Borth Best In Ontario Regional Driving Championship

Iam What I Am
Published: April 23, 2024 02:00 pm EDT

In his first Regional Driving Championship appearance, Tyler Borth showed he's a main event player with a victory in the 2024 Ontario Regional Driving Championship (ORDC) on Tuesday, April 23 at The Raceway at the Western Fair District in London, Ont.

Borth's 71 points topped the standings, with James MacDonald (59) finishing second. Those two drivers advance to the 2024 National Driving Championship at Hippodrome 3R in Trois-Rivieres, Que. on Friday, July 5. 

In his eight driving assignments on Tuesday, Borth won two and finished in the top pair five times. MacDonald (two) was the only other driver with multiple ORDC leg wins. 

Borth's victories came in the third leg courtesy 10-year-old veteran pacer Devils Peak (1:59.1; $8.70) and in the fifth leg aboard nine-year-old trotter Iam What I Am (1:59.2; $12.20, pictured above). Despite leading the competition from the second ORDC leg onward, Borth did not drive a pari-mutuel favourite during the competition.

"Going into the last race, I didn't really know where the standings were at," Borth noted after his ORDC victory. "A couple of people told me I had it all wrapped up, but I thought I had a good shot. I thought the race would set up the way it set up, and I figured if I got away in the two hole that I would finish second and then that would wrap it up."

Western Fair's Driver of the Year the past two seasons, Tyler Borth came into 2024 off his best year in the business with 414 victories and more than $4.3 million in earnings in 2023. The Ingersoll, Ont. resident, a winner of the Future Star Award at the 2014 O'Brien Awards, has also made a dent in the driver's standings at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where he currently sits fifth overall.

Heading into the 2024 ORDC, Borth ranked second in the nation in driving wins — just how he finished 2023 — with 114, while his $1.25 million in purses place him in third among Canadian drivers.

"I've gone so far in my career very fast lately, and it just seems to be going up and up for me," said the modest horseman after his victory. "It's surprising, you know? I never thought it would go as fast as it has."

James MacDonald, voted the Keith Waples Driver of the Year as Canada's top teamster for the past three seasons, is no stranger to these competitions having successfully represented Canada as the 2017 World Driving Champion.

"Everyone drives so hard and it's always great to come out and be one of the ones to advance," added MacDonald. "It's a lot of luck and a lot of [having] the horses showing up to play for you that night. I've won these, I finished last in these so just to move on I'm really happy, and really happy for Tyler. He did a great job."

Ontario Regional Driving Championship winners presentation

(Left to right: Standardbred Canada President & CEO Darryl Kaplan, Standardbred Canada Director Mark Horner, James MacDonald, Tyler Borth, Standardbred Canada Director Bill O'Donnell and Western Fair's Director of Equine Programming Greg Blanchard.)

Here's how the action transpired throughout the night.

ORDC Leg 1:

James MacDonald delivered with 1-2 choice Marilyn in first leg of the Ontario Regional Driving Championship, cruising to a three-length score in a $6,500 event for $8,000 claiming fillies and mares.  MacDonald came first up on drawn-in also eligible Larjon Lightspeed (Travis Cullen) approaching the third quarter and easily cleared that rival for the 1:58.4 decision. Velocity Impetuous finished second for driver Tyler Borth with Minnie Million (Garrett Rooney) best of the rest in third.

ORDC Leg 2:

The public had it right in the second leg of Ontario Regional Driving Championship as Bob McClure guided 2-5 choice Payne For Pres to victory. Payne For Pres cleared to the top after a :28.2 opening split. After pressure from General Lee (Louis-Philippe Roy) through middle fractions of :58 and 1:27.3, the flashy veteran stayed strong on top and pulled away for the 1:59.1 score. Pocket-sitter Phone In (Tyler Borth) held off a resolute General Lee for second.

ORDC Leg 3:

Devils Peak broke the parade of favourites in the third ORDC dash of the card, connecting at 3-1 for driver Tyler Borth. A gate-to-wire win in 1:59.1, holding off favoured Favaro Seelster (James MacDonald) by a length, gave Borth his third top-two finish in as many races. Malvolio (Roy) rounded out the top trio.

ORDC Leg 4:

Heavy Dude E has never been better than he was on Tuesday night, winning gate-to-wire in a lifetime best 1:58.2 to give Garrett Rooney his first win in ORDC action. Heavy Dude E was three lengths better than Monteverdi (James MacDonald) with Rose Run Why Note (Trevor Henry) holding off The Boss Man (Roy) for third.

ORDC Leg 5:

A patient steer and perfect placement from Tyler Borth provided Iam What Iam with an open length romp in the fifth ORDC leg. After Daylon Midnight (Trevor Henry) carved out fast fractions of :29.1, :59.1 and 1:28.4, the gas tank for that trotter came up empty around that third station. Borth popped the pocket at that third panel to trot right on by and win for fun. The win time was 1:59.2, with Kilmartin Dreamer (Travis Henry) and R J Hooker (Roy) completing the top trio. Borth picked up his second win of the competition to pass his lead before sitting out the sixth leg.

ORDC Leg 6:

Full marks to post seven starter Del Diggity for lasting throughout the mile on the outside for driver Brett MacDonald to hang around in a photo finish for win. In a thrilling finish, however, Louis-Philippe Roy found room for favoured Shady Memories to get up in the final strides of a 1:58.1 nailbiter. Kiss It Better closed from last for Bob McClure to just miss the top pair and nab show dough.

ORDC Leg 7:

With 50-1 shot Muscles Aplenty forwardly placed and doing the work on the front end for points leader Tyler Borth, favoured Piercewave Hanover was able to pounce from second-over for driver Brett MacDonald -- who did a great job holding the trotter together around the final turn to recompose in the stretch and pull away for the 1:59.4 tally. Playfull Elegance (McClure) and Lions Wish NL (Roy) completed the top trio.

ORDC Leg 8:

James MacDonald needed points to stay alive in the ORDC, and he got them in a big way by the slightest of margins. Stacked up third over at the half, MacDonald launched Rye N Clyne four-wide around the far turn after following the three-wide cover of Township Willy (Bob McClure). Those two pacers appeared to hit the wire together, with the photo finish cameras giving the nod to Rye N Clyne. Pacesetter Matts Tuition (Brett MacDonald) stayed for third, setting up a very crucial final leg.

ORDC Leg 9:

Highway Vagabond was never better than he was on Tuesday night for first-time driver Travis Henry, as the duo romped to an easy 1:57.3 lifetime best mile to conclude the ORDC competition. Master Fencer (Borth) sat a loose pocket the entire mile and stayed for second with So Strange (Brett MacDonald) closing well for third. Purrfectly Blue (Cullen) and TJ Spitfire (Roy) completed the top five finishers.

The final ORDC leaderboard is as follows:

  1. Tyler Borth - 71
  2. James MacDonald - 59
  3. Louis-Philippe Roy - 56
  4. Bob McClure - 53
  5. Brett MacDonald - 52
  6. Travis Henry - 42
  7. Garrett Rooney - 38
  8. Trevor Henry - 31
  9. Travis Cullen - 25

To view Tuesday’s results, click on the following link: The Raceway at Western Fair District - Tuesday Results.



The Regional Driving Championships and the National Driving Championship will adapt the point system utilized in the World Driving Championship. Points will be awarded on the order of finish as follows:

Number of Starters: 8

15 points (1st), 10 (2), 7 (3), 5 (4), 4 (5), 3 (6), 2 (7), 1 (8)

Number of Starters: 7

14 points (1st), 9 (2), 6 (3), 4 (4), 3 (5), 2 (6), 1 (7)

In the event of a scratch, the driving rep drawn to a horse shall drive the ‘also eligible’ horse.

In the event of a horse being scratched or where no horse is available, five points shall be awarded to the driver concerned. If a horse is disqualified or a horse and driver fail to complete the race, they will receive one point.

In the event of a dead heat for any placing in any race the points for the horses involved will be added together and divided equally among the drivers concerned (eg. If there’s a dead heat for third between two horses, the points for third and fourth place will be added and divided among the drivers).

(Standardbred Canada)

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