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Mark MacDonald: ‘A Fantastic Horse'

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Published: May 24, 2009 10:29 am ET

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When you talk with driver Mark MacDonald about his mount for the 2009 Molson Pace final looming on Friday evening (May 29) at Western Fair Raceway , he’s finding it tough to speak much more than a sentence without using the word ‘fantastic’.

“The horse I’m driving, Clowns Smile, has matured into just a fantastic and top Free-For-All horse,” MacDonald says about the five-year-old Grinfromeartoear gelding. “He’s gotten over his past problems with the way he used to get hot. Now, I can ask him to race in any style that’s needed.”

Casie Coleman conditions the career winner of almost $400,000 for Kentucky owner Ellis Bryant Inc. of Louisville and Ontario owners Steve Calhoun and Mike Lindley of Chatham.

Track Records But No Molson Pace…Yet

The 30-year-old driver has compiled over 4,100 lifetime wins in the bike, and last Friday night at Western Fair he surpassed $50 million in career purse earnings. The London track holds special memories for MacDonald for several reasons.

“Shortly after I came from Prince Edward Island I got my first job in Ontario in Windsor but I wasn’t long realizing all the good that Western Fair could do for my career too,” he reflects. “It was a big stepping stone in my career and it’s always a pleasure to come back.”

Mark has been in the bike for three track records in London in recent years. These have been with older pacer Tigerama (1:50.4 - 2008), three-year-old pacing filly Chancey Lady (1:52.2 - 2008) and with older trotter R Devilish Dude (1:56.2 - 2007, since lowered to 1:56 by Brawn Seelster.)

“I’ve had two close calls with winning the Molson Pace,” Mark says. “In 2008 I had the beaten favourite Tigerama from out in post seven which did him in. In 2006 I thought I was home and cooled late in the stretch Dr No and then Our Lucky Killean came and got us in the last few yards. I really believe Clowns Smile is one of the top Free-For-All horses in the game right now. Maybe this will be my year to finally get that Molson Pace trophy I’ve been wanting so much.”

For the Molson Pace program at Western Fair, a month long Friday promotion of Ladies Nights will conclude and the first 500 entering the track will receive the limited edition Molson Pace souvenir glass with the race program coupon.

The total purses for the evening will surpass $500,000 again this year with an Ontario Sires Stakes three-year-old filly pace Gold Series final also scheduled. In that field will be the division's standouts including Arts Star, St Lads Popcorn, Northern Duchess and Not Enough will turn to the gate for a $130,000 purse.

Here is the field for the 37th edition of the Molson Pace:

$280,000 Molson Pace – Friday, May 29
1 Eagle Luck
2 Stormaway
3 Lyons Geoff
4 Clowns Smile
5 Foiled Again
6 Silent Swing
7 Lucky Man
8 Ramegade Bruiser

Through June, post time at Western Fair each Monday and Tuesday afternoon is at 3:35 p.m. and every Friday evening at 7:05 p.m.

(Western Fair Raceway)


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