TORONTO — As the year begins to draw to a close, the tussle for WEG’s top driver bragging rights continues to intensify.
Jody Jamieson has 276 wins on the season while Sylvain Filion has 271.
Jamieson is in search of his fourth WEG driving title. The defending champion recorded 328 victories in 2011.
“I’ve had a great year overall,” Jamieson said. “There were some ups and downs along the way. I would have liked to win the North America Cup with Warrawee Needy. Mister Herbie won the Maple Leaf Trot which was a huge thrill. Also, Put On A Show was extra special as she always is.”
Last year’s O’Brien Award winner has fond recollection of the 2011 campaign, one that saw him earn a career high $11,691,570 in purse earnings.
“The year I had in 2011 was just one of those years and it’s going to be tough to top that,” Jamieson said. “Everything fell into place and it was just my year. I had many top horses and it worked out.”
Filion also enjoyed a memorable season with a career best $8,454,505 in purse earnings.
“This year, I had a great opportunity to drive some very good horses and I had a lot of power,” Filion said. “(Trainer) Richard Moreau had a great year and I drive a lot for him, so that always helps. I got a chance to drive some wonderful colts and fillies in major stakes races and it was probably the first time in my career that I had that kind of power in the major stakes races. Every driver dreams of having good horses in big races.”
Filion, like most onlookers, is eager to see who will sit atop the leaderboard and be named WEG’s leading driver of 2012.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of it with Jody,” he said. “It’s a very long year with a lot of traveling and a lot of races, so for us to come down right down to the finish is very exciting.
“It’s been a test all year. Scott (Zeron) and Sylvain were in the hunt and I didn’t take over the lead until late September or early October and it looks like it’s going to come right down to the wire,” Jamieson added. “I think its going to be a great race up until New Year’s Eve. It’s great for the fans too because it looks like it’s going to come right down to the last day or maybe the last race, which is very exciting.”
Filion, who is nominated for his first O’Brien Award, was caught off guard by the news.
“To be honest, I was surprised when I found out,” he said. “It’s a great honour. I’m looking forward to it and win or lose, just to be nominated, either way, I feel I’m a winner.”
With just six cards remaining this year, both reinsmen are hoping to be the one in the driver’s seat when the final race is over.