view counter
 
view counter
 
 

Meet Quebec-Eastern Ontario's Reps

Published: October 9, 2016 10:45 am ET

No Comments | Jump to Comments

The two driving representatives from the Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional Driving Championship are at opposite ends of the spectrum in their careers. Veteran trainer-driver Guy Gagnon has been driving horses for 28 years while Brett MacDonald is only in his second full time year of driving.

HOCKEY AND HORSES ARE HIS PASSION

Hockey and horses are Guy Gagnon’s two passions. When the Gatineau trainer-driver isn’t training or driving horses, he can be found in the area arenas, coaching his 14-year-old son’s hockey team, playing in an over-30 garage league or at the Canadian Tire Centre watching the Ottawa Senators play.

Guy is hoping that his third time competing in the NDC is a charm when he takes part in the 2016 NDC on October 14 at The Raceway at the Western Fair District in London. Gagnon finished in second in 2009 when it was hosted at Fraser Downs and then sixth in the 2014 edition of the NDC at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at CDP.

The soft-spoken veteran horseman, now in his 28th season of driving, was introduced to harness racing by Jacques Beaudoin -- who he ended up working alongside. Guy lived a stone’s throw from the track in Quebec City and quit high school to work with the horses.

He currently trains eight horses at his Gatineau/Aylmer farm. Sitting in second spot in the Rideau driver standings, Guy has driven 112 winners and horses to over $581,000 so far this season.

“As a horse trainer/driver, a perfect day is to win as many races as possible. If my horses race good, I am happy. I also like to see the smiles on the owners’ faces when they come to the winner’s circle for the picture.

“When you win a race or have a good mile with a horse and the trainer or owner comes to me and says: Good Job! That is a great reward.”

No doubt Guy will be hoping he hears those words several times this Friday night at The Raceway!

BRETT MACDONALD, THE ROOKIE IN THE FIELD

With a field that included many seasoned veterans in the Quebec / Eastern Ontario Regional Drivng Championship, it may have come to a surprise to some that Brett MacDonald finished in second to earn the final spot in the NDC.

The 20-year-old reinsman from Embrun, Ont., is currently in his second season of driving, and has had an incredible two years on the circuits in eastern Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. Earlier this year he was recognized as Rideau Carleton’s Rookie of the Year for 2015.

MacDonald has been jogging horses since the age of 12 and drove in his first Matinee race at age 15 in P.E.I. Born in Ajax, Ont., the family moved to P.E.I. for a few years and then returned to Ontario six years ago.

Brett will be the first to admit that his knowledge comes from his family and their background in harness racing. “My mom and dad had horses so I was born right into it, my dad taught me how to jog and was always letting me get involved and help out where I could.” When he’s not driving, Brett works with his Dad, trainer Ron MacDonald at Rideau, where he’s currently stabled.

His family involvement doesn’t stop there; Brett’s cousin John MacDonald was a top driver on the Rideau Carleton circuit for years and Brett has always dreamed of following his path, which doesn’t seem to be out of his reach since he’s already made a name for himself in the two short years that he has been driving.

“I learned a lot from watching him (John), I would watch his races to learn the little but important things that have helped along the way.”

In the past year, Brett had the chance to knock one big item off of his bucket list. On September 13 he made his driving debut at Mohawk Racetrack and drove What A Rush to a solid third place finish. He also drove in one of the Gold Cup & Saucer trials.

Brett’s goal to be a full-time catch driver seems to be right on track as he’s been making a name for himself at Rideau Carleton with some impressive stats. He currently sits in third in the driver standings (for wins) at Rideau with 79 wins to go along with $380,155 in purse earnings. He’s also knocking on the door of $500,000 in career earnings.

Brett’s looking forward to the draft on Tuesday and next Friday, he’ll enjoy one of the biggest days in his young career!


view counter
 
 
 

© 2017 Standardbred Canada. All rights reserved. Use of this site signifies your agreement and compliance with the legal disclaimer and privacy policy.

Firefox 3 Best with IE 7 Built with Drupal