Thursday, 26 October 2017 11:07

Autumn Carnival Day at Century Downs: It was just what I needed!

Written by Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle
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Sugar and camera tech trackside at Century Downs Sugar and camera tech trackside at Century Downs

Just two weeks ago I was experiencing a very tough go through Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why it would happen to be this year - of all years - that I would experience a very deep sadness of my Dad not being here (he passed in the Fall of 2002), but I knew I was having a harder go - this time around.

Family and friends were there to talk to, but I still missed my Dad so much. I cried a lot. Even half-wondered if I was losing my mind a few times. This wasn't like me at all.

Thanksgiving went by and I regrouped and got back to being myself again, but there was still the actual day of his passing that was coming up. How was I going to handle it and what would I keep myself busy at - on that particular day?

Wednesday, October 18th - a message from Paul Ryneveld of Century Downs... "Short notice, but do you want to come out and do some handicapping for us Sunday?"

Within minutes my reply... "Yes sir - can be there Saturday too if needed."

I called the races at The Raceway in London, Ontario - on Friday night - came home and packed - then was on my way to the airport at 5:00 AM Saturday morning. My flight would arrive in Calgary at 9:00 AM and I'd be on the grounds of Century Downs a short time later. Before I knew it - it was all coming back to me... Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing in Alberta... How I've missed it!

It was so good to be reconnecting with my Alberta family and friends in horse racing. It's like we all just picked up where we left off. The hugs... The handshakes... The drinks with 'My Friend Tom'... Everything that went down on Saturday and Sunday... It was just what I needed!

Sunday, October 22nd was the Autumn Carnival Day of Racing at Century Downs.

I was with my Dad, when he took his last breath, on October 22nd, 2002.

I left my home province, of P.E.I., a few years after my Dad had passed away. I left to chase after a dream. I lucked out and began a brand new career as a horse race announcer in the Spring of 2006. My childhood dream had finally come true! It would be early March, that same Spring, when a horse by the name of Father Knows Best would cross the line first in Edmonton. I just knew I was where I was supposed to be.

I'm pretty sure Dad was with me in spirit, all the way, on this most recent trip to Alberta. And again - the hugs - the handshakes - the everything - it all meant so much to me. I just knew I was where I was supposed to be.

I truly enjoyed every moment of this past weekend - you have no idea... Alberta - you were doing it and doing it well... Thank you so much... It was just what I needed!


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