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The 2020 harness racing season has been full of surprises and action-packed race cards and the excitement continues Saturday afternoon with 15 dashes scheduled at the capital oval.
Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park (CDP) moves to a Saturday-only schedule for the next four weeks and driver Marc Campbell has a lock on his 11th straight driving title. The Orwell native, nicknamed the King of Island Racing, has finished first in the driving ranks every year since 2010 and goes into Saturday’s program with 134 wins from 550 seasonal starts.
Gilles Barrieau sits in second place with 99 wins in Charlottetown from 414 outings while Corey MacPherson is third at 74 wins from 463 starts.
Harry Poulton will be inducted into a well-deserved spot in the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame, at a yet-to-be-released date, as part of the 2020 class.
Poulton, a native of Charlottetown, left P.E.I. at age 18 to train horses in Alberta and would go on to develop and race world champion pacers On The Road Again and Matts Scooter.
Poulton won the Canadian trotting horseman of the year award in 1988 and the Glen Garnsey North American trainer of the year title in 1989. Also, in 1989, he drove his own Stargaze Hanover to victory in the Gold Cup and Saucer.
Island harness racing suffered a loss Sunday when Derek Buntain, 79, of Brackley Beach, died. A Charlottetown native, Buntain campaigned a large number of horses in Atlantic Canada and Ontario with a number of trainers under his Greenoaks Farm and Buntainwood Farm stables. His most recent successes were with Atlantic Sires Stakes champions Malabrigo, Taliesin and Seanchai. My condolences to wife Dianne and sons Angus and Andrew.
Across The Continent
Former Atlantic champion Magical Mistress has returned to her winning ways and now rides a two-race win streak racing in the U.S. for trainer Luis Pena.
The four-year-old daughter of Camystic was undefeated in her two-year-old campaign in 2018 for trainer Stephen Gass and was sold at the end of that year for a healthy price tag. She is now owned by D Racing Stable of New York and Donald MacRae of Vernon Bridge and hit the wire first in 1:52.3 and 1:53.3 in her last two starts, both at Harrah’s Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.
The hottest animal in Island racing these days is Smart Official.
With four wins from his last five starts, the son of Art Official is on top of his game for trainer Peter Lanigan, who owns the horse with Sandra Stead of Montague. The six-year-old will line up behind the gate again Saturday afternoon at the CDP in Race 11 from Post 5.
Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at [email protected]