DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: All The Weapons to be recognized Saturday

Nicholas Oakes
Published on December 29, 2016

081709In a stretch duel, driver Brad Forward, left, urges on All The Weapons as driver Mark MacDonald, hidden from view, drives Secret Weapon to the finish in a dead heat during Trial 3 Monday at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

©The Guardian

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – In the history of Gold Cup and Saucer upsets, 2009 was a big one and the winner is about to close the curtain on his career.

Silent Swing, one of the greatest horses to ever make the trek east for the Maritime classic, was the enormous favourite to win the race with hall of fame driver Wally Hennessey in the bike. But that Saturday night in August was not to belong to Silent Swing, as a 27-1 shocker hit the wire with Newfoundland native Ken Oliver in the bike behind All The Weapons.

Oliver, who seldom drove, put his faith in his other Gold Cup and Saucer finalist trainee, rail starter Pacific Oak with driver Brad Forward, who ended up sixth.

I will never forget the quote Oliver gave me after winning the race he always dreamed of with a horse he never dreamed could have done it.

“Hey did anybody just see that?” an astonished Oliver said after the win. “I just beat Silent Swing with a $20,000 claimer. It wasn’t supposed to happen like that.”

His moment of glory came more than seven years ago and now his career will come to a close with a retirement race in his honour Saturday night at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

Race 3 on the program is titled the All The Weapons retirement pace as trainer and owner Allan (Apps) McGuigan of Charlottetown, says farewell to the horse’s life on the racetrack, as he is the mandatory retirement age of 14. As all standardbreds have their official registry birthday on Jan. 1, All The Weapons will turn 15 and will no longer be eligible for pari-mutuel competition.

It was a journey for All The Weapons as he raced right across the North America. He made his debut in Ohio Sires Stakes racing in Ottawa, Ohio, and saw action in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ontario, Nova Scotia and P.E.I.

He was claimed eight times in his career, including for $20,000 on July 3, 2009, at Mohawk, then coming to P.E.I. in August, violating the Ontario racing commission rule of waiting 60 days after a claim to race outside the province.

The 60-day rule meant the earliest time he could race outside Ontario was Sept. 2, but he raced on Aug. 17 and 22, violating the rule and seeing his owner at that time, Shirley and Kerry House, handed a $34,687 fine from the Ontario Racing Commission. The fine included $4,687 was from his dead-heat win in $12,500 Gold Cup and Saucer trial III, while the other $30,000 was for winning the $60,000 final.

The high profile case saw the fine eventually cut in half, but it was a big news item at the time.

P.E.I. Scene

The Standardbred Canada election for Atlantic active director recently wrapped up with Darren Crowe of Nova Scotia receiving the most votes, beating out full-time Prince County trainer Blaine MacKenna and Charlottetown horse owner and businessman Blair Hansen.

Only a paltry 292 members voted in the online election out of 1,336 who were eligible, meaning more than 78 per cent of potential voters showed their complacency in the organization and declined their right to vote.

Crowe was the incumbent in the election, but with a majority of Atlantic Canadian membership focused on the Island it should have played into MacKenna or Hansen’s hand, but instead people chose not to vote on the future of our national body.


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

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park:

Race 1 – Sugar Crisp

Race 2 – Mcjestic

Race 3 – Oh To Be Me

Race 4 – Alittleastermagic

Race 5 – Glencove Zani

Race 6 – Dusty Lane Zendaya

Race 7 – Ideal Space

Race 8 – Red Magician

Race 9 – First Art Down

Race 10 – All Out

Race 11 – Scarlet Saphire

Race 12 – Outrageous Spirit

Race 13 – Drivingthedragon N

Race 14 – Cambest Kisser