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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Racing the continent’s best

Marc Campbell
Marc Campbell - Jason Simmonds

Marc Campbell taking on Canadian, American drivers in Ohio

WINSLOE, P.E.I. – All eyes will be on Miami Valley Raceway in Ohio on Sunday and Monday, as P.E.I.’s top driver will compete against a deep field of Canadian and United States drivers.

A talent pool of 30 drivers will compete in the second annual North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway in Lebanon, Ohio, with Winsloe’s Marc Campbell in the thick of the action.

After a record-setting 2017, Campbell entered himself in the championship and was accepted with open arms from the organizing committee at the five-eighths mile oval in what is sure to be an epic showdown between drivers with more than 100,000 combined lifetime wins.

P.E.I. has thrown some of the greatest talent in harness racing history and Red Shores recognized the opportunity, partnering with Campbell to send him to Ohio.

Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park and Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway will simulcast the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday cards with a 3:05 p.m. Atlantic post time. Campbell has four drives on both the Sunday and Monday programs and will have to garner enough points to qualify himself for the final 10 showdown that will be held on Tuesday. On top of the customary five per cent of purse earnings paid to all drivers at Miami Valley, a total of $25,000 in prize money will be doled out to the competitors with the winner receiving $10,000.

Ontario driver Doug McNair won the inaugural event in 2017 and will be in attendance again this year. The field also includes Kingston native and World Driving Champion James MacDonald, as well as Gold Cup and Saucer-winning driver Louis Philippe Roy. All drivers must have more than 100 wins in 2017 to apply.

The top 10 drivers that compete on the Tuesday card will get eight races of competition with a clean point slate to decide the champion.

Campbell has acquitted himself well in past driving championships, including the National Driving Championship, and if given the right horses will show that the talent and product being put on the track on P.E.I. is second to none.

Canada Wide

Standardbred Canada announced this week there will yet again be no recipient for the Cam Fella award.

The award is given for extreme recent meritorious service to the Canadian Harness Racing Industry. Past winners have included P.E.I. provincial treasurer Mitch Murphy in 2003 and Bill Andrew, master of Meridian Farms in Calgary and Milton, in 2015. Andrew was the latest to receive the award.

An Island-owned colt has been on a roll in Ontario as Doublejacksandaces has won both starts at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont. The pair of starts was for $7,600 purses and the now three-year-old son of Shadow Play landed in the winner’s circle in both for driver and Stratford native Robert Shepherd.

Broke and trained down by Jason Hughes at the Charlottetown Driving Park, the colt is owned by Donald MacRae of Vernon Bridge, who purchased the horse for $20,000 at the 2016 Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.

Race 1 – In Cahoots

Race 2 – Artners In Crime

Race 3 – Dusty Lane Zendaya

Race 4 – Political Crisis

Race 5 – Bettim Vicky

Race 6 – Whitesand Artist

Race 7 – Forever Paradise

Race 8 – Winrlosedrnkdaboze

Race 9 – Rose Run Quest

Race 10 – Woodmere Articblue

Race 11 – Jetster

Race 12 – Eagle Jolt

Race 13 – The Big Bite

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

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