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Jamieson Discusses Winning Six At Woodbine, The Competition In The WEG Drivers' Colony


Published: February 22, 2011 5:35 pm ET

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Pilots in the Woodbine Entertainment Group's driving colony are making headlines left, right and centre. When you look at his numbers over the past handful of seasons, it's hard to believe that two-time O'Brien Award winner Jody Jamieson isn't getting all the ink.

Coming off a two-year stretch in which he won over 1,300 races, drove his mounts to over $21 million in purse earnings, and held a driver rating significantly over .300, Jamieson has timed the gate perfectly so far in 2011.

As of February 22, Canada's single-season dash winning record holder (796 in 2009) has competed in 370 pari-mutuel dashes and has gone on to record 91 victories, 60 second-place finishes and 38 thirds. Jamieson currently sports a .370 driver rating and has led his '11 mounts to $911,375.

He was at the top of his game once again on Monday, February 21 at Woodbine Racetrack. With drives in 10 of the card's 12 dashes, Jamieson dominated as he won six races.

When asked by Trot Insider whether he had ever won six races on a single WEG program, Jamieson confirmed that the feat was a first for him. "I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I've won five there before," he said. "The last time I remember somebody winning six, I believe it was Mark MacDonald, back in 2004 or 2005."

Speaking of other drivers, Jamieson was in a joking mood when asked by Trot Insider about his competition at WEG and the strides it has taken forward over the past few seasons. "It's hard not to think about those little 'pukes' -- I hate them," Jamieson joked. "I hate that I have to go out and race with them, and I hate it that they pick up the headlines." As many reinsmen have experienced before him, climbing the mountain is not easy at all, but staying at the top is, arguably, tougher.

"That's the part I hate about those guys," Jamieson said, jokingly, once again. "I was leading driver for the last couple of years at Woodbine. Woodbine is the measuring stick for everyone. I had been the leading driver there for the past couple of years. I took a month off, rested on my laurels a little bit; and then Randy Waples re-invents himself and Mark MacDonald has a career year. Then there is Doug McNair, Scott Zeron and Simon Allard. There are guys coming out of the woodwork -- Sylvain Filion won't even go on a vacation and give us a break."

Acknowledging one of the realities of the catch-driving game, Jamieson, in all seriousness, told Trot Insider, "Guys are there; guys are talented, and it's pushing some guys out the door. We will all get pushed out in the long run. Although, if we (the WEG circuit) don't have the best already, we are going to have the best driving colony anywhere in North America, or the world."

Even after having taken some time off, in 2010 alone, Jamieson recorded 522 wins, 416 seconds and 335 thirds. His UDR settled at a very respectable .325 and his mounts earned $9,462,156 in purses. He still finished second overall in the WEG drivers' colony. Although his numbers were solid, neither Jamieson or MacDonald, who had a stellar season in the racebike, were nominated for an O'Brien Award.

"I wasn't quite as shocked as Mark (MacDonald) was, but I was hoping to be nominated for an O'Brien," Jamieson told Trot Insider. "I thought Mark MacDonald would've won, actually. Even with the great year that Randy (Waples) had, it just seems that the guy with the most money won at the end of the year had the best year, but obviously the votes went the other way.

"Scott Zeron had a huge year. He was the leading driver in terms of wins, and I feel that something should be said about that. I think it means a lot to have the most wins; I think it means a lot to have the most money -- I think there is a combination there that means a lot. Doug McNair is another guy. He travelled everywhere with Aracache Hanover, and drove him brilliantly. He's another guy that had a great year. His numbers were very comparable to any of the guys that were nominated."

Jamieson also gave Trot Insider the inside scoop on his memorable night at Woodbine, as he shed light on all six of his winners.

Win #1
Race 3
Classic Alana (1:56.3, $2.70)

"I just thought that she was the best in there, no matter what. Jeff and I have always talked about her going to the gate. We've always talked about the fact that you have to be really careful with her. I knew I was going to get good cover -- it worked out really well that I got to follow Keith (driver Keith Oliver, aboard Surclasser) half way down the stretch until she pounced."

Win #2
Race 5
Forego The Cigar (1:54.2, $6.40)

"I have high hopes for him. He's a four-year-old Western Terror. Richard Young doesn't usually keep horses too longer after their two-year-old year if they don't show a lot. This horse showed a lot of high speed, so I was looking forward to racing him. He had been sick during his second start here (Woodbine Racetrack) with a lung infection. He had been out two weeks (had missed racing), but it really didn't concern me. I was going to get him forwardly placed. I knew that Machal Jackson (who was on the lead and was driven by Luc Ouellette) was a front-ender. I could see around the last turn that Luc was asking him pretty good, and I was still sitting on Forego The Cigar and still had the earplugs in. It was only Forego The Cigar's fourth lifetime start, so he's very green. When we got to the turn, he actually ran out on me. I was going to pull up because he just let right go of me like he was finished. I steered him back down closer to the two-wide path. When I pulled the plugs, he was just gone. The chart shows a half-length (margin of victory), but he was a very handy winner. He's being prepped to the Cam Fella Stakes, so he has an uphill battle, but that's the type of horse that he is, to win the non-winners of two (races) that handy."

Win #3
Race 6
Frenchfrysnvinegar (1:54.4, $6.70)

"She has been a challenge to say the least. Keith Oliver has raced her most of her career, and got along with her great. She is such a handful. She wants to run away with you during the post parade, and when you put her nose on the gate she wants to explode out of there like no horse I've ever driven -- and that's what happened last week, she just over-trotted herself. Last night she was absolutely wild. I tried to time the gate with her a little bit, and I couldn't hold her off. I physically couldn't hold her off the gate any longer, I was pulling on her that hard. When the gate folded, I don't know how she didn't go out into an all-out gallop. Her legs were going so fast, and I was pulling on her so hard to try and get her to slow down. By the time we got to the quarter pole, Mark (driver Mark MacDonald) was trying to put me in the two hole. I couldn't pull on the horse any longer, so I sat up and away she went. I was blowing harder than her at the half."

Race 6 - Frenchfrysnvinegar

"Around the last turn I heard footsteps coming. I went to pull the plugs, but there was too much slack in the line, so I really had to kick my leg up high. Worrying whether I was going to rip the rear end of my suit, I kicked the plugs, but had to kick my leg up really high. When I did that, I touched her tail with my foot by accident. She decided she didn't like that too much and almost double-barrelled me. It's almost like she realized mid-buck that she was in a race and she came back down trotting, which was unbelievable. She came back down, won by two lengths and lowered her lifetime mark -- unbelievable."

Win #4
Race 8
Hes A Demon (1:54.1, $6.80)

"I've never seen him trot any better. There was a bridle change with him and he was a little more relaxed behind the gate and on cover. When I moved him he had to make up five lengths in the stretch. He had been second over, but still came from a long way back."

Win #5
Race 9
Northern River (1:53.4, $7.30)

"I had gone over to the horse, and (trainer) Mike Weller said to me, 'Man, you've been tripping them out today.' I mentioned that the front end hadn't been that great. He wished me luck and I went out onto the track. As it worked out, I proceeded to put his horse on the front, got good fractions, and we sprinted off and won. We literally talked about racing him from off the pace before the race, and as the gate folded I changed my mind and went to the lead. It was a nice win for both of us. It was his (Weller's) first win of the year, and I was glad I could help him out a little bit."

Win #6
Race 11
The Platinum Guy (1:54, $5.40)

"He hadn't raced since he won The Count B Stakes (February 4 at Woodbine). I didn't know how tight the horse was going to be. The lead trainer had told me that the horse hadn't trained too much leading up, and also that he was being pointed to the Cam Fella. I was going to race him cautiously and see what happened, but I ended up power-moving him to the front. I couldn't keep him in the hole any longer. He just powered away and was a very good winner."

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