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MacDonald On His Hiatus From Racing

Published: June 17, 2012 7:54 pm ET

Last Comment: June 24, 2012 5:48 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

It was right around this time in 2010 when Mark MacDonald urged Sportswriter to victory in the 27th edition of the Pepsi North America Cup. Two years later, after having endured significant injuries and the gruelling climb back, the pilot is now plying his trade stateside. He has recently opened up about his lengthy absence from the bike, his move to the U.S. and the state of the Ontario racing industry.

MacDonald noted that while his decision to move to U.S. appears to have happened at a good time with the uncertainties facing the Ontario horse racing industry after the provincial Liberal government announced it's decision to end the Slots At Racetracks program next year, relocating has been something he had planned on doing for awhile.

"It was something I was wanting to do for a couple of years," said MacDonald during an interview with Jason Settlemoir on the June 13 episode of Inside Harness Racing. "I was thinking about doing it last year, and then I got injured in May, so it kind of put me on the sidelines. It has been something I've talked about doing and it just kind of worked out that way. Hopefully everything sorts itself out in [Ontario], but you never know."

MacDonald was involved in a racing accident at Mohawk Racetrack on May 26, 2011 suffering extensive injures, which included a broken shoulder, hip, and tear in his spleen. He also broke every bone in his face, including his right cheekbone and his jaw in five places, which required a plate and eight screws to mend. However, it was post-concussion syndrome that was the most difficult to overcome.

"Originally, I was out about a month and a half," said the 33-year-old reinsman. "I came back a little too soon, because I really had post-concussion syndrome. I was dealing with vertigo -- BPPV, it was called. It was a type of vertigo where I was getting motion sickness. I raced in the Breeders Crowns, but I probably shouldn't have been racing. I was really sick. I was sick every morning. I was sick driving to the track in the car. They were giving me CAT scans and I had bruising on my brain. Anyone that's ever had a concussion [know that] it's tough. If you have a broken arm they tell you that it's going to heal, but this wouldn't heal, so it was just about four months after that."

Inside Harness Racing - June 13 (MacDonald segment begins at 18:35)

Since his return earlier this year stateside, MacDonald has inched closer to the 5,000 career win mark. His 53 victories so far in 2012 leaves him just 19 away from the milestone.

"It's been pretty good," said the two-time O'Brien Award winner. "I'm enjoying it, I'm enjoying racing at Yonkers and coming to Tioga and all the different tracks around New York and New Jersey. It's been fun."

June 24, 2012 - 5:48 pmGreat job last night with

Paul Wilkie SAID...

Great job last night with Bolt The Duer. I wish you were getting some better horses to drive; but that will come soon I am sure. Miss you in Toronto but I do follow you in Yonkers. Hope to see you at Old home week.

June 18, 2012 - 9:04 amI stream Yonker's live feed

Bob Boyd SAID...

I stream Yonker's live feed to my computer and have watched Mark and some great racing.
Your style of driving is fitting right in.
Wishing you continued success Mark!

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