To say Fraser
Downs’s opening weekend of live racing in the
freshly-renovated Grandstand and Clubhouse was an
unqualified success would be perhaps stretching matters.
There were glitches
that were highly understandable for an updated facility
using opening night like a test run. There were many new
staffers getting experience under the gun.
To your agent, who
writes each week of the goings-on at the Cloverdale oval,
a day at the races is like a walk in the park, a kiss from
your other, or a baby’s smile. With the new facilities and
fine staff, a race night will be – and was last weekend --
better than ever.
were several significant happenings on opening weekend,
both on and off track.
The opening weekend
crowds, and older challengers, failed to faze Red Star
Biggirl as the daughter of Grinfromeartoear set a track
record for two-year-old fillies Saturday.
Making only her
second career start, Biggirl came from off the pace to win
by a neck over Red Star Fantasia in 1:56.1. The former
mark of 1:57.1 was established by Betterfrombehind on Nov.
Red Star Biggirl is
owned by Robert Murphy of White Rock, B.C., and trained
and driven by Clint Warrington.
Biggirl back from the start and sat fifth at the quarter,
six lengths behind leader Shannons Scoobydoo (28.3).
Biggirl was still fifth at the half, 5½ lengths behind new
leader Lil Dudes Rockette, who covered the half in 58
seconds. From there Warrington used a second over trip to
move to third at the three-quarter pole (2¼ lengths behind
another leader Classic Socks) and a 28.3 last quarter to
break the record.
challengers were all three-year-olds in the non-winners of
two or $4,500 lifetime condition race with a purse of
Several other equine
stars had strong showings on the weekend. Carson Jane
captured the fillies and mares open on Saturday with a
1:55.3 clocking, her best of 2005. Lildudeskickinash paced
to victory in 1:56, three-year-old Red Star Dreamglo set a
life mark of 1:56, Headliner won in 1:56.2 while You Da
Man Cam (1:58.3) and Freedom Whisper (1:59.34) had
On Friday, in his
first start at the Downs, Lance Raider won the open with a
fine 1:55.2, beating track record holder Infinite Dreams
by 2½ lengths. However, it was not the fastest of the
night on an off track as Thisisbliss paced the mile in
1:55. Lil Dudes Keeper (1:58.3) and Freedom Fortytwo
(1:59.3) set career marks.
Tim Brown used a pair of wins each night to top all
drivers on the weekend with four victories. Dave McKellar,
who had a hat trick Friday, Gord Abbott and Bill Davis
each had three triumphs. Tied with deuce apiece were Jim
Wiggins, Dave Hudon and Barry Treen.
Ann Cooper had three
visits to the winner’s enclosure Friday to tie Davis for
the lead among all conditioners. Bob Merschback, Wiggins,
Treen and Davis each had two wins.
Wagering was up dramatically from a year ago for opening
weekend at Fraser Downs.
Live wagering for
the two days was up 54 per cent.
On Friday, on-track
wagering went from $65,736 in 2004 to $94,188 while the
total (simulcast, on-line) went from $223,000 to $265,843.
on-track went from $36,000 to $63,000 while total
ballooned to $261,000 from $202,000.
Eagle-eyed Downs’ patrons likely noticed the races held
prior to the start of the regular card last weekend.
The races, two
Friday and one Saturday, were for two-year-olds and were
For the small purse
of $500 the rookies have been given the opportunity of
gaining additional race experience without necessarily
taking on older horses.
Each year many
two-year-olds have limited experience prior to the staging
of the first stakes events. For example, provided there
are sufficient entries, the elimination for the first
stake race, the Breeders, will be held next Friday (Oct.
28). The Breeders Stakes finals are set for B.C. Classic
Day on Nov. 11.
One more weekend of
rookie races will be held this weekend. (Driver and
trainer stats do count from the special races).
RAISING THE ROOF:
While the extensive renovations were happening on the
front side of Fraser Downs, there was some fixing up on
the backstretch as well. Barn A, on the farthest left as
patrons look over to the barns, was given a new roof with
skylights. Many of the stalls in all barns were also
provided with new walls.
American Ideal will likely be going again to the
Coleman confirmed with Trot Insider last week that the
connections of American Ideal will pony up the $60,000
(U.S.) supplemental entry fee for the Breeders Crown,
which takes place at the Meadowlands in late November.
American Ideal added
another accomplishment to his amazing season, winning a
$230,500 division of the Tattersalls Pace on Oct. 8 at The
Mark MacDonald had
the son of Western Ideal-Lifetime Success in front through
27, 54.4 and 1:22.3 quarters before sprinting home in 26.4
en route to the 1:49.2 victory over Cams Fool and Beretta
“He came out of it
great,” Coleman said Oct. 12. “We shipped him home on
Monday and he seems really good. I’ll just give him a week
or two to relax in the paddock because he’s had a tough
month. He’s 100 per cent. He’s eating all his feed and
keeping his weight up so we’re gearing him for the
Just one week before
taking his Tattersalls division over Cams Fool in 1:49.2,
American Ideal set a world record when he clocked 1:47.4
in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at the Red Mile in
Coleman, who has
watched American Ideal compile a 10-4-1 record in 19
starts this year, trains the career winner of $830,678 for
partners Mac Nichol of St Albert, AB, and the Brittany
Farms of Versailles, KY.