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O'Brien Profiles - Driver Of The Year

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Published: January 29, 2009 9:52 pm ET

Last Comment: January 30, 2009 1:00 pm ET | 3 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

With the 2008 O'Brien Awards just days away, the SC website will shine the spotlight on the finalists in each O'Brien division.

Today we profile the driver of the year category.

Jody Jamieson

The 2008 season was another productive one for the defending Driver of the Year champion. Following a career year in 2007, Jamieson again put up some amazing stats in 2008 which included 337 wins from over 2,000 starts and over $8.7 million in purse earnings, making him the leading money winning driver in Canada.

On March 18 Jody celebrated a career achievement at Woodbine Racetrack when he guided B Js Boomerang to victory in the night's 11th race, giving him 4,000 lifetime wins as a harness driver. The 2001 World Driving Champion was the regular driver for many stakes performers last season including two that co-owns - rookie trotting colt Federal Flex and pacing colt Santanna Blue Chip – plus pacing filly Im Just Special. Federal Flex earned an O’Brien nomination following a profitable season that saw him earn over $500,000 while finishing on the board in eight of nine races.

Paul MacDonell

2008 will mark the third time in the past four years that Paul MacDonell has been a finalist for an O’Brien in the Driver of the Year category. For 23 consecutive years, MacDonell has guided horses to earnings in excess of $1 million. In 2008, he continued as Somebeachsomewhere’s regular driver, guiding Canada’s Three Year-Old-Pacing Colt of the Year to 14 wins, $2.5 million in purse money, and numerous stakes victories.

In addition to ‘The Beach’, MacDonell was also the regular pilot for three O’Brien finalists for 2008 - trotting colt Define The World and trotting fillies Bella Dolce and Elusive Desire. On July 26, MacDonell scored a double in the Canadian Breeders Championships as he guided Define The World and Bella Dolce to wins in their respective divisions. On November 15 at Woodbine Racetrack, MacDonell enjoyed one of his most profitable evenings of the year as he won four of eight $300,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals. ‘Big Mac’ teamed up with Somebeachsomewhere, Bella Dolce, Elusive Desire and Define The World for victories in the year-end provincial finals.

January 30, 2009 - 1:00 pmIn one of the Beach's Red

Doubled (not verified) SAID...

In one of the Beach's Red Mile races he had a legitimate shot at the fastesr race ever and coming down the stretch MacDonell must have known that. In that situation many drivers would have been laying on the wood but Paul's respect for his horse prevented him from doing that. In that one race alone MacDonell showed me a lot of class and deserves this award for that race alone. This is all the more fitting given all the current whipping rule discussions.

January 30, 2009 - 12:34 pmTWO CLASSY INDIVIDUALS FOR

PICKUPYOURFEET (not verified) SAID...

TWO CLASSY INDIVIDUALS FOR SURE

I THINK THE EDGE GOES TO PAUL - EXCEPT FOR ONE QUESTIONABLE DRIVE, HE GAVE THE PERFECT HORSE (BEACH) THE PERFECT TRIP EVERY TIME

January 30, 2009 - 9:15 amI THINK BOTH DRIVERS WERE

lord jp (not verified) SAID...

I THINK BOTH DRIVERS WERE NECK AND NECK UNTIL THE SUPER FINAL NIGHT WHEN PAUL HAD FOUR WINNERS...I FEEL IT IS PAULS NIGHT BY A NECK!!!


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