PEI’s Bill Andrew wins Horseperson of the Year Award in Alberta
By Shannon Sugar Doyle
Another harness meet has come and gone at Northlands Park. Next stop for the standardbreds in Alberta ... They’ll head on down the highway, one hour south of Edmonton to Alberta Downs in Lacombe.
While this short meet caught most by surprise, the horse people did step up and enter their horses. Race Secretary Jason Teague certainly deserves a pat on the back for getting most of the horses raced. With a decreased horse population, the job in the race office was no easy task, but with a little creativity and a willingness to change things up a bit, Mr. Teague did a great job.
Of course ASHA’s Fred Gillis coming up with the George Young Memorial Claiming Series added something special to the February meet. With the claiming action involved, the increased purse money and the longer distance for the final, the series created some welcomed hype among both the horse people and the fans. I’ve been involved in racing for over 30 years now and new thinking is the way to go. Changing up conditions, distances, wagering, etc. on the races is never a bad thing ... thinking outside the box is a good thing.
Bill Andrew -
Horseperson of the Year
The 2010 Horseperson of the Year Award went to owner/breeder Bill Andrew at the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association Awards banquet held last month in Edmonton. A well deserved standing ovation nearly brought the house down as those in attendance showed their utmost approval for one of the good guys in the sport. Bill is the man who donates gifts and scholarships to the 4H program. He gives the grooms Tim Horton gift cards at Christmas. He has paid for the toques and t-shirts for the “Fun for Fans” promo, plus he’s donated all of the earnings that Starring Role made this past year to some great organizations that have benefited from his kindness and generosity. What a guy ...
Im Sheila, a $1,200 purchase from the 2009 ASHA yearling sale, picked up the Alberta-Sired Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Award for the connections of Catherine Case and Gary Clark. Sired by Brandons Cowboy, from the Artsplace mare Barnyard Dance, the filly went on to win over $80,000 and was the fastest freshmen filly in the province through 2010. Im Sheila will begin her 2011 season at Alberta Downs next month, following a solid come-from-behind third in her qualifier on February 26th where she paced a “parked out” back half in 59 seconds. She looked great ...
Hudon and Campbell
Dave Hudon and Brandon Campbell will make their way to PEI in early May to represent the West at the National Driving Championship. Hudon finished ahead of Campbell by a slim margin to take top honours in the Western Regional Final held at Fraser Downs on February 26th. Campbell is “going home” in a lot of ways as he has many ties to the Maritime racing scene. All family members on his father Sanford’s side are from PEI, and his mother and two sisters live in Halifax.
“A free trip back home to see my family and friends there and participate in a Driver’s Championship ... Does it get any better than that?” says Campbell who was born in Calgary.
Brandon was the winningest driver in Alberta last season, beating out Hall of Famer Keith Clark, and solid western mainstay pilots Gerry Hudon and Kelly Hoerdt.
When handicapping at Northlands, one thing I will make note of very quickly in a race is the “first time” Brandon Campbell angle. When Campbell hops on for the first time, he more often than not gets a peak performance out of his mounts. Take the two wins he had in the BC Championship for instance ... He came from off the pace to post a six-length victory with the nine-year-old pacer Latino Hall in 153.4 - a new life mark. Then he came right back, a few races later, with a cheap six-year-old claimer, in Ronny Woo Woo (showing nothing but miles in 1:56), where Campbell sent him right down the road to win by eight in 1:53.2 to knock seconds off his lifetime mark. “Brando” makes them go fast!
With nothing on my plate in Edmonton until late April, it’s time to head back to PEI for some down time. Thoroughbreds are currently in training at Northlands and they’ll not see live racing action until opening night in early May. A little bit of recreational hockey, some socializing with family and friends, maybe a few card games and some visits to the backstretch in Summerside and Charlottetown will be on my Things To Do list. I can mention that should anyone need an “also eligible” for a race caller through early April they can look me up ... I’d be more than happy to help out.
‘til next time ...