Come O’Brien Awards night, trainer Ron MacDonald will be raising a glass of wine to toast his finalist Power And Grace.
After being named local Older Trotting Mare of the Year at The Raceway at Western Fair District in 2020, Power And Grace is now in contention for national honours. The half-mile specialist is a 2021 O’Brien Award finalist for top trotting mare along with Grandma Heidi.
After a brief stint stateside at Northfield Park where she took her mark of 1:55.1 during Ontario racing’s COVID-19 hiatus last winter, Power And Grace excelled among the top trotting ranks on the Ontario B track circuit, including a stretch of winning four races in a row. The daughter of Holiday Road picked up cheques in 27 of her 30 starts and went over the $90,000 mark in seasonal earnings with the ninth victory of her six-year-old campaign on December 29 at Flamboro Downs.
“She was amazing all year. She averaged over $3,000 a start on the B tracks, that's pretty hard to do,” noted MacDonald. “It was just a pleasure every night she went out on the racetrack.”
MacDonald said he was amazed when he was informed of the O’Brien nomination – a first for the veteran trainer outside of watching son Brett being named the 2017 Future Star Award winner.
“I thought she deserved it, but I never thought that a B track horse would get nominated,” admitted MacDonald. “Pretty well every start we had her she was on a B track except for the little stint she went to Northfield there. But that was only like a short stint; she was there four starts.”
Bred by Glengate Farms and owned by Lormer McClure and Hartel Maintenance Inc., Power And Grace has won 33 races lifetime and more than $280,000. She joined the 20-head MacDonald stable at Baycairn Training Center on a winning note back in early 2020.
“Brett was driving her a little bit and Lormer asked us to take her for a while and she's been here ever since,” explained MacDonald. “And she's been a real pleasure.
“She's been perfect since the first day we got her. Taylor [Fritz] and Brett do a good job with her every day. Robbie Reid jogs her every day… We do it all together. She's an easy keeper, easy to look after. She's a super half-mile specialist. There's not a lot to say other than she's beautiful.”
In fact, Power And Grace made half-mile history, breaking a long-standing track record for older trotting mares at The Raceway with a 1:57.1 triumph on March 24.
It was a season certainly worthy of a toast. And MacDonald discovered the perfect wine to celebrate the occasion, a crimson blend called Power & Grace, with a picture of a horse on the label, of course. The Freelton, Ont. horseman even took a drive up to Bayfield, north of London, to Cornerfield Winery for a taste.
“We’ll probably have a few people from around the barn for a little get together,” said MacDonald of his virtual O’Brien celebrations planned for next month, adding that perhaps a Baycairn celebration is in order with older trotting horse Perfetto among the 2021 O’Brien finalists for another local trainer, Dagfin Henriksen. “At the farm there, we’re stabled at the same place as Dagfin, so we’ll probably have a little thing there with him too.”
The 2021 O'Brien Award winners will be announced at the virtual gala on Sunday, Feb. 6. The awards ceremony will be video streamed live on standardbredcanada.ca.