Bre X still rolling

Bre X won the battle of the big boys Saturday, winning the Invite by a half a length over Ricardo Hall.

Despite starting from the outside six post, Bre X, the six year-old gelding owned by Kadence and Tante Stables, trained by Wayne Isbister and driven by Rick White, came from off the pace for a 1:54.3 mile.

Bre X, who recently set the Downs track record, won his fourth in a row and 14th in 26 starts in 2003.

Nazko Promise, making just his second start since May, was third.

The Invite will go for a purse of $19,000 this Saturday as part of the big Breeders Classic Day. Bre X and Red Star Justice, who now share the track record, will be part of a full field of nine.

DAVIS GETS EIGHT: MOST EVER: A monster night for Bill Davis helped him lead the way in the Downs driver derby last weekend. Davis rolled to eight victories Friday to lead the way with ease. He added four wins Saturday and one Sunday for a total of 13.

Tim Brown picked up the hat-trick Sunday and finished with six for the weekend while Dave Hudon had four.

Five of Davis’ eight wins Friday came with horses he trains, enabling him to chalk up nine on the weekend. Ray Gemmill, Bob Merschback and Larry Micallef shared runner-up honors with three each.

PLAGUED BY VIRUS: An equine virus sweeping the barns at Fraser Downs played havoc with last weekend’s racing cards.

Forty-eight had to be scratched from Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s cards after they became victims of the virus – which includes a deep, nasty cough.

Racing secretary Keith Quinlan had his fingers and toes crossed, hoping that the virus will fade quickly. He faced preparing cards for the big Breeders Classic Day on Saturday and also have enough horses has scheduled 10 races for each of Friday and Saturday and nine for Sunday.

SALE DRAWS CLOSER: A record number of horses  -- 136 -- have been entered for the annual B.C. Standardbred Breeders Society Yearling Sale on Nov. 18, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Agriplex.

Bill Pambrum, president of the society, is at the Harrisburg sale in the U.S. to search for in-foal broodmares to add to the sale.

Some big-name sires are on the list of those up for sale. In addition to such top local stallions as Dal Reo Hop Sing, Daylon Marshal, Usher Hanover and Dancing Puddles there is offspring from out-of-province sires Camluck, As Promised, Albert Albert, Northern Luck and Blissful Hall.

The stallion auction will once again be held and the popular raffle for a sale credit will also take place. One lucky person will receive a $2,500 credit and another a $1,500 voucher either of which can be used for a yearling or a broodmare.

The sales catalogue is now available and it, and the tickets for the raffle, can be obtained at the SA and SBS office.

MISCICH LEADING IRONMAN: Ron Miscich of Langley was the first week’s winner of the Ironman Handicapping Contest, which runs each Saturday until Dec. 6.

Miscich won $250 for his ‘capping expertise while Joan Novak of Surrey was second and won $150 and Ethel Shubrook of Surrey third and took home $100.

All patrons have to do is pick a horse in a designated race from eight different race tracks (such as Woodbine, Santa Anita, Mohawk, Bay Meadows) and receive points for a win, place or show finish. Each week there will be three winners.

It is free to enter and entries must be in by 11:30 a.m. each contest day. Programs for the contest will be available at the Welcome Centre at noon Friday.

FINE ART: The Arts Council of Surrey is holding its 10th annual Fraser Downs art competition, exhibition and sale this weekend in the grandstand lobby. Paintings from all entrants will be on display today and Sunday including Karen Cook’s winning Dash for Cash (Karen won $600.

Other winners were: second, Betty Rae Loren for The Race ($300) and tied for third, Diana Miskell for Slow Jog and Sandra Polushin for Autumn Pacer ($100 each).

Winners will receive their prizes Sunday in the winner’s enclosure after the first race.

MAGNA STUMBLES: On Thursday, Magna Entertainment announced it had posted a $15.4 million US loss for the three months ending Sept. 30. On Friday, shares of the largest racetrack operator in North America fell 33 cents, or more than five percent, to close at $5.85 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

While revenues have soared 60 per cent in 2003, that is largely based on the acquisition of Flamboro Downs, The Maryland Jockey Club and Lone Star Park. Track attendance and on-track wagering have fallen and analysts are disappointed by the company’s profit margins.

According to reports, Magna Entertainment president and CEO Jim McAlpine has announced that he will speed up cost cutting plans to save $5 million annually. Undisclosed workforce reductions are expected this week and next.

At 11 a.m. on Nov. 4, Magna Entertainment was trading at $5.83.

ENHANCED SERVICE: National Raceline, which since 1989 has allowed horsemen to listen to the live race calls and results of races all over North America, has enhanced its service.

The company has begun "Your Eyes At The Track", which lets callers speak to a live racetrack correspondent who can provide real-time information on any harness or thoroughbred track. Minutes to post, exotic wagering probables, late scratches and track conditions are among the information available instantly.

"This new feature means horsemen will know exactly what's going on anywhere", said Eric Cherry, President of National Raceline. "Our operators can give you a detailed description of how your horse did at Georgian Downs or if you have time to place a wager on the Daily Double at Hastings."

The National Raceline can be reached at 1-900-677-8000 at a cost of 99 cents per minute.

(Courtesy National Raceline)

DID YOU KNOW: On Nov. 7, 1970 -- Most Happy Fella, driven by Stanley Dancer, wins the pacing Triple Crown by capturing the final jewel, the Messenger Stakes, in 2:00.3 at Roosevelt Raceway in Westbury, N.Y.

MAINMAN’S MOONSHOT: Last week Outlawflybynight finished fourth when sent to the post at 6-1. This week we will go to the trailer and hope he does what his name implies by selecting Try Your Best at 12-1 in the fifth race Friday.