Doug McNair captures second Canadian driving championship

EDMONTON — Doug McNair won the opening two races and never looked back, easily capturing his second Canadian driving championship.

McNair, of Guelph, Ont., will represent Canada at the 2023 world driving championship, which will be held Aug. 14-18 in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

“I just want to say thanks to all the trainers that let me drive their horses, and caretakers and owners, and Standardbred Canada for making this possible,” said McNair. “It’s just starting to sink in now.

“It’s going to be pretty exciting and hopefully I’ll have a lot of fun.”

McNair, 32, captured his first Canadian driving title in 2018. He stood second heading into the final leg of the ’19 world championship event in Sweden before finishing fourth.

McNair (Ontario) was among eight drivers representing four regions Thursday night at Century Mile Racetrack and Casino. The others included Gilles Barrieau (Atlantic Canada), Pascal Berube (Quebec/Eastern Ontario), Marc Campbell (Atlantic Canada), Samuel Fillion (Quebec/Eastern Ontario), Mike Hennessy (Western Canada), Dave Kelly (Western Canada) and Louis -Philippe Roy (Ontario).

The drivers competed in eight races on Thursday night’s 10-event card. It produced the second-highest standardbred handle ever at the Century Mile and the track’s highest per race handle for a standardbred card.

The total handle was $232,146, with an average per-race handle of $23,214.60.

McNair finished atop the standings with 91 points, 22 points ahead of Kelly. Berube was third with 46 points.

McNair started the competition with a bang, winning the opening two races with Jayden Riley ($3.20) and first-choice pick Oriental Express ($2.10). He remained atop the leaderboard with a second- and two third-place finishes with Kelly (two) and Berube securing the wins.

But consecutive wins with Litizor ($12.90) and Captain Mike Deo ($21) cemented the title for McNair with one race remaining.

Campbell captured the final race.

An O’Brien Award-winning driver, McNair is among the top reinsmen at his home track at Woodbine Mohawk Park, with his mounts earning 286 victories and over $6.7 million in total this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2022.

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