CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The almost unbelievable season Marc Campbell put together in 2017 will come to close Sunday evening with the final card of the season scheduled for New Year's Eve at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
Campbell was in record-breaking mode all year with him destroying his previous dash title of 144 wins from the 2016 season. He now sits with 156 wins at Charlottetown for the year.
Across Atlantic Canada, Campbell has recorded 249 victories during the year, passing Wally Hennessey's 224 win season from 1983 in New Brunswick to give him the second most wins ever by a driver in East Coast racing history. Steve Mahar holds the virtually unbreakable record with 284 trips to the winner's circle in 1990 from 1,452 starts compared to Campbell's record season in 2017 with what will amount to just over 800 starts after Sunday’s program.
Campbell’s driving purse total of $579,352 overtook Kenny Arsenault record of $484,052 in driving earnings from the 2009 season.
On the training side, Campbell has been setting more records with 128 training wins for the best season in Atlantic Canadian racing history, overtaking what Lynn Privett accomplished in Nova Scotia with 107 wins in 1993.
The Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP) has 14 dashes on tap for the Sunday evening program with a 6:30 p.m. post time with what is sure to be a packed house to ring in the New Year. Campbell has 11 drives on the program.
My condolences to the family of W.J.R. (Mac) MacDonald, who passed away Saturday at the age of 87. A former police chief in Summerside, among many other positions, the DeSable resident was a longtime owner, trainer and driver. In recent years he campaigned horses like Centurion Thunder and Tracy Jaccka N.
Across The Continent
Last Thursday at Woodbine Raceway in Rexdale, Ont., Island-bred Oceanview Deb was a winner in 1:56.2 in a $16,000 class for trainer Richard Moreau with Louis Philippe-Roy in the bike. The three-year-old trotting daughter of Neal was bred by William Roloson of Belfast and campaigned on the East Coast by Island native Henry Smallwood.
On that same card, Kinda Like Her was a winner in 1:54.2 in a $10,000 claiming class for driver Philippe-Roy and trainer Stephen Charlton. A three-year-old daughter of Ameripan Gigolo, Kinda Like Her was bred by Wilfred Poulton of Hazel Brook.
Painted Pony may not throw together huge win streaks but there is not a single class where you can count him out. Owned and trained by Raymond White of Murray River, the eight-year-old son of SS Sand Dollar was a winner on Boxing Day at the CDP with Campbell at the controls for the horse's seventh win of the season. Purchased at the 2010 Atlantic Classic Yearling Sale for a paltry $1,000, the minimum bid at the sale, Painted Pony has rewarded White's faith with 30 lifetime wins and just shy of $40,000 in career earnings while taking a mark of 1:56 and change in 2016 and 2017.
Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park:
Race 1 - Bettim Vicky
Race 2 - Windemere Johny
Race 3 - Cowboy Chrome
Race 4 - Yankee No More
Race 5 - Smiley Bayama
Race 6 - Cougar Gal
Race 7 - Outrageous Spirit
Race 8 - Forever Paradise
Race 9 - Royal Native
Race 10 - Fern Hill Breeze
Race 11 - Drivingthedragon N
Race 12 - Painted Pony
Race 13 - Adkins Hanover
Race 14 - The Big Bite
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.