CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – There is no question Meridian Farms has been the biggest player in Atlantic Canadian harness racing for the first part of the 21st century and sadly the chief architect of its P.E.I. operation has left us far too soon.
Brian Andrew passed away Wednesday at the age of 70 after a lifelong career in the Island education system and a passion for harness racing. An accomplished trainer and driver, Andrew operated Meridian Farms in Milton in partnership with younger brother William.
A devoted fan of the industry, Andrew poured his life into Island racing, serving on boards like the P.E.I. Harness Racing Industry Association and the Atlantic Classic Sale Committee, among other commitments. No one could ever question Andrew’s resolve to lend a helping hand to other horse people and always make decisions that were in the best interest of the industry as a whole. Known for his friendly demeanour, Andrew could almost always be seen with a smile on his face and always called anyone he came across pal.
RELATED: Click here for a 2014 feature on Andrew.
His standardbred nursery and racing operation at the Meridian Farms location in Milton was always pristine with Andrew making sure everything was always presentable and professional. Under Andrew’s tutelage, Meridian Farms would stand the top stallions in the Atlantic Sires Stakes program and would be the top consignor to the two Atlantic yearling sales every fall.
A fierce competitor on the race track, Andrew drove some of the top overnight pacers at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP) with horses like Ironside, War Cry Ranger, Victory Creed, Matt Trapper and Every Day and would dabble with trotters racing the open classes like Players Champion and Shy Beauty, among numerous others.
As a driver, Andrew recorded 398 wins and $485,587 in earnings since his first trips in the race bike in the 1970s. His driving duties were toned down considerably this season with just 45 drives and his last trip to the winner’s circle as a driver was in June at the CDP aboard trot mare Hello Chipper.
As a trainer, Andrew conditioned 270 horses to 270 wins with more than $310,000 in prize money. Fittingly, Andrew’s final training win was in an event steeped in history as Keep Coming claimed the Johnny Conroy Memorial Invitational pace at Truro Raceway in Bible Hill, N.S., with a 1:55.1 victory for driver David Dowling.
We have lost another giant of the game. To his wife Carol and children Blake and Rachel, I share my deepest sympathies. As for Brian, may you rest in peace pal.
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.