DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH: P.E.I.’s Austin Sorrie enjoys career night
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Montague native Austin Sorrie had a career night in the 2022 final program at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, Ont., on Dec. 31, which featured a PEI-themed odyssey in the nation’s top class.
Sorrie completed a driving triple on Canada’s premier racetrack, winning a pair of $15,000 Pop-Up Series events with Dr Joe in 1:54.3 for trainer Victor Puddy and 2022 PEI Invitational pacer Beachin Lindy in 1:53.3 for Stephen Charlton.
His biggest score of the night came in the $34,000 favorite class as he edged Saulsbrook Victor into the winner’s circle in 1:52 for trainer Ron MacDonald, a Charlottetown native.
Saulsbrook Victor is sired by the Island stallion Source Of Pride, owned by Blaine MacPherson’s Howmac Farms of North Wiltshire.
Second on the $34,000 pace favorite was Atlantic Canadian champion Woodmere Stealdeal, who increased his career earnings to over $285,000 with the place finish. Island-nominated and last for O’Brien So Much More was third, with Kingston’s James MacDonald on the New Haven-bred mare’s bike.
Gold Cup and Champion Saucer Sintra was fourth in class for Charlottetown-born and bred trainer Harry Poulton. Poulton also trains fifth place horse No Free Lunch.
The driving triple capped a career season for Sorrie, who finished the year 10th among drivers at Woodbine with 74 wins and $1.6 million in earnings from his horses.
James MacDonald was the season’s leading driver with 400 wins at Woodbine and $8.8 million in earnings for one of the best seasons ever in the track’s history.
Brett MacDonald, Ron’s son, was the top driver of 2022 at Flamboro Downs in Dundas, Ont., Georgian Downs in Barrie, Ont., and Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ont.
Charlottetown native Jason Ryan had the most wins at Hanover Raceway in Ontario for 2022 with 29.
The PEI scene
Atlantic Canadian racing was saddened by the sudden death of Kevin Gillis, a native of Truro, NS, who resided in Charlottetown in recent years. With a friendly demeanor and bright outlook on life, Gillis has become a fixture at Prince Edward Island tracks since moving here in 2016, working with the stables of Jason Hughes and Jennifer Doyle. My condolences to all his family.
Live racing continues Jan. 7 at Red Shores Charlottetown with a 15-dash card scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Nicholas Oakes’ column appears in The Guardian every Friday. He can be reached at [email protected].