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FIDDLER'S FACTS: Lots to love about this year’s Old Home Week harness racing

A shot of the crowd at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park a week ago for Old Home Week racing. Curtis MacDonald/Special to The Guardian
A shot of the crowd at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park a week ago for Old Home Week racing. Curtis MacDonald/Special to The Guardian - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Old Home Week harness racing and the 2019 edition of The Guardian Gold Cup and Saucer are now history and every race fan I talked to loved the entire week.

The weather was sunny and warm throughout and patrons were treated to a Gold Cup and Saucer with more depth and excitement than any in recent memory.
If you are a race fan and you didn’t get excited, you may want to check your pulse, you may not be with us.

There was a lot to love about the racing with a terrific final card and the Gold Cup – a climax to a great week. I also enjoyed the 60th reunion and the fact the City of Charlottetown got involved in a big way.
Vernon Bridge horse owner Don MacRae deserves a tip of the hat for the hospitality and spirit of the game he showed as came to the rescue of the Cushing group when their truck, with the Gold Cup and Saucer horses aboard, broke down on their way from Maine to the Charlottetown.

MacRae fixed the truck and then housed the Cushing horses at his beautiful track in Kings County.

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 Old Home Week prepare for the start of a race at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Curtis MacDonald/Special to The Guardian

About the only downer for me was the setback of Freddie in the Col. Dan trot. As a part-owner of Freddie with Ray Murphy and Kent Scales, it was disappointing he won going away but was set back for bumping the 35-1 shot while getting a place along the rail. In questions of interference, the question top officials always should ask themselves is, did the action or bumping change the outcome of the race?
I have often given the following example to further clarify the situation. If a horse gets parked most of the way and starts to fade at the three-quarters pole, and a horse on the inside comes out of the hole quickly and bumps or greases the wheel of the fading horse, but then sprints home and wins the race with ease, does he get penalized?
Technically there is interference, but the incident did not have an impact on the outcome of the race, hence, no setback would be in order. In this case, common sense should prevail. That is the difference between top officials and a poor one.
Flamboro Raceway announced this week that track will soon be a 19-plus destination, with kids and families only being able to enjoy the races from the tarmac. Meanwhile, the popular TV morning show, Breakfast Television, spent Thursday morning at The Stable.Ca’s training headquarters at Tomiko Centre promoting harness racing as a family sport.


Baseball
Four members of the Charlottetown Gaudet’s Auto Body Islanders are playing at the Canadian senior men’s baseball championship in Miramichi, N.B.
Slugger Dillon Doucette and brothers J.P. and Jordan Stevenson, both pitchers, are playing with the host Chatham club while catcher Logan Gallant has been added to the Fredericton Royals.
Lefty J.P. Stevenson started Thursday evening against British Columbia and he went five innings giving up five hits and striking out eight in an impressive 4-1 victory. Doucette was 0-for-2 with a walk in the game where B.C. kicked it around with five errors. Jordan was slated to throw Friday.
On the Major League Baseball front, the Toronto Blue Jays have been getting quality starts from their no-name staff, losing 2-1 to Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday and 3-2 Thursday after carrying a lead into the bottom of the ninth inning.
Rookie Jacob Waguespack tossed a one-hitter in seven innings and led 2-0 Thursday. Starter Zack Godley, the surprise starter on Wednesday, gave the Jays a solid outing as the unheralded staff continues to come up with strong outings.
Like their hockey counterparts in the same city, the Jays are showing signs that maybe the youth movement can work, and that’s great news for Canadian baseball fans.
NHL
There’s a ton of free agents still not signed in the NHL and it appears to be that none of the teams are anxious to meet the financial demands of free agents like Toronto’s Mitch Marner, Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine or Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.
Cornwall’s Adam McQuaid has not signed yet, nor has Jake Gardiner.
Football
Touchdown Atlantic is presenting a Canadian Football League regular season game Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Université de Moncton.
The Alouettes (4-4) are coming off a thrilling 40-34 road overtime victory in Calgary (5-4) where quarterback Vern Adams threw for two touchdowns and ran for two in his most impressive performance of the season. The Argos (1-7) played very well Aug. 16 in Toronto against Edmonton (6-3) and it was a one-score game late in the fourth quarter. Argos quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson was 19-for-26 for 200 yards while the running backs added another 140 on the ground, suggesting Sunday’s game will be a close affair.
A big crowd will go a long way in convincing organizers that a CFL franchise can be a success story in Halifax.


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

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