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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Sorrie finding more success in Ontario

Austin Sorrie.
Austin Sorrie. - Jason Simmonds

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – After a historic first season in the race bike, rookie driver Austin Sorrie has made the move to the Ontario circuit and found his first taste of victory.

The 19-year-old Montague native is working for trainer Patrick Shepherd, a fellow Island native, and picked up a winning steer from that barn. Lady Orb went off at 2-1 odds Tuesday evening at Western Fair Raceway in London, Ont., with Sorrie hustling the mare from fifth at the top of the stretch to get up to win in 2:05 over a track with a five-second variant. Lady Orb was racing in a $7,000 claiming event carrying a $4,200 purse.

Sorrie’s first drive in Ontario was Thunderaway Monday night at Western Fair Raceway, finishing seventh from the Shepherd barn. The rookie driver made history this season on Prince Edward Island, winning 32 races – the top rookie season off all-time, eclipsing Corey MacPherson’s 31-win season in 2009. He will drive again Sunday evening at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont., behind the Shepherd-trained Montana Ben in Race 9 of the evening from Post 7 in a $4,700 class.

Across The Continent

After dominating Florida racing in 2018, Charlottetown native Wally Hennessey is back on track for another spectacular 2019 season. From his first 52 drives on the season, the hall of fame pilot has amassed a record of 17 wins, 10 seconds and six thirds for a sparkling .472 driving average.

P.E.I. Scene

After it was reported in this column in late 2018, Meridian Farms has updated their website to showcase the three stallions that are staying on P.E.I. for the 2019 breeding season in partnership with Dusty Lane Farms of Cornwall.
Previously all Meridian stallions stood for a $750 plus GST stud fee due when a live foal was born. Now all Meridian stallions will carry a $100 initial collection fee and only Tad The Stud will remain at the $750 mark for a live foal.

Fellow stallions Pang Shui and Armbro Barrister will be moved up to $850 each on top of the $100 collection fee. This number is well in line with their competition as breeders have shown they are willing to pay upwards of $1,200 for a stallion fee for the right horse. Forays at a higher price point than that has often been met with reluctance from breeders in Atlantic Canada.

Fred MacDonald's column appears every Saturday in The Guardian. He can be reached at

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