Ryan Campbell racked up five driving wins, including a victory in the afternoon's feature race with Johnnie Jack in 1:56.4, on the September 18th program at the Downs.

Campbell worked out a perfect second over trip with Johnnie Jack, following Runaway Mystery to the three quarters, before tipping three wide to engage leader Southwind Ricardo at the top of the stretch. Johnnie Jack would clear to the front in the stretch and win by a length over Southwind Ricardo, with Runaway Mystery third. Revenant, Hotlikewasabi and Elm Grove Ocean rounded out the field of six. Johnnie Jack now has six wins from fourteen starts in 2021 for owner Travis Campbell. He has proven to be a very versatile horse, who can blast off when need be but also rally from off cover. His consistency week in and week out might be his best trait.

Campbell's other wins on his big day came with Sweet Sweet Rosco for owner Lorne Grant in 2:01.4, Wenitrainsitpours  in 1:59.3, and Classic Smiley in 2:00.1, both owned by James Hogan and Bette Lou Aucoin, Finer Things in 1:59, a new mark, for the Wouldn't Say No Stable; the five wins now give Campbell seventeen on the season, good for second place behind leader Mark Pezzarello, who has twenty.  Other winners on the day include Night Sky for Kevin Bailey in a maiden mark of 2:03, Cowboy Gilles for Adam Lynk in a new mark of 1:59, Rae Seelster for Max Sehl in 2:01, Wildcat Jet for Mark Pezzarello in 1:58, and Hot Rock Star for Roddie Gilis, in 1:58, over Sauble Bonnie and Articulate Barb. Total wager on the day was $12,626.00.

Lou Shines in Downs Debut

Sunshine Lou made his first start at Northside a winning one, leading all the way to defeat a field of six in 1:57 as part of a nine dash card on September 11th. Walter Walker had the five year old Sunshine Beach gelding on top early and was never challenged the rest of the way, scoring a five length win over Hotlikewasabi and Southwind Ricardo. Raymond MacKinnon of Inverness is the winning owner. 

Greg Sparling was the only driver on the day to register a pair of wins. His first came with Whiskey's Fine, who prevailed in 2:01 over Gotfaithincowboys and Finer Things. Danny and Terri Morrison are the winning owners. Sparling came back in the very next race to guide Rocky Western to a 2:00.1 decision, winning by four lengths over Wenitrainsitpours and Pictonian Speed. Joe Nearing is the winning owner. Other winners on the day included Cheekie Play in a maiden mark of 2:05.3 for owners Ron Seymour Jr. and Aubrey Cameron, Elm Grove Ocean in 2:01 for Martin Bates, Don't Tell Kin in 2:02.1 for Ardon Mofford, Windsong Katie in 2:00.2 for Barry Bates, Johnnie Jack in 1:56.3 for Ryan Campbell, and Bring It Home Will for John Barrington in 2:01. Fans wagered $12,820.00 on the nine races.  

Sonny Returns

Doug "Sonny" Rankin, who has been hospitalized for the past number of weeks, including a lengthy stay in Halifax, made it out of the hospital to take in the races on the 18th program. We wish Sonny all the best in his recovery. Nobody can tell more stories about the racing game than Sonny, he's seen and done it all in an illustrious career as a trainer, driver and later racing official. 

Wally Hennessey 11,000 wins and More

After delving into his stats on Standardbred Canada after getting his 11,000th win, I am not sure if the number of wins lifetime is as impressive as the high level of consistency Wally has displayed over decades of driving horses, which is saying something about the career Wally has had. He has won 174 races or more every year since 1988 and has had a UDRS over .300 every year except one since 1996, and that one year it was .295. Even better than that, in the last five years, including 2021 his average is over .400 with over 1,000 drives a year each of those years. That is simply incredible! Although he is still active and racking up wins and driving at the highest of levels average wise, which is amazing after so many illustrious years as a driver, I think the Maritime racing industry needs to honor him with a set of awards, like the O'Brien's or special races named in his honour. And I don't think we need to wait until he retires to make it happen. 

Fillies Final Sire Stakes Stop

The last stop on the road to the Breeders Crown for the two year old pacing fillies goes this Saturday September 25th. Inverness owned Boo Yaya leads the division with 22 points, followed by Woodmere Jazz with 19 and JJ Scarlett with 17. Seven fillies have a legitimate shot for the last five spots so we will see how many make the trip to Cape Breton to try and secure a shot at the Atlantic Breeders Crown final.  In our next edition we will recap our stakes action and look ahead to our annual Governors Cup pacing series for aged pacers. Until then we extend to our readers good luck, good racing and good handicapping.

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