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DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: Summerside set for big week

Myles Heffernan warms up Bugsy Maguire for a Governor’s Plate elimination race at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Bugsy Maguire, a five-year-old bay gelding, is owned by Walter Simmons of Summerside and trained by Wade Sorrie.
Myles Heffernan warms up Bugsy Maguire for a 2019 Governor’s Plate elimination race at Red Shores at Summerside Raceway. - Jason Simmonds

All eyes now turn to the 52nd running of the Governor’s Plate with eliminations for the Prince County classic set for Sunday afternoon at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway.

This year sees one of the finest groups of invitational pacers the East Coast has ever seen and there are sure to be some top-flight pacers that do not make the historic final.

The Sunday afternoon card kicks off Governor’s Plate week racing in Summerside as Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park goes dark after this Saturday evening’s card. Race cards are scheduled every night of the week in Summerside with the exception of Monday evening.

Tuesday night is the two- and three-year-old trotters in Atlantic Sires Stakes action. Wednesday will see the two-year-old pacing fillies begin their sires stakes careers, with the two-year-old pacing colts kicking off their stakes season on Thursday evening.

The Atlantic Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies headlines the Friday program while Saturday night will see the Governor’s Plate final, the Governor’s Plate open mares final and the Atlantic Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts.

The Sunday afternoon card has a 1 p.m. post time while the rest of the programs are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Atlantic Scene

Two-year-old pacers and trotters have been showing up in qualifying races across the Maritimes as they prepare to start their stakes seasons.

The qualifiers have seen a number of talented youngsters, including the first crops of Source Of Pride, Hilarious Halo, Cougar Hall and Steelhead Hanover. This is the sole crop of Steelhead Hanover after the stallion passed away halfway through his first breeding season in 2017. A son of Steelhead Hanover looks the most impressive from the Maritime-bred contingent so far as Island-bred Woodmere Steeldeal easily toured the Truro Raceway in 1:59.3 in line to Danny Romo.

Maritime racing was saddened by death of champion mare Ramblinglily after owners Normand Leger and Allan Jones of New Brunswick had to make the tough choice to humanely euthanize her when she suffered a recent injury.

In a poll of local racing participants earlier this year, the homebred daughter of Articulator earned the title of aged pacing mare of the decade. Bred by the partnership of Jones and Leger, Ramblinglily had amassed an incredible 69 wins, 33 second and 21 thirds for 123 top three-finishes from 155 career starts with $195,063 in earnings while never once leaving the Maritimes. The ownership group had hoped to breed the champion mare, but her recent injury would have left her with little quality of life.

The first stake of the season is set for Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park Raceway in Saint John, N.B., with the Dawn Bremner memorial for three-year-old pacing colts and fillies.

Atlantic Dream Stable

The Atlantic Dream Stable competition has been heating up with the deadline for entries next week. The entry fee is $20 with all proceeds going to the IWK, while the winner of the competition will get $1,000. Go to for complete entrance information.

Nicholas Oakes' column appears in The Guardian each Friday. He can be reached at


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