The biggest night of the year in Prince County harness racing is set for Saturday evening with the culmination of Governor’s Plate Week 2019.
Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway will host 16 dashes with the $25,000 Governor’s Plate as the finale.
The draw was not kind to some of the heralded top entries in the big race as Rose Run Quest (Marc Campbell) drew Post 6, defending champion Czar Seelster (Kenny Arsenault) leaves from Post 7 and Euchred (David Dowling) will again leave from Post 8 after having the same post in his elimination.
Down On My Luck gets the coveted rail position as the Patrick Shepherd-trainee will have the services of driver Walter Cheverie after Jason Hughes elected to go with Post 4 entrant Do Over Hanover, who won this race in 2017. Walter Simmons has tried, and fell short, to win his hometown race for years but Tuesday’s post-position draw is definitely in his favour as Bugsy Maguire has Post 2 with Myles Heffernan Sr. driving. Winner of the Ladner memorial in Charlottetown, Bugsy Maguire winning the Governor’s Plate would fulfil a lifelong goal for Simmons, a resident of Summerside, who has previously been in the final with horses like In Spades and Coors Life.
Burn Out Hanover has Post 3 as a long-shot possibility to add to driver Gilles Barrieau’s already impressive list of Governor’s Plate wins, while Screen Test has Post 5 for driver Corey MacPherson.
The star-studded card also features the Atlantic Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts, the $8,500 Governor’s Plate open mares final, the $2,500 Andrew Perry memorial trot and the $5,000 Governor’s Plate consolation race.
The card has 12 dashes on tap also with a 6:30 p.m. post time with the Atlantic Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies taking centre stage.
Governor’s Plate Week has already supplied a healthy dose of top-notch racing before the final scheduled cards. In once such instance, Medici Hanover tied Elm Grove Inarush’s three-year-old pacing filly track record with a 1:55.1 score for driver Dowling and trainer Don Milligan. The two and three-year-old trotters continue to show how much the trotting breed has developed in the past few years, while two-year-old pacing fillies Woodmere Skyroller and Watch Me Dance look to be developing a divisional rivalry. And there is sure to be lots more excitement to come with the final two programs of Plate Week 2019.
Mary Elizabeth Taylor, 83, died Sunday.
The wife of the late Glen Taylor, who was a longtime harness racing participant before his death in 2013, she was also the mother of harness racing owner-trainer Kerry Taylor and grandmother of top catch driver Corey MacPherson.
My condolences to the Taylor family.
Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway:
Race 1 – Ultimatelyhandsome
Race 2 – Flash In The Pang
Race 3 – Rawdon Gold Digger
Race 4 – Oceanview Helios
Race 5 – Jordies Hope
Race 6 – Howmac Finale
Race 7 – Freddie
Race 8 – Red Dirt Boomer
Race 9 – Emperor
Race 10 – Notorious
Race 11 – Sock It Away
Race 12 – Pictonian Storm
Race 13 – Soccer Hanover
Race 14 – Mantario
Race 15 – Ramblinglily
Race 16 – Bugsy Maguire
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com.