CHARLOTTETOWN – The battle for top gun at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park is ready to heat up quickly.
With Old Home Week starting on Thursday, drivers and trainers are preparing for 16 race cards over 10 days.
Jason Hughes sits in the spot he likes to sit in most races – right on the front. With 212 drives in Charlottetown this season, Hughes has returned 47 winners back to the winner’s enclosure.
The Stratford native is atop the driving leader board for earnings of $55,688 this season. The 'Blue Knight' carries a UDRS of .356 at the capital city oval.
Campbell currently sits four back with 43 wins from 180 drives in second place. He holds the record for most wins in a single season at Red Shores Charlottetown with 130.
The three-time defending Francis McIsaac Memorial champion – most wins during Old Home Week – seems to bring his A-game to Old Home Week, which could make for an interesting battle.
Heading into Old Home Week, the former O'Brien Award winner bats .361.
The race for show is a neck-and-neck drive heading into the big week. Walter Cheverie currently sits in third with 22 victories from 124 drives. Cheverie is a four-time winner of the Francis McIsaac, last winning it in 2008. The veteran driver goes into Old Home Week with over $28,000, and a UDRS of .323.
A two-way tie for fourth rounds out Charlottetown's top drivers. Premier catch-driver Kenny Arsenault and Ronnie Matheson, who does most of his driving out of his son Jackie's stable, both have 21 wins a piece.
Arsenault has 164 trips around the track this year and is closing in on $ 30,000 for this season. He is also a four-time winner of the McIsaac award, last winning it in back-to-back years of 2009 and 2010.
Matheson has only 109 drives this season, but he did pick up his 1,000th lifetime driving victory earlier this season. He carries a UDRS of .333 heading into Old Home Week.
Corey MacPherson (20), Brodie MacPhee (18), Mark Bradley (15), Mike McGuigan (12) and Mike Stevenson (10) round out the top 10.
The race isn't as close on the training side.
Hughes has a commanding lead with 33 victories this season. His power-packed stable has been on fire this season with horses like Say It Again Sam, Stayoutofmyaffair, Astor and Red Rock.
Hughes has 152 starts this season, and has hit the top three in 72 of those starts. He has a .330 UTRS in Charlottetown.
Jackie Matheson is all alone in second place. Last year’s winningest trainer in Charlottetown has topped in 24 winners from 143 starts. He has $32,101 in earnings this season, and his stable has been the bridesmaid 23 times this season.
Youngster Jonah Moase is having a career year in his third season as a trainer. Moase is currently in third with 16 wins this season from only 63 starts. The 18-year-old has the highest UTRS out of any trainer with more than 55 starts.
Another two-way tie rounds out the top five, and once again Arsenault finds himself in the fourth-place tie. Arsenault and Mark Bradley each have 13 winners this season in Charlottetown. Arsenault has 103 starts while Bradley has 55.
Darren Trainor (10), Ronnie Gass (9), Earl Watts (9) round out the top eight with a three-way tie for ninth. Joe Smallwood, Len McGuigan and Harold Shepherd each have eight.