view counter
view counter

Saftic On Milestone, Future

Published: October 1, 2014 4:14 pm ET

Last Comment: October 3, 2014 8:39 am ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

“I’m not looking to call it off any time soon, but I know I’m on the back nine, that’s for sure. The young kids are coming, but I plan to keep trucking for a few more years, hopefully.”

A few wins shy of his 5,000th career victory, driver Mike Saftic, 52, admits reaching the milestone will be a special moment.

“That’s a good number. That was on my bucket list,” Saftic said. “I’d love to get it before the Mohawk meet ends, but I might run out of time. We’ve only got a couple of weeks left. But you never know.”

On Tuesday (September 30), the 30-year veteran of the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit recorded win number 4,995 when he drove Rise Up Rise Up to victory in the $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old trotting colts at Mohawk Racetrack. It was the richest victory of the year for Saftic and helped him edge one step closer to his next big milestone.

“The other number I’d like to get — and I don’t know if I’ll ever get it — is $100 million,” said Saftic, who has driven the winners of $93.65 million since he started his career in 1981 at his hometown track, Sudbury Downs.

He said it wasn’t all that long ago that he was considered a young kid in a WEG colony dominated by future Hall of Famers Doug Brown, Steve Condren and Dave Wall. Now Saftic is watching 20-somethings such as Doug McNair and James MacDonald post incredible numbers given their age.

“Dougie McNair just got his 2,000th win. He’s 24 years old. I said to him, ‘I don’t think I had 200 wins when I was 24,’” Saftic said. “I had my first million-dollar year when I was 28 years old and that was an accomplishment.”

It was also the beginning of a 26-year string in which Saftic drove the winners of more than $1 million each year.

Along the way, he’s driven such stars as Hall of Fame pacing mare Ellamony, Armbro Cruiser, Soft Light, 2002 Metro Pace champion Sir Luck and many more.

“I just wanted to be consistent,” he said. “I used to be able to go out and win a couple hundred races a year, if I could win 200 races a year (at WEG) than that was being consistent. I kind of kept that up until the last couple of years when my numbers dropped off.”

The last few years, Saftic has averaged closer to 100 wins a year, but he’s not complaining.

“You’re making a good living and I can honestly say there’s not too many days that I went to work that it felt like work,” he said. “I was in qualifying just this morning in the mud. I would still do it for free.”

Saftic joins two other veteran WEG drivers on the milestone watch list. Jody Jamieson is 25 wins shy of 7,000 lifetime after winning three races on Tuesday’s Mohawk card, and Chris Christoforou is 24 wins away from 6,000 lifetime victories.


October 3, 2014 - 8:39 amYou keep up the good work you

You keep up the good work you are doing and the will to WIN and you will achive your goal YOUNG FELLA. Lots of luck and never give up. Ron

October 1, 2014 - 4:28 pmI can remember the day that

Steve Jewitt SAID...

I can remember the day that Mike showed up on the OJC from Sudbury he was a class act back then and he still is today he has not changed one bit . Congratulation on all your accomplishments Mike. Sonny

view counter

© 2021 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