Grand River Raceway reminds Guelph political candidate of home

Harness driver Anthony MacDonald is running for the Progressive Conservatives in the June 12 election.

ELORA, ON — What Ontario track reminds driver and political candidate Anthony MacDonald most of his native Prince Edward Island? Grand River Raceway in Elora.

“I love Grand River because the fans are right down by the fence,” MacDonald said. “You get to talk with the fans as you let the horses walk by. It’s just nice. It reminds me a lot of home… It’s built like PEI and the people are always nice at Grand River… I love racing there.

“A couple of times I even got to announce the races, which I thought was pretty cool.”

As the provincial election enters the home stretch, MacDonald, 37, is drawing from his experience as a harness driver as he battles to get to the wire first in the riding of Guelph where he lives with his wife, Amy, and their two young children.

“You have to learn to be humble in politics and driving horses certainly teaches you that. I think in that respect it’s helped me quite a bit,” he said.

MacDonald is running for the Progressive Conservatives in the June 12 election. He’s been campaigning for the better part of two years.

“Politics, if you can believe it, takes more patience and a little more tolerance because you have to deal with situations that you do not have control over. It’s very similar to what goes on, on the racetrack.”

In more than 15 years as a driver in Ontario, MacDonald has purses earnings of more than $22 million to his credit. He’s won more than 2,600 races and said, so far, campaigning hasn’t sidelined his driving career too much.

“I’ve been lucky,” he said. “The horses have been racing well. I’ve had a pretty good run even throughout the election. I can’t complain too much.”

Though he admits the days are long and tiring.

“I’m two weeks away from finding out if I’m going to be in politics. I’m working18 hours a day non-stop canvassing, talking to peopwle. Usually, I have enough time to drink some Red Bull and go to the races.”

As the campaign enters the hectic final week, MacDonald, an extrovert, admitted there’s times he misses a quieter life.

Asked what superpower he would pick if he had the choice, he gave a very unpolitical answer: “Invisibility… It seems like whatever you’re doing and wherever you’re at, people want to ask you something or ask you to do something. It would be nice to hide away from people just for a little while,” he said, laughing.

For now, though, Anthony MacDonald is happy to invisibility on hold as he tries to get as much notice as possible in the hopes of landing a seat at Queen’s Park.

To hear more of our conversation with Anthony MacDonald, check out our weekly podcast, the Harness Racing Report, produced for Grand River Raceway by award-winning journalist Dave Briggs, at