Drivers To Draft NDC Horses

Published: September 7, 2018 09:35 am EDT

For the third consecutive time, the eight drivers competing in Standardbred Canada’s National Driving Championship (NDC) will be able to choose the horses they drive in the eight race event.

The 2018 NDC takes place at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday, September 26.

Rather than the usual format for assigning drivers, Standardbred Canada will conduct a 'draft' for the eight races, similar to a hockey pool draft. This provides the drivers direct involvement in determining the horses they will drive in the National Driving Championship.

A draft was conducted for the 2016 and 2014 NDC events and both were extremely well received by the participating drivers.

Trevor Henry, winner of the Ontario Regional, took part in the 2016 draft and feels it’s a good idea. “You get a better idea of the horses when you are picking.”

Western Regional Champion Kelly Hoerdt shared that sentiment, “Almost like betting the races, you have a little more control of your destiny. I think it makes the whole experience even more's all part of a strategy, I think it's a great idea.”

The complete field for the NDC includes Gilles Barrieau, Stephane Brosseau, Redmond Doucet, Guy Gagnon, Jamie Gray, Trevor Henry, Kelly Hoerdt, and Louis-Philippe Roy.

Here is how the NDC Draft will work:

  • Friday, September 21 - 10 a.m. (EST) Entry box closes

  • Friday, September 21 - By noon (EST) alpha-listed program pages (eight races with eight horses) will be emailed to the drivers (they will have a couple of hours to study the program pages)

  • 2:30 p.m. (EST) Conference Call Draft – The eight drivers will take part in a conference call with officials from Standardbred Canada and Grand River Raceway to conduct the draft as follows:

    • First, there will be a draw to determine the order of the draft for the first round (first through eighth. Then a random number generator draw will be used to determine the order of the draft for the balance of the races. Each driver will have a chance to draw first through eighth in the order, but the random number generator will be used so that drivers aren’t always making their selections after the same driver each time.

    • In round one, the driver who has first pick can select any one of the eight horses entered in the first NDC race. Then the same follows for the second through eighth drivers from the remaining pool of horses.

    • This format continues for rounds two through eight.

    • Once the draft is complete, horses will be drawn to post positions for the first NDC race and a random number generator draw will be used to draw posts for the balance of the races so that each driver drives from every post position once.

The winner of the NDC will have the opportunity to join defending WDC Champion, James MacDonald and represent Canada in the 2019 World Driving Championship in Sweden.