Last night in PEI, Part Shark, the second choice, zoomed to the front and never looked back in the 51st Gold Cup and Saucer. The race, as usual, was an event unlike any we see in our sport. The time was 151 flat, a new track record. Video is below.
It was cool to watch the whole feed last night. With no Meadowlands and Mohawk out with a power outage, I flipped on the races via the interwebs and watched the card. The pageantry and pomp with the Gold Cup race was wonderful. The horses paraded via a spotlight, with announcer Vance Cameron giving the crowd their resumes and adding stories about each horse. One story, about trainer Wayne Prezcator with his charge (the ultimate winner), was that he told Mr. Cameron that he has been to the Little Brown Jug twice, and he has more fun, and feels more energized coming to this race. After being announced, each driver would smile and give a salute with the whip to the crowd who were clapping for his entry.
Before the race, a song (an east coast PEI anthem I am assuming, which makes one think of an Irish or Scottish sea-tune as a lot of the region settled from there) is sung from the winners circle. Gold Cup and Saucer "girls" watch the trophy. The crowd, well the crowd is having a beer or two.
The card resulted in a big handle for the little track - over $250k. This "small event" is growing in stature each year. The work of Harness Racing PEI, and the vision of people like Jeremy Pierce, who saw opening it up via a simulcast as an opportunity, and the fact that they have branded this event is all helping. There are many dozen events in harness racing with giant purses, but they do not hold a candle to this $60k event in terms of electricity.
I think we will see a half a million bet on this card within five or six years. It's wonderful, the people are great, and the GC and S folks are unapologetic in their Island Pride. It comes across the TV screen as 100% authentic and it is a joy to watch. Congrats on another great year folks!