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Back In The Game

Published: October 8, 2018 10:04 am ET

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Scott MacDonald’s first venture into racehorse ownership was in 1978. That ignited a passion that has continued to this day with varying degrees of involvement, and he’s currently a shareholder in Landmark 10 and Landmark 11 Stables.

“I have a win picture from the first horse I owned from Woodstock in 1978. The pictures continue intermittently through 1995 with a horse I owned in partnership with a group spearheaded by Ruth Herbert....tremendous experience. I cannot think of an extended period of time during those years that I did not have connections to a horse, enjoying modest success,” recalls MacDonald.

From 1996 through 2015, MacDonald was horseless.

Scott (L) with Foiled Again

In September of 2015, the resident of Simcoe, Ontario, who works as an offset press operator for a small printing company, made a trip to Mohawk to watch the Metro Pace. “What used to be a bi-weekly or tri-weekly journey to the track had now become trip for only special races,” he recalls. “I saw Howard (Pearce) at the Landmark set up and immediately became intrigued by the Landmark venture. Even though Howard patiently answered my questions, I have to admit I was skeptical.”

The more he thought about it, the more Scott realized how much he missed owning a racehorse. “I have played and coached, with some success fairly high levels of baseball and fastball my whole life. In competition, there is always a crucial moment, when you are aware of failure, anticipating the outcome, half-thrilled, half-scared, but in that moment you know that there is no place in the world that you would rather be. I get that same exhilarating feeling every time my horse goes behind the gate. There is no feeling like it! To have these experiences for such a nominal cost was too good to pass up.

“The way I see it is, I can't coach the Leafs, I can't pitch for the Yankees, and I can't play head to head with Tiger, but by becoming a member of Landmark, I can compete in Major League horse racing. It does not matter to me how little of my horses I actually own, when they go behind the gate, they are my horses!”

Scott’s interest in Standardbreds wasn’t passed down through his family or in his DNA. “My passion comes strictly from being a fan. I have read and reread numerous times Big Bum, the story of Bret Hanover. I think his story impressed upon me that these are not just animals, they are equine athletes.”

MacDonald also followed the triumphs of Derbys Gent on Ontario's B circuit.

“As I look at old win pictures I see how much of a family and friend experience it has been. Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and friends are in every picture. Even now, when my sister and brother and I go to see the horses race and we are lucky enough to win, we all make our way out for the picture. I love those group pictures, that many people having a joyous moment cannot be bad for racing.”

Landmark 11 Stable’s two-year-olds in 2018 included Parlay Seelster, Love For Life, Rap Royalty, In The Will and Dare To Share. Landmark 10’s pacing filly Hello Love has enjoyed a solid three-year-old campaign with eight wins, 11 top three finishes and over $80,000 in earnings. On Friday night the Shadow Play filly paced to a lifetime best 1:51.2 victory in a conditioned event at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

“My experience with Landmark has been a blast! We have a fantastic award winning trainer, he has a competent and dedicated staff, and Howard does an amazing job of organizing and informing the members. I wait for his emails and make a trip to the track or watch on the Internet. I highly recommend fractional ownership. It can be a great deal of fun with a minimal financial commitment.”

Standardbred Canada is hosting the following free educational workshops during the weekend of the London Selected Yearling Sale:

► Friday, October 12 – Horse Ownership 101 – 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. (Agriplex and The Raceway)

► Saturday, October 13 & Sunday, October 14 – How to Read Pedigrees and Understanding Conformation – 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Agriplex)

Limited seats available. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] to reserve your seat.

(Video provided by OLG)

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