BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
Second place wasn't going to cut it this year.
After competing in the Sudbury Downs Media Race last year, and finishing second, I was back for revenge and victory.
The scenario was simple. Standing in the way of winning was three members of the local media, including two-time defending champion Rich Griffin from Z103. We were joined on the track by Channel 10 News ENG technician Pete Noble and Q92 radio host Brian Bailey.
Last year, I made a late charge, but came up short in trying to unseat Griffin. I ended up with all my front teeth being chipped from flying pebbles produced by Griffin's steed.
This year, I have to admit it, I wanted the victory and all the spoils associated with it.
My horse this year,LBS Nero's Baby, I will call him Nero for short, was a magnificent stud. Big, powerful and full of winning spirit.
It was a nice change from my previous horse, Almahurst Bucky, who was retired from racing. Ol' Bucky gave it a good go, but was unable to claim the win.
Nero, on the other hand, was primed for the race.
He and I shared a few minutes of time before the race to get acquainted. I told him my name and he just snorted. It was a perfect match.
After a quick warm up lap, Nero and I positioned ourselves in the number two gate. The other riders followed quickly, and right beside me, to my left in the number one gate was the reigning champ, Griffin.
As we crossed the start line, Nero was thrusting his hooves into the ground with anticipation. It was like sitting behind a soaring missile.
The gate sprung and Nero shot out like a bullet.
It was important to get the lead going into the first corner, and Nero's initial burst got us that coveted spot, which we would hold until the end.
It wasn't easy though.
The other drivers put their horses through a rigorous pace as we blazed down the back stretch.
As we rounded the last corner and stomped into the final stretch, I could feel the breath of the other horses on my neck as we all thundered home.
I looked quickly to my right and saw Noble coming up fast. On my left was Griffin, also making a late charge.
Nero could sense the competition.
He turned his head slightly to the right and saw Noble's horse for sure because all of sudden Nero found an extra gear and lit it up.
Nero, bless his competitive nature, wouldn't allow another horse to snatch victory from his jaws.
We held the lead and crossed the finish line first.
It was sheer ecstasy.
It was also special because my family was there to see the win and share in on the pandemonium.
Hats off to the other drivers. It takes courage to race, and you all had it in abundance.
Money raised for the media race went to the United Way.
It was a blast!, and an experience I will never forget.