Redmond Doucet Jr. capped off a four-win day Sunday with a 1:57.1 trip aboard Intended Royalty. Doucet will represent Inverness Raceway at Standardbred Canada’s Atlantic Regional Driving Championship in Truro on June 29.
-by Bill Dunphy
Redmond Doucet Jr. will not be out of place when he represents Inverness Raceway at Standardbred Canada’s Atlantic Regional Driving Championship in Truro on June 29.
In fact, if his driving performance on Sunday is any indication, then Doucet will be among the favourites to send two drivers to the Canadian championships at Grand River, Ontario, on Sept. 26.
Doucet had four wins in Sunday’s nine-dash card at Inverness, along with a second, third, and fourth to finish in the money in all his starts.
Two of his winning trips included the only sub-two minute miles on the day. In race two he gave Megan Hinkley’s Macnamarra a win in 1:59.4 and Doucet ended the day with a 1:57.1 no-doubter with Ed and Randy Copley’s Intended Royalty in the race nine feature.
He also won in 2:01.1 with his own six-year-old Tipperbackjack and a “surprise” win with Anthony Beaton’s Western Bandit in 2:01.4.
“The horses were good. I didn’t think I’d get the front like I did with Western Bandit. Tipperback’s coming around with the more work I put into it. Randy and Ed’s horse ran a very big trip considering it’s still early in the season and the track wasn’t unbelievably fast.”
Doucet was instrumental in having the drivers at Inverness Raceway included in the Atlantic Regional Driving Championship. When it was first introduced in 2014, the Nova Scotia “industry reps” advised Standardbred Canada that two of the three Nova Scotia drivers should come from Truro Raceway and that Northside Downs and Inverness Raceway should be combined and one driver selected.
At the time, Doucet wrote a letter to Standardbred Canada pointing out the unfairness of the situation.
“Every track was represented except for Inverness,” said Doucet in his letter. “For me, it’s something you look forward to at getting a shot at. I was totally disappointed because if it was done right, every track would be represented. Instead they took two from Truro. And it’s not me that got screwed, Inverness got screwed.”
Today, Doucet is satisfied that they finally got it right. “I think it (his letter and the ensuing media coverage) had a lot to do with it. And it’s good to see Gerard (Kennedy) is going for the second time (as the Northside rep).”
Invitations were extended to drivers based on several criteria, including their 2017 win statistics in relation to their driving circuit, ability to be an outstanding Canadian harness racing ambassador and availability for the 2018 National Driving Championship and 2019 World Driving Championship.
In 2017, Doucet led Inverness in wins and earnings. In 112 starts, he had 23 wins, 18 seconds, and 11 thirds for $20,541 in earnings. His win percentage was 20.1 and his UDRS (similar to a baseball players batting average) was .327.
Kennedy had 31 wins at Northside Downs in 2017 to lead all drivers. He currently leads that track with 11 wins, five seconds, and five thirds in 30 starts for a .515 UDRS.
Along with Doucet and Kennedy, the field includes 2007 National Driving Champion Gilles Barrieau from Saint John, N.B, who represented Canada in the World Driving Championship hosted in New Zealand the same year. Also competing are: Darren Crowe, N.S.; Marc Campbell, Jason Hughes, Ken Murphy, P.E.I.; and Todd Trites, N.B.
The eight drivers will participate in eight competition races, driving from every post position. Drivers will receive points based on their finishing position and the top two drivers will join six other drivers at the 2018 National Driving Championship at Grand River Raceway.
“It’s going to be a good show,” said Doucet. “I wouldn’t say I’m a good one – everyone is different. Gilles and Marc can drive with anybody. It’s all in the draw and being on your game that night.
“I’m just going to go up and enjoy myself that night. No matter who wins, they’re going to see two good drivers from Atlantic Canada at nationals.”
The winner of the 2018 nationals in Grand River will have the opportunity to represent Canada in the World Driving Championship (WDC), and join 2017 World Driving Champion, James MacDonald, in the 2019 WDC in Sweden. The world championship is held every two years.
The following are the complete results from Sunday’s nine dashes at Inverness Raceway:
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