Bolton's start nets Brennan win

Bolton was bolting (as in the definition, drive forth). Blacktie was knot. 

All puns aside, a good start by Armbro Bolton and a poor start by Armbro Blacktie may have been the biggest factor in the result of the $37,400 Pat Brennan Memorial final last Saturday at Fraser Downs. 

The two favorites reversed order from the elimination the week before when Blacktie won by a neck. Bolton, part of an even-money entry, led most of the way this time to win by a length over Blacktie, a 7-5 second choice. The former started from the four-hole on the gate but led by the quarter while Blacktie, on the rail, did not get untracked and was fifth, 61/2 lengths behind at the quarter. 

Bolton, owned by J J J Stable and Al Anderson and trained by Anderson, set fractions of 27.4, 58.1, and 1:26.2 in rolling to a 1:55.1 (equaling his best) mile. 

Law Of The Yukon, second to the half, finished third with Southwind Sage fourth in the field of eight. 

"I thought Larry's (driver Micallef) horse (Blacktie) would leave a lot more," said top driver Bill Davis in the winner's enclosure after his drive behind Bolton. "I knew I had to leave a little even if I had to take a seat."


Davis admitted he did see Blacktie coming (on the outside) but added that the others had seemed "to let me go." 

Blacktie worked it up on the outside to get within a half length but this time he could not catch his birthing buddy. (They both were born in 2001 at Armstrong Brothers farm in Inglewood, Ont.) 

Bolton now has three wins, a second and a third in five starts and earnings of more than $30,000 in 2005. The Brennan Memorial is for three and four-year-olds that are non-winners of $25,000 up to Nov. 30, 2004. 

Rick Mowles, owner of J J J Stables, said they got Bolton as a yearling at the Forest City sale in Ontario. They paid $19,000 for the now four-year-old son of Matts Scooter. 

"We actually went to get another horse but also liked him as well," said Mowles. "I think the other horse, which we paid $27,000 for, is now racing somewhere in $4,000 claimers." 

Bolton and entry-mate Dal Reo Revolt will now be moving to Edmonton where they will join trainer Larry Micallef, who has taken several horses to the Alberta capital where racing commences tonight. 

"They fit non-winner stakes up there," Mowles explained. 

Not that trainer Anderson, who has led the stable to a dominant stakes showing at the Downs, will be idle. They still have powerhouse three-year-old filly Betterfrombehind who will be here for the Delta Stake but they also have 15 yearlings on Anderson's California farm. 

THE DUKE SHINES: Duke Is Duke could be working on his swagger. 

The seven year-old gelded son of Jennas Beach Boy rolled into town in early January, bringing with him a highly impressive lifetime mark of 1:51.1, set last year at the Meadowlands. 

Serge Masse, trainer/driver and part owner, along with Joseph Lin, had him aimed for the Clash of the Pacific, the new open stakes race set for February. But illness slowly him down and his prep races were not too startling. 

In his second Clash elimination he showed some old form, winning in 1:56.4. In the final, he drew the trailing nine-hole, one not ideal for him and he slipped late in the race.

However, Masse put him right back into action last Sunday in the winners-over feature and he was ready. 

Starting from the three-hole in the field of seven, the 8-1 choice used a perfect two-hole trip to slide home in 1:55.2, his best time at the Downs. He passed early pacesetter Camlucks Dominator and held off late charges to win by 13/4 lengths. 

The Bruster and Nuclear Dew came from sixth and seventh respectively at the head of the stretch to get second and third. The 1-5 favored entry of Red Star Emerson and Red Star Admiral was fourth and fifth respectively. 

Duke Is Duke now has two wins and a second in seven starts in 2005. The win bumped his lifetime earnings to more than $112,000. 

BIGSTREAKONTHEGO: Bigshoestofill likely now has gainedsomerespect. 

Heading into the fillies and mares open last Saturday at the Down, the five-year-old daughter of As Promised out of More Class had two straight victories in the event.  

Despite that she was only a 3-1 third choice -- albeit debatably so. She had to take that billing because Carson Jane, the mare with the 1:53 clocking last year at the Meadowlands and five wins (all in the open) in her last seven starts at the Downs and Rustle For It, the mare with five straight wins, one in the open on Jan. 29 and one in the Miss Valentine stakes, were also entered. They also had the one and two hole on the gate. 

Bigshoestofill started from the three hole and followed the others, joint 3-2 favorites, away from the gate with Carson Jane leading. 

They stayed that way to past the half before Bigshoestofill, with Rod Therres in the sulky, started second-over behind the first-up Goaheadandlietome. Bigshoestofill was fourth at the three-quarter pole and at the head of the stretch. But her 28.1 last quarter was enough for her to edge Carson Jane by a neck at the wire. Rustle For It was third and Goaheadandlietome fourth. 

For the second straight week Bigshoestofill covered the mile in a new lifetime mark - this time 1:55.1. 

Bigshoestofill is owned by Robert Murphy and trained by Bob Merschback. The win was her third of 2005 and goes along with a second and a third in seven starts. She has earnings of $16,000 for the year and more than $149,000 for her career. 

MARINO MAGNIFICO: Putting it mildly, Jim Marino continues to drive very well. 

Marino, who is on a tear in 2005, led all drivers last weekend with two fistfuls of wins - led by a six-pack on Saturday. He now has 30 wins for February and 50 wins for 2005. Those figures have vaulted him into second spot in wins for the meet as his 88 victories trail only Bill Davis who has 115. (At the end of November Davis had 35 and Marino 11). 

Tim Brown picked up six wins last weekend while Scott Knight, Rod Therres and Davis had four apiece. Gord Abbott was next at three and Jim Wiggins and Serge Masse had two each. 

Mike Glover continued his strong showing as a conditioner leading all trainers with five victories. Wayne Isbister made four visits to the winnerís enclosure while Marino, Ann Cooper and Bob Merschback made three each and Wiggins, Davis and Masse two apiece.

A newcomer made his first appearance as a driver on Friday when Steve Germain drove Better Best for Isbister. 

Germain is now a Vancouver resident after most recently competing at Rideau Carleton in Ottawa. He is a native of Quebec and in 2004 had a win, two seconds and four thirds in 33 starts as a driver. 

Meanwhile, sharp-eyed Downs patrons likely noticed a new name appear in the trainer ranks on Feb. 20. 

Itsallaboutthemoney, a four-year-old mare leased by Bill Davis, a highly familiar name, is now trained by Billy J. Davis. The latter, of course, is Bill's son. The 18-year-old told Tom Wolski on Sport of Kings he just got his trainer's licence and, "if I did half as well/good as him (dad) I would be happy." 

He also hopes to have his driver's licence in the next year. 

LONG, DUNN IN DREAMERS FINAL: Richard Long of Abbotsford and Ken Dunn of Langley tied for top spot, shared honors and $250, in the 10th and final week of the California Dreamin Handicapping Contest last Saturday. 

Long and Dunn each totaled $918 in the three races - entrants handicapped races three through eight at Santa Anita Racecourse. 

In the eighth race, the seven-horse paid a whopping $754, and six players had it. Two of course were the champs. 

Ray Hall, Dave Powell, Ida Smith and Mas Kariya also had the big $754 payoff and, unfortunately nothing else, to share third.  Koji Kariya was next at $556 and Efren Garcia was at $535. 

More than 350 Dreamers started after the top prize of a trip for two to the Santa Anita Derby in April. Each Saturday contestants won $250 and the day's winner(s) qualified for the final, set for Saturday in the Homstretch Party Zone. 

Long and Dunn will join Lance Beveridge, Don Pegura, Doug Robertson, Ray Abgrall, Tom Churchill, Maureen Nott, Frank Neves, Bill Veevers and Tim Wiesner, who won previous weekly titles, in the big finale. 

JENSEN TOPS HARNESS POOL: In a difficult last quarter Rick Jensen picked up six points and crossed the wire first in the KENO Harness Pool. 

With points at a premium, Jensen, who was on, or near, the lead throughout the contest, got six points on the last weekend and finished with 80 and a two-point margin. Jensen played the game from Hastings Racecourse. 

Carmen Coombs, who led going into the last week, was second with 78.  Kevin Clark had five points for 77 and third place. Rob McElhinney was next at 75 while Patrick Jordan, Cornelius Wiebe, Shirley Setter and Bill Goldstone each had 74. 

More than 350 entrants chased the $10,000 total prize money in the pool, which covered seven weeks (one week was cancelled). Contestants pick a team of six horses, one from each box of six horses, and points are awarded for top three finishes. 

Jensen will take home $3,000 - and the obvious bragging rights, for first while Coombs won $2,000 and Clark claimed $1,000.  Spots four to ten will get $250 each and 11 to 40 will get $75.