MacDonell Ripped By Swedish Media

Published: June 13, 2011 04:11 pm EDT

Paul MacDonnell, widely considered one of Canada's classiest and most respectful drivers and horsemen, has come under attack by Swedish journalist

Robert Taft after the 2011 Elitlopp.

After finishing fourth with Define The World in his Elitlopp elimination but disqualified for causing interference in the stretch, Taft wrote the following for his column on the ATG website.

"Paul MacDonell (Define The World) once again proved that he doesn't have much respect for rules or common courtesies when he drives in a race. He committed two infractions during the first elimination for the Elitloppet. He was fined a whole bunch of money and, worst of all, was disqualified from fourth place and could not compete in the Final. Pity."

Taft, whose column also tore a strip off Joakim Lovgren - the driver of eventual winner Brioni - further criticized Canada's 2008 O'Brien Award winning driver by describing his tactics as displaying "stupidity and [a] lack of courtesy."

“I was extremely disappointed to learn about the comments made about me by the Swedish press," MacDonell told Trot Insider. " I have been involved in the harness racing industry for my entire life. I have the utmost respect for all aspects of the business. I was truly honoured to participate in the Elitloppet 2011 in Sweden and personally regret the outcome of the race."

MacDonell has won 4,831 races lifetime and is one of 12 drivers in harness racing history with more $100 million in career earnings.



C.Renon Mr. Guthrie, i most certainly am for real! If you read my post surely you could understand the meaning? I did not and was not putting Paul MacDonell or his drive down in any way shape or form,clearly you understood that right? In essence what i said the people that do the articles and interviews should write and ask the hard questions that the fans want answers to. Would you not want to know why driver ABC boxed in a 2/5 favorite and what was his reasoning for doing so?

This story is ridiculous. In fact it's beyond ridiculous.At first I did not want to comment because this story doesn't even deserve a response. But wat can I say. I couldn't resist. Paul MacDonell has won numerous Breeders Crown Stakes, the Metro Pace, The North America Cup and many other high level stakes races to go along with the thousands of other races he has won and man other races which has not won. Most of them however were without incident. Now I will readily admit that as a bettor and fan it is human nature to second guess a drivers strategy. That's normal. But to go off on some crazy tangent as this reporter has done is ludicrous. Many of the sports top jockeys in the world,Sandy Hawley, Jerry Bailey, the Shoe etc etc. have been given days for riding infractions. Does this mean they were bad riders?Last I checked they were all hall of farmers as Mr. MacDonell will one day sure be if he isn't already.

I did not see the race Mr. Taft writes about and I am not saying Paul made a driving mistake. But even if he did. So what. It's a horse race and these animals weigh thousands of pounds and are very strong. Most times they will go wherever they want to. I remember when Paul MacDonell lost the Meadowlands Pace with the Beach. It was my opinion that Paul made a tactical error by swinging the horse three wide around the 3/4 before he actually had to.(just my opinion). After the race in what was undoubtedly one of the most disappointing moments in his career, not an hour later but minutes later Paul had the class to give an interview and give his views on the race. You could see and feel the emotion in his voice and yet he was all class and was willing to talk about it for the sake of the sport and for the fans who wanted to hear what he had to say. Now that was all class.

Mr. Taft should write about that.

Mr. Taft

I received your the 25 cents next time.... Reviewing the last corner several times …take a close look at the 2 horse going around the last corner, he is on one line…now look at the 2 horse coming off the corner…he has straightened up but his wheel is inside MacDonell’s wheel… the 2 horse’s chin… it makes a move to the inside as MacDonell put the whip on his horse… it was close….but is not entirely MacDonell’s fault.

Login onto Standardbred Canada and view the comments…I'm not alone here…your column lacks the positive, which the industry needs….but it has worked for the benefit of harness racing fans, drivers, trainers and owners in Ontario…

Your rudeness has brought us closer…..I guess I should thank you....

Paul MacDonell is a gentleman in all ways

Let me start of by saying that Paul MacDonell is a top driver and has always come across as a class act and if i owned horses i would not hesitate to use him. Standardbred Canada did the exact right thing by posting this story. I have often ripped them for being to quick to edit or to just not post people's comments. That at times it seems they want everything sugarcoated and they don't want to see different sides of the issues. That they keep blinders on like to many in this industry. How many people got to read this fools article is more then i would know but by standardbred canada doing the right thing and posting it, it allows people in north america to counter his views and point out the way we see MacDonell and this site is read by many in the industry.

I'm not sure who has disappointed me the most...this tool Taft who wrote the article or SC for publishing it?! Why would you supply this moron with a soapbox? Common sense would have been to not put this on your website, let alone front page with a really nice pic of Paul! Give your head a shake:0/

This is how things work. The story is now about the story. Written by a third rate hack probably having very few followers who actually read him and now because of it being re-printed here will probably be the most read article he has written.
Turn the page, Paul Mac needs no lessons in how to purport himself as a driver, trainer and ambassador of this sport. His skill, records and accomplishments speak volumes. We don't need lectures from a writer with whom facts and truth never get in the way of telling the story he wants to tell.
As racing is so popular in Sweden there is a ton of media and much like here some good, some bad, some worth a bathroom read and others just for use there.

C.Renon A bit of a fresh breath finally someone willing to write something that is not all fluff or sugar coated! I have never met Mr. MacDonell so i can not comment but it would be great to see in interviews here something that is not sugar coated, hold drivers and trainers accountable for their horse's performance or ask the driver why he drove the way he did!

I wouldn't take much of what this guy says to heart. It looks like he took a shot at everyone including the fans/bettors. :) Drive on Mac you're one of the best.

It is patently obvious - has been for many years - that Canadian harness scribes are the ONLY ones worth reading. "Whole bunch of money"? That is pitifully poor prose, and also reflects a probable inability to convert SEK to CAD! (BTW: 1,000 SEK Bananas = 158 CAD Bananas).

Why do so many members of the Press spend so much of their time and energy ... devaluing the people that gave them ink? Go get 'em Paul!

Paul is one of the classiest drivers out there, Dont worry what they said over there Mac. Over here U are one heck of a driver and a stand up Person.....

Misguided comments for sure. But why so few of them? At least it happens in Sweden. Follow the Cup finals and the mainstream dissection going on all week. It's all included, character attacks, misplays, hidden injuries, and so forth.

The sport really needs more of the "back and forth" with particpants quite willing to fire back in the mainstream loop to set it up for the following week.

The comments about Paul are laughable from this side of the pond. Nevertheless it also demonstrates the lack of analytical coverage this sport really needs.

We had the pleasure of having Paul drive for us while racing in Canada, and I never met a more professional driver in my 30 years of horse ownership. Any track, any Country would be a better place having his services. Mr. Taft would be well served to watch not just a single race or two, to judge a driver, but should look at what an outstanding career Paul has compiled.

Edward Sayfie

In reply to by trotter

It is very obvious while reviewing other commentary that Paul MacDonnell is held in high regard by drivers, trainers, owners, grooms and fans of harness racing. Paul has always exuded class, dignity and respect both on and off the track. He is an exemplary role model for all of us and it is regrettable that Robert Taft would use incinerary language when writing about Paul.

I have contacted Mr.Taft and expressed my disappointment regarding his caustic reflections about one of Canada's best..... Paul MacDonnell !

Hector Clouthier

I would like to point out that Robert Taft is an American writing a column for the English version of the ATG site. So I wouldn't describe it as "Swedish media". It's one dude.. and he isn't Swedish.

Seems quite obvious that Mr Taft is somewhat of a "shock jock". I believe he has accomplished just what he wants and that's to be talked about.
Mac is a class act and we all know that.
Doug McIntosh

Larry Resnitzky

Paul MacDonell continues to be among the best that harness racing has to offer-in character,skill level and performance as a driver. If anything, Taft's personal comments about MacDonell bring into question Taft's ability to pass judgement and are not likely a reflection of Sweden's overall opinion on MacDonell. Paul's driving style and respect for the horse, owner and fan would fit in well with most Swedes' overall approaches to the sport.

I have driven in a lot of races with Mac he has also driven a lot of races for me he is a classy a guy as you ever going to find. Sweedes always think they are better than everybody, it have always been that way.

per henriksen

Paul is an outstanding driver and would never do anything on purpose. Perhaps there are some unspoken rules in Sweden regarding the way you drive, but how would they expect anyone from another country to know those unspoken rules.

Don't worry Paul. You are one of the best in my book.

I sent Mr. Taft my opinion of his article. Paul is one of the good guys in our sport and his "judgement" of Paul is way offside, in my opinion!!

I guess Mr. Taft has driven alot of races to be so knowledgable about racing horses. I watched this race and I did see what they termed interference. I could not tell if Paul pulled out and the other horse hit the bike or what, it doesn't matter, Paul is one of the best and whatever happened it was an accident.

Stan Livingston