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McNair Vs. Forward In WFR Race

Published: June 28, 2009 2:42 pm ET

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An action packed six months at Western Fair Raceway concludes on June 30 and as the track’s traditional Summer hiatus arrives for July, August and September two men have separated themselves from the field in the London track’s annual top driver category.

When racing resumes on October 2, it’s highly likely the battle between 38-year-old Brad Forward and 19-year-old Doug McNair will heat up all over again. Forward will take a 20 win lead over McNair into the 2009 Fall Meet.

“Really, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year, my first full calendar year driving,” McNair says. “It’s just a real honour to be sitting second in the Western Fair standings behind the guy that represented Canada in the World Driving Championships. My goal for 2009 at all Ontario tracks is to get to 300 wins, and somewhere between half and two-thirds of that total will be in London, that’s the goal anyways.”

With just the Monday and Tuesday afternoon programs remaining before the three month pause in the action, Forward is atop the track’s 2009 drivers’ standings with 130 wins for over $977,000 in purses. McNair stands at 110 wins for almost three quarters of a million dollars in purse earnings.

McNair also has high praise for fellow driver Matt Kakaley. That Ohio based 21-year-old reinsman is set to become the youngest driver in history to win 1,000 races. McNair’s first win wasn’t that long ago, in February of 2008 at Western Fair with pacing filly Eagle Kay.

“Just running the numbers I think it’d be a longshot for me to reach what Matt has done,” McNair says. “I’ll turn 20 in the final week of December and if all goes really well for the rest of this year I’ll still only be at about 400 wins lifetime. It would be very doubtful that I could suddenly win 600 races from December, 2009 through December of 2010 and my hat’s off to Matt for what he’s accomplished.”

For his part, Brad Forward is in search of his third driving title in London. He edged Trevor Henry for the crown in 2006 and topped the standings in 2008.

"Geez, that kid is only half my age, but yes I'm well aware of what Doug is doing," Forward says. "Since he started, I've said all along he's got what it takes. I wish he wasn't creeping up on me so fast."

The leading trainers’ chart at Western Fair for 2009 is anybody’s race after six months of competition. Dan Creighton, Casie Coleman, Dean Wall, Wayne Preszcator, Alan Fair, Walter Whelan and Paul Taylor are all in a group with between 18 and 20 London wins this year.

Meet Ends With ‘Twoonie Tuesday’

The final program of the current meet on Tuesday afternoon, June 30 is at 3:35 p.m. with $2 theme for the London on-track crowd.

A free $2 betting voucher is offered with the race program coupon along with $2 snack bar specials. Random prize giveaways will be offered throughout the program and double bonus points will be offered on the Tuesday card for the Western Fair Players Reward Club members.

The 2009 Fall Meet in London convenes on October 2 with four live programs per week in the October through December period. Along with the Ontario Sires Stakes and the Middlesex County Series, the inaugural Forest City Mares Open Pace is eagerly anticipated. A star studded list of 36 of the sport’s top distaffers has been nominated for the event, which will see the eliminations go postward on October 10 and the $150,000 added final turn to the gate on October 17.

(Western Fair Raceway)

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