MacDonald Repeats In Canadian Pacing Derby

Published: September 5, 2020 11:36 pm EDT

Just over a month after suffering injury in an accident at Woodbine Mohawk Park, driver James MacDonald continued his comeback by claiming back-to-back titles in the $540,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, pulling another upset by guiding 43-1 Dorsoduro Hanover to a 1:48.4 victory.

“I was pretty down on just everything when I went down,” MacDonald said after the race. “I got hurt pretty bad and the doctors were thinking months, and I was just like ‘Oh, this is the worst time of year. I’ve got all these big races coming.’ My doctor, Mikey—he worked with me diligently to get my arm feeling good, and it’s giving me no issues. I feel great in the bike and it’s all [thanks] to him. I’m just blessed to be in the winner’s circle tonight and not be on the couch watching.”

Away eighth from post 8, Dorsoduro Hanover sat off speed set by American History clearing Backstreet Shadow to the front before a :25.1 first quarter. Bettors Wish quickly tipped off the pylons from third rounding the first turn and brushed to the lead entering the backside. Once Bettors Wish cleared, Backstreet Shadow tipped back outside to press the pacesetter first over after a :52.4 half.

Into the far turn MacDonald had Dorsoduro Hanover placed fourth over, with 5-2 favourite Century Farroh racing second over and Sintra positioned third over. Backstreet Shadow continued to dig into Bettors Wish past three-quarters in 1:21.1 and forged to a narrow lead into the stretch as the field fanned across the track. Century Farroh fired off cover as Dancin Lou dashed through traffic into competition late, but Dorsoduro Hanover darted on the grandstand side and catapulted over competition, finishing by a widening margin. Dancin Lou took second with Century Farroh third and Sintra fourth.

“I just tried to get him in the outer flow,” MacDonald said after the race. “[Co-owner] Mark Weaver had messaged me earlier in the week and told me that the horse had been great, just drawing terrible. Then the draw came out and he drew terrible again. It was one of those races—when it looks like four, five, six that can win… if you’re in the outer flow and they get battling, usually a long shot comes in. Ronnie [Burke] did such a great job—the horse was there at the half in :52.4 and I was standing in the stirrups like he was ready to go.”

The victory gave MacDonald a second win in the Canadian Pacing Derby after winning in 2019 with Courtly Choice at odds of 34-1.

“I always thought the $7-claimer was my race, but I’ll take the Derby,” MacDonald said. “It’s a real honour just to be in it, and to win it… I can’t even put it into words.”

Returning $88.00 to win, Dorsoduro Hanover collected his first win from nine starts this season and his 17th from 63 overall, earning $1,986,144 for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Wingfield Brothers LLC.

Points North pounced for the lead, pulled back for a pocket seat and popped off the pylons in the stretch to duel snout to snout with Western Joe to the finish, where the Carmen Auciello trainee had a nose in front of a 1:50.2 mile in the $65,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Consolation.

The Devils Own N cleared command from post 7 moving to a :26.4 first quarter with Points North sitting second and Persimmon A in third. Western Joe raced fourth into the backstretch as driver Jonathan Drury edged Points North out of second to take the lead from The Devils Own N moving past three-eighths. As Points North cleared, Western Joe ventured uncovered towards the front and landed on the lead before a :55.2 half.

Western Joe maintained control around the final turn, passing three-quarters in 1:23 as Points North started to pull pocket tracked by The Devils Own N. Through the stretch Points North edged to a narrow lead as Western Joe continued to battle for the lead to the inside. In tandem towards the finish, Points North inched in front of Western Joe to pull an 11-1 upset well clear of third-place finisher Persimmon A.

Returning $25.60 to win, Points North won his sixth race from 23 starts this season and his 15th from 55 overall, earning $325,714. Kelly Waxman and Loredana Cirillo own the five-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere.

The Canadian Pacing Derby was one of the handful of major stakes events on the Saturday card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Recaps from the other races are available at the following links:

To view the results from Saturday's card of harness racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park, click the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.



I'm surprised that Dorsoduro Hanover paid as much to win as he did. Bettors apparently overlooked that he had the fastest last-quarter time (25.4, in The Dan Patch on 8/14) in his last race of any horse in the field.

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