Blacktie suited for final
On the day of the big gala awards
banquet for harness racing in B.C. it was only appropriate
that there was a Blacktie winner on the Fraser Downs track.
Armbro Blacktie almost waited until
midnight to crash the ball, winning the first leg of the Pat
Brennan Memorial in a photo finish. The four-year-old gelded
son of Camluck won by a neck in 1:55.2, a new lifetime
Blacktie, owned and trained by Ming Siu,
and driven by Larry Micallef, was seventh after a quarter
and sixth at the half. He started up the outside slowly but
late on the backstretch was beginning to fly. He was fourth
at the three-quarter mark, third at the head of the stretch
and roared home to catch the favorite, Armbro Bolton, at the
Blacktie, the Downs' horse of the month
in December and the 5-2 second choice, covered the last
quarter in 29 seconds in getting his second win in five
starts in 2005.
Bolton, a 3-5 favorite, starting from
the rail, had taken the lead just after the half. C C Maxim
was third and Southwind Sage, first off the gate, fourth.
Meanwhile, Red Star Choo Choo kept
chugging up the racing ladder, winning the other leg in a
lifetime mark of 1:56.1.
The four-year-old son of Northern Luck
was claimed out of the $6,000 conditioned claimer ranks on
Nov. 13 and has rarely looked back. His win Saturday was his
ninth in 15 lifetime starts and fourth in six starts in
Now owned by Sandra and Joan Brown and
trained and driven by Tim Brown, Choo Choo, the 8-5
favorite, won by 11/2 lengths. Charging up from the
five-hole he gained the lead at the quarter, cleared to the
rail just after and was never headed.
Dal Reo Revolt, third early, finished
second, Law Of The Yukon, always close, was third and Band
On The Run, the 5-2 second choice, was fourth.
Blacktie has drawn the rail for the
final and has been made a 3-1 favorite. The entry of Bolton
and Revolt, who will start from the five and seven holes
respectively, is second choice at 7-2 and Choo Choo, from
the outside eight hole, is at 4-1.
The Pat Brennan Memorial is for three
and four-year-olds that are non-winners of $25,000 up to
Nov. 30, 2004. The purse for next Saturday's final will be
FRIDAY NIGHT PAYOFFS: An
inclination to stay away from the chalk could have been
profitable last Friday at Fraser Downs - especially if one
did not rush home.
It started with a win payoff of $32.40
on We Winnie Winston in the second but the really big
payoffs came late.
Outlaw Jehara, a 33-1 shot, captured
the 12th race and paid $69.60 for a $2 win ticket. She
combined with 19-1 shot Queen Of Flight for a $1,448.30
Then in the last race, Jusluky Fiddler
paced to the win, paying $93.80 and combined with Haras
Giggles, 20-1 and Chilly Nites, 10-1, for a $2,182.20
CRUISER TO T O: Seven Seas
Cruiser will not be home soon after all.
The dominant three-year-old colt at
Fraser Downs in 2004, and recent of several awards at the
recent awards banquet, headed to the Meadowlands in New
Jersey in late December.
After a sparking qualifier, a not-bad
debut race and a disappointing next race, he was scheduled
to return home.
But with a change of plans he now has
traveled to Woodbine in Toronto where he will take a shot at
the upcoming Cam Fella Series.
EMERSON TAKES FULL ADVANTAGE:
Red Star Emerson's early small opening eventually led right
to the end and victory last Sunday in the open event at
Emerson and driver Clint Warrington
decided to try to get to the front early and it helped them
manage to avoid traffic congestion that knocked many others
out of contention.
Nuclear Dew, impressive winner of the
open a week earlier, tried, from his outside eight post, to
grab the lead. He missed by a whisker, causing interference
to Red Star Apache in the first turn. Near collisions
prevailed with Apache and The Bruster, the favorites, and
Red Star Justice making breaks and falling well back.
Emerson and Coyote Hanover followed
Nuclear Dew most closely to the head of the stretch with
Emerson taking over and racing on to a 11/2-length victory
in 1:56.1. Nuclear Dew went on to cross the wire third but
there was an inquiry and he was set back to last by the
It was the first win in six starts in
2005 for Emerson who is owned by Robert Murphy, trained by
Rene Goulet and was driven by Clint Warrington. Emerson, a
five-year-old son of Armbro Emerson, has now won more than
$169,000 in his career.
FINE FIT: Bigshoestofill is
The five-year-old daughter of As
Promised made it two straight victories in the fillies and
mares open with an impressive win last Saturday at the
Again using a come-from-behind style,
Bigshoestofill (fourth 51/2 lengths behind at the half)
closed in a nifty 28.3 seconds to win by 41/4 lengths in a
new lifetime mark of 1:55.3.
Heart and Style, at 25-1, and Princess
Jessica, at 28-1, also showing late speed, finished second
and third respectively.
Bigshoestofill, who was a 5-2 third
choice in the betting, is owned by Robert Murphy, trained by
Robert Merschback and was driven by Jim Burke. The win was
her second of 2005 and goes along with a second and a third
in six starts. She has earnings of $12,000 for the year and
more than $145,000 for her career.
ITíS CLOSE: Honors for drivers
and trainers last weekend were shared more than usual among
all with a familiar name -- Bill Davis -- returning to the
head of the pack.
Davis steered to five victories to lead
the way among drivers. Jim Marino, who has been on a tear in
2005, slipped a little but still managed to grab second with
four wins. Sharing third with three wins apiece were Jim
Burke, Scott Knight and Larry Micallef while Dave Hudon and
Tim Brown had two apiece. That leaves 16 others with a
Davis also paced the trainer colony
with four trips to the winners' enclosure followed by Jim
Wiggins with three and Gord Abbott, Barry Treen, Jim
Mohorich and Micallef with two.
Sandra Cherry registered her first
driver and trainer triumph of 2005 when Sleek Fantasy
captured the 11th race on Friday.
JOIN HPI AND SMILE: Fraser Downs
will, as of March 1, join the list of tracks making changes
to their live video output.
Patrons who wish to view the races on
their computers will have to have an HPI (Horse Player
Interactive) membership to access the races. There will be
no charge for the membership and anyone interested can go to
the HPI window at the Downs or register on the Downs web
U.S. fans will be able to set up a
DOUBLE DREAMERS: Bill Veevers
and Tim Wiesner, both of Surrey, tied for top spot, shared
honors and $250 in the ninth week of the California Dreamin
Veevers and Wiesner each totaled $455
in the three races - entrants handicap races three through
eight at Santa Anita Racecourse.
Raymond Kiem picked up third place with
a $428 total followed by Bob Nordin at $318 and Richard
McCaull and Jim Featherstone at $370.
Dreamers are after the top prize of a
trip for two to the Santa Anita Derby in April.
Each Saturday contestants can win $250
and the day's winner qualifies for the final, set for March
5. Veevers and Wiesner will both head to the final.
Lance Beveridge, Don Pegura, Doug
Robertson, Ray Abgrall, Tom Churchill, Maureen Nott and
Frank Neves have won the previous weekly titles.
COOMBS CLIMBS: Carmen Coombs
piled up 14 points last weekend and jumped into the lead of
the KENO Harness Pool after seven weeks.
Coombs now has 75 points and a
one-point lead over Rick Jensen, who had 12 on the weekend.
Jensen has been on, or near, the lead since the start.
Last week's co-leaders Kevin Clark and
Rob McElhinney each had nine points and are still
deadlocked, at 72. Patrick Jordan is fifth at 70 while
Shirley Setter was the biggest mover and shaker of the week
with 15 and moved into sixth at 69.
More than 350 entrants chase $10,000 in
prize money in the pool, which ends Sunday.
Contestants pick a team of six horses,
one from each box of six horses, and points are awarded for
top three finishes. The top 40 players will receive prizes
-- $3,000 for finishing first.