On Saturday (Aug. 12) 11 of the top harness racing drivers from around the globe will assemble at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino, near Calgary, Alberta, to kick off the 2017 World Driving Championship (WDC).
The World Driving Championship, hosted by Standardbred Canada, will take place at five different racetracks in four provinces, with 11 drivers from around the world competing. Drivers will earn points based on their finishing position and the top point-earner will be declared the 2017 World Driving Champion and win $25,000 in prize money.
The defending champion, New Zealand’s Dexter Dunn, represents the International Trotting Association. The World Driving Championship will also consist of the following top-ranked international competitors: Shane Graham of Australia; Gerhard Mayr of Austria; Ric Depuydt of Belgium; James MacDonald of Canada; Mika Forss of Finland; Noel Baldacchino of Malta; Mark Purdon of New Zealand; Eirik Hoitomt of Norway; Bjorn Goop of Sweden; and Marcus Miller of the United States.
Century Downs hosts the first leg on Saturday (Aug. 12). The WDC leg is the culmination of the First Annual Calgary Racing Festival. The week-long event, running through to Saturday (Aug. 17) includes an Industry Day, Mid-Summer Classic card, Charity Bowling and Charity Golf tournaments, and a Charity Gala.
The drivers will then head to Ontario for the next two legs at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont., on Aug. 14 and Georgian Downs in Innisfil, Ont., on Aug. 15. The action then moves to Trois-Rivières, Quebec, on Aug. 16, where Hippodrome 3R will host the fourth leg before the drivers head to Prince Edward Island’s Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park for the fifth and final leg of the Championship on Aug. 18, one of the major highlights of Old Home Week.
The World Driving Championship — along with the 25th anniversary edition of the World Trotting Conference, to be hosted in Charlottetown — are both held every two years and will coincide with the 250th Anniversary of horse racing in Canada, and Canada 150 celebrations.
For more information about the 2017 World Driving Championship, visit www.worlddrivingchamps.com. To follow along with the adventures of Marcus Miller and Ryan Macedonio, and keep up with the standings, tune in at www.harnessracingfanzone.com/watch