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McNair, Others Support The Red Cross

Published: March 16, 2020 11:11 am ET

Last Comment: March 16, 2020 9:14 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

It was a few hours before the start of Woodbine Mohawk Park’s Saturday night card of racing when the thought came to Doug McNair.

Just ahead of his pre-drives nap, the 30-year-old McNair, in the midst of a sensational season in the sulky, was watching the news, specifically, the latest updates on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has affected millions worldwide.

And that was the moment when McNair came up with a game plan for his eight drives on March 14 at the Milton, Ont. oval.

“I was just laying around, getting ready for a nap, and I was reading all the news about the coronavirus. There are so many horror stories out there these days, including people in the horse industry who have been affected. I wanted to do something, so I came up with the idea of donating the money I would make from my drives to a good cause.”

Taking to social media and sharing that you were shut out on the 10-race card would, at first glance, seem rather strange.

The most meaningful words, however, came after his opening line.

‘Got shut out tonight. But still managed to raise around $1,350. Thanks to everyone else who is going to match my earnings or are donating out of their pocket.’

No, luck wasn’t on McNair’s side Saturday night. Yet he still managed to make a difference by donating his earnings to the Canadian Red Cross.

His contributions didn’t end there.

McNair, who would pick up a cheque in seven of his eight drives, also prompted other horse racing figures to get involved on March 14.

Veteran driver Jody Jamieson followed suit, and donated his driver earnings to the same cause. Trainer Marty Fine and breeder-owner Clay Horner also joined the cause, as did McNair's friend, NHL forward Nick Ritchie.

“A lot of guys jumped on board,” said McNair, of the money raised that will go towards the Canadian Red Cross in support of COVID-19 response efforts. “It’s really no surprise at all. They know the money is going towards something that is very important.”

Although he’s been able to continue his craft amid the pandemic, McNair’s thoughts are with those who aren’t so fortunate.

“There is nowhere in the world to get away from this,” said Woodbine Mohawk’s leading driver this year. “We’ve been fortunate in our area so far, but you realize that could change in a second. You feel very fortunate in many ways, but during this time, I think it’s important to think of others that aren’t as lucky. I think this is a good way to start things.”

Which is an apt way to speak of McNair’s 2020 campaign.

A group of Standardbreds mixing it up at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

McNair, who already has a pair of five-win nights this year, is on the fast track to a memorable season.

Less than 80 wins shy of 3,500 career victories, McNair, who recorded a career-best 518 wins in 2010, is eager to keep the his sizzling start going.

While that remains a top priority, McNair hasn’t lost sight of other things, including stepping up to help others.

“When you read about the coronavirus… it’s just terrible what’s going on in the world now. You really put things into perspective pretty quickly.”

Which would include a tough night on the track.

“I was a little frustrated how things worked out on Saturday night. I had a pretty good lineup of horses, so it was disappointing in that sense. The good thing is that I was still able to rack up about $1,350. And it makes you understand there are a lot of worse things going on in the world than not winning races. Hopefully, we can help out a little bit and show that we care.”

Doug McNair, pictured heading into the first turn at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

(Ontario Racing)

March 16, 2020 - 9:14 pmGood job Doug.

Jim Brown SAID...

Good job Doug.

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