Nathan Sobey, driver and trainer at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino is no stranger to the racetrack. He has been racing here quite consistently and has started the 2018 season off with a bang with four wins and show on opening day, and three wins and a place on April 8th.
“It’s early on in the meet,” said Sobey in a recent interview. “My main focus was to get [the horses] ready for opening day [and] for the first couple of weekends.”
Sobey took the win with SHES ALL MINE, owned by Terry Tuck and trained by Rod Starkewski, and CARRO SPARKS, owned by Keith Boras and Dion Burlock, and trained by Rod Starkewski, and came in second with BURNTISLAND BILLY, owned by Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhepsy, and trained by Sobey.
He doesn’t take full credit for his wins though. “I haven’t done anything different this year,” said Sobey. “The only guy that I have that has been helping me out a lot is Chris Phillips. A lot of this isn’t just the work that I do, but he runs a lot of this operation. Without him, a lot of these wins and the success that is happening wouldn’t be happening.”
“I used to get pretty worked up on a race day, you know, between warming up horses, catch-driving and reading programs, and it just didn’t produce the results that I wanted,” said Sobey. “So now, with Chris, things are a little more relaxed. I like to sit back, relax, take a good look at the program and enjoy what I do. There’s no stress out there. The more worked-up you get, the worse things usually are.”
Sobey has his sights set high for the season. Century Downs Racetrack and Casino will be hosting the Western Regional Driving Championship on June 23, and it may just be in Sobey’s reach. “It would be nice to get into the driver’s challenge,” said Sobey. “It’s something that most of us look forward to, [we’re all trying] to get on a bigger scale and showcase our abilities.”
The regional events will feature eight or nine drivers who will compete a minimum of eight races, to earn their spot in the National Driving Championship. The winner of the National Driving Championship will join James MacDonald in Sweden for the 2019 World Driving Championship.
The Regional Driving Championship dates are as follows:
Ontario Regional Driving Championship
Wednesday, May 16 at The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, ON.
Atlantic Regional Driving Championship
Friday, June 29 at Truro Raceway, Truro, NS
Western Regional Driving Championship
Saturday, June 23 at Century Downs Racetrack & Casino, Calgary, AB
Quebec/ Eastern Ontario Regional Championship
Saturday, June 30 at Kawartha Downs, Fraserville, ON
The opportunities are endless. “The first step is to get to the Western Regionals,” said Sobey. “There’s a lot of impressive talent in Canada and it’d be an honour just to be able to compete against those guys.”
Sobey is hoping to keep up the winning pace for the 2018 season at Century Downs. “It’s a little outlandish to say that I want to continue the pace that I’m on, but if we can keep producing some positive results… [we can] keep the owners happy.”
There will be some hard-hitting competition this summer. “There’s a lot of heavy competition,” said Sobey. “I’m young, I’m up against a lot of the old veterans that [are] established. I’m still learning, [and] as much as I’ve good results, those guys have had a lot more time to hone their skills, and my main goal is to try to compete with them and keep up with them.”
The one thing that Sobey focuses on, is to always have fun. “If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” said Sobey.
Cheer on Nathan Sobey and your other favourite drivers every weekend at Century Downs with a 1:15 p.m. post time.