The McIsaac-Barrieau stake for three year old pacers went Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Park in Saint John and local driver Gilles Barrieau won the $40,000 stake race, the richest in Atlantic Canada, going wire to wire with Tobins Rebel for owner Dan Ross of Prince Edward Island. In this one ,Barrieau hustled the sophomore son of Camystic right to the front early carving out fractions of 27:4, 56:4 and 1:26:4 with Little Manny (Steven Trites) in hot pursuit.In the long Saint John stretch,Little Manny inched closer and closer but could not catch the leader who stopped the timer in 1:57, the margin of victory a half-length. Red Dirt Star finished 3rd with Manlicious and Woodmere Rollex picking up purse money in a field that also included Woodmere Rollnpop, Bouttagetlucky, Woodmere Nasha and J J Austin.
Barrieau’s other two wins came aboard Paris Beau (1:58:4) and Union Man Hanover (1:57:4). Other winners on the seven dash card were : Joes Beauty (2:00:3), J J Breanne(1:59:1), Fall Bliss (1:59:2) and Bugger Max (1:58:3).
The McIsaac-Barrieau is named in honour of two of the Maritimes all-time great horsemen in Francis McIsaac and Rufin Barrieau. Barrieau campaigned the famous Whebby Stable in the 1960s and that included the greatest of them all in Andys Son who raced the best at Blue Bonnets and Richelieu Parc in Montreal and at Yonkers and Roosevelt racing against the likes of Rum Customer, the first USA bred horse to win a million dollars.Rufin passed away far too soon in 1972. McIsaac was the leading Old Home Week driver and the best driver in the region in the 1970s until that ill-fated Provincial Cup night, August 31st, 1979 when in a harmless looking incident he was spilled into the infield and died instantly- A sad ending to a blossoming career.