Cola only favorite to pop for stakes win

Form took a bit of a back seat as only one favourite was able to take a trip to the winner's enclosure last Saturday in the four Sandown Breeders Stakes races for three-year olds.

Haras Colta Cola, a son of Armbro Operative, owned by the Off Track Stable, raced from gate to wire to take one of the colt divisions. Trained by Paul Harrison and driven by Rod Therres, Cola, an even money favourite, covered the mile in a new lifetime mark of 1:56.3 (all four winners Saturday did it in new lifetime marks) in winning by three lengths. Millbanks P I, second choice at 8-5, was second and Furness Abbey third.

The victory added to a stellar record for the colt bred by Janet Harrison. Cola now has eight wins in 13 starts in 2002 and lifetime earnings of more than $21,000. "He's fast," said Therres of the colt he drove for the first time.

Brother Brass, the biggest favourite of the day at 1-9, was not so fortunate. While Red Star True and El Rosal battled early, Brass got caught as far back as fourth -- on the outside -- at the half.

By this time a rocket-like Southside Royal, an 8-1 shot, had shifted into contention and grabbed the lead by the three quarters. The son of Clairvoyant, owned by Caron Stables and bred by the B C Southside Stables, covered the last quarter in 28.3 seconds and won by 7 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:57.2 (just a tick less than two seconds faster than ever before). Brass made it to second with El Rosal third.

Southside Royal, trained by Archie Caron and driven by Dave Hudon, got his third win in 27 starts in 2002, running his career earnings to close to $23,000.

Papas Reflection and Dal Reo Damsel were the filly favourites who took it on the chin on Saturday.

Even-money favourite Papas Reflection finished third to 15-1 shot Red Star Majesty, a daughter of Safe N Rich who won for the first time in 17 2002 starts. Owned by Herbert Boggs of Duncan and bred by Dal Reo Farms, Majesty got the perfect two-hole trip in winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Red Star Sal with Papas Reflection, who had to work from the six-hole to get the lead just past the quarter pole, third.

Trained and driven by Jim Marino, Majesty covered the mile in 1:59.3 and bumped his career earnings mark to more than $17,500.

Earth Angel, off at odds of 4-1, went gate to wire in winning the other filly division by 1 3/4 lengths over 4-5 favourite Dal Reo Damsel who was second and Red Star Dahling third.

Earth Angel, a daughter of Deamons Bell, owned and bred by Janice Wheeler, went the mile in 1:57.3, also a tick short of two seconds faster than ever before. Trained by Ken Dorman and driven by James Jungquist, Earth Angel now has three wins in eight starts in 2002 and has only once been out of the top three. She nearly doubled her lifetime earnings to close to $14,000.

"She went right to the front and I was looking around for Rod (Therres driving Dal Reo Damsel), and I couldn't find him," Jungquist said the next day as he savoured his Stakes victory.

"I think that even if I had to go into the two hole I could have come back and beat Rod. She (Earth Angel) was sharp. She's a nice little filly."

- 30 -