Francis Gerard McIsaac was born in Fairview, PEI. As a youth he became involved in harness racing and eventually owned his own stable. He became one of the premiere names in the all time list of Maritime harness racing drivers. He died at the youthful age of 42 while engaged in his sport at the Saint John track. It was ironic that he died on the track as he had given so much to racing and had taken so little.
The humble, affable and sincere Francis McIsaac, rose quickly from racing obscurity to the ranks of the all time greats in Maritime harness racing. Through commitment, dedication and hard work, he built a reputation as one of the most talented and skilled competitors in the harness racing sport.
Francis McIsaac became only the third Island driver in the history of the sport to reach the 1,000 mark in victories. This was outstanding, in light of the short season in the Maritimes where he did most of his racing. He had a total of over 1400 heat wins and his records as such are recorded with others in the “World Famous Drivers” record book. He was the leading harness racing driver in the Maritimes in 1978 with 171 wins and $95,000 in prize money. In the same year, he finished in the top 50 among leading North American dash winning drivers, and was the leading dash winner at Exhibition Park Raceway in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Francis was also the leading dash winning at the Charlottetown Driving Park in 1977 and in 1978. Francis McIsaac was the leading driver at Old Home Week in Charlottetown in nine of the last ten years up to his death in 1979.
In addition, he had accumulated more Old Home Week British Consols driving titles than any other driver since it was first recorded in 1925. Francis was selected to participate in the first international ice racing competition on the Ottawa Rideau Canal in 1979 and was chosen to compete annually in the Maritime Driving Championships at Sackville Downs, Nova Scotia. He was the winner of this event in 1978. He was president of the PEI Standardbred Horse Owner’s Association in 1975 and 1976. He was trainer-driver of the 1968 two-year-old pacing Atlantic Sire Stake Champion, Mr. Gratton, and, ten years later, in 1978, he was trainer-driver of the two year old trotting Atlantic Sire Stakes Champion, Blazen M.
Francis campaigned a stable of Maritime horses during the 1979 winter racing at Blue Bonnet’s racing meet in Montreal and recorded 14 wins in 142 starts. Some of his top pacers and trotters during his career were Mr. Jollity, Miss P. K., Cape Breton Doug, Another Mecca, Fly-Past, Colombo Seelster and many others.
Francis McIsaac was inducted posthumously into the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame for his many feats and leadership in harness racing.