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MacDonald's 'Treasured' Motivation

Published: June 27, 2016 10:10 am ET

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"Even though I was at a point where I couldn't attend the races, I could see them on TV. It meant a lot to me to have that to look forward to. So I always felt he provided normalcy to my life at a time when I needed it, so we turned down the offer, and made the decision to keep him, and it turned out to be the right decision."

When State Treasurer heads postward this Saturday in what many consider to be the most anticipated race of 2016 -- the Ben Franklin Final at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono -- he'll do so looking to knock off the three hottest open pacers on the planet: Always B Miki, Freaky Feet Pete and Wiggle It Jiggleit. But for co-owner Sally MacDonald of P.E.I., her horse has already helped provide a championship moment bigger than any stakes win.

MacDonald and State Treasurer first crossed paths in 2010. The previous year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had just received a clean bill of health when the Real Desire yearling was purchased in Harrisburg.

Three years later, with a four-year-old State Treasurer racing in the older ranks, MacDonald learned that the cancer had returned: this time to her bones. An ardous schedule of medication and treatment followed for the next six months, with motivation provided by her valiant racehorse.

"It gave me the distraction I needed to focus on something other than the treatments," MacDonald explained to CBC. "That's the way I looked at it. It gave me something to really look forward to, watching him and the way he raced and overcome his challenges of bad post positions, and that sort of thing, it just made me as determined to fight this."

She was able to conquer the cancer, in much the same fashion as State Treasurer was able to conquer his competition. And MacDonald followed her prized pupil to tracks all across North America, picking up a plethora of stakes wins over the past three seasons of open competition. The 2015 season was especially rewarding as State Treasurer's campaign garnered him Older Pacing Horse Honours on both sides of the border and Horse of the Year honours in Canada.

"We knew early on that he was a special horse. He's a once-in-a-lifetime horse and we're just so lucky to have him," she said. "He's taken us to so many places that we never would have been to normally, and we've met so many people and I just can't say enough about him."

The draw for the $500,000 Ben Franklin Final will take place Monday morning. State Treasurer's next paycheque will put him over $2 million in lifetime earnings. He finished second to Wiggle It Jiggleit in the first Franklin elim this past weekend.

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