When the P.E.I native topped the charts as the leading trainer at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park; however, the achievement was not just a career-best for her own stable, but a new record in P.E.I’s harness racing history.
In early November, the leaderboard displaying trainer standings showed a three-way match across the board between Doyle, Melissa Rennie and Jason Hughes, each owning 58 wins apiece. With eight weeks between the start of the month and the finale, a tug-of-war ensued between the trio with the title up for grabs by any one of them. The deciding moment came down to the last card, held on Dec. 31.
“It was close right up till the end. Even going into the last race card, I wasn’t 100 per cent sure that I was going to end the year off with the most wins,” Doyle was quoted as saying in a CBC News article reflecting on the achievement.
With a training triple during the season finale, a special New Year’s Eve card at the Charlottetown Driving Park, Doyle secured her place in the top spot and in the history books as the first female trainer to earn the honour in 135 seasons of racing at Charlottetown.
“Being a male-dominated sport, I’m pretty proud to be able to compete with the boys, let alone beat them the odd time too,” Doyle told CBC News.
Doyle met 74 of her trainees in the Charlottetown winner’s circle over the course of the 2023 season, banking more than $210,000 in earnings. Hughes, who led all trainers by earnings at $260,904, finished second in the standings with 69 triumphs and Rennie completed the top three with 67 victories.
Hailing from a harness racing family, Doyle’s ground-breaking success came on the heels of her decision to leave her job at a veterinary clinic last year and focus on training horses fulltime.
Altogether, with 334 starters at different tracks in 2023, Doyle had a career year showcasing 82 winners, 70 seconds and 44 thirds. Her trainees banked $241,992 in purses.
In 2011, she recorded her first training start and first training win. To date, the Vernon Bridge, P.E.I resident has made 1,270 training starts with 273 wins, 228 seconds and 170 thirds to go along with a lifetime total of $648,480 for purse earnings.