BIBLE HILL - It's show time.
The spotlight of the Maritime harness racing world will be shining on Truro Raceway all week during the 30th edition of Atlantic Grand Circuit Week, which leaves the gate Sunday with a 14-dash card.
For long-time driver and trainer Phil Pinkney, it's like Christmas in July.
"Oh, I really like it because we get to showcase all the top stock in the Maritimes," the 75-year-old Central Onslow resident said. "Everyone seems to gather here for the whole week so you get to see all the top drivers and trainers and all the best horses in the Maritimes are here so it's a pretty special thing."
Post time for Sunday's card, which features two heats of the Atlantic aged pacing mares series, is 1:30 p.m.
"It's the biggest week of harness racing in Nova Scotia," said Diane Daniels, the half-mile oval's race office supervisor. "So it's pretty exciting, it's all about the horses and the people who work so hard to prepare the animals to keep them mentally and physically fit. It never gets old."
Raceway staff has been busy since the track opened for the season in April preparing for the week, which features five race cards as well as lots of other activities for racers and fans.
Sure it takes a lot of effort and staff members are exhausted by the end of the week, but its well worth it, Daniels said.
"Absolutely, especially when you get some new fans, some new interest going," she said.
But what sets Grand Circuit Week apart from the rest of the year, you ask? There is something at the track every day of the week, with cards featuring two and three-year-old horses battling for fatter-than-usual purses and points toward the season-ending Atlantic Breeders Crown in October.
The Exhibition Cup showcase on Saturday night features the fastest horses in the Maritimes going toe-to-toe with the potential of a track record ever present.
There is also an open house and children's fun day Saturday with drivers, trainers and owners available to talk to fans, give rides on a jog cart around the track and show how to read a race program as well as breakfasts and barbecues and more.
"We wait all year for this," Daniels said.
Pinkney said, especially with free admission to all events, it will be well worth anyone's while to come check out the action.
"You're going to see some nice racing here all this week with the two and three-year-olds," he said. "It will be a great show, it is really good. I think people will be really pleased to see all the nice horses we have."
Daniels said harness racing offers a thrill like no other sport that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.
"I think if we can let people see that, stand by the fence and hear those hoofs and smell the sweat, that's what it's all about because these horses love what they do," she said. "They absolutely love it."
Today at Truro Raceway:
– 14 dash race card, featuring two heats of the Atlantic aged pacing mares series.
– Post time 1:30 p.m.