Highland Tartan Triumphs In 'MacGregor'

Published: August 19, 2016 10:18 pm EDT

Highland Tartan and driver Jody Jamieson forged to the front off the gate and kept their rivals at bay en route to a 1:53.2 victory in the $30,000 James “Roach” MacGregor Memorial, a Gold Cup & Saucer consolation event, on Friday night (August 19) at Red Shores at Charlottetown Driving Park.

On the eve of the Gold Cup & Saucer, Jamieson left with Highland Tartan from post two and worked to clear insider Senior Market and Mike Whelan through a quarter in :27 flat. As they raced in front of the grandstand to the half in :56.2, Big Surf and Corey MacPherson then made their move and rushed up to confront the leaders, but couldn't get by and eventually dropped into a two-hole opening as Highland Tartan gained some separation from his foes and raced on to three-quarters in 1:24.3. He was untouchable the rest of the way and cruised home for the two-length victory in 1:53.2. Big Surf chased the winner in second while Mr Massimo and Brett MacDonald rallied wide down the backstretch from last and edged out co-favourite Dialamara and Jason Hughes for third. Senior Market completed the field.

"I didn't really think of a trip, I was just going to let the horse tell me what he is," said Jamieson in a post-race interview. "I was worried about Big Surf, I was really worried about Senior Market, but those horses had some health issues coming into the race as you know and it worked out. In the first turn, it looked like I could get around Mike and get to the lead fairly easy. I was worried about Corey attacking me at the quarter, but I was hoping he didn't and was able to settle in a little bit."

Jamieson had previously driven the winning five-year-old Major In Art gelding before back in Ontario for trainer/co-owner Marty Fine and Mary Clark's Highland Thoroughbred Farm. Highland Tartan finished sixth in his Gold Cup & Saucer trial, which was won by YS Lotus, but his victory tonight was a nice consolation for his connections.

"The horse was kind of an add-on into the trailer to come with Alexas Jackpot, his stablemate," noted Jamieson. "I don't think they had visions of racing against Go Daddy Go and YS Lotus, and even Alexas Jackpot -- he's not even in that calibre -- but definitely to win the consolation tonight, we're all very happy. The horse overachieved a little bit tonight. They always do that when they come here to the great island of P.E.I. and the CDP Red Shores right here."

Jamieson will drive Alexas Jackpot in Saturday's $60,000 Sobey's Gold Cup & Saucer as he looks to follow in his Hall of Fame father's footsteps and win Red Shores' signature race. His father Carl won the Gold Cup & Saucer in 2006 with Banner Yankee.

"There's actually one major race that eludes me that I really, really want bad and I drew the seven-hole tomorrow in the Gold Cup & Saucer right here at Charlottetown, so tomorrow's the day," said Jamieson. "I'm focusing all my efforts from the seven-hole in the last race tomorrow just before midnight right here in P.E.I. That's the one I want to win. It would be an unbelievable dream come true if I could get it done."

In other Friday harness racing action during the Red Shores double-header, a pair of $12,300 Gold divisions of the Lady Slipper Stakes were won by the late-closing three-year-old pacing fillies Proven To Be Bad and Scarlet Safari.

Proven To Be Bad tracked the cover of Southfield Sassy as that filly advanced from third down the backstretch the second time and confronted 1-2 favourite Howmacscanasta on the final turn. Southfield Sassy wore down the popular pacesetter, but Proven To Be Bad swept by approaching the wire to score the career-best 1:55.4 victory.

Redmond Doucet drove the Proven Lover filly, who earned her first stakes victory and third win from nine career starts for trainer Robert MacLeod and owner Colin William MacLeod of South West Margaree, N.S.

Scarlet Safari rallied four-wide into the stretch as she closed from third over to win her division in a lifetime-best 1:57.2. Shalara, the 5-2 favourite, was the first filly to overtake pacesetter Glory Jean at the third quarter mark with Howmacfiesty rallying off her cover in the stretch and then Scarlet Safari flying by late to prevail by one length.

Scarlet Safari was driven by Marc Campbell for trainer Darryl MacLean and owner Gordon MacLean of Winsloe, P.E.I. The daughter of Articulator earned her first win this year and fourth overall from 26 starts.

Every Time won the $10,620 Grassroots division held during the afternoon program, scoring by four lengths over Nobodys Gigolo in a career-best time of 1:57.2 for driver Paul MacKenzie and trainer/co-owner Eddy Doucette.

To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Charlottetown Driving Park.

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