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Standardbreds Flood Qualifying Sessions

Published: May 30, 2020 6:20 pm ET

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If there was a record prior to May 30, 2020 for the number of horses qualifying on a single day in North America, that record would have most assuredly been smashed today.

The number of horses entered to qualify in North America today alone surpassed 740 total entries.

Six Canadian racetracks conducted qualifiers on Saturday (May 30) with five of them qualifying for the first time since the harness racing industry was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stateside, three major tracks and two fair hosted qualifying sessions with The Meadowlands carding a whopping 26 qualifying events.

Exhibition Park Raceway hosted its first card of qualifiers for 2020 on Saturday, with a total of seven dashes carded. The star of the show on a sloppy Saturday morning was driver John Davidson Sr., who captured five of the seven races and five of the six dashes in which he competed. His fifth win came in the final qualifier of the morning aboard regular Winners Over competitor Union Man Hanover, a wire-to-wire winner in 2:04.3 on a track with a five-second variant.

Exhibition Park kicks off its 2020 meet with live racing next Saturday, June 6.

To view the results from Saturday's qualifiers at Exhibition Park, click here.

Also preparing for the 2020 season was Georgian Downs with six Saturday qualifiers contested. Trainees from the Patrick Shepherd stable won half the card, including the fastest dash of the morning in the first race of the day. In a battle of royalty, 2019 Gold Cup Saucer trial winner Sir Pugsley (Austin Sorrie) got up by a neck over Sir Galahad (Don Johnson) to win his second test of the season in a time of 1:56.4.

Georgian Downs' first card of the season is set for Saturday, June 6.

For results from Saturday's qualifiers at Georgian Downs, click here.

Hanover Raceway hosted its first qualifying card of 2020 with seven dashes. Doing his part to employ physical distancing was driver Scott Young aboard Mach Code, as the duo captured the fastest qualifier of the morning in 1:58.4 with a 18-length margin of victory. An eight-year-old gelded son of Mach Three - Early Dismissal, Mach Code is owned by trainer Jeff Thomson along with Lori Thomson of nearby Chesley, Ont.

Hanover hosts its first card of 2020 next Saturday, June 6, shifting to its time slot with afternoon racing.

To view the results from Saturday's qualifiers at Hanover Raceway, click here.

Staying close to Lake Huron, Hiawatha Horse Park kicked off the 2020 harness racing season with eight qualifiers on Saturday morning. Peter Core picked up a training / driving hat-trick on Saturday, saying cheese with a pair of pacers by Betterthancheddar -- Magnolia Moonstone (2:03.1) and Cheddar Bay (2:00) -- before capping the card with a win aboard trotting filly No Angel Here in a time of 2:07.

For the results from Saturday's qualifiers at Hiawatha Horse Park, click here.

Hiawatha Horse Park kicks off its 2020 meet with live racing one week from today on Saturday, June 6.

From the shores of Lake Huron to Ontario's cottage country, Kawartha Downs carded nine qualifiers for its first on-track activity of the season. Driver Nick Boyd book-ended the card with the two fastest miles of the session, kicking off the day with a 1:57.1 win aboard Mighty Mach and closing the qualifiers with a 1:54.2 mile courtesy pacing mare Sly Eleanor N over a track with a three-second variant.

Kawartha Downs will also start the 2020 season on Saturday, June 6 with its first live race card of the year.

To view the results from Saturday's qualifiers at Kawartha Downs, click here.

In Prince Edward Island at Red Shores Racetrack & Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park, 10 qualifiers were carded on Saturday morning. New to the Island is former Ontario competitor Dreamfair Zenfire, and she looks to be a force in the fillies and mares ranks after a wire-to-wire 1:57.3 score for trainer-driver Marc Campbell with a win margin of more than eight lengths.

Red Shores Charlottetown will welcome back live harness racing as the first Canadian racetrack to return from the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, June 4.

For the results from Saturday's qualifiers at Charlottetown Driving Park, click here.


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