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Scott Coulter: The drive to 5,000 and beyond

By Chris Lomon / @ChrisLomon

Although the journey’s far from over, Scott Coulter knows exactly what’s got him to this point in the game.
 
There’s roughly a dozen minutes before he has to hop in the race bike again on a recent Tuesday night at The Raceway at Western Fair District, an evening that will yield a trio of third-place finishes.
 
And while he doesn’t make his way to the winner’s circle from six opportunities, the veteran Standadrbred horseman did manage to live up to the words he’s long depended on.
 
“I remember when I first started driving, my dad told me, ‘You have to show up every night,’” noted Coulter.
 
He’s done just that over a career that’s produced 5,000-plus wins, 15 consecutive million-dollar campaigns dating back to 2004, and a Western Fair driving title.
 
The native of Brantford, Ontario achieved his milestone victory on April 17 at the London oval, teaming with Spicey Victor to win an $8,500 claiming trot.
 
At the wire, the duo, sent off at 1-5, were 8 ¼-lengths in front.
 
While the victory was never in doubt, Coulter, like he always has, didn’t take any second of the 1.59.1 mile for granted.
 
“I think I was able to get to 5,000 by just going up and down the road. It’s just like anyone in this sport – you have to put in the time if you want to reach those numbers. I never thought it was a number I could achieve. I started driving horses because I wanted to, but I never put a number on it.”


John Watkins photo
 
Coulter began his time in the sulky in 1995, earning 16 wins from 134 starts. Eight years later, he cracked the 100-win mark for the first time. In 2001, he won a career best 467 races.
 
Six years ago, he added a Tioga Downs driving crown to his resume.
 
A regular on the Ontario circuit for close to 25 years, Coulter is on track to eclipse the 277 wins he notched in 2018.
 
“You have to keep a good attitude and turn the page after each race. You can’t carry it around with you. It’s just not healthy.”
 
Coulter has never been one to dwell on a nose loss or a winless night.
 
“It was never hard for me, but it’s just not hard now, especially,” he said. “I realize what I can do and what I can’t do out there. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can under the circumstances, and then you look forward.”
 
For the driver whose purse earnings are nearing $34 million, keeping an open mind when it comes to improving his craft has been a huge asset.
 
“You have to adapt. Times change and things change in this sport. You have to be willing to watch and learn. I’m always watching the other drivers. There are a lot of people doing great things on the racetrack here in Ontario. I’ll never be too big-headed in that I can’t take a moment to catch something I could be missing. I’m definitely keeping my eyes open and looking to do things a little bit better. ”
 
Regardless of how may wins he racks up before he calls it a career, Coulter is optimistic about the direction racing is heading in the province.
 
“There’s more stability then there was a few years ago,” he started. “Unfortunately, our horse stock in Ontario is diminished. But you have to be optimistic. There’s no point in being the other way. You have to look forward and hope things improve. I think it needs to improve, but I’m going to look ahead with a smile.”


John Watkins photo 

Next stop, 10,000 wins?
 
“That’s a big number,” he said with a laugh. “I marvel at the guys that have achieved that. The 5,000 (wins), it’s a feather in my cap, for sure. I realize it’s not easy to get there, especially today. It’s tougher than ever has been, I think. I’m proud of myself for the effort and putting in the work. I’ll just take it a thousand at a time. How about that?”
 

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