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McNair Five Years After 'Battle' Win

Published: August 2, 2013 7:11 pm ET

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Hometown-boy-done-good Doug McNair kick-started his harness racing career in 2008 with his first major driving win. The occasion was the $300,000 Battle Of Waterloo, and the event was sweeter still when the horse he drove, Trail Boss, was bred, owned and trained by his father, Gregg and co-owned by his grandmother Gwendolyn.

Fast-forward five years and the 23-year-old Guelph, Ont. reinsman has a legitimate shot at winning the Battle Of Waterloo once more, plus the sister dash — the $75,400 Battle Of The Belles.

Both races will be contested as part of Grand River Raceway’s 23rd annual celebration of the harness racing industry during the afternoon of August 5.

McNair says that major victory five years ago was the win that launched his career.

“If I hadn’t won this race when I was 18, I wouldn’t be half as successful as I am today. People started listing me to drive their horses right after that, and I began driving some really nice horses.”

At the end of his 2008 debut season, McNair became the youngest driver in the history of the sport to drive horses to purse earnings of $1 million. His modest goal of driving 20 winners that year was quickly surpassed and he recorded 110. Two years later he made history again, becoming the youngest driver to ever hit 1,000 wins.

He’s continued to post impressive numbers since that August afternoon five years ago, adding more than 9,500 starts, 1,700 wins and $20 million in purse earnings. He’s a regular driver on Canada’s top circuit and has ranked in the top five drivers in Canada for earnings for the past three years.

So what else has changed for McNair in the past five years?

• Favourite musician: In 2008 – Eminem | In 2013 – Luke Bryan
• Favourite TV show: In 2008 – The Simpsons | In 2013 - The Bachelor
• Favourite restaurant: In 2008 - McDonalds | In 2013 – The Keg
• Best horse driven: In 2008 – Trail Boss | In 2013 – Drop The Ball and Aracache Hanover
• Track furthest from home (where he drove in a race): In 2008 – Western Fair Raceway | In 2013 – Pompano Park (Florida)
• Vehicle owned: In 2008 – 1998 Dodge Pickup Truck | In 2013 – 2011 Lexus
• Favourite sports team: In 2008 - Toronto Maple Leafs | In 2013 - Toronto Maple Leafs
• Biggest celebrity I’d rubbed shoulders with: In 2008 – Jody Jamieson | In 2013 – Don Cherry
• Favourite shoes: In 2008 – Skateboard shoes | In 2013 – Nike Shox
• Life goal: In 2008 – To be a successful driver on the Woodbine/Mohawk circuit | In 2013 – Maintain and grow my driving success and to raise a family

McNair will look to make this holiday Monday a memorable one, starting with Lady Shadow in the fifth annual Battle Of The Belles (race nine). Trained by McNair’s father Gregg, she’s the early favourite in a field of nine in which Gregg has two other hopefuls (Can Art and Momara).

McNair will pilot 3-1 shot Three Of Clubs from the rail in the 16th annual $144,500 Battle Of Waterloo (race 11). Gregg McNair’s second trainee in the dash, OK Gladiator, is 10-1 from post five with driver Rick Zeron. Gregg co-owns and trains both colts.

Click here for free, printable program pages for Industry Day, courtesy TrackIT.

(Grand River Raceway)


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