When the first elimination hits the track for the 77th edition of the Little Brown Jug on Thursday, history will again be made by the MacDonald brothers.
Anthony and Mark MacDonald will become just the third set of brothers to drive against each other in the pacing classic, joining Dana & Del Cameron (five times) and Vernon & Stanley Dancer (twice).
The older brother has out finished his sibling four of the seven previous meetings.
Anthony, 45, will be sitting behind Atlas Hanover, who will be making his first start for the award-winning fractional ownership group, TheStable.ca, and Hutchison Harness.
The group paid $88,000 for the son of Captaintreacherous on the Preferred Equine Online auction site earlier this month.
Atlas Hanover has three wins on the season and earned more than $164,000 lifetime. His most recent effort was a third-place finish in the $40,000 Stallion Series Final at Pocono Downs.
The oldest MacDonald has recorded more than 3,300 career wins, including two this week at Delaware.
Mark, 43, was tapped by trainer Dr. Ian Moore to pilot Greatest Ending from post #4. He drove Greatest Ending in two of his last three starts, including a win in the $200,000 Max Hempt Memorial Consolation and a second-place finish in the $253,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Final.
Of the younger MacDonald’s 6,500+ wins were a pair with Mr Feelgood to capture the 2006 Little Brown Jug.
“Wow, that is pretty neat (being the third set),” noted Mark. “I love the Jug because anything can happen.”
The MacDonald brothers have raced against each other at tracks all across their native Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario. They even lived together for a period of time at Windsor, Ontario.
“Pretty great company for a couple kids that came up broke from PEI, lived together and worked as grooms,” added Mark. “Actually, our whole first year in Windsor we shared a queen size bed at the Ambassador (Hotel). It just goes to show if you work hard, have some vision, some luck and good timing, anything can happen.”
“Mark and I have spent our lives in a game we love,” said Anthony. “I couldn’t think of a better way to race each other than at the Jug.”
The Little Brown Jug is held in the same reverence as the Gold Cup and Saucer from the MacDonald’s homeland, Prince Edward Island.
Mark is a three-time Gold Cup winner (2003, 2004 & 2011) and his big brother picked up his first title this August.
“We carry Prince Edward Island’s 140,000 residents with us to Delaware on Thursday,” concluded Anthony.
Regardless of Thursday’s outcome, both MacDonald’s appreciate the history and the opportunity.
Photo Credits: Jay Wolf