The 60th running of the Gold Cup & Saucer proved to be another epic event with a battle in the final quarter to be remembered for years. The father and son duo of drivers Ron and Mitch Cushing of Maine and trainer Heidi Gibbs completed a victorious journey to Prince Edward Island capturing the Island’s classic race. Ron Cushing had qualified both Gibbs trainees earlier in the week in the Gold Cup Trials with second and third place finishes. Cushing’s son Mitch was assigned driving duties on Rock Diamonds N in the final and the tough 6-hole starting position but the young driver managed to weave through traffic and catch the leaders with a final burst in the passing lane.
The cheering section of Islanders were on the side of local drivers Jason Hughes and Kenny Arsenault and Island trainer Rachel Andrew and for brief moments it looked like both drivers had a good shot to come through with the win.
Louis Philippe Roy was on a mission from the start with Bet On Brett taking the lead early with a 26.3 opening quarter and setting a fast first half of 54.1. Hughes had set himself up perfectly with trial winner Sir Pugsley following the fraction setter with a pocket trip. When Bet On Brett began to fade on the backstretch Hughes popped out and around the leader with force and made some clearance from the rest of the field.
Defending champions Somewhere Fancy and driver Simon Allard took the lead for a moment in the stretch battle with Arsenault and long shot Lisburn tipping off his back and gaining ground but in the final strides young Cushing and Rock Diamonds N surged to the front on the inside. Somewhere Fancy finished second beating third place finisher Lisburn by a quarter length. Time for the mile was 1:51.4.
The Cushing family followed up on a wish from Ron’s departed father Rick who always wanted to make it to the Gold Cup & Saucer race. Rick’s widow was in the winners circle for the trophy presentations. Ron Cushing owns Rock Diamonds N with co-owners Kevin Sywyk and Frank Ranaldi. The other Cushing entry of Bettors Fire N finished seventh.
The Cup & Saucer didn’t produce any kind of record mile but the speed show at the Driving Park was happening throughout the night. Young driver Austin Sorrie had a driving double scoring with Bugsy Malone in the Bridge of Confederation Series final in a sizzling 1:53.2 and J J Powerball who also won in 1:53.2, a new personal best. Gilles Barrieau had four winners on the 14 dash card including an Open Mares victory with Sodwana Bay and an O’Brien stakes win with Red Dirt Boomer. Marc Campbell once again won the Francis McIsaac Award for the top driver of Old Home Week. Jody Jamieson was the top percentage driver for the week.
It was another busy and enthusiastic Old Home Week for race goers. The track was packed for most of the week and once again it was great for everyone to see their friends and family who come home from away for the occasion.