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The P.E.I. standardbred horse owners awards banquet took on a new form this year due the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic.
Usually held in April before the new racing season starts up, the annual banquet was postponed. When it became clear hosting the event in its original format would not be feasible in 2020, the crew at Universum Media was put to the task of creating an hour-long virtual awards show, which took place Saturday evening.
Red Shores’ track announcer Vance Cameron was master of ceremony along with Red Shores’ Peter MacPhee and Lee Drake. Anthony MacDonald, manager of the nation’s biggest harness racing outfit in Thestable.ca, was meant to be the guest speaker. The Kingston native instead had a short message from his home base of Campbellville, Ont., to share on the broadcast. A number of other guests were on the presentation, including Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown, Red Shores’ racing experience manager Adam Walsh and P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owners Association president Peter Smith.
Trainer-driver Marc Campbell was the big winner of the night, being presented with the driver of the decade award for his 10-year stint as top driver at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP).
Campbell trainee Rose Run Quest was crowned horse of the year for owner Blair Hansen of Charlottetown, pacer of the year and aged pacing horse of the year, while stable mate Freddie was named aged trotting horse of the year for the Three Wisemen Stable of Kingston. Barrieau-McIsaac stake winner Notorious was the other Campbell-trained award winner as he captured the three-year-old pacing colt honour. Notorious was co-owned by Darryl and Gordon MacLean of Winsloe along with Shirley Symes of Springhill, N.S.
Maritime champion Gettin Messi received some well-deserved hardware as the Mike McGuigan-driven and Barney McGuigan-trained trotter was named three-year-old trotting colt of the year as well as overall trotter of the year for former owner Jamie Whalen of Avondale.
Here is a look at the 2019 P.E.I. Standardbred Horse Owner’s award winners:
Two-year-old pacing colt – Windemere Ryan
Two-year-old pacing filly – Woodmere Skyroller
Two-year-old trotting colt – Mack Truck
Two-year-old trotting filly – Go With Her
Three-year-old pacing colt – Notorious
Three-year-old pacing filly – Howmac Sabrina
Three-year-old trotting colt – Gettin Messi
Three-year-old trotting filly – Westview Sue
Aged Pacing horse – Rose Run Quest
Aged Pacing mare – Sodwana Bay
Aged trotting horse – Freddie
Aged trotting mare – Hop Up
Fan Favourite Horse – Painted Pony
Trotter of the year –Gettin Messi
Pacer of the year – Rose Run Quest
Horse of the year – Rose Run Quest
Driver of the decade award – Marc Campbell
The harness racing season kicks off this evening in Prince County with the first card of the year at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. The 11-dash presentation gets underway at 6 p.m.
The CDP was scheduled to race Thursday and Saturday evenings this week at 6 p.m. Summerside’s next card will be Canada Day with an afternoon presentation.
The Future Stars of the 2020 season will take to the track Monday at the CDP with a number of two-year-old qualifiers scheduled for a 6 p.m. start time.
My condolences go out to the family of Brent Mutch, who passed away earlier this week. The 86-year-old Earnescliffe resident was a longtime harness racing fan and was involved in the business as an owner and trainer.
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.