Monday, August 18, 2008

Earl Baby, what a trip...

What an exciting race and what a great tradition for PEI. There were well over 10,000 fans on hand Sunday afternoon to see Earl Smith give the big show drivers a little lesson on how to steer a horse to success. I couldn't have been happier to see a local owner Ian Smith take back the Gold Cup as it's been a long time since it's been back in Island hands. Ian sits next to our box (W G Barbour) and when Earl was driving "Matt" home I thought Ian was going to jump right out of the box. The only thing faster than Matt yesterday was Ian on his way to the well deserved Winners Circle. I was a little stronger than our Lieutenant Governor and braved the "unruly crowd" (straight from the White House) and headed straight across the track to congratulate Ian and Earl. I thought I might be out for the golf season as Earl near crushed my hand when we met and he was very, very proud.... as he and his family should be… A job well done to all those involved in this year’s Old Home Week, a great Island tradition.
Barbara, maybe you could have Earl down to the White House for some tea and lobster sandwiches and I'll spring for lunch?

Big race takes historic Sunday run
Transcontinental Media
Earl Smith drives Pownal Bay Matt down the stretch to the finish line to win the 49th running of the Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer Race Sunday at the CDPEC. He won in 1:53:4. The horse is owned by Ian and Lorna Smith. The race was postponed from Saturday night because heavy rain washed out part of the track. Island-owned Pownal Bay Matt captured the 49th running of the Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer Sunday afternoon in one of the most thrilling finishes in the storied history of the event at Charlottetown Driving Park. The five-year-old son of Matts Scooter gave veteran driver Earl Smith his first Gold Cup and Saucer victory with a 1:53.4 time for owner Ian Smith of Charlottetown.A huge crowd watched the Maritimes richest and most prestigious race in short-sleeved weather after race officials cancelled the Saturday night program because of unsafe track conditions. A torrential rain that hit the Charlottetown area shortly before the scheduled first post caused flooding in the tarmac area and carved out sections of the racing surface.It was the first time in the 49-year history of the event that the big race had to be called off. “We had to consider the safety of the drivers first, then the safety of the horses,” said Blaine MacPherson, president of Harness Racing P.E.I.After consulting with track officials, the decision was made to postpone the races until Sunday afternoon when weather conditions were favourable.Pownal Bay Matt was parked from the outside Post 8 for the entire mile, but was put in the hunt by Earl Smith at the three-quarter pole and charged home in 28.2 seconds to win by a length.

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