was 2:01:3 with the last quarter in 28:4 for Anthony MacDonald and with See You in Tuscany in 1:53, two-year-colt also at $40,000.
Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at email@example.com.