'King James' Captures Second Drivers' Holiday Challenge Title

James MacDonald with Holiday Drivers' Challenge team members Paul MacKenzie, Natasha Day and Jason Ryan
Published: December 10, 2023 05:21 pm EST

The fourth annual Drivers' Holiday Challenge at The Raceway at Western Fair District turned into the James MacDonald show on Sunday, Dec. 10 as the two-time O’Brien Award winner captured five of the 10 races in the competition and took home the trophy for the second time in the event’s young history.

James MacDonald and the Holiday Drivers' Challenge trophy

MacDonald made a statement early with a sweep of the daily double behind Matts Tuition ($2.30) for trainer Michelle Sherman and Mach Jacobs ($3.20) for Kim Smith. He then clicked in race five with Scarlet Dragon ($6.90) from the Stephen Bossence barn and in race seven with Lindsey Kerr trainee Favaro Seelster ($12.30) before capping off his big afternoon in race eight behind Southwind Bayou ($6.50) for conditioner Raphael Bourassa.

MacDonald finished the competition with 104 points, finishing 10 ahead of Tyler Borth, who had a pair of winners on the day. MacDonald and Borth also captained teams of four in the competition and it was Team MacDonald (pictured above) – consisting of Jason Ryan, Paul MacKenzie and defending champion Nat Day – narrowly edging out Team Borth – consisting of Dan Clements Garrett Rooney and Daryl Thiessen – by just two points (248-246).

“It was an awesome day,” reflected MacDonald during an interview afterwards by COSA TV’s Robert Reid Jr. “We had a great team and were cheering each other on all day. We all had fun with it for sure and it’s all for a great cause.”

The five-win day extended MacDonald’s lead in the national driver standings as well, bumping his Canadian total to 410 – putting him 18 ahead of Tyler Borth, who sits at 392 for the season.

Sunday’s event raised an estimated $15,000 in toys and cash donations for Toys for Tots. More than $50,000 has been raised for the local charity since the initiative began in 2020.

The Raceway continues its busy holiday schedule with live racing this Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 5:50 p.m. Fans are reminded that the always popular Boxing Day program is back on Dec. 26 at 12:55 p.m. and the New Year’s Eve card is scheduled for Dec. 31 at 7:30 p.m. For full details or to making dining reservations, visit theracewaywfd.com.

A replay of COSA TV's coverage of the driving challenge is available below.

To view Sunday's harness racing results, click the following link: Sunday Results - Western Fair Raceway.

(With files from Western Fair District)