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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Sorrie scores at Woodbine

Austin Sorrie.
Austin Sorrie. - Jason Simmonds

Montague native drives Bugsy Maguire to victory


A pair of Islanders recently celebrated their first win over Canada’s premier oval.

Island-owned Bugsy Maguire scored a 9-1 upset Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park to give the horse and trainer-driver Austin Sorrie their first wins over the oval in a $13,000 conditioned class. The Montague native is the midst of a career season in the bike with 75 trips to the winner’s circle and $384,633 in earnings, after setting a rookie driving record for P.E.I. with 32 wins in his inaugural season of 2018.

In Saturday’s race, Bugsy Maguire left sharply from Post 3 over the seven-eighths of a mile oval and was the first to the lead before releasing Imsporty (Jonathan Drury) to the lead. Bugsy Maguire and Sorrie were then content to sit second and watch the leader cut out splits of 27, 56.1 and 1:24 before angling out in the final split to win by three lengths in 1:52.2. Bugsy Maguire is owned by Walter Simmons of Summerside, and to add to the Island flavour the horse that finished second, Shadow Me Themoney, is trained by Summerside native Terry Gallant.

Bugsy Maguire had been racing the Maritime invitational circuit for Sorrie’s father, Wade Sorrie, in 2019, then the Cecil Ladner invitational champ made the trip to Ontario where he recorded three wins from seven starts.
The horse will race again Saturday night at Woodbine in Race 4 for a $20,000 purse with Sorrie in the bike. The 20-year-old driver is also a nominee for the future star award at the O’Brien Awards in Ontario in February.

Sorrie joins Clyde River native Brian MacPhee as the only current Islanders to be undefeated driving at the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit.

P.E.I. Scene

The live racing schedule at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park goes down to once a week with a program Saturday at 12:30 p.m. featuring 14 dashes.

The afternoon feature is in the finale for a $2,900 purse with Creepin favoured from Post 5 with David Dowling in the bike for co-owner and trainer Jim Quinn of Vernon Bridge and co-owners Alex Quinn of York and Carl Peterson of Hunter River. Other top entries include Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell) leaving from Post 1 and Screen Test (Corey MacPherson), who is coming off a qualifier to leave from Post 3.

The capital oval has four programs left in December with cards on Dec. 21, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Live racing is scheduled to come to a close for the winter on Jan. 25.

Nick’s Picks

Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park:
Race 1 – Runnindownadream

Race 2 – Scoot Out Of Here

Race 3 – Smart Official

Race 4 – Bettim Jenny

Race 5 – Jeb

Race 6 – Slide Guitar

Race 7 – Selkirk Echo

Race 8 – Spack Jarrow

Race 9 – Private Di

Race 10 – Winter Blast

Race 11 – Julep Hanover

Race 12 – Stars Above

Race 13 – Arc Light

Race 14 – Eagle Jolt

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

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