CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – The annual Paul MacDonald Memorial Driver’s Challenge takes centre stage Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park.
The 14-dash card kicks off at 12:30 P.M., as part of Horse Person’s Day sponsored by the P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owner’s Association. The MacDonald Memorial trophy will be presented to the top driver in the eight person competition that includes drivers qualifying under three different criteria. The top four dash winners are invited to the event and they include Gilles Barrieau, Adam Merner, Corey MacPherson and David Dowling. Leading dash winner Marc Campbell qualified for the event but is vacationing in the U.S. during the challenge. Mike McGuigan and Kenny Arsenault will compete on the day as the top two percentage drivers with over 75 starts, while the top two percentage drivers with 40 to 75 starts are Ron Matheson and Ambyr Campbell, the first female to compete in the annual championship.
All eight drivers will face off in eight dashes on the card in races 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 13 with points earned in each race by order of finish with the top point earner being awarded the MacDonald trophy at the end of the day.
Driving statistics were combined from Red Shores Summerside and Charlottetown up until the end of October. All drivers must be members of the P.E.I Standardbred Horse Owner’s Association.
Also on the Saturday card, Dustlanemissmolly rides a three-race win streak into the race 9 Fillies and Mares Open pace with Myles Heffernan Sr., in the bike for trainer Myles Heffernan Jr., and owner Jacke Heffernan of Summerville, P.E.I. The daughter of Brandon’s Cowboy has been assigned the outside post 6 after beating this class the past two weeks.
The race 14 finale has a field of seven Preferred 2 pacers with Winter Blast installed as the morning line favourite after a bang-up second to a romping Sock It Away in last week’s Preferred pace. Jason Hughes is back in the bike behind the post 4 starting Jennifer Doyle trainee for owner Danny Birt of Vernon Bridge, P.E.I. Other top entries include Nogreatmischief (Walter Cheverie), who draws post 1 after scoring a pair of wins at Truro Raceway in Nova Scotia, and post 5 starter Czar Seelster (Arsenault).
By Nicholas Oakes