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Henry: MacDonald "Best In NA, By Far"


Published: April 1, 2011 11:42 am ET

Last Comment: April 8, 2011 9:17 am ET | 25 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Driver Trevor Henry, who will be representing the province of Ontario in the upcoming National Driving Championship, has let the racing world know he thinks the continent's top reinsman is.

Mark MacDonald is the greatest driver I have ever driven against,” Henry was quoted as saying in an article today in The Guardian. “I’ve said it from Day 1. He’s the best in North America by far. The whole family is a great bunch of guys.”

Henry's comment came in an article which focused on his second-place finish in the Ontario Regional Driving Championship on Wednesday, March 30. The event was won by Jody Jamieson.

Looking forward to the National Driving Championship, which will take place at PEI's Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park on Saturday, May 7, 2011, Henry said, “You got to get lucky and do what you can do. I’m a small-town guy and I’m really lucky to even be there.”

The winner of the NDC will go on to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship, which will this year take place at various tracks in the United States from July 31 to August 5.

(With files from The Guardian)

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Jamieson, Henry Best In ORDC

April 8, 2011 - 9:17 amC.Renon Give my vote to Cat

carlo renon SAID...

C.Renon Give my vote to Cat Manzi!

April 6, 2011 - 2:22 pmMr Henry will be the second

John Doyle SAID...

Mr Henry will be the second most popular driver in the Canadian championship in PEI this spring.

April 6, 2011 - 2:56 amI think Trevor is certainly

I think Trevor is certainly entitled to his opinion and I admire his humbleness. It is cetainly a great debate as to the best jockey of all time and many names would be deserving of that title each with their own driving style. I saw Campbell in his early days and he has certainly made a name for himself from those early days.

I've been blessed to see many of the jockeys that have been mentioned in these blog's and all could have a case written for them as to who is the best of all time.

My humble vote goes to the person that was implementing the new whipping rule long before it ever became standard. I'm shocked his name was never mentioned once in the blog's I read even though there is an award named for him. I'm sure you all guessed by now that the person I'm speaking of is the great Joe O'Brien. He won over 20 million in purses back then care to put that in today's money. He was said to have had a stop watch etched into his head because he always got the very best out of every horse he drove most times with both hands still in the hand holds. His timing was impeccable and always seemed to pick the right time to move.

April 5, 2011 - 10:56 pmAt least let the man voice

Ward Zinn SAID...

At least let the man voice his honest opinion without bashing him and Mark. I respect his driving and being an honest horseman.

Everyone varies in their opinion but this hot topic is just splitting hairs.

April 5, 2011 - 4:52 pmGreat read!!! We all have

Great read!!!

We all have our opinion Mostly based on what we beleive makes a great driver and how old we are. To say that someone is the best ever, the ever might be too much. But again it's only an opinion.

Disapointed not to see the name of Herve Filion more often.

My two cents.

April 5, 2011 - 3:55 pmI'm afraid I have to agree

Joe Riga SAID...

I'm afraid I have to agree with Randy Waples on this one. In my earlier blog I siad that John Campbell was the best. That assessment was made purely on stats. However there are many intangibles that are difficult to quantify. I am a big Troy Aikman fan. In my opinion he is one of the best to play the position though he rarely gets mentioned along the names of Montana, Marino, Favre etc. despite the fact that he has won 3 Superbowls and never lost one he played in.

I have been around racing a very long time. Over 35 years. I have had the pleasure of watching some of the most talented drivers/jcokeys ever such as John Campbell, Mike Lachance,Billy O'Donnell,Ron Waples, Buddy Gilmour, Walter Case, Doug Brown, on the harness side and Laffit Pincay, Bill Shoemaker, Sandy Hawley, Anjel Cordero, Avelino Gomes, Robin Platts on the tbred side. These guys are all Hall of Famers. However I remember one time being told that Doug Brown could never drive alongside the guys at the Big M. I thought that was hogwash and still do.

One thing we all need reminding of is that at the end of the day it is the horse not the driver that does the running. That being said no doubt there are certain drivers/jockeys who seem to get more out of a horse and can judge a pace better. It is this type of intangible that separates the bad from the good and the good from the great drivers/jockeys. John Campbell once said it the best. The job of a driver is at the top of the lane have his horse in a position to win. After that it's up to the horse. As a gambler it's all you can really ask for.

Now all else being equal I wouldn't hesitate to bet any one of these guys against the others.They take turns beating each other. The current WEG circuit has some very good drivers.

Steve Condren, Paul MacDonnell, Rick Zeron. Luc Oulette, Jackie Mo,Randy Waples JJ,and of course Mark McDonald. There are more but space limits my list. These guys are all really good and one day may be (if not already) mentioned in the same league as some of the previously mentioned guys. In fact I would not hesitate to bet Randy or Jody, or Mark against a Campbell or Sears or Tetrick. It all comes down to 1) is there value in the bet 2) post and of course 3) most importantly do they have a horse capable of winning.

Who's the best? Who can say for sure.I always like to say it's the guy I cashed my last ticket on:)

April 4, 2011 - 10:39 pmIn all fairness John

John Turner SAID...

In all fairness John campbell also left his home to acomplish what he has and that's his personal lifestyle choice, whose to say that if others did the same they would not be the best of all time? To say he is the greatest of all time would be the majority of the vote but everyone has their own oppinion and I am sure John would name someone else as to who the greatest driver of all time is

April 4, 2011 - 10:19 pmI being just a gambler and a

I being just a gambler and a lover of this game Mr.HENRY, you should be complimented not ridiculed for your humble statements concerning M.M. - not saying anyone was ridiculed your statement, but I like others agree the (2) best drivers in the racing game are JC, WILL NEVER BE HIS EQUAL,and BRIAN SEARS the second best driver I have ever seen, the closest ever to JC,but everyone forgets the nut,the greatest driver that has ever driven on a half mile track,WALTER CASE, AND THAT INCLUDES JC,BS,ML,Luke. And of course herve filion,he has no equal on the track that is when he was on his game there will never be,another WCJ, his records speak for themselves.

It took TT,many more starts and a lot more track available to him to break this unseemingly unbreakable record, and by the way not to down TT,probably the best hands ever to drive a trotter, but he couldn't hold a candle to WCJ.

Of course this is one mans opinion,thank you for this opportunity

April 4, 2011 - 4:47 pmComparing great drivers from

randy waples SAID...

Comparing great drivers from the past to present is just to subjective and not fair..its like all sports you cant compare Gretzky to Howe because they didn't play each other in their prime. Kareem to Wilt?..Montana to Namath?..Earnhardt to Petty? Woods to Palmer or Nicklaus? Rocket Richard to Lemieux? John Campbell to Keith Waples?..Ali to Joe Louis?

People can always make comparisons and formulate their own hypothesis on who was the best but it's truly subjective is it not? Myself in his prime I think my father was the greatest..he seemed to have no weakness..lame claimers, trotters, pacers, lazy horses, pullers, bad actors, young horses, big money events..he seemed to be able to get the most out of horses and bring a horse back to the trainer still fresh. That's just my opinion (and it might be slightly biased because I concentrated on him in a race more than any other driver) but thats all Trevor was doing..offering an opinion when asked..if his opinion is Mark ..good on Mark and thank-you Trevor for being honest.

I've been lucky enough to drive against some of the best..and I've been lucky enough to not have to drive against some of the best when they were in their prime :) thank-god..when a driver consistently stays at or near the top I think they are to compare to me is 10 years will they say it's Tim Tetrick and not John? maybe because the new fans might not have had the oppurtunity to have seen John in his more than alot of fans never got to see Keith or Buddy Gilmour?

I think drivers are presented with oppurtunities and if a driver is able to capitalize consistently with those oppurtunities then he or she is a great driver...the greatest? who knows..but it sure makes for interesting watercooler chat:)

April 4, 2011 - 3:40 pmAnyone who DOESN'T think

Peter Smith SAID...

Anyone who DOESN'T think that JOHN CAMPBELL is the best harness racing driver of ALL TIME, is clearly kidding themselves. Mark McDonald - a fine, fine driver. John Campbell - the best there is, was or ever will be. End of discussion.

April 3, 2011 - 3:36 pmNow Mark is a fine and very

John Carter SAID...

Now Mark is a fine and very capable driver and when team Coleman bumped him on sportswriter for Sears i was one of the first to post slamming them for the decision. As a matter of fact they did not post my initial post because my wording was a little strong. So my point is i have nothing against Mark, if i owned a claimer or a horse like Sportswriter i would be very comfortable using him in either situation. Having said all this i think in 10 or 20 years from now it is highly unlikely that Mark would be on to many peoples top 10 list. There is just so many other drivers that have won so many more big races. To name a few, John Campbell, Billy O'donnell, Mike Lachance, Doug Brown, Ron Waples, Luc Ouelette, Jack Moiseyev, Brian Sears, Tim Tetrick, George Brennan, Herve Filion, Walter Case(wins) and i could go on and on. Obviously i am referring to these drivers when they were in there prime.

Weg has a very fine colony of drivers with Mark being one of them and if we did a poll as to who was the best driver at weg right now and the choices were Jody Jamieson, Randy Waples, Paul Macdonell, and Rick Zeron. This would end up being a very close poll, i don't think anyone would suggest that Mark would win this poll for sure but put Sears or Campbell up against them 4 drivers and they run away with it.

April 2, 2011 - 3:47 pmIt seems to me there is more

It seems to me there is more than one way to "rate" the best driver. There are those commenting here who suggest they are bettors and they want the money driver, whatever that might mean. There are those who are wed to statistics and driving percentages. There are those, like me, who would refer to themselves as "races fans" and we most likely will have favorites based on our own personal bias. Then there would be owners and trainers, who have a unique view of a variety of drivers and would rate them from their own interactions and results. It seems to me those who are best equipped to evaluate drivers is their peers, the ones who know what it is like to be in the thick of it every race, every day. Trevor noted that, in his opinion, Mark was the best he had raced against. While he has probably raced against John Campbell, Ron Pierce, Brian Sears, George Brennan etc, the number of drives against them will be limited, and therefore his personal evaluation is most likely to favour someone he has driven against a significant number of times in a wide variety of circumstances. If you were to survey all those in the Ontario Drivers Championship as to who was the best, I'm going to suggest you would get a variety of different answers. One thing I can comment on from experience (15 years as a radio sportscaster) when you are interviewing someone who isn't put in front of the media on a daily basis and ask them a question that they weren't expecting, they certainly won't stop and run through a long list of potential answers and the ramifications of how others might perceive that answer, but they'll simply tell you what they think. Trevor Henry says for him, Mark McDonald is the best. That's his opinion and as a veteran driver with a ton of experience, who should accept that as a well informed opinion.

April 2, 2011 - 9:09 amOpinion stated and

Rick Bossie SAID...

Opinion stated and heard.
Please - everyone keep in mind that it was a question asked to Trevor, and one that he gave his opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Personally I think Trevor showed a tremendous amount of class and humbleness by stating he thought Mark is the best. Shannon, you made the statement that is so true with regards to a driver's accomplishments. We can not just look at the stats to determine the success of a driver. Yes, this is all the general public has to go on. But, we also know that there is far more to driving horses than being a fast passenger behind one. Horsemanship, respect among your peers, respect within the industry, and an overall drive to win. This was just Trevor's opinion, I feel he is a very humble horseman and should be very proud of the accomplishments he has achieved and is very well deserving of this title. He continually shows up to race some of the cheapest horses in Ontario right across the board, and does so with determination and integrity. If there is a major "B" class event in Ontario, you can be sure Trevor will be there. His history in our sport dates back generations in his family. Trevor, perhaps lady-luck was on your side for this one, but I am sure you would agree there have been many cases in the past where you were deserving of a certain prize and were "robbed" of it because of the "lady". This one went your way, and for that I congratulate you and wish you continued success.

April 2, 2011 - 8:00 amJoe FitzGerald Why do these

Joe FitzGerald

Why do these people keep making Mark MacDonald look like a fool? Obviously he isn't in the conversation when discussing the best driver in North America, but between his father's sour grapes letter regarding what he perceived to be an O'Brien award snub and this nonsense from Henry, it's hard to separate Mark from the irrationality swirling around him.

April 1, 2011 - 11:22 pmThere is no doubt that like

Joe Riga SAID...

There is no doubt that like tbreds harness racing has a lot of great drivers both here and in the U.S. These guys can hold their own. I in no way meant for any of my comments to suggest that Mark McDonald or any other driver was a bad driver. Nor wre they meant to offend Trevon Henry (or his wife). I certainly respect Trevors high opinion of Mark and I think that it's great he feels that highly of Mark as both a person and a driver the person part being the more important of the two in my books. As i said I grew up a Doug Brown (and Sandy Hawley) fan. I had the pleasure of having a drink with Sandly at the Turf club and just as I always knew Sandy is a very friendly, very humble person. However, I also liked Ron Waples, Steve Condren, Mike Saftic,Paul McDonnell, Reggie Gassien,Tony Kerwood, Robin Platts, Jeff Fell etc.
Back then we didn't have the opportunities to see other tracks like we do today. The odd simulcast was a treat. It wasn't until simulcasting came along that we got to see the likes of Campbell, Pierce, Brennan, Manzi etc regularly.
Our sport has a lot of stars. I have no problem when someone thinks someone else is the number one guy. There certainly is a lot to choose from. I don't want this to be a bash Mark MacDonald piece simply because Trevor Henry gace an honest and perosnal opinion of him. This blog should not be about bashing Mark I like Mark. He is a really good driver and by all accounts a great guy and I certainly have no trouble wagering a few dollars on him. ( I could do much worse). I have bet Mark many times formerly at Windsor and now at Woodbine. He knows how to get a horse across the wire first and as I said beofre when his carrer is over and done with he may be mentioned as one of the sports greats. He's wll on his way. My opinion since I don't know drivers personally was based solely on stats and in my mind Campbell is at the top of the list. Ofocurse I slipped up in earlier posts because I forgot to mention a fellow named Lachance who ranks right up there.

Mark,Trevor Henry if you read this no offence intended.

April 1, 2011 - 10:50 pmsome of you people need to

alan guthrie SAID...

some of you people need to give credit where credit is due. For one driver(Trevor) to say what he did shows alot of class and I think he is absolutely correct. I'd like to see Sears come to Ontario and drive some of the crap Mark drives and do aswell. If he was a regular at the Big M, he'd be at the top there aswell. Also, Mark has more class in one fingure than Sears does all together. I had the opportunity to work for erv Miller and got to meet alot of these so-called TOP TALENT and other than his brother Andy, there is as much class as there would be in school at 3 in the morning. All round, these guys couldn't hold a candle to Mark or Trevor. Thats just another problem with this industry here. You guys and women who have never really met, got to know these guys or even sat behind a horse for that matter, keep praising these Americans that you know even less about. You're a Class act Trev as is Mark and the majority of the other drivers here in Ontario

April 1, 2011 - 5:56 pmMark,"RC" (Racecar)

Mark,"RC" (Racecar) Macdonald for the most part drives everything like they are Casie's.Pay attention to his stats outside of Casie. He leaves out and overdrives. He has more last place finishes for a supposed top driver than anyone else. Also Joe, nice of you to include Ron Waples Sr in your list. Ralph Hanover was a fifty claimer without the Bubble. Ronnie was one of the first guys who went 1st over in a creep.No one will ever dominate here like he did. When he left and went to Big M he was a major force

April 1, 2011 - 4:22 pmUsually when one gives an

Joe Riga SAID...

Usually when one gives an opinion about an athlete two main considerations come to mind. First usually are the stats, second is the time or generation. For example, I have read blogs on here from drivers no less, who have said that in their opinion Somebeachsomewhere is the greatest horse ever. Now as much as I think SBSW was great it's my humble opinion that the greatest harness horse ever title belongs to the mighty Niatross. now since they have never raced each other one could only speculate on what the outcome would be based on their on track accomplishments and then trying to compare them to this generation. Same with drivers. Brian Sears is a great driver andhas won many titles at the big M. These days most of the time he gets the beter of John Campbell. But how does he compare to Campbell in his prime? So we are left to judge based on what the record or stats show.Mark MacDonald, a many have alluded to is a very good and capable driver.No argument there. I have bet him many times and cashed a ticket (thank you Mark). But how does he, or Jody for that matter or any other young up and comer comapre to Douggie Brown. I was (am) a huge Doug Brown fan. Now it's obvious that Douggie is not what he once was (though he can still get them home when he really wants to). But when you compare records Douggie has a stellar record with many achievemants and Canadian titles not yet equalled.
When we make comparisons all we really have to go on are the stats. When we choose to ignore the stats thne it all becomes subjective, or perhaps more subjective because all opinions are subjective at the end of the day.
Therefore the only way to actually seperate is by using the stats. Now I agree Mark has a very impressive resume. And I don't argue that all else being equal he is a threat every time he races. But at then end of the day the stats speak the loudest and using that as the main criteria sorry trevor but it is John Campbell who is by far the best driver in NA.

Multiple North American Cups
Multiple Hambos
Multiple Jugs
Multpile Breeders Crown
Meadowlands Paces

and oh yeah in excess of $250,000,000.00 in purses.

Now cmon, do we really want to comapre????

April 1, 2011 - 3:43 pmMark is a very capable

John Turner SAID...

Mark is a very capable driver and has improved 100 percent from when I first started watching him in southern ont. He seemed to go to the front no matter what and now at weg I notice him driving each and every horse differnt, and second Trevor Henry is without a doubt the best half mile driver in Ontario and I personally believe he would be in the top three if he were ever to go to Yonkers full time

April 1, 2011 - 3:16 pmA very interesting topic. I

A very interesting topic. I am enjoying the read! I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions.

By the by,I really enjoyed watching the Ont.championship(driving) from Western Fair on Wed.

Congratulations to both Jody & Trevor on their accomplishments & Good Luck in May.

April 1, 2011 - 3:11 pmWhen one is asked for an

When one is asked for an opinion, it is your opinion you give, not what other people think or even what the stats say for that matter. Mark can play the game where ever he goes and is always a threat. He has accomplished many milestone's for his age. Perhaps we have different opinions of what the greatest drivers are but, it is just that an opinion..

April 1, 2011 - 2:33 pmMrs. Henry Thank you for

Joe Riga SAID...

Mrs. Henry
Thank you for your comments. I meant no disrespect to your husband nor to Mark MacDonald, who I did say I happen to believe is a very good driver. Unfortunately your husband made a very general statement (and perhaps Standardbred Canada chose only to highlight the "best in NA by far" part).

I respect your husbands opinion and I respect how he comes to that opinion. However Maam, to the people like me, and maam I have been watching racing for 35 years, who have no personal ties to drivers we can only judge them based on what they have done on the track. We have not met them neither on the way up nor on the way down. Your husband say he is the best he has ever "driven" against therefore I as any normal person would percieve that to mean that Trevor is referring to the other drivers driving abilities.

Now like I said, I mean no disrespect to your husband nor to Mark. But maam I am sure that if you took a large poll of knowledgeable horsepeople and asked them who the best drivers in North America are (not who the friendliest or nicest driver is) I am sure, in fact being the bettor that I am I would wager maam that names like Campbell, Sears, Peirce, Palone, Brown, Waples, Tetrick would probably come in higher than Marks.

Again, no disrespect to Mark. I like him and think he is a fine driver and quite possibly one day will be named among the greats. But at this point in time, sorry but not the best in NA.

No disrespect mark if you should happen to read this and no disrespect Trevor. Simply stating my humble opinion.

April 1, 2011 - 2:26 pmI am not going to get into a

John Carter SAID...

I am not going to get into a debate as to where Mark fits when it comes to the greatest drivers of all time when compared to Campbell, Sears or Brown but with all due respect to Shannon Henry the greatest driver off all time will be judged so by his accomplishments on the track not by how nice a guy they are. We all respect people who are respectful and humble and who have not forgotten where they came from but like it or not those qualities may make you a great guy but they do not make you the greatest driver of all time.

April 1, 2011 - 1:55 pmWith all due respect to you

With all due respect to you Mr. Joe Riga. My husband Trevor has driven along side "ALL" of the named driver's you have mentioned and in his opinion "Mark MacDonald " is the "Greatest Driver" of all time. The greatest driver's Sir are not just based on how they drive a horse or how they hit the board every night. Mark MacDonald has never forgotten where he started and how he has gotten to where he is today. Mark MacDonald, Sir has won some major races and money, but yet has never forgotten that "You will meet the same people on the way back down as you did on the way up." We do have great respect for the above mentioned driver's and in Trevor's opinion, Mark is the best....

April 1, 2011 - 12:26 pmWith all due respect to Mark

Joe Riga SAID...

With all due respect to Mark McDonald (who I happen to like and think is a really good driver) I guess Henry has never dirven against a couple of guys named, Campbell, Sears, Pierce, Miller, Miller, Doug Brown, Palone,Tetrick Ron Waples Sr.,

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