BIBLE HILL - Sometimes Ryan Ellis just has to pinch himself.
© File photo
Ryan Ellis guides Big League to the winner's circle after a winning run during Atlantic Grand Circuit Week at Truro Raceway last summer. Ellis recently laid claim to his third consecutive driving title at the half-mile oval with 45 victories in 160 starts this season. The track hosts its final card of 2013 today at 1 p.m.
When the 33-year-old Brookfield resident first acquired his harness racing license in 2007, all he wanted to do was avoid finishing last.
Now, he's celebrating his third consecutive driving title as Truro Raceway's leading driver with 45 wins in 160 starts.
"It feels good for sure," Ellis said. "I'll definitely take them when I can because you never know."
Ellis sits 13 wins ahead of long-time friend and stablemate Darren Crowe heading into today's nine-dash card at the half-mile oval in Bible Hill. Today's event, which gets underway at 1 p.m., is the final race date of the winter.
The card was originally scheduled for Sunday, but with a forecast calling for 20mm of freezing rain, organizers decided to move the event ahead a day after losing last week's card to inclement weather.
The track is scheduled to reopen in April.
The disappointing part for Ellis is he won't be able to celebrate his latest title with his fellow competitors. The Air Canada Jazz pilot will be busy flying aircraft through the skies instead.
"I wish I could be there for it," he said. "Especially since I won't get to drive again until April and we didn't get to race last week so I'm definitely going to miss it."
Nevertheless, Ellis said winning another title means the world to him. He's still a relative newcomer compared to veterans like Danny Romo, who has more than 4,000 wins in his career, Bernard (Pooker) MacCallum, and Crowe, who was on his own title streak before Ellis interrupted. Then there's young guns like Paul Langille, a 19-year-old rookie who sits third in the driver's standings with 26 wins.
"There's a lot of good drivers here who do a really good job," Ellis said. "It really means something to win it."
Ellis credits his success to getting plenty of drives on strong horses. Although he missed more time to work this season than he had in his previous two title campaigns, Ellis typically drives eight to nine races of a 12-dash card when he's in attendance. Most of those are catch drives for owners who request his services behind their racers.
"I definitely got a lot of good horses," he said.
It also helps that Ellis is a competitor and has a reputation at the track for getting the best out of any horse he sits behind.
"I want to do my best every time I go out there," he said. "If that puts me on top, then that's great."
And there are no signs of him slowing down. Ellis, is a life-long horseman who now owns several racers and other horses with his wife Danica. But he loves driving and would make a career of it if he could.
"There's nothing else I'd rather do," he said. "I'll drive as long as there's a track in Truro and I'll own horses all my life."
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