08/31/2017 4:38PM

Macedonio: Gold Cup & Saucer is everything Harness Racing should be

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The Gold Cup & Saucer is treated like a major event.

Book your flight right now for the 2018 Gold Cup & Saucer on Prince Edward Island....seriously....go now...I'll wait... Even if you have one vacation for a few days each year, this should be your destination! Old Home Week is EVERYTHING that Harness Racing should strive to be. I had planned a trip there this year before the USTA asked me to cover the World Driving Championship, and I'll be going each year. 

Let's start with the host city, Charlottetown. It’s such a small and beautiful city to walk around, with plenty of restaurants, shops, cafes, and tourist attractions. Apparently, the golfing is world class, along with the beaches and seafood. I wasn't able to dive into those, but go ask Erv Miller (I know he's intimidating looking, but he's a big teddy bear, trust me) Back to the town, the absolute coolest thing was the fact that everywhere I went there seemed to be genuine interest about me and why I was visiting. Normally, I'd say horse racing, and that would be the end of it....but not in Charlottetown! If you're involved in horse racing, you seem to be the island star! They all knew about the WDC and were all so excited about the Gold Cup! The raw emotions were contagious, and for once I was actually able to discuss the local big race, WITH a local citizen! 

Onto the racetrack: Red Shores Casino at Charlottetown Driving Park. I've never seen a racetrack that also had a convention center, fairgrounds, and an indoor arena attached to it! That screams to me that this place is an event destination year round, for all ages and demographics, which means that everyone is exposed to the Harness Racing product at some point. Their video production is very good, along with one of the best big race announcers Vance Cameron.

And now the event itself, the Gold Cup & Saucer! They go above and beyond promoting this race, and give it the proper pomp and circumstance. Simple marketing 101 is to make the event seem bigger than what it is, to make it a show! The race goes off just before midnight, and at 11PM they shut down the races, to give this race the proper spotlight.....literally! Every horse post parades in front of the grandstand slowly in the dark of night, with a spotlight on them! 20,000 people watching live, and all eyes are on you! It's a sea of people all packed in to watch this race! The buildup is intense, and the crowd stirs waiting and discussing what will happen. They know it's the biggest race in PEI, and yet no one seemed to complain about the time between races, or the drag to post time. They were entertained by the sheer thrill of being there, and being surrounded by so many people! 

Unfortunately, it rained all day, and it was a miserable night. The fairgrounds were bare during the day, and there wasn't the overwhelming crowd I was promised.....until about 11PM! When BOOM!......JUST LIKE THAT!!.......People filled the grandstand and by race time, even if it was for only an hour, it was a madhouse! 

So thank you PEI, for reminding me why I love Harness Racing so much.