Trevor Henry Wins Ontario Regional Driving Championship

By virtue of three wins in the nine-race tournament, Trevor Henry captured the 2018 Ontario Regional Driving Championship (ORDC), held Wednesday evening (May 16) at The Raceway at Western Fair District in London, Ont.

Trevor Henry urges home Pagani Speed in the Ontario Regional Driving Championship's sixth leg

The 47-year-old Henry, who hails from Arthur Ont., made his London return a triumphant one, teaming up with Beach Terror ($10.10), Pagani Speed ($7.30), and Willey Bite ($7.00) to reach the winner’s enclosure and top all drivers with 66 points in the tournament. The winner of over 6,400 races in his career will advance to the 2018 National Driving Championship (NDC) in September at Grand River Raceway, as will Louis-Philippe Roy, who earned runner-up honours with two wins and 62 points.

Henry, who represented Canada in the 2013 World Driving Championship in France, will compete in his third NDC after an eighth-place finish behind Jody Jamieson in 2011 and a runner-up finish behind eventual world champion James MacDonald in 2016. Henry enjoyed a banner year in 2017, topping $5 million in purse earnings for the second straight season and capturing the Confederation Cup, Prix d'Été, and William Wellwood Memorial.

Greg Blanchard (left) and Mark Horner (centre) present Trevor Henry with the 2018 Ontario Regional Driving Championship trophy

Nine drivers took part in the ORDC, each slated to participate in eight of the nine races held. The final standings were:

1. Trevor Henry (66)
2. Louis-Philippe Roy (62)
3. Doug McNair (52)
4. Jonathan Drury (47)
5. Robert Shepherd (45)
6. J Harris (42)
7. Bob McClure (38)
8. Alfie Carroll (34)
9. Jody Jamieson (29)

A race-by-race recap of the ORDC follows.

Race 2: Alfie Carroll captured the first leg of the ORDC with a measured drive of odds-on favourite Brown Dirt Cowboy ($3.70). After finding room to angle out of midfield traffic beyond a :57.2 half-mile split posted by 40-1 pacesetter Its Machademic, the six-year-old Stonebridge Regal gelding gained steadily up the far side before reeling in Machs Boy (Robert Shepherd) — who pulled pocket and took charge a quarter from home — with a sixteenth to go in the 1:56.1 mile.

Race 3: Despite early exertion to clear two other leavers from post 7 and a cutthroat duel for the final five-sixteenths of the one-mile race, Lyons Delight ($6.60) gave Louis-Philippe Roy a win in the second ORDC leg. The Vic Puddy-trained Bettors Delight gelding dug deep through the far turn and homestretch to hold his ground for a narrow win over even-money favourite Woodmere Violator (J Harris) in 1:57.3.

Race 4: Beach Terror ($10.10) brushed powerfully from third to take charge in the second quarter before fending off a stout first-over challenge from Pay Later (Roy) and a number of other late challengers in a 1:54.4 mile. Trevor Henry, who vaulted from ninth to fifth with the win, kept the son of Western Terror to task the length of the stretch to give the Gordon McDonnell trainee his 25th career win.

Race 5: Doug McNair took no prisoners with Mr Destruction ($3.70), setting a blistering pace through splits of :28, :56.4, and 1:24.4 before drawing clear boldly for an open-length, 1:53.4 score over Bearly A Secret (Jonathan Drury). It was the second win in as many tries at the level for Mr Destruction, a Sportswriter gelding trained by Duane Marfisi.

Race 6: Reasonablydeniably ($9.70) was sent on a front-pacing mission by Louis-Philippe Roy, and the Glen Hardy trainee did not disappoint. While it took her nearly three-eighths of a mile to clear early leader and eventual runner-up Ivegotmyeyeonu (Bob McClure), Reasonablydeniably showed no signs of exertion and powered clear on the far turn for a 2:05.4 victory over a mile and a sixteenth. Roy’s second tournament win put him back in the lead over Drury.

Race 7: Pagani Speed ($7.30) parried a strong challenge from a resurgent Twice Drafted (McNair) on the final turn before outlasting pocket rival Exodus Seelster (McClure) for a 1:59.1 score, giving Trevor Henry his second win of the tournament. The win lifted Henry to a share of the lead with Louis-Philippe Roy, who was scheduled to sit out the sixth heat of the tournament. Pagani Speed, a three-year-old Mach Three colt, took his fourth win of the season for trainer Susanne Kerwood.

Race 8: Trevor Henry copped back-to-back wins and gained some separation over Louis-Philippe Roy with a 1:55.4 triumph aboard Willey Bite ($7.00). After denying the first-over Scintillator (McNair) through a :28.1 third quarter, 22-time winner Willey Bite dug in to keep pocket rival Jake Parrish and Roy narrowly at bay. Willey Bite gave Tiffany Stein a training double on the program.

Race 9: Doug McNair demonstrated versatility in his second win of the ORDC, perching second-over with Debi O’Brien-Moran’s Ciona Bromach ($4.60), sliding into a vacated pocket as a third-quarter duel percolated between Stonebridge Scout (Jody Jamieson) and Donald Doc (Roy), and lifting late to collar Stonebridge Scout for a 1:56.1 score. The 11-year-old Ciona Bromach earned his 18th career win.

Race 10: Bella Noche ($12.70) gave Robert Shepherd his lone win in the ORDC in the final leg, using a first-over bid through the middle stages of the race to duel down Watt A Sassy Girl (McNair) and push clear in the stretch to complete a mile and a sixteenth in 2:04.4. Trevor Henry was trapped at the pegs with T R Lexus Cam behind the tiring Watt A Sassy Girl on the final turn, but escaped in time to save fourth and ice the championship over Roy, aboard a similarly traffic-troubled Shesastarreporter.

To view Wednesday’s harness racing results, click the following link: Wednesday Results – The Raceway at Western Fair District.

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