Charlottetown is getting ready to host the top harness drivers in the world. The 2017 World Driving Championships wrap up on August 18 at the city’s Red Shores Casino and Racetrack.
There are five events in the harness racing series, which pits 11 drivers from 10 countries against each other in races spanning four provinces.
The races in Charlottetown are the final ones of the championship series and come the night before the 58th running of the Gold Cup and Saucer race.
“It’s exciting to have it the day prior and already a busy week,” said Lee Drake, Manager of Marketing Brands and Playwise at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino.
“When they come in it’s going to be an opportunity to show the world what we have here.”
‘That is a first’
Drake said the number of horses on the track, and the length of the race are breaking new ground for the racetrack and some changes have been made accordingly.
“For us here on Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island that is a first, we’ve never had 11 horses, 11 drivers for one race, so they’ll go a different distance here at our track and we’ve already adjusted to that,” he said.
‘An awful lot of work has been put into this, as there delegates all around the world coming in.’
– Lee Drake
The race series begins in Alberta and moves onto Ontario and Quebec before ending in Charlottetown.
There are 21 races with drivers awarded points for their placing in each race.
After the final race in Charlottetown, the 2017 World Driving Champion will be crowned. That person will receive not just the title, but $25,000 in prize money as well.
‘An awful lot of work’
Drake said preparations for the event have taken time and dedication from staff.
“An awful lot of work has been put into this, as there’re delegates all around the world coming in,” he said.