Edmonton, Alta — Doug McNair dominated the 2022 National Driving Championship (NDC), presented by Standardbred Canada, leading the competition from start to finish and winning four of the eight tournament races at Century Mile Racetrack and Casino in Edmonton, Alta. on Thursday evening (Nov. 24).
The 10-race program featuring the NDC produced the second highest Standardbred handle ever at Century Mile and the track’s highest per race handle for a Standardbred card. Total handle was $232,146 with an average per race handle of $23,214.60.
Competing at Century Mile for the first time in his career and facing seven other top drivers from across Canada, McNair took the lead right out of the gate as he won the first two legs with Jayden Riley ($3.20) and his first choice draft pick Oriental Express ($2.10).
A second and two third-place finishes kept the 32-year-old Guelph, Ont. reinsman atop the leaderboard while Western Canada representative Dave Kelly picked up a pair of victories and Quebec’s Pascal Berube made a winner’s circle appearance in the subsequent races.
With the competition closing in, McNair countered with back-to-back victories courtesy of Litizor ($12.90) and Captain Mike Deo ($21) to clinch the title with an insurmountable lead in the point standings with one race still to go.
Atlantic Canada rep Marc Campbell closed out the NDC with a victory while McNair picked up another top three finish in the finale.
McNair ended the eight-race competition with 91 points to earn his second NDC title while Kelly (69 points) finished second and Berube (46 points) was third.
As winner of the NDC, McNair will go on to represent Canada at the 2023 World Driving Championship, which will be held in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany from Aug. 14 to Aug. 18.
“I just want to say thanks to all the trainers that let me drive their horses, and caretakers and owners, and Standardbred Canada for making this possible,” said McNair from the winner’s circle. “It’s just starting to sink in now. It’s going to be pretty exciting and hopefully I’ll have a lot of fun.”
McNair, who previously won the NDC in 2018, has driven winners of 4,202 races and more than C$74 million in purses lifetime. An O’Brien Award-winning driver, he is among the top reinsmen at his home track at Woodbine Mohawk Park with his mounts earning 286 victories and more than C$6.7 million in total this year.
Here is a look at the final 2022 NDC leaderboard:
Doug McNair (Ontario) – 91 points
Dave Kelly (Western Canada) – 69
Pascal Berube (Quebec/Eastern Ontario) – 46
Louis-Philippe Roy (Ontario) – 41
Marc Campbell (Atlantic Canada) – 35
Gilles Barrieau (Atlantic Canada) – 33.5
Samuel Fillion (Quebec/Eastern Ontario) – 31
Mike Hennessy (Western Canada) – 29.5