Bigshoestofill, the sequel
Bigshoestofill is quickly going about
changing the explanation of her name.
The five-year-old daughter of As
Promised out of More Class was bred in Alberta and drew her
name because of an older sister. That big sister was Rons
Girl, who went on to dominate the Alberta scene as a rookie
and then traveled to Canada's big time and won a Breeders
Along came the foal in 2000 and her
Alberta connections named her Bigshoestofill.
The baby has grown showing flashes of
her sister's form. Those flashes are becoming bigger, and
closer together, and last Friday night at Fraser Downs there
was more lightning. Bigshoestofill made it five straight
victories, capturing the $32,500 Miss Cloverdale Classic.
Despite starting from the rail,
Bigshoestofill and driver Jim Burke were content to take the
two-hole. Part of a 2-5 favored entry, Bigshoestofill
followed Rustle For It, the 5-2 second-choice, who went to
the front from the four hole on the gate. Bigshoes was 11/2
lengths back before starting to attack late on the
backstretch. She pulled within a neck on the outside at the
three-quarter pole and then won a two-horse race to the
Bigshoestofill won by 11/4 lengths in
1:55.1, equaling her lifetime best mark.
Princess Jessica, a 24-1 shot, was
third and Dal Reo Millee, a 21-1 shot, fourth.
Bigshoestofill is owned by Robert
Murphy, trained by Bob Merschback and the win was her fifth
of 2005 along with a second and a third in nine starts. She
has earnings of more than $35,000 for the year and more than
$168,000 for her career.
"She's a great mare," said Merschback,
with obvious delight. "She likes to leave with cover but all
Jim had to do today was show her the whip.
"Jamie (Alberta trainer Gray, who had
her before Merschback) liked her," Merschback explained.
"But when we first got her she had a virus and a high
temperature. When we got her healthy she was as good as we
thought she would be.
"She's also great to have around,"
Merschback said, "both on and off then track. She does
Unfortunately, Merschback and Murphy
have now sent her back to Gray.
Murphy claimed her for $37,500 on Nov.
27 from owner/trainer/breeder Keith Clark and she raced
three times for Gray before coming to Merschback at the
And about that explanation of her name.
Any future siblings of Bigshoestofill now will learn the
heavy expectations - Bigshoestofill2.
DEW TOO HOT: The morning dew may
have been gone by race time but Nuclear Dew then appeared
and covered a lot of ground in a hurry.
Nuclear Dew is a nine-year-old New
Zealand-bred by Nuclear Canyon out of Dewis Delight who
picked up his third win of 2005 last Sunday at Fraser Downs.
It came against the big boys in the winners over feature.
The win was Dew's first ever in the
weekly Downs' feature but he has been showing signs that
such a result would not be a fluke. He was a close fourth
last week and third the week before while showing his
ability to race up front or come from behind.
Last Sunday, he used a cool two-hole
trip to get the job done. Despite starting from the rail,
Dew and driver Jim Burke, let Duke Is Duke take the front.
Nuclear Dew slipped to third at the half as horses on the
outside moved up but was closest after three quarters.
Unfazed by the blistering 1:24.4
three-quarter pace, he closed to within a length at the head
of the stretch, passed Duke Is Duke and then held off the
fast-closing The Bruster.
Nuclear Dew's margin of victory was a
neck in a fine time of 1:54.2 as he covered the last quarter
It was the third win, along with two
seconds and two thirds in the year for Nuclear Dew, who is
owned by Dale Bonner of Grande Prairie, Alta and trained by
Heather Burke. He now has earned more than $21,000 in 2005.
"He is a good horse," Jim Burke told
Dan Jukich in the winner's enclosure. "He sometimes is tough
to handle behind the gate but he is racing super and his
owner is real happy."
Bonner claimed Nuclear Dew from Robert
Murphy last October for $20,000.
Red Star Admiral, despite being parked
for the mile was third and Duke Is Duke, the previous week's
DAVIS STILL AROUND: Bill Davis
refuses to relinquish his domination atop the driver
standings at the Downs.
The perennial leader has watched Jim
Marino steal much of the spotlight in 2005 but he has not
gone away and led last weekend’s results with a handful of
Davis now has a leading 124 for the
Serge Masse was next best with four
victories while Marino, Dave McKellar, Tim Brown and Scott
Knight had three each. Tied at two were John Hudon, Dave
Hudon, Jim Burke and Gord Abbott.
Davis and Masse led all conditioners
with four visits each to the winner's enclosure. Wayne
Isbister picked up three wins while Gary Durbano had two.
IN GOOD SPIRITS: One of the
strongest performances of the meet came last Sunday when
Spirits Y To K captured the fifth race.
The five-year-old son of Hy Class
Spirit, owned and trained by Diana Davie, and driven by John
Hudon, surprised most as he paid $84.10 for a $2 win ticket.
But that was only part of the story.
Making his sixth start of 2005, Hy
Class Spirit paced to victory in a new life mark of 1:57.2
(the old mark was 2:02.3) while parked the mile. The
victory came in a non-winners of two races or $4,500
lifetime with his only other win coming on Feb. 4.
In the race five horses finished within
2˝ lengths of the winner, just one of several races with
ALBERTA AWARDS: B.C. interests
were able to take a couple of awards at last Saturday's
annual Alberta harness awards event.
Lil Dude Starrbuck, owned by the Lil
Dude Ranch of Surrey, was named three-year-old colt of the
year. Starrbuck captured the 2004 Western Canada Pacing
Derby at Edmonton.
Patriot Dream, owned by Vancouver's
Bill Boden and trainer Gerry Hudon of Edmonton, was a double
winner, as she swept both categories for two-year-old
fillies, losing just once in seven races in 2004.
Meanwhile, Keith Clark is still the top
dog on the Alberta circuit. For a record-setting fourth
consecutive year, Clark won the prized horseperson of the
year honour. The Clark stable won a staggering eight awards
for the 2004 season and no horseman won more harness races
in Alberta last year than Clark, illustrating why he was
also named trainer of the year and driver of the year.
Disagreement was named horse of the
year after earning $205,612 in 21 races last season. The
daughter of sire As Promised also won the champion aged mare
category and the Alberta-sired four-year-old mare title.
A former B.C-owned horse, Meant To Do
That, another Clark pacer, was claimer of the year.
BACH STREAK ENDS: Armbro Bach's
winning streak has come to an end.
The four-year-old son of Village Jiffy,
trained by Ray Gemmill, had built an impressive 6-0-0 record
in seven starts but finished ninth in the winners over
feature race last Saturday at Northlands Park in Edmonton.
Bach had the outside eight-hole and
raced off the gate to get the lead on the outside at the
quarter. He still led at the half but the 57.2 pace took its
toll and he fell back to fourth at the three-quarter pole
and driver Don Monkman, Jr. eased him home.
Armbro Bach had recently won the Clash
of the Pacific at Fraser Downs and is owned by Gemmill, Ian
Moyes of Surrey and Ron Waples of Guelph, ON.
Alberta Sires Stakes star, Dudes
Leaving Town, was well back early but came home in 28
seconds to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:55.1. Armbro Bolton,
owned by J J J Stables of Aldergrove and Al and Mark
Anderson and recent winner of the Pat Brennan Memorial at
the Downs, rounded out the top three.
CHIP FANS BLUE: Gallo Blue Chip,
the richest pacer of all-time, is hanging up his harness.
Trainer Mark Ford and owner Martin
Scharf of Lawrence, N.Y., made the decision after the
eight-year-old gelding finished seventh in a non-winners of
$10,000 condition pace last Saturday (March 12) at
Gallo Blue Chip is the richest pacer of
all time with earnings of $4,260,959.
"I want it to be known that physically
he is fine," said Ford. "He is just older, lost a few steps.
We don't want to do anything to cheapen him."
Gallo Blue Chip, a gelded son of
Magical Mike, retires with a stable full of honors and
accomplishments. He was the 2000 Horse of the Year and won a
pair of million-dollar stakes that year, the North American
Cup and the Meadowlands Pace.
Gallo Blue Chip wraps up his racing
career with 53 wins, 19 seconds and nine thirds from 133
starts and a 1:48.4 lifetime best. His last win was in his
final start at the Meadowlands on Feb. 26, 2005.
(Courtesy of the Big M)