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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Old home week racing will be different this year

The crowd at Old Home Week prepare for the start of a race at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Curtis MacDonald/Special to The Guardian
The crowd at 2019 Old Home Week prepare for the start of a race at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Curtis MacDonald/Special to The Guardian - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The show will go on for the biggest week of racing in Atlantic Canada, but it will not be called Old Home Week this year after the usual provincial exhibition was cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic.

 

The first billed Gold Cup and Saucer week is set for Aug. 13-22 at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park featuring stakes action and The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer. There is no question the week of racing will have a very different feel in 2020 with a much smaller crowd allowed on site and no socializing in the barn area in the evenings this year in accordance with public health guidelines.

The Gold Cup and Saucer is sure to have a different lineup this year with more local entrants virtually a guarantee with borders closed to the U.S., and tight regulations in place with central Canada.

Race night certainly does not have the same feel this year but we should all be happy that the leadership of Premier Dennis King and chief health officer Heather Morrison made it possible for the harness racing season to be held safely and allow the show to go on with these equine athletes doing what they love.

Maritime Stakes Trail

Last Friday at Truro Raceway, Woodmere Rollnpop tied a piece of history as he won in 1:54:2 in a $5,105 division of the Nova Scotia stake for three-year-old pacing colts right to Firms Phantom’s three-year-old track record set in 2001. Clare MacDonald was in the bike behind the pacer, who was raised in Marshfield by Bruce Wood.

Woodmere Farms made more history Saturday afternoon at Northside Downs in North Sydney, N.S., in Atlantic Sires Stakes action for two-year-old pacing colts. Woodmere Stealdeal won his $9,160 A division in a rookie track-record performance of 1:56:2 with MacDonald in the bike for trainer Danny Romo. The other A division was won by local colt Moneyorroses with Steven Shepherd in the race bike in 1:58:2 for co-owner and trainer Harold Shepherd of Stratford and co-owners Patrick Shepherd and Robert Woodburn of Ontario.

Stakes action continues this weekend in Nova Scotia with events at three tracks.

The Atlantic Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies goes tonight at Truro Raceway, with the Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and two- and three-year-old trotters Saturday afternoon at Northside Downs. Sunday afternoon has the Atlantic Sires Stakes at Inverness Raceway for two-year-old colt and filly pacers.

Across The Continent

Waiting On A Woman has shown himself to be a timeless wonder as the Island-bred 12-year-old won the open trot at Saratoga Raceway in New York on Monday for his 77th lifetime win to put him at $591,805 in career earnings. The Northern Bailey trotter, who was named Maritime-bred trotter of the decade this past winter in a poll I conducted, was bred by Mitchell and David Tierney of New Haven.


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

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