Brad Forward has won thousands of times in his harness racing career.
But this one topped them all.
The most exciting win I've had in my life," the Goulds native told Standardbred Canada Saturday night after drove Bigtown Hero to victory in the 55th running of the $75,000 Sobey's Gold Cup and Saucer at the Charlottetown (P.E.I.) Driving Park.
"Nothing compares to it. This is absolutely the best race I've ever won in my life."
Forward has been through some rough patches the past few years, going from one of the leading drivers in Canada to fighting off allegations of race fixing in Ontario — allegations from which he was exonerated — and now finding himself back working at home in Newfoundland.
That made the call last week from trainer Rene Allard to sit behind Bigtown Hero in Saturday’s big race all the more exciting for the driver.
“Racing always has its ups and downs in this business,” Forward said. “You can be up one minute and down the next, but you stay focused.
“A lot of it depends on these trainers you get these drives from.”
Allard told Standardbred Canada he knew Forward was the right choice.
“I thought he could get the job done and obviously he did," said Allard. "He always drove for me in Ontario back when I was there and he won a tonne of races for me ... I thought Brad was the man for the job and I'm very happy we got it done.”
Forward said he grew up in dreaming about the Gold Cup and Saucer, but while he had participated in the race before, he experienced only limited luck. That made his his win on Saturday all the more satisfying.
“For Newfoundlanders, the best way to describe it is this is the Super Bowl of harness racing,” Forward said. “Everybody saves up all year to come here for this week and watch this race.
“It’s hard to explain the emotions I’m going through. To be able to win this race is absolutely amazing.”