Brown Surprised By Battle Spotlight

Published: May 17, 2017 11:12 pm EDT

Not much would rattle a seven-time O'Brien Award winner, but even a veteran like driver Doug Brown admits he's a bit "overwhelmed" by all the attention he and brother Gord are getting heading into Sunday's Brown Vs. Brown Driver Feature Night at Rideau Carleton Raceway.

"I'm kind of overwhelmed by it! I thought it was just going to be a little thing that Rideau was going to do when they called me about it," Brown told Trot Insider, "more for Gord than it was me. Good idea...but I can't believe all the people that have been talking about it. I never thought it would be getting this big."

The careers of champion Standardbred harness drivers Doug Brown and Gord Brown will be celebrated at Rideau Carleton on Sunday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. The recently-retired Gord will square off against his older brother and Hall Of Famer, Doug in an eight-race head-to-head driver challenge as part of the Sunday evening program of harness racing.

Doug recalls first getting the call regarding the idea late last year, but didn't know he'd be playing such an integral part in the evening.

"I was pretty shocked when I was involved...I thought it would just be a night for him."

Shock and surprise seems to be part and parcel with this topic in general. The initial shock came when Doug found out that his younger brother was in fact hanging up the silks.

"I was very, very surprised. He's five or six years younger than me for one thing. I hadn't talked to him for a while...he's down Brighton-Colborne way and me being up here we don't get together very often so I was quite shocked when that came out."

Between them, the Browns have won an astounding 12,400 races and over $110 million in purses, and the duo have an opportunity to add to those totals on Sunday. Doug is looking forward to the event for both him and his soon-to-be-officially retired brother.

"I just hope the night works out good for both of us and everybody involved. It should be a very good night. I'm glad for him."

Clearly the experience in driving over the five-eighths mile surface in Ottawa rests with Gord. Doug's memories and experience at Rideau Carleton consist mainly of stakes races the likes of the Ontario Sires Stakes, the Des Smith and Frank Ryan.

"Raced a lot of Sires Stakes horses there and in the two signature races as well...they were big nights for them. Raced a lot for Stew Firlotte, brings back a lot of nice memories. And of course, I raced a few of my own in the Sires Stakes.

"I think one of the first I raced there was Twin B Playboy, he was a really nice colt. We won a Sires Stake down there with him."

Given its decentralized position to the hub of harness racing in southwestern Ontario, Brown gives credit to the track owners, management and area horsemen for surviving in this ever-evolving racing-gaming landscape.

"They've done a really good job keeping it going, that's one thing I have to give them a lot of credit for," said Brown. "The owner of the track, I must say he's done a very good job just trying to keep it going and keep their head above water.

"There are a lot of really good horsemen down that way and for them to have to travel to race it's a long haul for them to go anywhere so I give them a lot of credit for keeping it going."

Gord, 55, and Doug, 60, will sign autographed personalized hats and will be available for photo opportunities with racing fans before the 10-race program begins at Rideau on Sunday, May 21.

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