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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Kyle Gillis celebrates first win with Top Of The Morning

Kyle Gillis drove Top Of The Morning for his first win Sunday at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Gail MacDonald/Special To The Guardian
Kyle Gillis drove Top Of The Morning for his first win Sunday at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Gail MacDonald/Special To The Guardian

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – There is a first time for everything and Sunday afternoon at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP), Kyle Gillis celebrated his first lifetime driving win.

The 20-year-old Truro, N.S., native now lives in Charlottetown and is a regular on the CDP backstretch. Gillis steered his own Top Of The Morning to a Race 6 victory in the $1,000 event. Textually Active went to the front for driver Ken Murphy in the event and threw down cutthroat fractions of 27.4 and 56.3 with Gillis tight on his helmet in the two hole. Up the backstretch, Gillis made the maiden breaking move when he tipped Top Of The Morning to the outside past three-quarters in 1:27.3 then fought past Textually Active for a two-length victory in 1:59.4.

Earlier this season, Alberton native Devon Wallace also won his first pari-mutuel event at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway, while Montague resident Austin Sorrie will begin his qualifying drives in the coming weeks while trying to earn his way into pari-mutuel events.

P.E.I. Scene

After being announced for stallion duty in the 2018 breeding season, Cartoon Daddy now shows up amongst the entries at the CDP. The five-year-old son of Art Major will compete in Race 10 Sunday afternoon at the city oval for trainer-driver Vaughan Doyle and owners William and Brian Andrew. The $460,618 winner last raced on Nov. 11 at Saratoga Raceway in New York, pacing in 1:56.4 while finishing fifth in the $12,500 claiming event.

Who’s Hot

Very rarely does she miss a week during the summer season, she almost never misses a cheque and up until winning the Atlantic aged pacing mares final in October in Summerside, Brodys Leona also received very little fanfare. The eight-year-old daughter of Modern Art has put together a string of solid seasons since relocating to the East Coast in 2013 for owners Kerry and Emily Taylor of Stratford and Lisa MacPherson of Cornwall. A 24-time winner in her career, Brodys Leona was victorious in the $2,250 open mares pace Sunday in Charlottetown, adding to her $17,796 in seasonal earnings with five wins, five seconds and four thirds from 31 starts.

Incredibly, in those outings, Brodys Leona has only missed four cheques, with a flat tire contributing to one of those misses for trainer Kerry Taylor and regular driver Corey MacPherson. Since coming east, Brodys Leona has only made one start in the month of December in four seasons, so it’s safe to say a profitable 2017 is over for the Cornwall resident.

Nick’s Picks

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

Race 1 – Dads Filly

Race 2 – Southfield Sassy

Race 3 – Holy Molie Maggie

Race 4 – Sir Native

Race 5 – Majian Chester

Race 6 – Hp Rubis Joyce

Race 7 – Diamond Mine

Race 8 – Hurricane Hill

Race 9 – Charlottes Western

Race 10 – Painted Pony

Race 11 – Heart And Soul

Race 12 – Give Em Heck

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

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