Memories & Memorabilia – Written by Doug McPherson

 “A Little Head Shake and More”

When I first started working for my dad at Woodbine a few years back, he had a new two-year-old filly in called Giveyourheadashake, or Mayvee, as she was known in the barn. She was the smallest thoroughbred I have ever seen, almost small enough to be considered a pony.

Mayvee was an easy horse to work with and, since I was new to working with horses, she became ‘mine’ when I came in to work on the weekends. Finally, it came time to run her. As a two and three-year-old with us, she made 18 starts. She had a few seconds and thirds, but she just couldn’t manage to get the job done. She always tried and I always kept my faith in her, even after the bad ones. I knew my little filly would get there eventually.

Giveyourheadashake, known as "Mayvee," a horse Doug McPherson will never forget
Giveyourheadashake, known as “Mayvee”

Finally, Dec. 3rd, 2011, rolled around. It was the second last day of the Woodbine meet and we were running Mayvee in an Ontario Sired Maiden Special Weight. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I had to paddock her, something I had only done once or twice before at Fort Erie with different horses. I got her ready, and brought her to the paddock. After I gave her to the pony to go on to the track, I went to go bet $2 across on her. I didn’t really handicap a lot back then, but I had to bet my filly. She was about 40-1.

That race had to have been the longest feeling 6 furlong sprint I had ever seen. Our rider, Jennifer Reid, had Mayvee in perfect position. They turned for home and she looked golden. I was screaming at the top of my lungs “come on, Mayvee!” I think if you watch the replay you can faintly hear me. In the last few yards, I thought we had it. She was closing, and closing, and I was dreaming about getting my picture taken with the filly I loved so much but we couldn’t catch the eventual winner, a filly called Ariel’s Bay. I was extremely excited about how well she had ran but a bit heartbroken at the same time. Although, I ended up making about $40 on that WPS ticket.

I got back to the barn to cool her out and found out that my dad had sold her for $5,000 to a guy at Penn National. A couple days later she was on the van and on her way. After a few starts at Penn, it was finally her turn to make it to the winner’s circle. She was entered for $5,000 claiming going 6 furlongs. With an explosive closing move down the stretch, she just managed to grab the win by a neck. I yelled at my TV the same way I had yelled at Woodbine on that December afternoon. When she finally won, I honestly shed a tear of joy. That filly that I had taken care of for two years was finally a winner.

Giveyourheadashake ended up out in Western Canada, where she won five more races at Marquis Downs in Saskatoon and Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg. I happily stayed up late to watch her each time. Even though she may not have beaten the best, she’s proof that the little guy can win. She’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

We thank Doug for sharing his story! You can follow him on Twitter at @LDMcPherson. You can also check him out at his site:


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