Alberta's Tracey her for the weather

Ed Tracey has joined the list of Alberta trainer/drivers who have ridden into Fraser Downs to try and get a share of that B.C., purse money.
Tracey, a member of a well-known harness racing family has been to Fraser Downs before.

'I was here, I think it was four years ago," he said prior to last weekend, "and I was here several years ago when (Fraser Downs/Cloverdale Raceway) first started. It was like a wagon train in those days, everybody came."

Tracey, actually didn't say he was here for the money, instead saying he came "to get out of the cold." To show he is serious, the Leduc resident, added, "I'll probably stay until April." (Even though the Edmonton meet starts on Feb. 28).

Tracey, a 59-year-old veteran of the sport, brought four horses to the Downs, pointing out that three were maidens and one a non-winner of three.

But that changed quickly when Diva In Demand, a four-year-old daughter of Corporate Prince, got her first lifetime win, in a field of six maidens entered for a $6,000 plus allowance claiming tag.

(Bev Mohorich, B.C. Standardbred Association office manager, keeper of thousands of racing facts and figures (in her head) and long-time friend of the Traceys, thinks it was Tracey's first win ever in B.C.)

Diva, who is owned and bred by Ed's daughter Betty, appears to like the Downs track as she also qualified quite respectfully.

Ed is married to Aldona and has another daughter Barb. His brothers Pat and Don are well known in the horse game, particularly Pat who shares a horse trucking business with Ed.

When asked if he will be back when Edmonton closes its track late in 2003 and for all of 2004, Ed said he wasn't sure. (Edmonton is expected to expand its present track to 7/8 mile and then build a 5/8 track inside for harness racing.)

"We'll just have to see what happens, we've been here before (talk of new tracks)," Tracey explained. "It would be nice if we got a new track in Calgary too."
LANGLEY PACE TONIGHT: Red Star horses obviously were ready for last Friday's elimination legs of the Langley Pace at Fraser Downs.

In the race for three and four-year-old colts and geldings, Red Star Apache and Red Star Camelot won each leg -- in impressive fashion. Apache, a horse, and Camelot, a gelding, both owned by Robert Murphy and trained and driven by Bill Davis, won by 5 1/2 and 5 3/4 lengths respectively. Both went gate to wire with times of 1:56.1 and 1:58 respectively.

The winners will form an entry in tonight's final which will go for a purse of $31,800.

Apache and stablemate Red Star Bigosh were 4-5 race favourites but it was Apache who raced quickly from the three-hole on the gate to take the lead after a nifty 27.1 first quarter. Millbanks P I made an early challenge and Haras Colta Cola, the second choice at 7-5 starting from the outside of the six-horse field, made a late move, covering the last quarter in 28.

However, Apache, with a 28.1 final quarter of his own, was too good on this day.

Camelot, also an entry (with Ritzi) and a second choice at 6-5, led Ritzi through the early stages with even-money favourite Just Invincible third. But they didn't fire coming home and it was Spider  M with a late move that got second.

Camelot, who was lifetime earnings of more than $91,000 and cane claim a previous Stakes victory, will be a contender in the final. However, Apache and Haras Colta Cola had impressive showings in 2002 -- Apache with nine wins in 19 starts and Colta Cola with 12 triumphs in 20 starts.

As always, and moreso in Stakes, post position will be a big key in the final and that should play well for Colta Cola who has drawn the rail. Camelot and Apache are in the four and five holes respectively while Spider M has three and Just Invincible six.
DAVIS STEPS SMARTLY: OK, so driver Bill Davis doesn't have a bad heel after all. Davis, who it was suggested last week may have an Achilles heel -- winning on Friday -- cooled that idea quickly by winning four times last Friday.

Those wins set off a weekend where he totalled 11 victories and added to his big lead atop the driver standings for the meet. He now has 105, 37 ahead of Tim Brown. Brown and Bobby Clark had four last weekend and Dave Hudon and Rod Therres three.

Davis the trainer had seven triumphs which was five better than the closest rivals -- Hudon, Therres, Wayne Isbister and John Currie. Davis has a total of 76 with Isbister next at 38.
GROOMS THE STARS: The Winners Foundation, the B.C. Standardbred Association, B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society and Orangeville Racing are jointly presenting Grooms Appreciation Days at Fraser Downs.

The event kicked off with a pancake breakfast, free to all horsemen, on Thursday in the Horsemen's' Cafeteria.

Also, during the races this weekend, the BCSA's popular Groom's Challenge will be staged once again. Twenty-five entrants are after a total of $1,000 which will be distributed to grooms of winning horses on the weekend.

Grooms' days will conclude with a dinner dance on Monday, starting at 6 p.m., running to midnight at the bargain price of only $5 for admission. All grooms will dine and dance for free. Tickets for this event will be available at the Horsemen's Cafeteria until today.