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AT THE TRACK: Looking back at Governor’s Plate Week

['Vance Cameron']
['Vance Cameron']

Caretakers/grooms play very important role

After a very successful Governor’s Plate Week of harness racing, Red Shores at Summerside Raceway returns to its regular Sunday matinee time slot.
Post time for this week’s 12-dash program is set for 1 p.m.

Plate 50
It was a great race under a new format, and my post parade was a complete recovery from the 49th edition. 
The call also got some positive comments, and there were only 13 lengths separating the entire field when it was all said and done. They were even closer than that going into the final turn, and they were four-wide in behind the fourth horse. 
The purse money for the golden anniversary of the Governor’s Plate – $25,000 – was a large payday for our local horse people. I don’t have all the figures (money wagered) on the Plate, but I must admit I thought we had a legitimate shot at establishing a new wagering record. We fell far shy of our record handle of $99,600.
I must admit I was not on my game throughout the week, and had my fair share of disappointing calls. Some might say it’s age setting in, some say that’s it my day job and calling each night. I don’t buy into either of them.
I take a lot of pride in being professional and precise. I’m afraid I fell short of that on a couple of occasions.

Click here for story on 2018 Governor's Plate:
 
Consolation
The track was forced to have a four-horse Governor’s Plate consolation due to a couple of horses coming up sick prior to the draw. When you get extremely small fields, drivers tend to try and steal a quarter mile of the race. 
This race was no exception, and the front end collapsed in the second quarter, going a pedestrian 32 seconds. I coined a phrase from back in the ‘80s, “The phone will be ringing” referring to the officials calling a driver for a slow quarter.
I remember that day at Dresden Raceway like it was yesterday. All three Ontario racing officials thought it was a “catchy call,” and I’ve used it numerous times since. However, there may have been a few spectators that didn’t seem to appreciate the call, and for that I apologize. It was not my intention to offend anyone, or embarrass Red Shores. 
I carry more passion and respect for this industry than to intentionally offend anyone. It’s just not what I’m about.

Click here for Joe MacIntyre's Hot Corner column discussing the format used for Governor's Plate:
 
The caretakers
Harness racing tracks across the country are honouring the unsung heroes of the game – the caretakers or grooms as we know them. 
I’ve been very fortunate to have my daughter, Brooke, as my caretaker/groom for several years. I don’t know too many young ladies who would get up at 4:30 a.m. to help Dad do barn work, so that I can go and do my daytime job, and at times help out in the evening allowing me to go to my nighttime work. 
Brooke is the reason that we still have a racehorse, and at one time my wife, Debbie, and I cared for eight in the shed row. We don’t win a lot of races, but we sure have a lot of fun trying!
 
Picks
A look at Sunday’s picks:
Best bets – Mayhem Man in Race 4, and Rash B Havior in Race 6.
Long shot possibilities – Avondale Shui in Race 1, and Southfield Sue in Race 8.

Vance Cameron is the track announcer in Summerside and Charlottetown. Comments and suggestions can be sent to Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com.

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