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The Greatest Gold Cup & Saucer Ever

Published: April 11, 2020 10:29 pm ET

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On Saturday evening (April 11), members of Prince Edward Island’s harness racing industry hosted another episode of ‘Virtual Tack Room’, the fourth episode of a series created to bring some positivity to the world of harness racing during the dark days of racing.

Red Shores' Lee Drake & Peter MacPhee and race historian Jerry McCabe interviewed Earl Smith, Vance Cameron and Hon. Darlene Compton.

Longtime Maritime horseman Earl Smith took a trip down memory lane to the 2008 Gold Cup & Saucer where he drove his trainee Pownal Bay Matt to an upset victory.

“The horse was trained down and then sent to me, we finished training him and raced him a few times. He was a class horse - he had a lot of injuries but he was so classy that he came back from them all. Winning the Gold Cup & Saucer was a great feeling. It’s too bad that everyone in the business couldn’t experience what it feels like to win this race. It took me a while to get my wind after winning the race, it’s like winning the Stanley Cup or any other big league win, it’s something else.”

Voice of the Gold Cup & Saucer and track announcer Vance Cameron announced Earl Smith’s victory with Pownal Bay Matt in what he considers the greatest Gold Cup & Saucer of all time. The race was also voted as Canada's Best Race Call in 2019.

“I never go back and listen to my race calls again too often - in every Gold Cup & Saucer you’re going to get the ‘BOOM’ call and the “Over to the half” call but that day, going to the five-eighths and I saw Earl Smith was sitting third over and he looked to have lots of horse and then they’re going up the backside and you give the bridle to bridle - toe to toe call, I really thought when they rounded the turn and hit the seven-eights and you could see all nine horses, does it get any better than this? My race calls are not something that I plan but the race to me at that time because all the horses were so close, I had to come up with the greatest Gold Cup & Saucer of all time even without all the pageantry we usually have because we were racing in the afternoon.

“To see Earl Smith coming hard on the end of it when I’ve been an Earl Smith fan for a very long time, to see a guy that you have watched try to win this race so many times and then win is something else - because everyone who has grown up in the Maritimes or has anything to do with the Maritimes wants to win the Gold Cup & Saucer.”

Hon. Darlene Compton, Minister responsible for harness racing and Finance Minister for PEI discussed the current COVID-19 situation in Prince Edward Island noting that the situation is very surreal and stressed how important it is to follow protocols. Compton also discussed her introduction into the world of harness racing and what this industry means to her.

“I didn’t get to go to the CDP very much as a child but Pinette Raceway was where I really got the appreciation and love for harness racing. It’s carried with me my whole life and is still with me today. To be the Minister responsible for harness racing is a privilege and I am so thrilled to be able to do what I can for the industry as well as push the agenda for everyone involved in the business.

“My Grandfather was my first connection to the business - and he was quite the character. He never had a car but he always had a racehorse. So, on Saturday’s when they would have the races at Pinette my Grandfather would drive the horse to the track, race the horse, cool them down and then drive the horse back home. Those were my earliest memories of the harness racing industry and there are a lot of very good memories."

The episode of ‘Virtual Tack Room’ was produced by Universum Media and is available below.

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