Day At The Track

Leading driver to take on Continent's best

01:21 PM 05 Jan 2018 NZDT
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Marc Campbell after Gold Cup win 2013
Marc Campbell after Gold Cup win 2013

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - A field of top harness racing drivers will converge on Miami Valley in Ohio this weekend and Red Shores will team up Prince Edward Island's best to face off with the Continent's talent.

Marc Campbell will compete in the second annual North America Drivers Championship at Miami Valley Raceway in Lebanon, Ohio, amongst the group of thirty drivers. The competition starts Sunday night (Jan. 7) with each driver having four drives on the Sunday and Monday (Jan. 8) programs. The top 10 from those eliminations will then move on to the championship final on Tuesday (Jan. 9) with Red Shores Charlottetown and Summerside simulcasting all the action.

Campbell is fresh off a career year in the sulky as the 33-year-old Winsloe, P.E.I., resident recorded the most dash wins ever by a driver at Red Shores Charlottetown with 162 trips to the winner's circle in 2017. The number bested the former record, also held by Campbell, of 144 wins in 2016. Campbell also put together the top dash winning and earning training season in Atlantic Canadian racing history with 131 trainings wins and $376,223, as well as earning the most purse money ever by a driver in the Atlantic Provinces with $584,479 in seasonal earnings. Campbell also led Canada in driving and training averages in 2017 with a .450 UDRS and .526 UTRS, while sitting second in the nation for training wins and sixth for driving wins.

"I was looking at the stats the other day and it is pretty crazy," Campbell said. "I didn't set out to break any records, I just wanted to have a good year. I thought with the stable of horses we had we could have a big year. Will it happen again? Probably not, but we're going to keep trying to make it happen again. I had good horses and support from great owners and support from my family. When you have that the sky is the limit."

Lee Drake, Red Shores Manager of Marketing, Brands and Playwise, was excited by the opportunity to partner with Campbell and sponsor his journey to Ohio to race against some of harness racing's best.

"Prince Edward Island has consistently shown it can produce horses and horse people that can compete at the highest levels of harness racing," Drake said. "Marc has been breaking record after record all season and now he gets to showcase the terrific talent and quality of the product we put on all year at our Red Shores properties. Adam (Adam Walsh, Red Shores Racing Manager) and I both felt it was a great opportunity to put the spotlight on P.E.I. and Atlantic Canadian harness racing. We will all be rooting for him."

The Miami Valley competition features a deep field of talent including top Woodbine Entertainment Group Drivers Doug McNair, Trevor Henry and Louis Philippe-Roy, defending World Driving Champion and P.E.I. native James MacDonald, U.S. World Driving Championship representative Marcus Miller and reigning North American dash win champion Aaron Merriman.

"If I get beat, I get beat," Campbell says of his opposition, while noting the horse talent each driver will be given is a deciding factor. "I've driven against some of them all ready so we'll give it a go. The year that we had I just figured why not go. I like meeting people and I figured it would be good exposure for Maritime racing and good for everyone. It's good experience. I'm at a point in my career that now I feel like I can so I figured I'd do it. I can see the race better than I did before. I see the way things are going to set up and I'm not as one minded as I might have been before. I'm still aggressive but more patiently aggressive."

Nicknamed the 'King' of Island racing, Campbell is quick to credit the depth of his competition on a nightly basis while racing on P.E.I.

"I think a lot of guys that drive here could go other places and fit in anywhere," Campbell said. "Am I going to win the championship? Probably not but I'm going to try. I just want to show everyone that we can go and drive anywhere."

The Sunday, Monday and Tuesday programs from Miami Valley will start at 3:05 P.M. Atlantic Standard Time.

By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

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