As you may know Standardbred Canada is advertising for a new CEO

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					            Harold Shepherd Wins Acorn Driver’s Challenge


                                 Hal Hennessey
Proving that the small player can also get the job done, Harold Shepherd won the PEI
Standardbred Horseowners Association Drivers Challenge last Saturday at Charlottetown.
Runners up were Kenny Arseneault and Gary Chappell. Despite the cold temperatures
reports say all on hand had a great time. Despite the ‘knockers’, it’s always nice to see the
industry honour the folks who do the hard work down in the trenches. The organizers are
also to be congratulated for the way they established the criteria for the Challenge and
that it’s designed to give the part-time driver/trainers a chance to participate as well.
Shepherd was consistent throughout the 8 dashes of the Challenge, with a win, 2 seconds
and 2 thirds and took home the E. Frank Acorn Memorial Trophy. Folks claim he’s
taught Ontario-based son Robert everything he knows. My spies tell me he’s still
working on younger son Patrick, a budding ‘superstar’, but it’s a tough job. LOL. All
joking aside, congratulations Harold, Buddy would be proud.
Alex MacPhee’s homebred Pans O Silver driven by son Brian won the fast class in 2:01
on the card. Pretty decent trip with the –8 Celsius conditions. And in keeping with the
theme that it was Horsemen AND Women’s Day, Montague’s Sandra Stead showed the
boys how it’s done. She was the only double dash winning owner on the card, as both her
Charlottes Terror (2:07.3) and Jaguar Royal N (2:01.3) got their pictures taken. Also of
interest to King’s Co. fans; Saturday at Exhibition Park John Clarey and Trevor Hicken’s
Loustown was a winner in 2:05.4. Sunday at Truro, Darren Trainor and Jennifer Doyle’s
Emersons Pajamas won in 2:05.2
As you may know Standardbred Canada is interviewing for a new CEO. My question is
- will the successful candidate be allowed to really do his/her job? Here’s the description
of it’s role – ‘Standardbred Canada is an incorporated non-profit organization with a
mandate to record, store and distribute information on all registered Standardbreds and to
promote harness racing in Canada and beyond’. Problem is - it has never had the
funding to promote harness racing in Canada or beyond. Many believe the time has come
to finance the total Standardbred Canada mandate. These folks think the monies should
come from a portion of the racino dollars now going to bloated purse pools. Personally I
believe the new CEO of Standardbred Canada should become the national harness racing
Czar. A dictator with a budget paid for by slot money and a mandate to run the industry
top to bottom. Let’s have a professional sports commissioner authorized to do whatever
it takes to save racing. Want the job? Apply here:
Jody Jamieson, North America’s leading driver has broken the Canadian single season
win record. He accomplished the feat last Thursday afternoon at Ontario’s Flamboro
Downs, when he won his 740th race of 2009. The previous record of 739 was held by
his good friend, PEI’s Mark MacDonald. There can be no doubt this puts him in the
forefront of balloting for an O’Brien Award this year. It’s not without controversy
however. Jamieson has had a number of minor fines and suspensions in recent months, all
of which are under appeal, so he’s still driving. Some liken it to a hockey player getting a
multitude of penalties, game misconducts etc. and continuing to play. While it is within
the rules, these folks feel it takes some of the luster from the achievement. However the
problem’s not Jamieson’s as his critics would have you believe. It’s one of many
complaints that folks have with regard to the Ontario Racing Commission, it’s slowness
to act and claims of favoritism .
One of the greats of Maritime racing Harry Whebby passed away last week.
He was 94. Back in the 60s/70s Mr. Whebby and his Hall of Fame brother Eric, had a
string of top horses and won many of the major invitationals throughout the region. At
one time they practically owned the GC&S, capturing it 5 times from 1965 – 1978. Their
legendary Andy’s Son won 3 in 65, 66 and 71, while Prince Abbott in 1972 and
Nickname in 1978 won the others. The family tradition continues today with Eric’s son
and grandson Wayne and Marc. Our sympathies go out to them and all the Whebby
family. Harry’s death is saddening for many reasons, not least because it reminds us of
how Harness Racing once upon a time, really was ‘THE SPORT” in Atlantic Canada.
Doug Harkness’s family reports that the popular racing scribe remains in hospital in
Halifax. He’s convalescing after recent heart surgery. Sadly for many the journal he
founded, Atlantic Post Calls, has ceased publishing until further notice.
News From ‘Away’:
- John MacDonald’s won 7 on the card Sunday night at Rideau. They included Brent
    MacLennan’s Starship Hall in 1:58.3 and Gary MacDonald & Carl Bagnall’s
    Pollards Brook – also a winner in 1:58.3. Tonight (Thursday) at Rideaus he recorded
    his 300th victory in what has been a career year with earnings of over $1.8 million
    dollars. Maritime Pride indeed, grandma Lillian would be proud John Boy.
- Interesting story about this Stonebridge Deputy colt who won a leg of the Valedictory
    Pacing Series Saturday night at Woodbine in 1:53. Kensington’s Ken Ramsay bought
    him for $6K as an unraced 2YO at 2008’s Summer Sizzler Sale. The well-bred son of
    The Panderosa ended up in the stable of trainer/driver Terry Gallant, who raced him
    through the early part of the 09 season and gave him a mark of 1:59. Paul MacKenzie
    then took over and drove him to a couple of wins at Flamboro, lowering his mark to
    1:57.3. Stonebridge Deputy was then consigned to Standardbred Canada’s 2009 Fall
    Mixed Sale where he sold for $21K. He went to Jonathan Gangell, his wife - trainer
    Sue Marie Gangell and David Goodrow. In 2009 he’s gone 8 – 6 – 0 in 21 starts, has
    earnings of $36,880 and a mark of 1:53. His next start will be the 2nd leg of the
    Valedictory Series this coming Saturday night. The $60,000 Final is Boxing Day.
- The John Pineau-raised Rustico Dance Hall by Amigo Hall, was a winner last week at
    Pompano. The 3 YO trotted to a new record of 1:57.1
-  This past Thursday at Rideau, Marcel Barrieau had a win with Ian Smith’s Blissed
   Off . Mile was in 2:00.1.
- Re the Standardbred Canada search for a new CEO. Rumour says 3 Islanders have
   been interviewed – and yes the names are being mooted about by insiders, but not
   confirmed. In my view each has his drawbacks. One could be considered
   incompetent, based on his performance in his current industry job. Another it is
   claimed is lacking in experience, with no real background in the sport. The third
   candidate being mentioned would have conflicting loyalties. His well known
   connections with the movers and shakers at OHHA, would not be viewed as a
   positive by many. I highly doubt, for these reasons, that the 3 Island candidates
   mentioned so far are serious contenders. There may be others.
- Missed mentioning last week that the Meridian Farms bred Rossridge Fortune
   (Brandons Cowboy), won the 2nd division of the Alberta Superfinal. My bad. The
   farm in fact bred the winners of both divisions.
- Meridian is also bringing a new trot stallion to PEI. He’s an unraced son of
   Glidemaster called Lantern Black. Reports say he was injured in training at 2.
Finally, for those of you following the debate regarding the OHHA on HD, check in here
next week. Or in the Eastern Graphic on Wednesday the 23rd, where I’ll refer you to a
couple of interesting Net locations that detail some of the background.. Knock, knock.
That’s it – good luck and good racing.

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